There are lots of reasons to use direct mail, and you may have heard many of them. So here are three statistics on the value of direct mail marketing that you may not have heard.
- Direct mail has higher value in persuasion.
According to a recent study by Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, direct mail generates a motivation score that is 20% higher than digital media. The study found this score to be even higher when direct mail creative uses print enhancements (for example, special coatings, dimensionality, and print-to-mobile technologies).
- Direct mail is easier to understand.
A wide variety of studies confirm that information provided in print is easier for people to understand and process than information provided in digital form. In the case of the True Impact study, direct mail was found to require 21% less cognitive effort. That means your message is absorbed more quickly and effectively.
- Direct mail results in higher brand recall.
Not only is information in direct mail easier to process, but it is more likely to be retained. True Impact found that brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones.
Need more reasons to love direct mail? Just ask!
 “A Bias for Action” (Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, July 2015)
Are you looking for ways to spice up your direct mail campaigns? Even if your response rates remain high, are you looking to freshen things up? Here are a few ways you can update your direct mailings and give them new appeal.
- Update the package.
Are you using the same envelopes you have for years? If so, change the color. Change the size. Add a personalized teaser on the front (“John, check this out!”). If you are selling high-value products, consider dimensional mail or novelty envelopes that look like UPS packages or USPS Priority Mail.
- Tweak your text.
Still using the same marketing text from last year? Try a new approach. If you’ve been using an informational style, insert some humor. If you’ve been sending punchy one-liners, try adding more educational text.
- Freshen up the images.
How long have you been using that same picture of your headquarters? Is your headshot on the back of the postcard from the 1990s? Take a new company photo. Upload a current headshot with a fabulous smile. Or maybe you just want some new images as backgrounds or illustration.
- Add a new variable.
If you are personalizing your mailings, why not add a new variable? If you’ve been personalizing by name and gender, add age bracket or income. If you’ve been personalizing by ZIP Code and household income, refine by life stage.
Look for fresh, new ways to relate to customers and increase the relevance of the message.
- Try a new offer.
What incentive have you been using to get people to respond? 15% discount? If so, try 10% or 25%. Go crazy and try BOGO. How are you encouraging people to log into their personalized microsite? Entrance into a sweepstakes for a gift card? Try a set of concert tickets instead.
Mixing things up can be a great way to stay fresh and relevant, even when sending to the same audience. So get creative. Step outside the box and see what happens.
Need some ideas? Contact us. We can help!
QR Codes have been called the marketing tool that marketers love to hate. Why? Because so many seem to provide absolutely no value.
Perhaps you scan a QR Code and it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Perhaps you get an error or the page to which the code points doesn’t exist. Perhaps you see a QR Code on a product you are interested in, so you scan the code and end up at a manufacturer’s non-mobile website where you get lost in a maze of links so dense that you forget why you went there in the first place.
Does this mean that QR Codes are a waste of time? No. It means not enough thought was put into creating them.
When you are thinking about creating a QR Code, the first thing you should do is ask yourself, “What purpose do I want this code to serve? What do I want the person scanning it to get out of it?” If you don’t have a good answer, wait until you do.
A great example of QR Code use is Best Buy. When you enter a Best Buy store, all of the products have QR Codes. When scanned, the codes take you to products specs, customer reviews, and other information not available on the shelf talkers or product packaging that will help them make a purchase decision. The QR Code puts the information in the customer’s hands at the very time that they need it — as they are making the decision. That’s a QR Code used well.
Contrast that with a QR Code placed on a lawnmower that takes you to the manufacturer’s corporate site. Or a QR Code on a “house for sale” sign that takes you to the realtor’s entire inventory. Those are QR Codes used poorly. It’s not the QR Code that’s the problem. It’s the lack of thought behind it.
When creating QR Codes, think about the end use!
Data mining. It is the foundation of great personalized marketing, but it strikes fear into the hearts of many marketers. The reality is that this fear is unfounded since data mining is well within the grasp of any sized marketer.
Let’s break it down into three simple steps.
1. Find out what’s in there.
The first step is to understand the field headings in your database. Most databases have basic information like name, address and purchase history. Are you also capturing information such as age, gender and home ownership? What data do you actually have?
2. Ask questions.
Knowing what data you have tells you the types of queries you can run. Running queries simply means asking questions of the data. If you are a retailer you might ask, “Which customers purchased hardwood flooring last month?” If you know that these customers are also likely to purchase area rugs and floor conditioning products, this gives you a great start.
3. Look for relationships.
The next step is to run data sorts. Is there a relationship between hardwood flooring and gender? How about income? Are customers more likely to purchase hardwood flooring at different times of year than others?
Even basic software like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access provides sorting capabilities. Or you might want to purchase add-on data mining modules or third-party software. If you need to outsource, there are plenty of companies that specialize in this process for very reasonable costs.
So get curious. Take a few hours to run a variety of sorts just to see what you can find.
Once you know what’s in your data, you’ve asked questions of your data, and discovered relationships within the data, it’s time to act on what you find. That curiosity could make a big difference to the bottom line.
Looking for proof that personalization works? An InfoTrends study of the marketing communication needs (including printing and variable data) of various businesses finds that marketing efforts featuring a higher level of personalization complexity results in a higher return on investment.
The survey of over 1,000 large businesses across 10 different vertical industries found that more than 60% of respondents’ campaigns were personalized or segmented. Response rates went up as the campaigns included more channels and become more complex.
Print-only campaigns achieved an average response rate of 6.0%, while print combined with personalized URLs achieved an average response rate of 7.6%. Adding email increased response rates to 8.2%. Adding mobile increased them to 8.7%. Evidence that more channels = more results!
The report also found that conversion rates were higher in a multi-channel mix. Print alone achieved an average conversion rate of 16.2%, while the combination of print, email, personalized URLs. Mobile achieved an average conversion rate of 19.0%.
The takeaway? If you want better results, personalize your marketing message. If you want outstanding results, use multiple channels to sweep non-responders into the sales funnel and reinforce the message over time.
|Campaign||Response Rate||Conversion Rate|
|Print and Email||7.6%||18.3%|
|Print and PURLs||7.6%||15.3%|
|Print, Email and PURLs||8.2%||16.5%|
|Print, Email, PURLs and Mobile||8.7%||19.0%|
|Source: InfoTrends, 2012|
by: Al Urbanski, Senior Writer – Direct Marketing News
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recorded a loss of $740 million in this year’s third quarter versus a loss of $5.2 billion this time last year, but top agency officials told a news conference today that it is still in need of substantial legislative reform to survive.
Though losses for the first nine months amounted to $3.9 billion, CFO Joe Corbett indicated that an earlier forecast of a $6 billion loss for the year was still a possibility. “Without comprehensive reform legislation, we will continue to experience large losses,” Corbett said. “We are operating with low levels of cash, and that will worsen in the fourth quarter when we will make a $1.4 billion payment for workmen’s compensation. At that point we will have only five days of cash on hand.”
“Five days of cash in October,” added Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, “is as much of a crisis as we’ve been in.”
Donahoe hailed growth in package and standard mail revenues during the quarter, but continued to bang the drum for reform. “I’m pleased with the progress we’ve seen, but we’ve got to get the legislation finished,” he said.
On one score, at least, Donahoe’s idea of reform does not jibe with that of direct mailers. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), included a provision in their new bill that would remove the Consumer Price Index rate cap and give control over rates back to the USPS. This raises the specter of an exigent rate increase that could severely hamper the activities of business mailers.
Donahoe says the USPS needs rate-setting power in order to react to marketplace conditions. “We’ve been on the record saying that setting prices and the timing of those prices should be done by the [postal] board of governors,” Donahoe said. “We think that it would be very effective to act as an after-the-fact review, like a public utility. Speed is the name of the game in this business world and that’s what we need.”
Corbett noted improved operating numbers for the quarter owed much to an improvement in interest rates that reduced expenses by $918 million compared to last year. He also pointed out that a $7.8 billion decrease in losses for the nine months ending June 30 could be explained by USPS making only one $5.6 billion healthcare fund prepayment this year versus two in 2012.
Still, both Corbett and Donahoe expressed optimism that new revenue streams and cost-cutting measures were moving forward in the face of a steady decline in First-Class Mail. Revenue from the USPS’ largest and most profitable mail segment declined by 1% on a 3.4% volume dip, but shipping and package revenue increased 8.8% on a 7.1% volume increase and standard mail receipts were up 3%.
Cost reductions in the quarter came from the consolidation of 104 processing facilities reduced operating hours at 7,397 post offices, and more than 1,000 postal routes consolidated or reduced.
“We expect some stability, contingent on a healthy economy,” Corbett said. “Assuming GDP will grow, the investment in capital goods will grow and employment levels will improve. The package business is tied to that and e-commerce. But the decline in First-Class will continue and that’s three times greater than any other decrease.”
As for reform, Donahoe and Corbett may still be waiting for legislative salvation as the year comes to a close. Senate and House members are expected to hammer out differences in their proposals before either bill is brought to a vote. With healthcare bills expected to dominate fall sessions of Congress, postal issues are likely to be back-burnered until 2014.
One of the topics we are hearing a lot about these days is drip marketing. Drip marketing is the practice of conveying your message by sending gentle marketing touches over time rather than trying to hit your customers or prospects with a single offer all at once. Especially when paired with cross-media marketing, the results can knock it out of the park.
Here’s how it works.
One marketer wanted to increase sales to affluent customers, so working closely with its print production and marketing partners, it devised a three-step, cross-channel marketing campaign that would build name recognition, develop trust, and bring in sales.
In its first phase, the company sent an eye-catching, high-gloss trifold mailer that would grab attention inside the mailbox. Once recipients opened the mailer, they were greeted with name personalization, highly relevant text, and a personalized URL that allowed them to enter an email address and download a free, high-value white paper, as well as fill out an optional survey giving the marketer more insight into their individual needs.
The second mailing went only to people who did not respond to the first. This phase capitalized upon the name recognition built by the initial contact, but the styling of the mailer was tweaked to differentiate the two. Like the first mailing, the piece included a personalized URL that allowed recipients to download a white paper and fill out an optional survey.
After the second mailing, the marketer was swamped with responses — so much so that the third mailing was delayed for several weeks so that the response team could keep up.
In the third phase, the names of those who responded to the first two mailings were removed from the list. For this mailer, the marketer used an invitation-style A7 envelope with full-color brochure insert, personalized note, and personalized URL. To sweeten the pot, respondents were offered the chance to win a sporting package or high-end coffee brewing system.
The results? The company exceeded its sales goals by 400% and achieved more than 1400% ROI!
What made this program such a success? This marketer understood that, especially when mailing to a new list and prospect base, sometimes it takes more than one contact to build name recognition and trust. Each piece builds upon the next, and in the end, you gain results not possible with a single marketing touch.
Want to tap into the power of drip marketing to reach new customers and cross-sell to existing ones? Give us call, 215.464.0111 OR EMAIL LFormica@fmidm.com.