Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring-Clean Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI

Part of your marketing department's spring cleaning should be a thorough review of event marketing plans to remove dusty, worn-out strategies and tune up for higher ROI. A recent MarketingProfs post helpfully lays out six drivers of event marketing ROI, and we suggest you check to make sure all are in place and running smoothly. First, make sure that all stakeholders are using the same playbook, with common goals and metrics for success. Executives may want increased lead quality, but an on-site team focused on maximizing contact forms regardless of quality isn't going to deliver. Next, plan how each event will engage its audience in a way that compels action and achieves goals, whether the aim is audience data collection, sales or brand message sharing. Just being there isn't enough. Third, make sure event strategy includes lead-capture best practices; namely, throw out those paper forms and embrace digital apps and auto-uploads for more accurate and timely data collection and database entry. Timely post-show data analysis, data distribution and follow-up with new and potential customers should be a top priority; marketing automation tools for e-mailing coupons, incentives and follow-up messages are one way to boost responsiveness. Also, benchmark results against competitor events and your own past events in terms of leads, sales, social profile, engagement, site traffic, brand awareness, etc., and adjust future strategies. Finally, debrief with stakeholders who were at the event to identify issues behind the data--such as booth location, technology glitches, audience feedback and even inclement weather--and fine-tune plans moving forward. For the complete article, go to

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Study Reveals the 7 Habits of Successful Marketers

If you want to lead the market, you'll need to market like the leaders. There's no arguing with the results: Companies with more advanced marketing and sales capabilities have 30% greater revenue growth than the average firm in their sector, according to a recent benchmarking study by McKinsey & Company. Per a report by The Economist Group, the McKinsey analysis looked at more than 140 leading B2B and B2B2C global businesses and identified the seven marketing and sales hallmarks of the top-tier firms. The seven ingredients of the market-leaders' secret sauce: 1) view marketing and sales as an investment, not an expense; 2) know what needs to be fixed based on detailed marketing comparisons against best-performing peers; 3) target the capabilities that matter most, so that while there may be 40 marketing and sales skills impacting growth and profitability, the best companies focus on improving only about six; 4) don't try to do too much at the same time; 5) tailor improvement in marketing capabilities to current stage of development, whether the performance challenge is growth, profitability or both; 6) think about institutional capabilities and priorities, not just individual skills; 7) have an operating model with specific, measurable goals, embedded in a culture of review, incentive and leadership. For more on the study's "seven habits" of successful marketing and sales, read

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is Digital Dazzle Blinding Marketers to Mail Power?

There's no denying that digital advertising offers a low-cost way to quickly reach millions of eyeballs and score a high volume of clicks/leads. But we like the caveat recently provided by a Target Marketing Magazine blog post by Carolyn Goodman, president of Goodman Marketing Partners. Goodman argues that the "digital mystique" should not blind marketers to the enduring value of snail mail in delivering actual buyers. As she points out, marketing experience proves that mass media vehicles (like online ads) will tend to drive higher lead volume, but they'll be lower quality leads (lower conversion to sale); meanwhile, targeted media (like direct mail) will tend to deliver lower lead volume, but the leads will be higher quality (likely to purchase). The weak net response for digital ads is further impacted by today's noisy online landscape, she notes. As any recent Internet foray shows, digital ads are often lost in sites' excess ad clutter, poorly targeted delivery, retargeting frequency excesses, and other annoyances. Thus, while The New York Times quotes the claim of Jon Swallen, chief research officer of Kantar Media North American, that "the cost efficiencies of digital advertising enable many marketers to buy more for less," many of Goodman's startup clients are asking about putting marketing dollars into direct mail. Goodman quotes one CEO's simple explanation: "Our board no longer has the patience for our slow pace of growth because we tied our marketing investment to the digital advertising landscape. We get lots of clicks, but very few buyers." To read the full post:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rev Direct Mail's Offline-Online Conversion Power

In the age of paperless digital communications, why bother with old-fashioned direct mail marketing? Well, even digital giant Google uses direct mail in some ad campaigns! The tech leader's strategy acknowledges direct mail's advantages even in a digital world: Direct mail can drive traffic to a website as well as a brick-and-mortar location; direct mail still leads other channels in response rate and cost per lead; and, as other marketers go all-digital, direct mail actually stands out in mailboxes and makes a guaranteed connection that cluttered, filtered e-mail inboxes and online ad spaces cannot claim. Still, direct mail ROI is no slam dunk. For ways to optimize online and offline conversion for direct mail, take a look at a recent DirectMarketingIQ article by Katherine Halek, print strategy adviser with the Texas-based printer Signazon. Here are a few key points: First, and foremost to our mind, use a highly targeted mailing list to reach the customers most likely to respond. Next, have your creative stand out in the mailbox with an eye-catching accessible format (such as a postcard), a larger-size piece, or an unusual design (such as dimensional or shaped mail). Always include a QR code so smartphone users (over 64% of Americans) can scan and go direct to a landing page. But also print a simple, memorable URL for those who don't use QR codes. If possible, time mailings to coincide with real events, such as a sale or show, for extra response impact; the mailer can include a discount coupon or gift offer, for example. A single mailing won't create brand awareness, so make cumulative efforts by mailing more than once and combining mail with followups via other channels. Finally, use mail's unique in-home physicality to make a personal connection, turning database information into personalized salutations, content and offers. For more tips, go to

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Staying on Top of E-mail Trends That Deliver ROI

Marketers are expected to spend $2.3 billion on e-mail marketing this year, and emerging e-mail trends can mean the difference between stellar marketing ROI and wasted dollars for many moving forward. Our thanks to Liga Bizune's article for MarketingProfs, which highlights six e-mail trends likely to define success in the next few years. Her list includes 1) planning for the triage effect and creative challenge of wearable technology like smartwatches; 2) adapting e-mail to the continued charge of mobile marketing, with its triage, creative and content impacts; 3) proximity and geolocation opportunities for hyper-targeting and smart automation; 4) the arrival of video as a standard e-mail engagement and sharing technique; 5) embrace of transactional e-mail, which delivers four times more revenue than promotional e-mail, via detailed list segmentation and optimized, timely delivery; and 6) greater use of predictive analytics for behavioral marketing, allowing for automated, triggered, targeted and re-targeted messaging throughout the sales funnel. For details on each trend, go to

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Animal Welfare Mail Appeals Can Woo Millennials

As we talk with animal welfare fundraisers about mailing lists and targeting at the Animal Care Expo in New Orleans, we recall a cogent remark by Christine Barnes, senior director of donors services for the Humane Society of the United States. When asked by Fundraising Success Magazine to identify top trends for donor targeting/demographics in 2015, she stressed, "With the millennials entering the giving landscape, we need to adjust our communication styles to adapt." Since the millennials are known to be digital junkies, does that mean dropping direct mail in favor of online appeals, e-mail, social media and, of course, mobile marketing? We argue that would be a big mistake. The millennial cohort may respond at a lower rate to direct mail (14% of 18- to 34-year-olds said direct mail triggered their nonprofit giving compared with 25% of the 55+ crowd, per YouGov stats), but the millennial response to mail fundraising is still higher than their giving via other channels (9% for e-mail, 11% for social). Direct mail should stay in the fundraising mix to capture millennial donations, but the messaging style and content does need to change. Barnes emphasized the need for more visual communications, for more engaging storytelling, and for tighter copywriting that "engages the donor in as few words as possible." A recent NonProfit Hub post listed five ways to create marketing that motivates millennial: 1) engage with millennials on their own terms and ask them to donate in the way they like, so offer many donation channels; 2) leverage their social clout, so feature those social icons and scannable links on mail, too; 3) encourage participation/volunteering to create more loyal donors; 4) accept that millennials are impulsive on-the-go donors, not check writers, so mail can drive online giving, and e-mail should be optimized for mobile; 5) stay in touch beyond the holiday card to let them know the impact of their giving. For details and examples, go to

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lessons From Pet-Care Firm's Content Marketing

We help many pet care and animal welfare clients with direct marketing, and we'll be expanding our knowledge of market needs at the upcoming Animal Care Expo, March 29-April 1 in New Orleans. So we thought it especially timely to highlight a recent Direct Marketing News article about the content marketing success story of PetRelocation, a pet moving and travel service. After trying generic keyword and pay-per-click campaigns, PetRelocation decided to set up a content forum, using tools from Oracle Marketing Cloud, to address pet owner concerns, explains the DM News story. Great for customer relations, but it did a lot more. The marketing team culled popular answers from the forum to post directly on the website, for a boost to organic search results. The increase in online traffic and leads actually allowed the company to eliminate its pay-per-click ad spending. The content forum also gathered valuable testimonials that spurred lead-to-conversion. With the majority of annual revenue tied to online marketing, primarily content marketing, PetRelocation's success story should intrigue pet care marketers and B2C marketers in general. To read about it, go to