Thursday, February 11, 2016

Direct Mail Gains Traction With 2016 Retailers

Direct mail, previously declining in retail use, is finding greater favor with 2016 retailers, according to a Direct Marketing News magazine report on a new AgilOne study.  Although 33% of 150 surveyed bricks-and-clicks retailers still said they would cut direct mail spending this year, that's lower than the 39% who were backing off direct mail in 2015. AgilOne cited better targeting and personalization for reversal of mail's downward retail trend, reports DM News. In contrast, print and TV advertising spends, which fell last year, will keep sliding in 2016 per retailing respondents. Digital--websites and e-mail--continue as priority channels. However, effective "omnichannel" marketing still eludes many merchants, with the 34% claiming a unified customer view across channels offset by the 37% reporting no unified customer view, and more than half admitting lack of a cohesive omnichannel strategy. For the whole story, go to http://www.dmnews.com/direct-mail/survey-retailers-will-stick-with-direct-mail-in-2016/article/467674/

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

USPS 2016 Programs Incentivize Innovative Mailers

The U.S. Postal Service is luring direct mailers toward creative and technology innovations that promise to punch up response this year. It's a siren song hard to resist in an election year of intensified mailbox competition. Target Marketing magazine recently outlined five key USPS promotional programs incentivizing 2016 mailers, especially those embracing print technology. For example, from March 1 to Aug. 31, an "Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion" gives a 2% postage discount on First Class, Standard and Nonprofit letters, cards or flats using interactive technology: standard NFC, Video in print (ViP), beacon technology or "enhanced" augmented reality. During the same period, the "Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion" offers a 2% postage discount on Standard and Nonprofit letters or flats offering special visual, sound, scent, or texture/tactile effects, as well as interactive dimensional features such as pop-ups. Another 2% postage discount can be earned for First Class Mail with the "Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion," starting July 1, just by adding a color sales message to a statement or invoice. Also starting in July, the "Mobile Shopping Promotion" gives a 2% postage discount to Standard and Nonprofit letters or flats using a mobile bar code or other print-to-mobile technology. Plus, the spring "Earned Value Promotion" rewards each piece of returned First Class Business Reply and First Class Courtesy Reply mail with a $0.02-$0.03 credit. For links to details, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/5-usps-direct-mail-promotion-programs-2016/

Thursday, February 4, 2016

E-mail Marketers Fail at Subject Line Split-Testing

E-mail marketers are surprisingly sloppy when it comes to optimizing subject lines, a key element in e-mail response, especially open rates, per a recent study. A minority of surveyed e-mail marketers report consistent use of subject line split-testing prior to campaign launch, according to a study by Phrasee cited in a recent KoMarketing Associates post. Phrasee's "State of Split Testing" report shows that an average 22% of respondents said they had done no split testing of subject lines in their last month's campaigns, and 49% admitted to split testing for only a few campaigns. About a third said they split-tested subject lines for most (about 21%) or all (about 7%) of their campaigns. The low investment in subject line success was also shown by the brief time spent on developing test-worthy subject lines, with nearly 46% saying they spent only a few minutes on the task! Plus, many e-mail marketers who do test then fail to leverage results data for further testing; 44% told Phrasee they "don't really do much" to analyze results for design of future split tests. For the whole post, go to http://www.komarketingassociates.com/industry-news/report-split-testing-is-still-uncommon-in-email-marketing-2912/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where to Focus for Optimized E-mail Click-Through

Boosting e-mail click-through rate is a constant struggle, so we recommend to frustrated e-mail marketers a recent MarketingProfs article by Stephen Hovnanian--offering four basic areas to optimize for more quality clicks. His initial tip is to focus on optimizing user experience first--via seamless mobile and desktop designs and experiences that flow from e-mail open to final action. If your e-mail is mobile-optimized but your landing page or registration form is not mobile-friendly, you're wasting clicks, for example. Also target the audience by device usage and timing to optimize experience, and use "friction-mitigating" copy or visuals to guide recipients, advises Hovnanian. The second area of focus is varying call to action (CTA) by audience segment. For example, the CTA for the segment of top engagers (or brand champions) can go beyond clicks to urge valuable social sharing and brand advocacy. Segmenting for participation by type of content also delivers better CTA response, such as a webinar invite to past webinar attendees but a webinar recap to site visitors with interest in similar content. Third, leverage your online community and customer base for user-generated content (such as testimonials). It delivers social proof and brand advocacy building and can be paired with a strong, related CTA to boost click-through. Fourth, simply write better call-to-action copy! How? Hovnanian suggests completing the sentence "I want you to..." for active verbs and specific direction. For example, I want you to "Register for the Webinar." Of course, also test CTA design placement as well as buttons versus clickable text. For the full article, read http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29194/four-email-optimizations-that-will-increase-your-click-through-rates

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 Customer-Centric Trends You Shouldn't Ignore

We've read many marketing trend predictions for 2016, but a recent Entrepreneur magazine article best emphasizes the new "customer-centric" focus of many shared predictions. Jay Arnold, vice president of marketing at FullContact, cites 10 marketing trends that he believes will make 2016 the "year of the customer." Here are just his first five forecasts. He foresees a proliferation of "marketing apps" this year, not just mobile apps but web apps, desktop apps and even TV apps, as marketers take advantage of the many free or low-cost apps that can now aid with tasks such as e-mail, social media, online ads, contact management, analytics and more. He also sees a shift to "insight-driven marketing," using analysis of the heaps of available data for more relevant targeting and messaging. Of course, this assumes a centralized database of multichannel customer info, so that is a priority task if not already under way. Content marketing got a lot of buzz last year, but Arnold now sees a greater shift from static content (such as social posts and white papers) to "interactive content," such as interactive assessments, calculators, training and games to keep people clicking and sharing useful information for sales. Everyone agrees that "personalization" will continue and grow as a proven response driver, but Arnold warns that 2016 will demand greater adaptation by channel and customer expectations. Consumers now expect relevant content tailored to them, but they will also be less tolerant of online and mobile advertising that is overly personal to the point of intrusive and creepy. Finally, Arnold predicts that 2016 will see a leap in "advocate marketing," as marketers realize that using customers to advocate for brands and generate referrals can be more effective than incentives and affiliate programs for referral generation--especially now that identifying influencers and advocates is easier than ever before via social and digital interactions. For five more of his customer-centric marketing predictions, go to http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254620

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What B2B Marketers Can Do Better With Better Data

AccuList USA is dedicated to providing clean, up-to-date, targeted data for business-to-business direct marketing, and we urge any B2B marketer who still hesitates to invest in higher quality data and segmentation to read the recent CMO.com post by Ed King, founder and CEO of the Openprise data automation firm. King lists five ways high-quality data will make the B2B marketer's job easier and more effective. First, better data allows the addition of demographic scoring to the usual activity-based scoring for better targeting; for example, marketers won't prioritize a lead from online activity when demographic factors on the company or individual show it does not really meet buyer targeting. Second, with more accurate data about prospects and customers in terms of individual and company profiles, marketers can personalize communications and engagement for better conversion and reduced attrition throughout the sales funnel. Third, B2B marketers can better use account-based targeting as opposed to individual lead targeting, including improved use of automation platforms. Fourth, since all leads are not created equal, better data allows for optimized, speedier lead qualification and conversion--providing different treatment of net new leads versus leads from existing accounts, for example. Fifth, marketers can simplify their marketing technology investments, such as predictive, web or social bolt-ons with data cleansing mechanisms because of poor quality data from CRM or automation platforms. By improving source data, existing technology is more efficient and new technology investments can focus on other key needs, such as analytics or workflow. For detailed explanations and examples, read the full article at http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/12/18/how-would-perfect-data-change-your-job.html

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Marketers Miss Personalization Edge of Social Data

Marketers are missing out on key opportunities to use social media data for multichannel personalization, reports Adweek magazine's SocialTimes blog, citing the "2016 Yesmail Channel Report." This is despite the fact that personalization has proven its value in response and conversion across channels. For example, marketers often fail to gather e-mail addresses, one of the most basic contact points, through social media. According to the report, 45% of marketers don't collect e-mail addresses on social media, and 70% don't collect e-mail from their own mobile apps. (Of course, an amazing 17% don't even collect e-mail via their own websites!) Even companies who build e-mail databases fail to then use freely collected social data points, such as demographic and location information, to effectively personalize e-mail communications. In fact, only 42% say they customize e-mail campaigns with the recipient's name, so it's no surprise that only 36% modify copy and just 34% alter images to personalize e-mail content. The problem stretches across channels: Only 50% say they modify any marketing materials based on easily collected demographic data from social channels, and just 36% use social media data, such as brand page likes, for personalized targeting. See the full article at http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/report-retailers-missing-cross-channel-personalization-opportunity/632710