Going Postal: News You Need

Questions to Ask Before Any Logo Redesign

A logo is the most visible graphical representation of a company. It provides an anchor for the visual elements in all of your other marketing materials, and when associated with an excellent product or service, it can carry goodwill and brand awareness. Conversely, if your logo has low brand recognition or a dated look, it’s time to consider a redesign.

If you are considering a logo redesign, here are some things to discuss with your designer:

  • What is your unique selling proposition? Where does your product fall on the quality versus price spectrum?
  • Who are your competitors and target customers?
  • What are your plans for how the logo will be used beyond business cards and stationery? This will allow the designer to create a logo that is appropriately scalable.
  • If your logo relies on gradients, reflections, or other digital effects, how will it look embroidered on a shirt or imprinted on a promotional item? One test is to look at your logo in its simplest form. Can it hold its own in black-and-white?
  • Can digital enhancements be added for specific applications?

Answering these questions will help your designer position your brand appropriately, both for the market and for the intended marketing uses.

But let creativity abound. There’s no single formula for creating an effective logo. Consider the highly visible Microsoft, Olympic and Starbucks redesigns. Microsoft unveiled its first new logo in a quarter of a century last year, adding a splash of color and a graphical element to its name. Similarly, the new Olympic logo spelled out Rio 2016 and used the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag. Contrast that with the latest Starbucks logo, which uses only one color and no reference to the Starbucks name or coffee. The green, twin-tailed mermaid represents the brand’s personality rather than the product.

If logo redesign is important to these marquee brands, it’s certainly something for your business to consider. However, test market any changes with your target audience before embarking on a full-scale redesign. The price of a logo redesign (again) is more than just the cost of the image. It’s the expense of rolling it out across your enterprise.

 

 

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Friday, February 24th, 2017 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Effective Marketing Copy Made Easy

Whether you are writing copy for direct mail, email, in-store or exterior signage, or any other type of marketing material, a few simple tricks will increase your ability to grab your audience’s attention and communicate your message more effectively. Here are some fundamental principles of writing great copy that will help you command attention:

  • Be imaginative. It’s easy to say the same thing in the same way all the time. Break out of the mold. Look for unconventional ways to communicate your message.
  • Be a salesman. Cute and clever doesn’t get you anywhere by itself. Your copy still has to motivate recipients to action. Be creative, but also be clear. Sell benefits. Give an overt call to action.
  • Put the customer front and center. Make the customer the center of the message. Talk about their problems, their challenges, and their Let them identify with the message, then talk about how your products and services can solve their problems.
  • Build trust. Part of building a brand and gaining repeat customers is establishing loyalty and trust. Represent your products in a way that is accurate, helpful, and maintains your customers’ confidence.
  • Hire a professional editor. Make sure your copy meets professional standards. Someone who is “good at grammar” isn’t sufficient. When it comes to marketing, there are rules for punctuation, capitalization, and usage that only professionals know.

Of course, there are other elements to great print marketing, as well. Good layout. Interesting graphics. Compelling offer. But great copy ties it all together.

 

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Friday, February 10th, 2017 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

What’s the Key to Brand Awareness? Repetition!

Before customers can buy from you, they have to be aware of your brand. Whether through direct mail, in-store signage, catalog, or email, your brand must pop up in front of them, prompting a spontaneous purchase, or be part of their thought process when they are evaluating their options as part of a planned decision.

For decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. To what extent does brand awareness influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Here are the results from one fascinating study:

  • In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they actually preferred a less familiar brand.
  • Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.
  • Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand, but were more likely to make the decision more quickly. In this case, 9.8 seconds faster.
  • As consumers become more familiar with the category and interact with other brands, the impact of brand awareness drops over time.
  • Brand awareness is more critical among novice shoppers and those investigating products or services in a new category.

What does this mean for you? Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out—and then stay there.

This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off big. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.

Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.

Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication” (Journal of Business Research)

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Thursday, January 19th, 2017 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Study Shows Buyer Personas Driving Demand Generation

Before new customers can buy from you, they need to learn about you. They need to discover you through direct mail, email, or on the web. To create this awareness, companies are developing sophisticated demand generation programs.

According to the third annual Demand Generation Survey from Annuitas, the top five goals of enterprises’ demand gen programs are to improve the following:

  • Quality of leads (92%)
  • Customer cross-sells/upsells (62%)
  • Volume of leads (61%)
  • Brand awareness (48%)
  • Customer retention (33%)

The study shows that year over year, these efforts are becoming more effective. In part, this is because companies are developing a more holistic view of their customers. This year saw an 11% increase in the percentage of companies using buyer personas as a standard part of their demand generation programs.

According to the study, 65.5% of organizations now use buyer personas in the planning of their demand generation programs and activities. Twenty-two percent have them in the planning stages.

Among the criteria used to develop personas:

Job function 68.1%
Job title 65.5%
Size/revenue of company 56.6%
Core buyer pain points 55.8%
Purchase authority/influence 46.0%
Product interest 32.7%
Buying processes 30.1%
Content channel consumption 26.5%
Demographic information (age, marital status, hobbies, etc.) 20.4%
Obstacles that inhibit better engaging with the buyer 10.6%

Although some companies refresh their buyer personas more frequently, most companies (early two-thirds) refresh them annually. When was the last time you refreshed your buyer personas?

Want more information on developing buyer personas to improve your demand generation efforts? Let our business development experts help!

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

How Much Personalization Is Too Personal?

When you are personalizing print or email communications, it’s important to remember that there are real people on the end of the line. Good use of data can be very effective, but the poor use of data can make people uncomfortable.

One marketer caused a stir, for example, when it targeted men with a personalized communication that used their names with “Jr.” added to the end to represent the son they might have some day . . . if they aren’t careful. Needless to say, plenty of recipients were uncomfortable with that approach! This is something many industry commentators call “the creepy factor.”

So how can you personalize your content in a positive way without crossing the line? Here are three tips.

  1. Protect private data. There is a difference between selling educational materials and selling refinancing offers. If you’re selling educational books to children, for example, you might want to know that your neighbor down the street bought a set of the same materials. But you probably don’t want a mortgage company outing you as a good candidate for a refinancing offer.
  2. Make sure your data is current. Keep your data clean and current. One company was criticized for marketing to recipients as if they were one step from a retirement home when, in fact, many of them were not even retired. Use surveys to stay in touch with your customers and get to know them. If necessary, use third party data houses to fill in critical details.
  3. Be considerate. Use the data in a way that is respectful and considerate of the person receiving it. You may not want to let recipients know just how much you know about them upfront. Some marketers start with basic targeting and segmentation, then layer that communication with name personalization, rather than using highly personal details overtly.

Remember that data is just data. When it comes to personalization, it’s what you do with that data that matters. Need help making sure that your use of data is a good one? Talk to us—we’re here to help.

 

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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Is It Time for a Fresh Look?

Rebranding is a big deal, and it shouldn’t be done lightly. But sometimes, the time is right. When should you consider rebranding your business? Here is some advice from the experts.

  1. When something has significantly changed in your business.

Businesses evolve, and there can come a point at which you are a different business than you were a few years ago. Maybe you’ve expanded into new areas. Maybe you’ve had a growth spurt and your local brand needs to grow with it.

  1. When your customers have changed.

Not only do brands change, but also their customers change. McDonald’s customers have become more health-conscious, for example. Harley Davidson’s customers have gotten younger. With these changes have come significant changes in presentation of the brand. Has your customer base gone through a significant and long-term change? If so, does this need to be reflected in your branding?

  1. Your visual brand looks stale.

Eventually, even the best visual branding begins to look dated. What looked cool in the 1970s isn’t going to play today. Color trends, fonts, logos, and entire brand representations need a makeover every once in awhile. How long has it been since your brand had one?

  1. When customers have lost engagement with your brand.

Customer engagement can often be recaptured with fresh, new ways of marketing, but sometimes, there is something about the branding that no longer connects. If you can’t get sales out of a slump, maybe new branding can help prospects see your products with fresh eyes.

  1. You look like everyone else.

When you opened your business in a hot new market 10 years ago, you were unique. But as new competitors poured into the space, that uniqueness is disappearing. If you are no longer standing out from your competition, fresh branding can help you break through.

Think it might be time to rebrand your business? Give us a call and let our brand experts and graphic designers brainstorm with you.

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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Switching from Static to Personalized Makes Results Soar

With consumers squarely in charge of product research long before they ever contact your company, content marketing is more important than ever. One of the most important forms of content marketing is the customer newsletter—and more and more are moving to personalized editorial.

What happens to results if you switch from a general-education newsletter to a fully personalized one? One community-based healthcare system found out. After sending a traditional newsletter for years, it began matching the content to what it knew of patients’ health conditions. Personalized content ranged from advances in treatments to schedules for clinical trials.

After about a year, the healthcare system conducted a readership survey to find out how the new approach was being received. The results?

  • 93% of respondents felt the articles were relevant and of interest.
  • 73% read the entire newsletter every time it came in the mail.
  • 77% said it was easier and quicker to read.
  • 95% said they became aware of services that were previously unknown.

Not only did the healthcare system solidify its relationship with existing patients, but nearly every one of those patients learned about some of the provider’s services they didn’t know about before. Imagine the impact on revenues!

Not every marketer can track to this level of detail, but there are many simple, cost-effective steps you can use to monitor your marketing effectiveness too. Personalized URLs, barcodes (visible and invisible), discount codes, and multiple landing pages for various iterations of the same campaign are all ways to track and measure results.

Talk to us about converting your content marketing into personalized content marketing!

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Friday, October 28th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

3 Reasons to Use Direct Mail That You May Not Know

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.

  1. Direct mail has higher value in persuasion.

According to a recent study by Canada Post and True Impact Marketing,[1] 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

 

[1] “A Bias for Action” (Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, July 2015)

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5 Updates to Freshen Up Direct Mail

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

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1:1 Marketing Is Relationship Marketing!

What makes 1:1 printing work? What turns an average marketing campaign into an outstanding success? Is it the graphic design? Is it the mailing list? Is it selecting just the right variables like income, age, or gender? Those things are important, but there is one ingredient that trumps them all. Relationship.

At its core, 1:1 printing is “relationship marketing.” Relationship marketing is an approach that focuses on nurturing long-term customer relationships rather than focusing exclusively on the short-term sale.

What might this look like in your business?

Say you are a local, family-owned hardware store. Normally, a customer walks in, does his shopping, and you make yourself available to answer questions and recommend products. You hope that great service, quality merchandise, and your employees’ wealth of project expertise will hold their loyalty. You might have special promotions or discounted merchandise in a bin at the front of the counter.

But what might this look like if you decide to implement a proactive relationship-marketing program using 1:1 printing?

When a customer walks in, you smile and greet them, but you also ask if they would like to be on your mailing list for your newsletter, “Tips for Shop & Home.” If they say yes, you collect their name, address, and critical information for personalizing content, such as whether they rent or own, whether they have children and their ages, and any specific home needs such as a garden, pool, or workshop.

Once a month, you send out a personalized newsletter addressing each customer by name. You also customize the content, providing weatherizing tips, suggestions for ongoing home maintenance, and relevant offers based on what you know about their property. If they garden, you might offer planting tips and discounts on seeds, berry bushes, or garden mulch. If they have a pool, you might offer maintenance tips and discounts on pool supplies.

Because relationships are about interaction, you may want to create excuses to open dialogs with your customers. This might include an occasional customer survey, feedback form, or customer contest (such as best recipe using home-grown vegetables or best home workshop project). This creates an interaction between you and your customers that makes each person feel valued and gives them a stake in their relationship with you. At the same time, it gives you more information to further personalize future mailings!

That’s relationship marketing—and it’s one of the factors that makes 1:1 printing great.

 

 

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Friday, September 16th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

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