Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Millennials Reshape Event Success Strategies

As the millennial cohort expands event attendance, trade show and conference marketers and performing arts marketers are beginning to change their targeting, messaging and event planning strategies to cater to a demographic that demands technological multi-channel savvy, interest-specific targeting and experiential interactivity. A recent post by UK-based Conference News highlights strategies that event professionals can adopt to woo the millennial audience. While millennials are known for their social media, mobile-phone-addicted personae, studies show that these digital preferences can actually fuel greater live event interest; Conference News cites one survey showing 73% of millennials consider live event attendance as a way to express their beliefs and personality online. But it also means that event planners need to take cues from their digital experiences. Since millennials flock to online platforms that offer a nexus of various interests and connectivity, an event that focuses too narrowly can misfire. Conference News argues for a "multi-faceted event" and cites North Carolina's Moogfest as an example. Moogfest is primarily a music festival, but, in 2016, it added a stage for workshops, installations and discussions of the current political climate. By combining art, activism, food/drink, and activities in one place, it addressed attendees' multiple passions and created more social media fodder and buzz at the same time. Meeting the millennial demand for a multi-faceted event experience can also require going beyond hotel conference rooms and exhibit spaces. In 2017, the demand for non-traditional spaces rose by 3.8%, notes the article. Millennials are technically savvy and expect technically savvy event support. The Conference News article cites three event technology ideas likely to gain ground this year: 1) RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands can speed up entry lines and allow purchases without cash or cards; 2) Mobile Event Apps can let attendees craft customized experiences via eased navigation, personalized schedules, push notifications about upcoming activities, and social sharing with other attendees; and 3) Artificial Intelligence (AI) can use chat bots to answer attendee questions and, in coordination with social-media-based event app info, generate personalized on-site recommendations. See the full post at http://www.acculistusa.com/millennial-attendees-reshape-event-success-strategies/

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2018 Offers New Publishing Growth Opportunities

Business and consumer publications face some pivotal audience- and revenue-building challenges, but there are also growth opportunities in 2018. We note three potential positives recently highlighted by Publishing Executive magazine. Audiences are increasing their demand for quality content, and advertisers are seeking publishers who can deliver that quality, so there is a lot of untapped revenue potential for publishers who commit to quality. This is especially true since the free-information era is ending as readers become wary of free but low-value content and increasingly willing to pay for reliable quality. For digital publishers, the downside of a shift to paid content can be a shrinkage of circulation, forcing them to balance potential subscription revenue against lower ad page-views. The Publishing Executive article offers mitigating tactics: leaky paywalls; metered paywalls; charging only for premium content; allowing only paid subscribers to comment or participate in an online community; early access to certain articles for paid subscribers, etc. Meanwhile, with daily access to vast amounts of information in print, online, media and social, mass-market-oriented print and digital publications have been struggling, and niche publishers proliferating. Readers want to focus on what’s relevant to their specific interests, and many advertisers want to reach the right pool of people more than just the largest pool of people. The trick for publications is to embrace niche demand without sacrificing too much circulation. The Publishing Executive article offers some suggestions. Digital publications can create a product-within-a-product on the website, for example, with content targeted to a subset of the normal audience and attractive to new sponsors who want to reach that specific audience. For print publications, there are niche-targeted inserts, bonus sections, customized covers, polybagged special reports, or ad packages that combine a full-page magazine ad with a niche-targeted cover wrap or insert. Finally, brand advertisers have become concerned about aligning with publishers who tolerate fake news, violence, extremism, or other offensive content. This means that respected publishers can court advertising revenue (and circulation) in 2018 by stressing brand quality and safety in their promotions. On that point, Publishing Executive quotes from an Advertising Age piece in which Shelagh Daly Miller of AARP declared: "Only when brands partner with reputable publishers can they have full confidence in where their ads are being placed. That’s a message that should be all over our industry’s media kits. And tattooed onto the foreheads of our ad reps." For more on publishing opportunity trends, see http://www.acculistusa.com/2018-offers-new-growth-opportunities-for-publishing-marketers/

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How Performing Arts Marketers Find Best Targets

Since AccuList USA has successfully worked with performing arts and cultural organizations in audience development, supplying data and data services to help them acquire new patrons, ticket buyers and supporters, we were happy to see a recent npENGAGE.com post underscoring the key role of quality data targeting in performing arts marketing success. Basically, performing arts marketers must acquire prospects with the potential to become long-term, high-value patrons; retain them; and maximize their dollar contributions. That challenge is not easy when studies show 72% of single-ticket buyers do not return, points out npENGAGE article author Chuck Turner, a senior analytics specialist at the Target Analytics agency for arts and cultural clients. So a cost-effective marketing strategy will rely on data analytics both to target those with the highest relationship potential and to personalize messaging and offers for boosted ROI and loyalty. For revenue generation, analysis should look at the value of patrons in terms of the average of all revenue earned, including things such as gift shop and concession sales and tuition for classes offered, as well as ticket sales and subscriptions, Turner urges. That means targeting likely high-revenue prospects, plus targeting the right members of the audience pool for offers of add-ons and upgrades. For both groups, Turner suggests selecting those with higher average income, and thus higher capacity to spend. When it comes to increasing donations, external list data on both discretionary spending ability and nonprofit donation history can be used to target significant nonprofit donor prospects for acquisition, and that data can be appended to the existing audience database to better target for add-ons and upgrades. Turner points to Target Analytics findings that, on average, up to 40% of nonprofit audiences can be top prospects for significant contributory giving--if you communicate to prospects with a message that resonates with their mission-based interest. With limited resources, performing arts marketers need to be more strategic and proactive in focusing on the most valuable segments. This means tracking lifetime value, defined as the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship discounted to its current value. Again, quality data can help target the right people--those with high lifetime value--with the right message. For both audience database and prospecting mailing lists, Turner stresses selecting targets based on charitable giving and income/discretionary spending ability. Conversely, knowing those unlikely to donate or spend helps minimize investment in unprofitable segments. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/how-can-performing-arts-marketing-find-the-best-targets/

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Insurance E-mail Wins Need Quality, Targeted Data

Success with e-mail in 2018 insurance marketing boils down to using quality, targeted data--something that AccuList USA is committed to delivering. Data provider V12Data summed it up well in a recent post offering basic insurance e-mail data tips. With an estimated 30% of e-mail subscribers changing their addresses each year, make sure all e-mail lists are up-to-date, with addresses validated and verified, including any e-mail addresses that have been matched and appended to a postal list. Good list hygiene should include removing duplicates; correcting formatting errors; identifying addresses known to be associated with spam traps; and eliminating hard bounces, invalid e-mails/domains, and e-mails associated with complaints. There's no point to all that quality e-mail data if it's not used to understand and target your audience. That means looking at both actionable internal data, such as customer service records, transactions, credit card purchases or e-mail responses, as well as relevant demographic data, either from first-party collection or appended via third-party data aggregators. Consumer demographics could include date of birth, home ownership, occupation, gender, estimated income, age, presence of children, investments and more. Then segment your lists in order to offer the right product to the right audience segment. Plus use data to personalize offers and creative, and that means going beyond a Dear FirstName. Today's e-mail audience expects and demands personalized offers. Smart e-mail campaigns nurture customers and prospects through the buying cycle. Because those who request general information and those who fill out a request for quote form may be at different stages of the buying cycle, they need different messaging. Website signups can be sent a personalized welcome message, while subscribers who have not taken further action can get a follow-up nurturing message about products and services, with a call-to-action promoting a free quote or agent call. When a prospect makes a quote request, e-mail messaging can focus on getting to a policy sale, with more policy information and a specific offer or promotion. Note that life cycle counts as much as buying cycle. Consumers are more likely to buy insurance during major life-event changes, such as marriage, divorce, moving, home purchase, a new baby, retirement, etc. Leveraging that data in targeting sends the right offer at the right time for maximum response. See our blog http://www.acculistusa.com/focus-on-e-mail-data-for-2018-insurance-marketing-success/

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018 USPS Rate Hikes Challenge Marketers

On January 21, the U.S. Postal Service bumped up its rates for almost all mailings by direct marketers and publishers: Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail), First Class Mail Retail, First Class Mail Discount and Periodicals. What are some of the strategies to offset the effect on marketing budgets? Before panicking, mail marketers need to check out the whole USPS rate change grid. A 1% to 2% overall increase will be higher or lower depending on the class, weight, zone, density and special services required, and there are actually some savings to be had. For example, while the First Class stamp is going from $0.49 to $0.50 for a 1-ounce letter, a 2% bump, the USPS did not increase the additional ounce rate, so the percentage change gets smaller as items get larger. Meanwhile, metered letters are increasing from $.46 to $.47 in postage, which offers a significant savings of $0.03 per piece for those using a postage meter or PC postage, points out a recent Mailing Systems Technology post. Although most USPS discounts are tied to doing more work, such as barcoding or sorting, this metered rate savings is automatic for just using a system to print postage that costs as little as $20 per month, the article notes. There are other savings to be had via presorting, adds the Mailing Systems Technology article. For example, last year the USPS increased the weight limit for letter rates from 2 ounces to 3.5 ounces. Now, with the rate for a 3-ounce metered letter at $0.89 and a commercial rate of $0.378, there's a potential 58% savings from using presort services. Package changes can help the budget, too. Folding a flat (9x12 or 10x13) package into a 6x9 envelope could mean significant savings with the new rates. A three-ounce flat at $1.42 now could cost as little as $0.378 if it can be put in an envelope and automated through in-house software or presort services. Plus, mailers sending Priority Mail items at retail rates using Click-N-Ship or a postage meter can switch to a PC Postage solution using commercial rates to save 10% overall, or 2% to 40% less based on weight and zone. As data brokers, AccuList USA stresses that these postal cost changes also should push marketers to use data-driven direct mail in more strategic and creative multi-channel campaigns. To maximize mailing ROI, marketers should cut wasted mail by improving targeting, mailing list selection, and data/address quality, as well as apply response-boosting creative tactics, such as personalization and special printing effects. For rate tables and more advice, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/2018-usps-rate-hikes-challenge-direct-marketers/

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Evaluating Martech Buzzwords: Hype vs. Results

Marketers are bombarded by advice on how to seize buzzword opportunities such as personalization, "big data," omnichannel, real-time marketing, and, most recently, artificial intelligence (AI). Those struggling to find room in real-world budgets often worry that they're falling behind in an escalating martech arms race! New research by Resulticks—a survey of over 300 marketing pros across industry verticals—offers interesting perspective. For example, "Big Data" was the hot topic at the 2013 DMA Annual Conference, with 50% of marketers enthusiastic about investing. But making practical sense of those data torrents turned out to be more difficult than expected. Resulticks finds that only 16% of today's marketers have fully implemented big data solutions, 20% have given up on the concept, and just 27% rank big data as a top priority now. Part of the problem is overhyped, underperforming martech platforms, per the survey, with 21% of marketers complaining that vendors overpromise and underdeliver. In contrast, personalization has done better in fulfilling expectations, with 60% of today's marketers reporting full or partial implementation. The only fly in the ointment: Tech investments have not always kept pace with enthusiasm, and only 20% rate their software ability to deliver personalization as "excellent." Back in 2014, many retailers were optimistic about an "omnichannel" approach to create a seamless customer experience across all channels. Resulticks finds that only 9% of today's marketers describe their approach as omnichannel, compared with 63% who use less comprehensive multichannel marketing. Only 35% have fully or partially implemented the required software platforms for omnichannel, and, among those who have bet on platforms, 58% rank vendor execution as "poor" to "fair." There's a better report card for the "real-time marketing" that rapidly uses data across channels for more timely, targeted engagement in the customer journey. Resulticks reports that 49% of marketers rate their real-time marketing ability as "good" to "excellent," that half say they have fully or partially implemented real-time marketing solutions, and that 47% say real-time is a priority for their organizations today. Most recently, social media giants have been betting on AI, and many marketers are following their lead. However, Resulticks' survey finds almost half (47%) of the marketers polled already rate AI as overhyped. Here's a big source of that skepticism: 43% of marketers believe martech software vendors overpromise and underdeliver, and 69% rate their vendors' ability to execute AI as "fair" to "poor." For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/skeptical-of-marketing-tech-buzzwords-youre-not-alone/

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 Digital Marketing: New Tech, Targeting, Tactics

Marketers can expect digital marketing to continue to experience rapid changes this year. Thanks to Forbes magazine's Forbes Agency Council, which recently outlined digital trend predictions for 2018, they may be able to get a head start. The first of the article's 15 trend predictions is continued growth for Augmented Reality (AR), per Chris Carter of Rep Interactive, as mobile devices become more powerful, social apps improve AR integration, and, we would add, traditional print, from direct mail to labels, also embraces AR. Meanwhile, conversational interactions will offer new opportunities and challenges, per a couple of council members—such as Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, chatbots and more. Now that Google says 20% of its mobile queries are voice searches and usage is set to climb further, marketers will need to create content targeting these types of searches and ads for non-traditional venues, predicts Brett Farmiloe of Markitors. Video was a big story in 2017 and is now seen as a basic of success for 2018 marketers, per several Forbes council members. It also means that marketers will face a higher bar in terms of quality. As social media platforms jump into live video and add features, "the shaky, holding-a-phone-in-your-hand live video won't be acceptable anymore," warns Thomas Brodbeck of Site Strategics. Most agree that the days of impersonal e-mail blasts are done, and marketers will be focused on hyper-targeting and personalizing every interaction, forecast several experts. Watch for personalized landing pages connected to each advertising campaign, for example. The need for unbiased targeting, predictive analytics and budgeting for every step of the customer journey will increase use of application programming interfaces for machine-learning algorithms, natural language processing and artificial intelligence, opines Douglas Karr of DK New Media. And as data protection regulation increases, ad tech vendors will need to go beyond tracking behavior with cookies to contextual targeting strategies based on page content, adds Julien Verdier of Adyoulike. "Influencer marketing" had marketing buzz in 2017, but Craig Greiwe of Rogers & Cowan predicts that 2018 will see a collapse of interest because brands that spent big on influencers haven't seen measurable results. He expects brands instead to "zero in on a few select individuals who drive results or move to organic grassroots promotion, and away from high-cost, middle-tier influencers who drive awareness but little ROI." Content marketing and native advertising, meanwhile, remain in the marketing tool box—but with changes. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/2018-digital-marketing-trends-technology-targeting-tactics/