Tuesday, August 14, 2018

'Doggie Daycare' Fetches Millennial Demand

Millennials are driving growth for pet owner marketing, especially sales in the pet boarding and grooming arena, where spending hit an annual $6.16 billion in 2017 per the American Pet Products Association. For example, this summer the New York Post reported that growing demand from pet owners inspired the American Kennel Club to jump into the high-priced Manhattan real estate market: Its AKC Canine Retreat venture purchased five locations from Spot Canine Club as well as the Running Paws dog-jogging (not walking) service to re-brand under the AKC umbrella. Similarly, "doggie daycare" service Camp Bow Wow, founded in 2000, is busy adding franchises to its existing 144. The Millennial generation's disposable income coupled with pet-centric attitudes are behind the trend, Camp Bow Wow's Chief Barketer (also VP of marketing) Julie Turner recently explained to Direct Marketing News. As the Millennial age cohort marries and has children later in life than their parents, "they're filling the gap with a dog," she said, treating their dogs as "really a part of the family." Millennials are not only frequent travelers who need pet boarding, they are working "pet parents" who choose daycare services so their canine companions can go to camp rather than stay home alone. They like to collect a "happy and tired dog" at the end of the day, she noted. Millennials are definitely mobile device addicts, so Camp Bow Wow upped its mobile strategy in 2014 when Turner came aboard, starting with a more mobile-responsive website "in line with other brands millennials support." Camp Bow Wow introduced a mobile app that allows owners to find locations and make reservations, but its top use is watching live feeds of pets at play. "Pet parents want to talk about [the service] and show pictures of their dog at camp," Turner explained, something Camp Bow Wow enables by texting photos of dogs having fun to their owners. The digital engagement and sense of community are not only key to retaining customers, digital strategies dominate acquisition via local search engine optimization, e-mail and texting programs, and social media advertising. Camp Bow Wow actively works with social influencers to drive referrals, for example: "We have a very high net promoter score," claimed Turner. Camp Bow Wow reps also attend community events to promote the brand and acquire new customers. At events, the #GiveAFetch is a popular draw, dispensing tennis balls to happy pups from a what looks like a giant bubblegum machine. Plus, Camp Bow Wow ups its brand reputation by partnering with shelters and providing a temporary "foster home" environment for abandoned dogs to help with socialization. For more on pet owner marketing, see http://www.acculistusa.com/doggie-daycare-market-fetches-millennial-demand/

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Social Media Revs Zoo & Museum Fundraising

Zoo and museum marketing is uniquely suited to social media fundraising efforts. A recent blog post by digital marketing agency Search Influence offered some helpful tips. For social media promotions, mobile outreach or online donation drives to work effectively, marketers must first make digital giving as easy as possible with user-friendly platforms, forms and payment options. Search Influence cites three examples of success. The Boston Museum of Science raised over $1,200 from Facebook users alone, many of whom might not have contributed via traditional channels, by using the free-to-download FundRazr app. The app offers custom giving options, such as donations via credit card, debit card or PayPal, and the ability to choose to contribute anonymously or self-identify via Facebook profile. Meanwhile, Cameron Park Zoo launched a mobile giving campaign that encouraged zoo supporters and visitors to donate $5 or $10 through a simple text message to show support from home or say thanks after a great day at the zoo. Rosamond Gifford Zoo boosted its continuous Adopt an Animal program with a special two-day digital promotion to honor National Adoption Day. To reach a wider audience, the promotion offered a lower minimum donation requirement and a smaller, custom donation package. The brief effort not only earned an extra $350, it tapped those who normally might not donate. Social media works best as a visual engagement medium, which offers lots of opportunities for zoos (cute animals) and museums (special exhibits and events). Search Influence cites multiple examples of success live-streaming exhibits, such as a night-stream showing patrons what creatures are up to when the zoo or aquarium is closed, or a 24/7 feed of active and entertaining animals, such as monkeys. If a zoo animal is expecting, marketers can get the public involved by broadcasting the pregnancy, birth and early baby growth. Photographers can be great viral promoters for a zoo or museum, too. Ideas include social media-hosted fan photo contests or onsite-hosted photographer-only after-hours events. And there is always an opportunity to re-purpose great existing photos on social media with a share-worthy caption! For more see http://www.acculistusa.com/smart-social-media-helps-boost-zoo-museum-fundraising/

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Slow Event Lead Follow-up Costs B2B Marketers

When business-to-business marketers successfully build event attendance and booth traffic to maximize lead generation, they are disappointed and baffled by a smaller than expected sales harvest. One of the reasons for poor lead conversion, as it turns out, is a simple lack of timely lead follow-up! As reported by Direct Marketing News, a study by Certain, an event automation provider, found that just 2% of the 150 B2B marketing-decision makers surveyed said they follow up with event leads the same day. A quarter follow up in one to three days, 29% follow up in four to six days, and 27% follow up in seven to 13 days. And another 12% said this process takes two to four weeks, with the slowest-moving 6% saying it takes them more than a month to reach out! Why are almost half of those surveyed taking more than a week to contact prospects? Lead processing is a key problem, with 57% of the study's participants saying it can take hours to manually get leads "sales ready" for follow-up, and 23% reporting that the prep process takes a few days. Surveyed marketers blamed the sluggish prep time on a variety of reasons: 23% of respondents cited lack of technological tools, 15% blamed lack of organization, 11% claimed the delay was intentional, and 7% admitted to simple procrastination. Unfortunately, correcting slow lead processing doesn't seem to be a priority with many marketers. The Certain study found that despite generally slow lead processing, 72% of respondents are "somewhat" or "completely" satisfied with their lead follow-up time. That complacency has a cost that marketers are ignoring, we would point out. Most event marketing pros urge a 48-hour follow-up window to try to stay ahead of competitors. In fact, according to a study from InsideSales, 30% to 50% of leads are closed by the vendor who follows up with them first. Even if their lead processing is speedy, 82% of marketers are dissatisfied with the quality of their lead data and wish they captured more information about each individual lead at events. The method of data collection is one issue; the largest group, 42%, said they rely on manual data entry through computers or tablets, followed by 31% who turned to business cards and sign-up sheets, and 27% who relied on electronic scanners. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/b2b-event-marketers-miss-out-with-slow-lead-follow-up/

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Shoppers Demand Seamless Omnichannel Retailing

Omnichannel marketing is the rule for today's retailing. While print catalogs continue as a vital merchant tool, with 42% of households reading catalogs per the U.S. Postal Service, integration of multiple channels--including online, mobile and social with direct mail--is now essential to store, catalog and e-commerce marketing. Unfortunately, while the majority of consumers expect to shop seamlessly across all those channels, only 7% of retailers provide the unified "start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere" experience that customers want, per the recent "2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey" by BRP Consulting, a retail management consulting firm. Marketers can't afford to ignore that the majority of shoppers interact with promotions and purchase services via multiple channels and devices. According to the same BRP study, three in five (62%) consumers surveyed said they check online reviews/ratings before visiting a store, yet just 61% of retailers offer consumer product reviews for research! Shoppers now rely on mobile to continue a digital buying process in-store, with nearly 60% of shoppers looking up product information and prices while using their mobile phones in stores, per Retail Dive's 2017 Consumer Survey. Merchants can leverage customers' cross-device penchant to optimize acquisition and conversion, argues a Direct Marketing News article by Pierre DeBois. But they must keep in mind that, while the opportunity to boost ad frequency and content across channels is huge, smart management is required to avoid turning it into a bludgeon. As Bill Kee, Google's group product manager for attribution, highlighted at the 2017 Google Marketing Next conference, "If I am on three devices, and if I see your ad five times, it means you've reached me 15 times…believe me I get it." The first place to start is good omnichannel analytics to understand the contribution of each channel to ROI and its place in the customer journey. Only then can merchants cost-effectively tailor targeting and investment to maximize sales. One useful analytics tool is Google's Unique Reach report, which displays digital ad frequency metrics across devices, campaigns, and formats to measure how many times a person views a given ad, and combines attribution influences from AdWords, DoubleClick, and Google Analytics, suggests DeBois. Good omnichannel analytics also can improve use of image and video content to maximize the proven effectiveness of image/video in digital engagement, to answer the customer demand for education, and to direct prospects through the sales funnel. However, quantities of images bombarding customers across multiple channels can overwhelm and confuse, so both media curation and a content mapping strategy aligned to the customer journey are needed. One example of a targeted image strategy is use of an "image story" feature on a social media platform to orchestrate images and/or a short video, notes DeBois. Pinterest Lens, Instagram Stories, and Twitter Moments are all image story features. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/shoppers-demand-seamless-omnichannel-retail-strategies/

Monday, July 16, 2018

Smart List, Mail Design Cut Postage Costs

Maximizing direct mail ROI requires cost efficiency, especially in the postage realm. Good list selection and hygiene are key to avoiding mailing waste. Another important factor in controlling postage costs is mail package design. If you are sending mailings to the wrong people, people unlikely to be interested in your offer, lower response rate and cost inefficiency will be reflected in poor ROI. Using tools from predictive modeling to customer profiling to segmentation can improve list choices and targeting parameters. Plus, AccuList USA's proprietary list research can help clients find the top-performing lists for their specific vertical market. But no matter how data is targeted, dirty data with duplicates, errors, invalid addresses, and old demographic or purchase history information will create costly delivery failures and misdirected waste. That's why AccuList USA goes beyond list brokerage to provide expert merge-purge services that combine and standardize data in order to eliminate duplicates, identify and correct old or undeliverable addresses, verify zip codes, and maximize postal discounts. In fact, by comparing names and addresses to real-time information on multiple public and private databases, AccuList USA offers an advanced hygiene regimen that is able to identify and correct twice as many addresses as standard USPS FASTforward and NCOALink use, which only represent a portion of U.S. movers and undeliverables. USPS offers postage discounts to mail pieces that are not only addressed correctly but also designed for processing on automated equipment. For mail to qualify for the lowest postage rates, the mail piece needs to be at a letter size, which is a minimum of 3 ½" high by 5" long and a maximum of 6" high by 10½" long. Larger mail pieces fall into the flat category, which can cost more than twice as much per piece as a letter. Plus, to take advantage of automation, the piece must by rectangular, with an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, or risk costing twice as much in postage. The addressing and barcode block on letter size mail also must fit into the USPS OCR read area to avoid additional postage. Naturally, weight matters. Keep the weight of a folded self-mailer under 1 ounce; if the piece weighs over 3 ounces, it must go in an envelope. Thickness counts, too.  If a mail piece is less than 0.009" thick, it costs more in postage. On the other hand, the maximum thickness for letter size mail is ¼" and for flat size is ¾". For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/smart-list-mail-design-choices-help-save-on-postage/

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How Insurance Marketers Can Improve Digital Leads

Sometimes insurance marketers, used to face-to-face sales and targeted direct mail, struggle to adapt to the highly competitive and noisy digital marketplace for lead generation. So these helpful tips from the Blue Corona web marketing agency should be of interest to insurance marketers looking to improve digital lead results. The natural place to start is the insurance marketer's website, where the majority of potential policyholders will first interact with the marketing message. Basically, the website must grab attention almost immediately. If consumers don’t connect with what they see within 10 seconds of landing on a web page, they’ll move on, per studies. That means up-front contact information, compelling call-to-action, plugins that localize content, etc. But it also means speedy page loading. Studies show that a website needs to load in under 3 seconds (in fact, 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, points out Blue Corona). And that speed needs to happen on a mobile device. Over half of all digital searches for insurance information occur from mobile devices; more specifically, 58.6% of average monthly auto insurance searches and 55.4% of life insurance searches are via mobile, reports Blue Corona. How do you get prospects to those fast-loading, compelling, mobile-friendly pages? Search engine optimization is a basic requirement today for driving traffic. Blue Corona lists a few top tactics for getting to that coveted first page of a Google search: optimized title tags and meta descriptions on pages; site security (https vs http); mobile-friendly pages; schema markup; quality content; fast page downloading; social media signals; quality backlinks; and optimized images. But all searches are not created equal. Marketers want high-converting leads not shoppers. So Blue Corona suggests buying pay-per-click ads targeting search phrases that indicate high-commercial intent, such as "buy auto insurance" rather than "do I need auto insurance?" The ad content can then target a top consumer trigger. In most cases, that means competitive rates. A blog is another way to not only build traffic but also establish authority on insurance topics and go from policy hawker to insurance resource in the eyes of potential policyholders. Whether a blog post or a website page, the goal is to help insurance shoppers deal with an often confusing topic. TransUnion’s 2017 Healthcare Millennial Report found that 57% of millennial consumers identified as having "no understanding" or a "limited understanding" of their insurance benefits, while 50% of Generation X and 42% of Baby Boomers said the same. So don’t give prospects too many choices on website main pages, which can overwhelm and drive them away, and focus instead on the key solutions people need from insurance. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/these-digital-tactics-can-power-insurance-marketing-lead-gen/

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Performing Arts Win in Social Video Ticketing Growth

Performing arts marketers have more tools this year for reaching ticket buyers, fans and supporters via partnerships that link online ticketing and social media videos. The latest entry in the competitive social media ticketing race is Google-owned YouTube, which has partnered with Ticketmaster to show viewers upcoming U.S. tour dates and nearby concert listings on artists' YouTube videos and then allow viewers to jump directly to Ticketmaster to purchase tickets. YouTube is actually a latecomer to the social media ticketing world. Ticketmaster started promoting ticket sales on Spotify and Facebook in 2016. YouTube's end-of-2017 move is one reaction to Spotify's growth in the streaming market with integrated data and artist information. For Ticketmaster, its global roster of concerts and lock on the concert-ticket industry can only be enhanced by access to YouTube's 1.5 billion user base, driving more fans to pay Ticketmaster prices and service charges. But competitive social video ticketing is a win for performing arts promotion, too. YouTube is leveraging one of its strengths with the ticketing partnership; music videos account for 30% of all time spent on YouTube and represent 94% of the 250 most-viewed videos on the platform, per the Video Advertising Bureau. And that means performing arts promotions can look forward to generating additional ticket sales from the platform's added feature. The YouTube ticketing feature also addresses a running feud between YouTube and the recording industry. Some record labels have argued that YouTube hasn't paid enough in fees for music videos hosted on its platform, but now ticket sales will provide another revenue stream for labels to monetize and boost royalties. This kind of partnership may even help cut the sales drain from pirating since the increased ability to monetize videos via ticket sales is likely to push performing arts promotion to drive as much traffic as possible to official videos and be more proactive in flagging unofficial channels. See our website post: http://www.acculistusa.com/performing-arts-boosted-by-social-video-ticketing-partnerships/