As a print service provider, your services help your customers build their business and their client base. To stay competitive, it’s vital that you stay ahead of the game, keeping abreast of changing technology that can change the way you do business and the services you offer your customers. That’s why you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and its NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, brand new for this iPhone model. NFC technology offers your print customers even more opportunities to make use of mobile devices to build stronger and more profitable relationships with their customers, while adding extra value to your print and marketing services.
Archive for the ‘Direct Marketing’ Category
I just released my update to “State of Personalized URLs,” my nutshell observations and analysis of the usage and best practices of personalized URLs. What do I see has changed in the past year?
- Deep integration with multichannel campaigns that include email, direct mail, and social media (particularly Facebook).
- Integration with broader campaigns. We still see mailings with a focus on using personalized URLs to send people to mini-sites to fill out surveys, but this is shrinking as an overall percentage of the whole. We are seeing personalized URLs being integrated into broader, more comprehensive campaigns in which the personalized mini-site may be just a small component of the overall strategy.
- Software vendors differentiating, not software functionality, but on their training and business development support. Each solution still has its own personality and features, but overall, the solutions are converging. As they do, differentiation comes in each vendor’s approach to support.
- Stronger focus on the use of this software for lead scoring. Yes, lead gen and direct sales are important, but we’re seeing a lot more focus on targeting, segmentation, and lead scoring.
- Focus on consistency in personalization across channels. Personalized URL software has great functionality for surveys and data appends, but its value is just as great for maintaining personalization across channels, even if a survey isn’t part of the mix. The relevance that was begun in the personalized email or direct mail piece is carried over to the web experience, as well.
Personalized URLs are growing up.
What changes do YOU see in the adoption and use of this technology? Please share your thoughts.
(For more info on the report, click here. )
Several times this week, I have heard people comment that QR Codes are so yesterday. They are old, outdated technology and nobody wants to hear about them anymore.
That’s funny, because I’ve seen QR Codes on several new places in the last few weeks.
- Back of one of our Christmas catalogs.
- My USPS receipt.
- Poster in the school lobby encouraging people to fill out a customer service survey.
For a technology that is so yesterday, it’s interesting how I’m seeing it more and more places. This suggests that, while QR Codes may be old news to printers these days, more and more schools, businesses, and brands — your customers — are just starting to use them.
Sure, we don’t need to talk about what QR Codes are or how to make them or insert them into print or email documents. But we certainly need to be talking about how they are used and what the most effective implementations are. That’s part of being good marketing partners, right?
(Click here for more info on a brandable white paper you can use to share QR Code best practices with your customers.)
Ideally, your landing pages have the ability to act as one of your strongest marketing and sales tools for your business. The best part about them is that once they are created, they begin the sales process for you. By creating a simple landing page, you have generated more contacts and potentially more sales leads for your company.
However, throwing together a mediocre landing page with critical mistakes and hoping it will do all the sales work for your company is unrealistic. So, how can you be sure your landing pages are the best they can be?
Start by asking yourself if you’re making any of the following mistakes:
- Weak Appearance
- Lack of a Value Proposition
- Long Forms
Learn more about these mistakes and others, and discover what you can do to easily fix them by downloading, Fixing Your 5 Common Landing Page Mistakes.
Please take a moment to read and share this article at http://ilink.me/5Mistakes. Have you run into any other problems when creating landing pages for your organization? Let us know in the comments below, and we can work together to come up with a solution!
I just read a fantastic case study from Data Services Inc. that reinforces the value of direct mail in a world going increasingly electronic. Direct mail goes (and succeeds) in places email cannot. That includes the world of unsubscribes.
Belgium-based Outlet-Avenue, an online overstock retailer targeting younger, fashion-conscious consumers, was finding that it was losing previously loyal members of its exclusive email club. Was it ennui? Over-full email boxes? Traditional short loyalty span among this group? Regardless, 45% of its email list had gone dormant.
The challenge with reactivating unsubscribes is legal. Once unsubscribed, the marketer cannot email them again. However, Outlet-Avenue had mailing addresses for these former subscribers. It sent an inexpensive postcard personalized to the unsubscriber with a welcome message, “We miss you!” and offering a discount on their next purchase.
The company attributed an increase in online orders of 4% to the postcard and calculated an ROI of 2.4 to 1.
In addition, after-campaign research found the following:
- 62% recall rate
- 59% read rate
- 84% message retention rate
- 64% of recipients had or intended to resubscribe to the program
The message for marketers: “In some cases, those ‘chronic non-responders’ are the result of the medium of communication and not due to a lack of affinity to your products/services.”
Well done, DSI!
Fall is here and the holiday season is upon us. For many businesses, this season correlates to the most profitable quarter of the fiscal year. Every year holiday spending numbers continue to grow as buyers become more and more informed on what businesses offer. It’s no coincidence that consumer spending has increased; the proliferation of marketing media—both print and digital—has become more prevalent in the customer experience than ever before. This enhanced customer experience directly equates to an increase ‘buy-in’, producing larger financial returns.
The Canon Solutions America PressGo! webinar, The Right Data at the Right Time, unpacks how this trend has surfaced and offers advice on how to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. InfoTrends’ Lisa Cross discusses the importance of data collection and analysis in the advancement of an enhanced customer experience. Cross defines the customer experience today, explains the value of the right data, and offers tips on how to harness the right data to drive results.
One key take-away Cross highlights early in the webinar surrounds the concept of “me-marketing”. With stark competition vying for consumers’ attention, me-marketing plays an intricate role in appealing to an individual customer’s wants, needs and values. “If you want to get someone’s attention, make it about them,” says Cross. Personalized and targeted messaging creates a stronger line of communication, which in turn fosters a stronger relationship with the individual consumer.
So what kind of data drives me-marketing? Data that quantifies and qualifies consumers’ likes, interests, purchasing behaviors, lifestyle, and so on. Data can be structured, i.e. numbers that fit into a spreadsheet nicely, or unstructured, i.e. text and multimedia data that require extra steps for organization and analysis. It is not difficult to collect these types of data. Rather, the challenge lies in identifying which data have meaning and in deciding how to effectively apply this information to improve returns and advance consumer engagement. According to a recent study, 66% of marketers believe data-driven marketing promotes positive value to companies today. By collecting customer and sales data, marketers are able to consolidate, profile, rate and analyze the information in order to create the most appropriate marketing campaign for their target audience. There are a number of technologies available to achieve data collection and analysis: analytics, infrastructure, open-source, to name a few.
Keeping true to the trends, the print industry as well has entered the data-driven marketing space. Printers are in the mix of providing data services in management and analytics. Not only does the printer provide the means—or channel—of a communications piece, but also the printer is able to actively participate in running the marketing campaign. Clients now partner with print providers for data list acquisition, programming, campaign dashboard creation and response tracking & management. These services are vital towards achieving a client’s marketing goals, and thus, larger returns.
As the trend continues to emerge, it will be interesting to follow how print providers respond to the call for data services. If you want to learn more about data-driven marketing and the challenges in executing personalized campaigns, be sure to check out the full webinar here!
I have spent a lot of time recently poring over a printer’s self-promotion campaign. It’s a calendar, but not like any calendar you might have seen. Called “Twenty13: Details Matter” from McArdle Solutions, it has multiple layers of meaning and purpose.
The first layer of purpose is showing off what it’s digital presses can do. Each month shows a different combination of printing technique and substrate, and some of the effects are truly stunning.
But before you think McArdle is using this piece to get clients running to open their checkbooks, it is sometimes doing the opposite. It uses the imagery to open realistic discussions about cost. These techniques take time, multiple revolutions of the cylinder (up to 45 revolutions in some cases), and open the process to variance. Clients need to understand the true impact of these effects on cost, turnaround, and the final result.
After these discussions, sometimes clients will go ahead with these techniques. Other times, they do not. But whether they go forward or go another direction, their trust in McArdle is deepened.
As McArdle is opening these discussions, with their tenous balance, the calendar has another element of brilliance. True facts from history, such as Puxatawny Phil going social after 133 years or a whale being blown sky high because the engineers used 20 cases of dynamite instead of 20 sticks, are paired with the corresponding images to illustrate the value of a supplier to attends to the smallest detail.
True excellence is found in the details, and whether it’s in selecting the right ink and substrate combination to create a special effect or having the guts to discuss details of cost even if it means losing an upsell, it’s what makes a great supplier great.
This was a tremendous campaign, and it has sold a lot of clients on McArdle’s excellence. It’s a wonderful model that many others in this industry would do well to emulate.
At Graph Expo, I attended a press conference by CHILI Publisher, and one of the elements of the conference really struck me. It was the promotional video at the opening of the press conference. The video didn’t talk about the features or benefits of the solution. It showed real business owners, real distributors, real consumers using it.
The video showed a brand owner, a retailer, a product distributor, and father and his daughter all creating a variety of elements that promote different aspects of the brand. Whether logging in on a laptop while sitting behind the retail counter or sitting on a couch with an iPad, the diverse range of users logged into a portal and customized documents, sliding and resizing elements like you’d do on a touch-screen mobile device.
The brand owner created a custom catalog. The retailer created custom product labels. The distributor created signage. A father and daughter created and received branded merchandise delivered to their homes.
There were banners, displays, and mailing labels for boxes — a wide variety of products created by multiple individuals within the marketing and distribution chain, each serving a different role, all creating products with the appropriate branding.
In just a few minutes, the video showed — not told – the benefits of an online document creator and editing solution.
This focus on “how this benefits me” is what has been sorely lacking in the Web-to-print discussion for a long time. We, the industry, understand how this solution ties everything together, saves customers money, and facilitates branding (especially in a decentralized marketing environment), but how well is that being communicated to customers?
I have blogged about the Webinar produced by What They Think and how both large brand marketers (The Toro Company and LifeLock) only recently invested in W2P after having the broader content marketing, document management, and time/cost savings demonstrated to them, not by a printer, but by a software vendor.
This is another example of a software vendor doing a great job of illustrating the benefits of these solutions. It’s an example that I think many printers could benefit from.
More on my perspective on Web-to-print.
When it comes to marketing your business, always keep in mind one simple fact: your customers want you to make their lives better. Whether in business or outside of it, your customers are looking to you to improve their life in some way. Does your marketing clearly let them know how you can do just that? Or are you merely telling them facts about how great your product is and hoping something will stick?
If you want to streamline your marketing for greater effect and greater returns, it’s time to stop marketing and start selling. In other words, cut out over-inflated marketing that talks up a storm about your company and product, and focus on selling the value you can bring your customers.
In order to increase your profits as 2014 is wrapping up and you prepare for the new year, download, Stop Marketing and Start Selling, FREE for The Digital Nirvana readers.
Please take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilink.me/Selling. Do you have any other tips for boosting sales? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Everyone has an opinion about it. But we’re most interested in what the people closest to the action—owners and managers of companies that print—have to say. So last month we launched the Future of Print Survey. Early results are in. Among the key numbers:
• 53.9% expect the total demand for print (all products, all processes) to stay around current levels over the next three years. In comparison, 26.9% expect demand to decrease, 15.4% expect demand to increase, and 3.8% aren’t sure what to expect.
• 73.9% expect print’s share of their company revenue to decrease between now and 2017, 8.7% expect print’s share to increase, and 17.4% expect it to stay around current levels. Among all companies surveyed, print is expected to decline, on average, from 73.9% to 64.6% of revenue.
• 57.7% believe direct mail has the most growth potential of any printed product, followed by promotion (other than direct mail), wraps and banners, and packaging, each cited by 38.5%.
Many we’ve surveyed emphasize that the future of print will ultimately be determined by its ability to deliver value. The comparisons they draw between what print was and what it is show that ability is hardly static:
• Generic direct mail compared with highly personalized direct mail carrying “QR codes or pURLS that allow you immediate feedback on the success/failure of the piece.”
• Mass-market catalogs compared with “on-demand, evergreen catalogs with variable-data processing tailored to individual needs and delivered very quickly.”
• Traditional business cards compared with cards with “QR codes on the back to scan contact information directly into the phone without error.”
Of course the innovation will continue, with print incorporating new ways to create value over the next three years, just as it has over the past three years. But understanding only the technology side of the innovation, the “bells and whistles,” isn’t going to be enough. The opportunity for every company in our industry is to understand how our clients and prospects can benefit from the innovation—how it can help them get noticed, whether in the mail box or the retail aisle, attract and retain business, better understand their target markets, increase revenue, decrease costs and waste, etc.—and then to communicate those benefits to them, never assuming they just get it.
A new survey from The CMO Council, “Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements,” offers interesting insight into the issue of customer-centricity, or how well focused a company is around its customers.
Customer-centricity is interesting because it’s more than just a 360-degree view of the customer, a term we associate with big data. It’s different from personalized interaction and relevance, which we associate with marketing. It’s a concept that draws together the customer’s experience with all areas of the brand, not just those that have to do with data and marketing. It’s the focus on the customer at all levels, from the products it develops to the way its call center handles customer interaction.
What makes a company “customer-centric”? According to the survey:
- 66% of marketers say quick response times to customer requests or complaints are core to demonstrating customer centricity.
- 47% say products that reflect a customer’s own needs and wants are central to demonstrating an organization’s customer focus (the assumption being that this includes personalization in marketing, too).
- 36% say “always on” access to products, account details, profile information and customer support.
Some of these functions are related to marketing, but many of them are not. These aspects are owned by customer service, product development, R&D teams, and operations, IT, customer service and marketing.
Thus, we might say a truly customer-centric organization is also an integrated organization, where all of the internal “clients” (or departments) are willing to talk to one another, coordinate, share information, and work together to create a positive customer-centered experience.
No matter how personalized, how targeted, and how relevant the communications, marketing can’t carry the customer-centric burden all by itself. Truly customer-centric marketing needs to be coordinated with other stakeholders throughout the company. So if the client conversation turns to customer-centricity, it’s important to ask the question, “What other areas of the company are being represented at the table?”
Available on the What They Think Webinar archive is a Webinar titled “Web-to-Print Is So Yesterday.” It’s fascinating, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
The speakers are from The Toro Company and LifeLock, and both talk about their reasons for investing in their own W2P solution, how they came to make the purchase decision they did, and the value of the solution for their companies now. Some of it may be familiar. Some of it may not be.
Part of what’s interesting is where these companies are finding the real, bottom-line benefits, and they are not always where the printing industry tends to focus. The other part of what’s interesting is that, despite the high-profile nature of these companies, they were largely unaware of the capabilities of W2P until they went to a marketing conference and saw presentations by the software vendor.
Both indicated that, while they were convinced by the vendor’s presentation, if they’d heard about it from their printer in the same way it was presented to them at the marketing conference, they would have jumped on it from them. Since they didn’t, they installed it in-house.
Here are the takeaways:
- There are still opportunities in W2P.
- Marketers are looking for content management, not print management.
- They heard about W2P from printers, but it was so print-focused as to be irrelevant.
- When they heard about the full capabilities of W2P focused on their actual needs, they jumped on it. “Why didn’t we know about this before?”
- Only 50% of their volume flowing through these systems is print. But since the installation of the system, their print volumes have increased.
If you haven’t watched this Webinar, it’s worth your time. And if you aren’t going to marketing conferences, interacting directly with the people who need your services, why on earth not?
Executing a strong integrated marketing campaign for any business or brand is essential when trying to grow an entity or expand its overall reach. Knowing how to properly craft marketing campaigns to reach specific a specific audience is a way to successfully advertise your business, brand, or message to any set demographic you have in mind. Utilizing a few tips prior to launching your next marketing campaign is a way to ensure you are maximizing reach and exposure for your brand.
Create an Image and Voice for Your Brand
Creating an image and voice for your brand is essential to properly convey any message you want to share with potential customers or clients. Choose a logo, color scheme, and mission statement that is most fitting for the business you are trying to promote. Use magazines, online communities, and other well-known brands to spark inspiration to modernize any business or brand you are building.
Select Ideal Marketing Channels
Selecting ideal marketing channels for a demographic you want to reach is also imperative. You can advertise locally with newspapers, magazines, and newsletters, or maybe you prefer alternative online advertising channels. Online marketing ranges from PPC (pay per click) campaigns to third-party advertising services, direct advertising, and social media.
Keywords and the Importance of SEO
Implementing specific keywords into the content and headers of your website and blog is necessary to improve search engine rankings and results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Select keywords that are most relevant and trending in your market to boost page ranking with each new update or marketing campaign you launch.
Cross-Promotion Using Multiple Advertising Platforms
Using multiple advertising platforms is one of the most effective methods of growing a brand, regardless of whether you are promoting a local shop or an international online eCommerce store. Using social media, local advertising, third-party ad systems online, and affiliate marketing is not only a way to share more about your brand, but it is also a way to make a name for yourself in your designated industry and field.
Having an understanding of how to use various advertising channels to run a successful marketing campaign is a way to reach any audience or demographic, regardless of the industry you are working in or representing. With the ability to successfully promote a brand, image, message, or product, it is much easier to maintain a professional image and positive reputation in your line of business.
Last night, I was struck by a conversation between my 10-year-old daughter and her best friend. It was about “Tech Ed,” or technology education, in her middle school. The area her friend (who is 11 years old) is most excited about? Learning to create and print 3D objects on her school’s Makerbot.
Both of the high schools in the area have 3D printers, but the fact that this technology has moved down to the middle school level is something new. My daughter’s friend has only been in school a week and a half and she’s already learning to create her own 3D designs.
The point for printers? 3D technology isn’t something you can ignore. It’s penetrating down to our children, which means this will be a technology they grow up with and are as comfortable with as cellphones, iPods, and tablets. While it might be challenging to get your customers thinking about how to integrate 3D into their marketing applications now, it won’t be long before it’s as natural as thinking about email, mobile, and text.
Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting that printers go out and buy 3D printers to compete with Thingiverse and Shapeways. I’m suggesting that they get to the know the technology and begin to think of ways to use it to drive marketing campaigns the same way they’d use anything else, even if they choose to outsource the production.
3D printing is not the norm now, but it will be.
As a mailing house, you provide at time-saving service for your clients that makes their business run that much more smoothly. But, no business should rest on its laurels, so it’s always a good idea to turn your thoughts to what you can do to make your business that much more successful and see some great results in terms of increasing profits.
The key to kicking your revenue into high gear is to take a two-pronged approach: streamline your service to provide the best service you can in the most efficient way, and look at what you offer your clients to see how you could help them and increase your profits at the same time. Follow these steps to increase your profits as 2014 is wrapping up and you prepare for the new year.
- Streamline Your Service
- Expand What You Offer
- Let Your Customers Know Why They Should Choose You
To see these steps further explained and learn how you can increase your sales, download, Got Mail? How to Boost Your Mailing Revenue.
Please take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilink.me/GotMail. Do you have any other tips for boosting your mailing revenue? I’d love to hear in the comments below!