Thursday, January 19, 2017

Study: Customers Not Recognized Across Channels

Just 9% of marketers say they can consistently recognize customers across media channels, according to the MediaPost report on a new white paper published by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). The study, conducted by Winterberry Group, is based on interviews with marketers from about 120 organizations. Per the MediaPost story, the study did find that companies have improved how they provide the same brand experience across channels, with slightly more than 77% of participants claiming to coordinate the delivery of content across all the media channels extremely well, fairly well or to some extent. But since most companies are marketing to devices not people, the challenge has been recognizing the same customers as they cross devices, for example going from search to catalog, or from mobile to in-store. Companies do realize that there is a problem per the survey, with some 72% of those participating identifying audience recognition as a "moderate" or higher priority. And when asked what would help to advance their organization's efforts to better recognize addressable audiences across marketing media, better aggregation and management of data, cited by nearly 48% of marketers, led the top five solutions. For more statistics from the study and for a link to download a free white paper copy, go to full blog post at

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Direct Mail Testing Differs by Product Stage

Direct mail success is all about testing -- lists, offer, creative, and, of course, the product/service itself. While there's no single formula, Malcolm Decker's excellent article "How to Test Your Direct Mail" in Target Marketing magazine's resource section offers some useful guidelines. Decker differentiates the weight given the various direct mail testing parameters by a product's life cycle--new product testing; honing success of an existing product; and testing to revive a mature product. For example, his ideal new-product test is mailed to 120,000 names, with the house list providing less than 20% of names mailed, and testing of 15 different lists, three different prices/offers, and three different creative packages. In looking at the relative contributions of testing factors, he notes that even the most well-researched new product can impact results by 30% plus or minus. Mailing lists--ranging from tightly targeted response lists to larger, broader and thus riskier lists--will contribute another plus or minus 30% to success, based on Decker's experience. Then the price/offer will deliver another 30% up or down. And last, the creative factor for a new product can move the testing needle by another plus or minus 10%. Once marketers have a couple of years of mailing results to help determine price elasticity, list universe, creative preference, premium impacts, etc., Decker notes that the 30-30-30-10 relationship of start-up testing has shifted. And once a mature product's marketing choices face the challenges of competition or changing tastes and demographics, the weights of key testing factors shift once more. For more on testing parameters for proven and mature products, see the full blog post at

Thursday, January 5, 2017

3 Digital Trends Challenge Multi-Channel Marketers

As this year's marketing gets underway, we want to alert multi-channel marketers to three important 2017 digital trends recently cited by digital marketing hub ClickZ author Rebecca Sentance. Trend One: Marketers need to go beyond "mobile friendly" to a "mobile first" strategy given current search trends. Think mobile is over-hyped? Sentance asks you to consider the following: Search-engine giant Google has removed the "right-hand rail" from the search results page and moved to only displaying paid ads at the top and bottom, making the main search results layout more adaptive to mobile; Google continues to strengthen a mobile-friendly ranking system that penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-optimized; and Google announced in October that it would further favor mobile search by splitting off desktop and mobile into separate search indexes, with mobile as its primary index. Trend Two: marketers need to embrace visual elements and visually focused platforms for more effective social media performance. Trend Three: Marketers should stop assuming social media is mainly a tool for brand and traffic building rather than direct sales. For the facts driving the last two trends, read our complete post at

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ready for Holiday Sales? Don't Stint on Mail Power

As retailers head into the holiday sales season and balance their offline-online marketing mix, there's solid recent evidence to support direct mail investment, even by digital-first marketers. It's why AccuList USA continues updating mailing list research to hone response for a wide variety of multichannel retail campaigns in popular seasonal categories like gourmet and food gifts, health/beauty, hobbies/collectibles, and pets. We're buoyed by recent data. For example, among the findings of global marketing firm Epsilon's just released 2016 holiday shopping survey is shoppers' clear propensity to respond to mail. In fact, 77% of respondents said they feel advertisements received by mail will have at least “some influence” on their buying decisions this holiday shopping season. Compare that number to the just 41% of respondents who said that banner advertisements when searching online will have at least “some influence” on buying decisions. According to the survey respondents, they are influenced by direct mail because it usually contains an offer or discount and the format allows for leisurely review time. No surprises there. If any digital-first marketers are unconvinced, they should take a look at some real-life mail examples from digital market leaders, cited in a recent article for Target Marketing magazine by Paul Bobnak, director of Who's Mailing What!. For more detail on those mailing pieces, go to

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Measuring ROI Is Top Multichannel Challenge

As highlighted recently in a MediaPost Real-Time Daily post, quantifying and optimizing ROI across channels is a top challenge for today's marketing execs.  Gone are the days when direct marketers could afford siloed channel strategies. Citing a new global survey conducted by the programmatic marketing and analytics firm DataXu, the Real-Time Daily article notes that U.S. senior marketers now say the single greatest challenge in their jobs is developing an accurate way to quantify ROI across the variety of channels. Another 37% of U.S. marketers say their biggest challenge is developing an efficient marketing mix across channels to drive ROI. The U.S. marketers are not alone, however; difficulty tracking the success of a marketing campaign into metrics was cited by one-third of global marketers as the largest threat to the success of their teams. In meeting multichannel challenges, marketers also feel the bar for technical skills is set higher than ever before because of expanding digital technologies and proliferating data sources. So it's no surprise that 78% of U.S. marketers point to understanding marketing technologies as a skill critical to their mission, and 72% think grasping digital media is crucial to success. Overall,  65% also say it is necessary to be data literate. Testing to optimize marketing mix ROI is an approach that some marketers are now taking, per the article, including survey author DataXu. These marketing teams are randomizing deployment of existing budgets across various channels and then measuring business outcomes to pinpoint where a campaign is most successful, transforming a media plan into a controlled experiment. For more on the article and its statistics, go to

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Print vs. Digital: Millennial Marketing Myths

Given that millennials love digital technology, does that mean they prefer digital marketing? Not according to a recent Target Marketing magazine article debunking several marketing myths about millennial customers, including the notion that digital advertising is the most effective way to reach those born between 1980 and 2000. Author Linda Antos, market development analyst at commercial printer Quad/Graphics, cites annual Quad/Graphics research that tracks millennial shopping and media habits and preferences to show that traditional print marketing--direct mail and catalogs--actually has greater power to move millennial buyers. The first myth Antos takes on is the belief that millennials ignore printed marketing. The Quad/Graphics study shows that 82% of millennials read direct mail and 54% look forward to receiving retail catalogs in the mail. Within 30 days of the survey, 49% reported taking print coupons to the store to shop and almost three in four used grocery retail inserts, higher than the average shopper. Myth No. 2 involves assuming that millennials' known addiction to daily digital interaction means they pay attention to digital advertising. The Quad/Graphics survey found that nearly half say they ignore e-mail and Internet ads, and 45% ignore mobile ads. By comparison, only 15% ignore direct mail ads. When it comes to millennial social networking, less than 10% say they made a purchase based on social media ads, and only 1% purchased from a social site. Another false generational stereotype is that millennials are less cost-conscious. In the Quad/Graphics millennials study, 49% said it was fun to see how much they could save with coupons, loyalty cards and discount offers, and 57% said they responded to "Buy One, Get One Free" offers in direct mail. The surprise power of direct mail with millennials doesn't diminish the need for digital marketing but does underscore the value of multichannel marketing, which is supported by more Quad/Graphics data. For the complete post, read

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Targeted Lists Are Key to Dimensional Mail Success

Prospecting with dimensional mail is both attractive because of high response rates and risky because of high costs. So what's the key ingredient of success? Mailing lists that are appropriately and tightly targeted, answers a recent Entrepreneur magazine article on dimensional mail. Here are the facts: The Direct Marketing Association's 2015 "Response Rate Report" shows dimensional prospecting mail earns a median 2.8% response that betters the 1% of a letter envelope and postcard, or even the 2% of an oversized envelope. Dimensional mail works because it's often lumpy, bumpy, unusually shaped and/or weightier, which grabs attention in the mailbox and sparks a curiosity about internal rewards that leads to opens. However, while dimensional mail may earn top response rates, it also has the highest cost per thousand, at an average $1,205 compared with a standard letter envelope package's $583, per the DMA report. This raises the stakes but does not disqualify dimensional mail as an acquisition tool. Overall, dimensional mail for prospecting still comes in at the lowest $43 cost per response, compared with the highest cost per response turned in by catalogs ($112) and oversized mail ($105), per DMA stats. Success in this response-cost balancing act depends on another ingredient: list targeting. In his recent Entrepreneur article, Craig Simpson, owner of Simpson Direct, Inc., explains why dimensional mail works best with "a small, highly targeted group of prospects." It is also "invaluable" with "hard-to-reach niches," especially business-to-business  promotions that need to get past office "gatekeepers," he notes. Read the rest of our post at