Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Event Marketing Channels, Attendees Not in Sync

Where should trade show and conference marketers go fishing for potential audience? In a multi-channel world, it can be challenging to balance online, e-mail, print and social media for best results. Now a recent survey by XING Events, as reported by MarketingProfs, shows interesting gaps between where event marketers are casting their nets and where potential attendees pool to research events. According the the XING Events study, which is based on a global survey of 2,621 event attendees and 1,630 event organizers, event attendees most often learn about work-related events through word-of-mouth mention by friends and acquaintances (66%) and via e-mail newsletters (59%). Fewer event attendees (20%) report being influenced by ads for print and online professional publishing. Online search has more impact when the audience is already aware of the event; for example, 49% say they use online search to find details about trade shows or conferences they already have heard about (via word-of-mouth, e-mail or print). Just 22% learn about an event by doing keyword searches. However, an even smaller portion (16%) of event attendees report that they use social media to research events. Event marketers don't exactly mirror attendees' preferences. About 89% of surveyed event organizers say they market their events through their own websites, culling search traffic. Some 76% say they market through e-mail newsletters, which is in line with attendee activity. The surprise is that 73% of event pros say they promote via social media even though it is not where most of the audience is currently looking for event information. And about 47% use traditional print channels. Despite its current lower usage among event attendees, social media is the marketing channel that most event marketers (65%) plan to grow in future. For more on the survey, see our blog post at http://www.acculistusa.com/survey-mismatches-in-event-marketing-channels-attendee-interest/

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Format Matters: Text E-mails Outdo HTML Versions

There's an ongoing debate in e-mail marketing over which format option will optimize results: simple text-based e-mails or fancier html versions. Marketo recently reported some surprising findings on this point: Analysis shows text-based e-mails perform significantly better than their more creative HTML counterparts. Although both formats have the same open rate, text-based e-mails have 21% higher unique click-to-open rates on the offer link and 17% higher unique click-through rates on the offer link, according to the Marketo study. So should marketers dump their html creatives? Not so fast. Why did the text-based versions win more response? The Marketo study found that text-based e-mails' fewer visual distractions focus response on the call-to-action link. In HTML versions, nearly 16% of clicks went to other links (such as logos) instead of the main call-to-action link, per Marketo. Other research shows that text e-mails are also viewed as more personal by recipients, who see the visually rich html e-mails as clearly commercial. Finally, text-based versions have a better chance of delivery since the messages are less likely to be caught in spam filters or to have mobile viewing issues. On the other hand, a key drawback of plain text formats, with no html, is that there is no tracking of open rates or clicks. Text-based e-mails without any html design elements also lack engaging visual impact for branding or product promotion, have less ability to break information into easy-to-read/scan sections or columns, and have fewer tools for directing CTA attention. So html e-mails continue to be used because of advantages that make them the right choice for campaigns relying on branding, richer messaging and detailed metrics. For example, html allows incorporation of branded images and logos that may yield higher conversion rates for some verticals. An html e-mail also can package more information in digestible, easy-to-read bites. It can direct action via color, clickable text and buttons. Most important, html offers tracking of opens and clicks for marketing metrics! For links to more detail, see http://www.acculistusa.com/seeking-e-mail-response-marketers-face-text-vs-html-choice/

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Data-Rich Segmentation Revs Nonprofit Mail Results

Effective data use is key to nonprofit direct mail success, yet some fundraisers question the need for a more sophisticated data approach, of course. So we'll pass along a recent NonProfitPRO blog post by Chris Pritcher, of Merkle's Quantitative Marketing Group, which challenges overly narrow views of donor data. Too often, using data to understand the donor base is limited to one of two categories, Pritcher notes: 1) RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) data and giving history, or 2) donor demographics and behavioral measures, ranging from factors such as wealth or related interests/purchases to applying behavior-lifestyle systems such as Prizm. Whether the data is first-party or third-party sourced, each approach has its limitations. RFM often silos data from a single channel, for example, even though donors live in a multi-channel world. RFM also focuses mainly on short-term financial action, ignoring donors, especially Millennials, whose giving is maximized through an interactive, long-term relationship. Meanwhile, though donor demographics can help avoid low-opportunity lists and segments, demographics in isolation may be too general for effective response targeting. Wealth data indicates who has money but not who is willing to give that money to a specific cause, as Pritcher points out. Pritcher urges fundraisers to embrace "multi-dimensional segmentation" over the either/or data approach above. Nonprofits can analyze donor actions (both financial and non-financial) along with data such as demographics, wealth, donations to other organizations, etc., to create more actionable segments. For some basic tips for multidimensional segmentation success, see our complete post at http://www.acculistusa.com/fundraising-mail-benefits-from-data-rich-list-segmentation/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Digital Giving Now Key to Fundraising Mail Success

Here are some key facts for marketers planning fundraising direct mail: 1) 35% of all donors say they like to respond to direct mail by giving online (with 50% of Millennials and Gen Xers saying they prefer online response); 2) 51% of website visits are made via mobile device, and 3) mobile devices are now used by the majority to read e-mail (54% of opens) and access social networks (80% of social time spent). Bottom line, if you want to get the most from your nonprofit direct mail (still the best channel for capturing donor dollars), a multi-channel, mobile-optimized approach is essential. On that point, MobileCause has developed a powerful infographic laying out the case for a nonprofit direct mail-digital marriage. Unfortunately, many fundraisers fail to make an easy connection between direct mail and online response, and are discouraging donations as a result. As the infographic points out, 84% of donation pages are not mobile-friendly, 73% of nonprofits do not offer social sharing, and 65% of nonprofits require three or more digital clicks to donate. At the same time, the infographic data highlight ways to correct that digital lacuna in fundraising direct mail. First, commit to making direct mail part of a multi-channel campaign--because donors are 50% more likely to give when they receive multiple reinforcing messages via multiple channels. Fundraisers can even optimize response by catering to generational preferences: Millennials like text reminders, Gen Xers like e-mail reminders and Boomers like call reminders. But for goodness sake, mobile-optimize e-mails, landing pages and donation pages! Then maximize donations by promoting QR codes, shortlinks and texting keywords across channels (and let the U.S. Postal Service reward that mailer QR code with a discount). For more tips, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/use-digital-donation-to-turbocharge-fundraising-direct-mail/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

E-mail Tops Digital ROI With Personalization, Mobile

E-mail marketers will be happy to know that e-mail outpaces other digital channels in terms of reported return on investment, ahead of SEO, content marketing, paid search, and social media, per the "2017 Email Marketing Industry Census" from Adestra, in association with Econsultancy. E-mail ROI was rated as good to excellent by 73% of marketers surveyed, just edging out SEO, with 72% giving SEO a good to excellent ROI rating. Content marketing slipped to third place, with 63% calling its ROI good to excellent. Paid search followed with 60% ranking its ROI as good to excellent, and social media trailed (44%). But the report also raised questions about how accurately marketers assess e-mail impact. The majority of marketers are using click-through rate (91%), open rate (80%) and conversion rate (62%) to track e-mail performance, while other important metrics, such as bounce rate, delivery rate and list growth rate, are used by a minority. List segmentation is another challenge that may be impeding even higher ROI, falling midway in the ranking of best practices even though those who carry out advanced segmentation are more than twice as likely to report "excellent" ROI from e-mail marketing as those who don’t segment. What practices do marketers use to push e-mail opens and clicks? The census found that sending personalized and relevant messaging led the list of e-mail best practices reported; 80% of marketers are already doing this and 14% are planning for it. Personalization was followed by mobile-optimizing of e-mail (73% doing and 19% planning to start), regular list cleaning (57% doing and 24% planning), and promoting social content sharing (49% doing and 22% planning on it). Personalization also is the area of e-mail marketing where most respondents (30%) say they need to focus in 2017. For more see http://www.acculistusa.com/e-mail-earns-top-digital-roi-via-personalization-mobile-strategies/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Study: Consumer E-mail Behavior Varies by Industry

To optimize consumer e-mail response, marketers must adjust strategy for consumer behavior that differs by market vertical and device use. So they'll find valuable guidance in Movable Ink’s "US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2017" report on how opens, conversions, engagement and even order values are affected by market vertical and device preferences. For all industries studied—retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, and media/publishing and entertainment—the report found most e-mails are opened on a smartphone as opposed to a tablet or desktop. Smartphone e-mail opens have especially jumped for financial services, up 7% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to reach 70% of opens in the first quarter of this year. However, retail is not far behind, with 61% smartphone opens for apparel and 57% for non-apparel e-mails. While smartphones still led opens, the more content-heavy media, publishing and entertainment vertical also has a good portion of desktop e-mail opens at 32%, followed by travel and hospitality with 29% desktop opens. Tablet opens are also stronger for media and publishing at 18%, higher than any other industry.Mobile optimization is clearly key for open rates, but retailers should not neglect desktop design because that's where the orders are racked up. Non-apparel retailer e-mails attribute 73% of conversions to desktop use, for example, with 51% of conversions on desktop for apparel retailing. Desktops also deliver the highest average order value for retailers: $171.04 for apparel and $138.57 for non-apparel sales. When it comes to e-mail reading time, the study generally found that iPhones are able to capture more attention than Android mobile phones, Android tablets, desktop computers, or iPads. The finance industry had the longest read lengths on iPhones, with 68% of subscribers spending 15 or more seconds reading their e-mail thanks to the Apple devices. Media, publishing and entertainment e-mails also garnered high iPhone read time, with 61% reading e-mail for 15 seconds or more. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/study-how-consumer-e-mail-behavior-varies-by-market-vertical/

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reputation Scoring Key to E-mail Deliverability

Deliverability is the first step to e-mail marketing success. If your e-mail never hits the inbox, all those subject line and content tactics are useless. So why do the top e-mail marketers get a 90% inbox placement rate, while others languish below 50%? A deciding factor is reputation, as measured by a "sender score," according to Return Path's annual "Sender Score Benchmark Report." A sender’s reputation score is a number, calculated from 0–100, that mailbox providers use to evaluate whether or not e-mail sent by a particular IP address is likely to be legitimate and wanted or should be filtered out of inboxes. Return Path's analysis finds that e-mail senders with a reputation score above 90 saw an average of 92% of their e-mails reach the intended recipient, but e-mail deliverability drops to 72% for senders scoring between 81-90 and just 45% for senders with a score between 71 and 80. So how do you get and keep a strong reputation score? A recent post by Krista Barrack, for the sendinblue blog, cites six ways you could be damaging your sender score, starting with e-mail list issues. One common error is collecting invalid e-mail addresses in your house list (often caused by typos, especially from mobile users). These create hard bounces to erode your sender score. A second mistake is using purchased e-mail data where people have no opt-in relationship with your brand and so don't engage or mark your message as spam, hurting your score. That's why, as responsible data brokers, we don't sell e-mail data and instead broker list rentals so messages are sent by the list owner with valid recipient opt-ins. A third house list problem is allowing outdated, unmailed addresses to accumulate and become invalid. To deal with the problem, set up a program of regular communication and hygiene to prune your list frequently. Poor content quality affects sender scores, too. If your e-mail message is not mobile-optimized, is loaded with spam words, is plagued by faulty links, and/or is not relevant or honest, recipients are either not going to open it, will label it as spam or will opt-out. Timing matters, too, and the most common sin is embrace of a spammer's excess frequency. Note that studies show read rates drop with increased weekly frequency--and opt-outs and complaints rise. Finally, watch for spam traps hiding in your e-mail list. These can get you blacklisted! For more detail, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/whats-the-secret-to-better-e-mail-deliverability-your-reputation/

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Price, Premium, Copy Tweaks Lift Acquisition Mailer

While many direct mailers focus on the secret to millennial response, it's good to keep a close eye on mail tactics that work well with older and general audiences, too. A case in point is a recent Target Marketing magazine case study sharing the Mayo Clinic Health Letter's expertise in testing toward maximum acquisition response for its control. With its huge 2 million to 5 million mail pieces per quarter, Mayo has a lot of room for testing! Targeting an older audience (age 70 and up), the Mayo Clinic mailer has long used an oversized kraft outer envelope with a simple teaser that appeals to the older market preference for courtesy: "Please favor us with a reply within 10 days." Successfully tested changes include shifting the envelope size from 11"x 14" to a 10" x 14" to save money, but inside-package tweaks have delivered the response boosts. For example, the letter now leads with pricing, a "tough times" stress on the per issue $1.97 over an annual savings. But one of the most significant response-getters has been the addition of a premium in the form of existing internal special reports--on weight loss or arthritis, for example--offered for free. The control has also increased its lift by moving to an eight-page letter, up from the original four-page pitch. The results are proof that longer copy can outdo short copy when it comes to self-help offers and older markets. For one, the long-form letter allows marketers to pack in more benefits. Second, it allows for a larger type size. For example, the Mayo letter has shifted to a 14-point type as a boon to aging eyesight and a way to distinguish its approach as more personal and less corporate. Meanwhile, the mailer's reply card page has three-in-one power: reply form, premium stuffer and a BRE, in yellow to stand out in the package. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/how-acquisition-mailing-won-with-price-premium-benefits-copy/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cross-Channel Effectiveness Needs New Tactics

Multi-channel, cross-device marketing campaigns offer broader, deeper and more nuanced audience reach, but without careful planning, there is a risk of counterproductive ad frequency and confusion. At the recent 2017 Google Marketing Next conference, Bill Kee, Google's group product manager for attribution, is quoted giving a powerful illustration of how a multi-channel campaign can saturate the market: “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.” So how can marketers improve performance given today's complex, interconnected channel usage? In a recent Direct Marketing News article, Pierre DeBois, founder of digital analytics firm Zimana, suggests several tactics for better cross-device/cross-channel effectiveness. First, DeBois recommends using cross-channel/cross-device analytics in place of traditional last-click attribution or channel-to-channel comparison. The goal should be to see the complete picture of channel contributions to ROI at each step of the customer journey, he advises. An example is Google's new Unique Reach report that displays digital ad frequency metrics across devices, campaigns, and formats to measure how many times a person views a given ad. The report combines attribution influences from AdWords, DoubleClick and Google Analytics. It is a new marketing axiom that videos and images are great response-getters for digital media. But multiple cross-channel/cross-device campaigns can visually overwhelm and confuse customers, too. DeBois advises marketers to locate videos and images in a content mapping strategy so they can understand how their media aligns with each step of the customer journey. Plus, they should curate media by carefully selecting and orchestrating images, videos and messages in order to help customers understand products and services. One helpful curating tool is the "image story" feature on social media platforms, including Pinterest Lens, Instagram Stories, and Twitter Moments. Another option for providing a consistent customer story across channels is to employ chatbots, programmable assistance, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, to interact with customers via a chat interface, auditory or textual. For the full post, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/effective-cross-channel-marketing-requires-new-tactics/

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why Direct Mail Retains a Key Marketing Role

Direct mail, perhaps because of its proven workhorse status, keeps a low profile in marketing trend articles, except for the periodic "direct mail isn't dead" reminder. Yet, despite growing use of digital channels--web, e-mail, social, mobile--the majority of marketers continue to rely on direct mail. Why? Marketing data backs up direct mail's proven response power and ROI. Target Marketing magazine’s latest study “Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016” shows that 69% of marketers surveyed either increased or held steady on direct mail spending in 2016. The 6% of marketers decreasing their mail budgets were the smallest group since 2010. A reason for direct mail's survival as a go-to marketing channel can be seen in the the Data & Marketing Association's 2016 "Response Rate Report." The report showed 2016 direct mail response rates leaping to 5.3% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists, the highest DMA-tracked response rates since 2003. By comparison, 2015's reported rates were 3.7% and 1.0%, respectively. More significantly, no other channel in 2016 had response rates over 1%! Direct mail response allows it to compete in ROI despite higher costs, coming in third at 27%, close to social media's 28% (e-mail leads ROI). Bottom line, direct mail's evergreen power lies in delivering on direct marketing basics. Rather than exploring the diverse creative and tech-savvy ways to meet direct mail goals, it is easier to focus on a few big mail "don'ts," and that's the tack recently taken by Summer Gould of Target Marketing magazine in "5 Things Not to Do in Direct Mail." Gould chooses key, highly avoidable pitfalls: a hard-to-read font; dishonesty; old, bad data in mailing lists (one of our bugaboos); a missing or unclear call-to-action; and a promotional focus on features over benefits. Direct mail--no matter how loaded with interactive QR codes, variable data printing personalization and multi-channel customer analytics--will miss the mark if it misses on these basics! For more, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/how-direct-mail-retains-its-place-in-marketing-tool-chests/

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How Data Silos Spoil Marketing Harvests

Silos can be great for agricultural storage, but they spell trouble when we're talking about customer data trapped in company departmental and systems silos. Research shows the magnitude of the problem. For example, a recent blog post by Veriday, a digital marketing company, noted that more than 80% of marketers say data silos within marketing obscure a seamless view of campaigns and customers. And that doesn't even consider data trapped outside marketing in IT, sales, etc. In larger, older companies, many data silos result when outdated processes and separate information systems hamper linkages. Yet silos are not just a big-business issue given the average small business today is using 14.3 different systems, as the Veriday post points out. Yes, information can be transferred between silos via import/export or manual efforts, but this risks duplication, errors, delays, inconsistent hygiene and inaccurate updating--meaning poor immediate ROI and wasted future opportunities from an incomplete and inaccurate picture of customers, campaigns and channel results. In business-to-consumer marketing, data silo risks are growing more acute, stresses a Forbes magazine article by Denise Persson, CMO at Snowflake, a data warehouse firm. She cites Accenture survey results showing that, while the promise of a deal or discount was the top driver of customer loyalty last year, in 2017, 58% of customers find marketing programs that are highly tailored to their needs much more enticing. Marketers can embrace targeted, contextual approaches, but, Persson warns, if each marketing channel--website, social media, e-mail, online ads, direct mail--uses a different set of data to develop a different channel strategy, marketers will end up with a fragmented customer picture delivering a fragmented brand experience! Smart marketers will invest in solutions, such as third-party support, software for content management and marketing automation, and data warehousing. Meanwhile, a blog post by Ajay Gupta, founder of Stirista, a digital marketing agency, points out the myopia of failing to link business and consumer data, especially now that digital media is blurring the line between professional and personal lives. Gupta gives the example of a company that wants to market a personal electronic device by targeting a proven business prospect list with only B2B e-mail addresses. If the company enhances the prospects' B2B info with B2C data, it could expand its reach by sending out e-mails to B2C addresses, direct mail to home addresses, online display ads via digital cookies, plus targeted social media ads! Linking B2B and B2C data is also a great tool for onboarding and creating social media custom audiences, per Gupta. For more detail, see http://www.acculistusa.com/how-b2b-and-b2c-data-silos-spoil-marketing-harvests/

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

'Informed Delivery' Puts Direct Mail in Digital Inboxes

The U.S. Postal Service has implemented Informed Delivery, a program that e-mails consumers' sneak previews of mailing pieces before that mail even lands in their physical mailboxes. Under the USPS Informed Delivery program, consumers can enroll online for free and get a password-protected account that creates a digital mailbox for the direct mail they will later receive at home. Before the mail is physically delivered, it is scanned so that users can log in and see a grayscale image of common-sized mail pieces, such as a #10 envelope or a folded self-mailer. Mailers can complement that digital touchpoint with a color image added below or in place of the grayscale scan, and can add a click-through URL. Even flat-sized mailings (unscanned) can participate by supplying two custom images and a URL. Now, there may be some in the direct mail business who are nervous about further digital inroads into traditional mail's marketing space. But it's self-defeating to ignore the reality that consumers have made digital platforms a part of their daily lives. And it's hard to argue against the potential benefits: the ability to use the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to reach target audiences in digital and physical mailboxes simultaneously; potential tracking of when and which e-mails are viewed, and actions taken, to improve personalization and targeting;  and finally, a welcome boost to audience engagement for participating marketers. Per USPS data, there's a 70% open rate for Informed Delivery e-mails, and 88% of users check their Informed Delivery notifications every day or almost every day. However, Informed Delivery will require some marketing adjustments for success. Marketers who don't opt for enhancing with color images will need to consider how images and copy work in grayscale, for example. And all mailers will need to re-think how they use outer mail design both to gain click-through/interaction and to build anticipation for the physical piece--and then the physical piece will still need to deliver ROI. Plus, since many folks view their e-mails on mobile devices, marketers need to think about how their mail translates to mobile viewing. Marketers also need to think through how and why an e-mailed preview fits the target audience. The USPS cites retail, financial services, insurance, government, and telecoms as potential beneficiaries, but other markets may gain less from an advance digital touchpoint. For more on participating in Informed Delivery, see http://www.acculistusa.com/usps-informed-delivery-injects-physical-mail-in-digital-mailstream/

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Smart Marketers Cater to Millennial Direct Mail Fans

Remember when marketing gurus were calling direct mail "dead," drowned by a wave of digital, mobile, and social technologies? Well, research keeps resurrecting mail from its low-tech tomb. In fact, recent studies find that Millennials--the 22- to 36-year-old, tech-savvy generation supposedly addicted to mobile devices and digital networking--are bigger fans of direct mail than older generations in some ways! For example, a recent study by InfoTrends and Prinova found that response rates for direct mail remain high for all demographics, including Millennials, who open direct mail received at the same high rate of 66% as recipients overall. More significantly, Milennials as a group respond faster to mail--within 2.4 months--which is less than the average response time for all respondents. Plus, the InfoTrends research found that a big 63% of Millennials who responded to a direct mail piece within that three-month period actually made a purchase! Along similar lines, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) conducted a survey on direct mail's political impact on Millennials and found that at least 42% of Millennials prefer direct mail political ads over online ads, and that Millennials are more likely to be prompted to action by mail, with 66% likely to research the candidate and 54% visiting the candidate’s website after receiving mail. However, research also shows that all mail pieces are not created equal. Mailings that resonate best with Millennials are targeted and personalized, per research. Luckily, sophisticated targeting and personalization are possible with today's variable printing, programmatic and automation programs, and database segmentation and analytics. Millennials demand printing quality as well, with one quarter of surveyed 25- to 34-year-olds saying they opened direct mail because of the print and image quality. Plus, engaging copy counts, with 25% of that same surveyed group saying they consider reading direct mail a leisure activity. That doesn't mean that printed mail can be divorced from Millennials' digital lifestyle. Data in eMarketer's survey report “US Millennial Shoppers 2017” shows that Millennials prefer digital shopping and are comfortable with mobile shopping, which means that integrating print and digital--via QR, AR, or PURL--can significantly boost response. For more detail, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/marketers-win-by-catering-to-millennial-direct-mail-fans/

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Direct Mail, What's Old Is New (& Effective) Again

Keeping up with the latest direct mail options combining print and digital technologies doesn't mean ignoring the tried-and-true, pre-digital tactics that still deliver mail response! Thank Paul Bobnak, director of Who's Mailing What!, for sifting through mail volumes to spot some successful new takes on old tricks for attention-getting envelopes. In a recent Target Marketing magazine article, he noted the reappearance of four "old-school" tactics. One is an envelope highlighting Yes-No-Maybe stickers, once a favorite of subscription drives; Bobnak cites a recent mail piece from UPMC, a healthcare system, with the Yes-No stickers visible in an outer envelope window. Posting an outer envelope quiz is another proven way to intrigue prospects into opening--a ploy often used for health care and financial services offers. Bobnak shows how a few qualifying envelope questions work well today for the Harvard Health Letter. The interoffice-routing-style envelope is an old trick for catching the attention of office workers and has been a go-to for B2B. Despite e-mail's workplace dominance, interoffice paper still exists, and Bobnak notes the recent engaging nonprofit marketing use of an interoffice envelope by Sacred Heart Southern Missions, a social ministry. Then there's the photo lab envelope, seemingly obsolete in this digital photo age. But high-quality printed photos still come in envelopes, Bobnak reminds, and that syncs with the message of Dissolve, a stock footage agency, which recently prospected with a photo lab envelope containing quality photos from its collections. Once recipients open the envelope, the old-school marketing basics of the letter copy offer still matter, too. Thus, in another recent Target Marketing magazine article, Summer Gould highlighted seven items required for a great direct mail letter: a first sentence that hooks the reader; an offer that is attractive; a story line that pulls important emotional triggers; flattery that convinces the reader he or she is special and appreciated, which today requires personalization; questions that qualify; a problem solved by your product or service; and benefits that matter to the prospect or customer. For more detail and links to real-life examples, see http://www.acculistusa.com/for-direct-mail-whats-old-can-be-new-effective-again/

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Science & Tech Offer Event Audience-Building Tools

For an event to succeed, trade show marketers must build attendance before the event and deliver for attendees by the end of the event, whether measured by lead generation, education or networking. There's an art to it, but science and technology impact success today as well. For example, BizBash.com did an interesting Q&A with Ben Parr, author of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention, in which Parr highlighted research-based conclusions about "captivation triggers" of audience attention. Start with "automaticity," which means using colors and symbols that automatically affect attention, such as the color red. Move on to "framing," setting the value of an event in a context that garners more attention, such as stressing event ticket scarcity. A message or design that offers "disruption," meaning a violation of expectations, naturally grabs attention, as does "mystery," such as an intriguing headline or subject line. Of course, there is the attention-getting "reward" for attendance, either an extrinsic reward (a swag bag) or an intrinsic reward (personal self-improvement). The good reputations of event, exhibitors and speakers really count, too; brain research shows audiences are especially attentive and trusting of experts, for example. Meanwhile, Event Farm, an enterprise event marketing platform, has interviewed event experts to find new technology trends likely to affect event marketing in 2017 and beyond. Among the trends cited is having events bring the internet to life onsite by letting attendees engage with online experiences, such as viral memes or videos. Marketing pros also foresee that the end of an event will no longer signal the end of an experiential marketing campaign, so that marketers engage with attendees (and non-attendees) after the event via tactics such as re-purposing an event presentation or sharing "digital" event memories. More people are expected to use live streaming to complement events via services like Facebook Live, too, not as a substitute for attendance but as an attendee-engagement enhancer. Finally, watch for attendees to seek to engage with the digital and physical landscapes simultaneously, such as using smartphones to help navigate through a venue. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/science-tech-can-help-events-capture-audience/

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Science & USPS Both Support Mail-Digital Mating

For any direct marketers who haven’t committed to combining direct mail with digital media, 2017 is a perfect year for experimentation, with both “brain science” and U.S. Postal Service incentives increasing the attractions of a mail-digital marriage. For example, an article from The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently highlighted the “neuromarketing” evidence for mail-digital pairings in a recent study by Temple University and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General and another study from a partnership the Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, a leading neuromarketing research firm. A key finding from the first study: Consumer “willingness to pay” was significantly higher when media was delivered across both digital and physical channels rather than a single channel. An important finding from the second effort: While digital media provide key platforms for customer interaction, direct mail is often better at closing the marketing-sales loop. So for marketers, a mail-digital combination offers the best of both worlds, helps bridge the gap between interaction and action and boosts sales. Why wait to reap the benefits? Especially now that the U.S. Postal Service is offering a range of 2017 programs that make the economic decision easier. The new Informed Delivery program, which inserts mail into consumers’ daily digital routines, is one example. Informed Delivery users receive e-mails that capture grayscale images of the address side of their mail. Under the program, marketers can take advantage of three potential touchpoints with one mail piece: an advance preview via e-mail/app, actually delivery in the mailbox, and inclusion of a unique URL in the digital preview to drive trackable traffic to a website. Plus, the USPS has two promotions supporting mail-digital pairing this year. The Emerging & Advanced Technology Promotion (March 1 – Aug. 31, 2017) encourages mailers to integrate direct mail with advances in mobile technology using NFC technology, Video in Print (ViP), Beacon technology, “Enhanced” Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality (newly included this year) or, as of 2017, use of Digital to Direct Mail to boost response with dynamically printed, personalized messaging automatically triggered by digital interaction. Mail-digital pairing is also rewarded by the Mobile Shopping Promotion (Aug. 1 – Dec. 31, 2017), which encourages mailers to invest in technologies that take recipients directly from the mail piece to a mobile-optimized online shopping experience via Quick Response (QR) Codes, Snap Tags, Watermarks and other technologies. For more details, see http://www.acculistusa.com/usps-science-encourage-merger-of-digital-mail-efforts/

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fundraisers Face Challenges Wooing Millennials

Millennials, now the nation's largest generational cohort, are a challenge for many nonprofit marketers. Alas, fundraising campaigns that won over baby boomers don't necessarily succeed with millennials in their 20s and 30s. Yet fundraisers can't afford to fail with this younger age group. A recent NonProfit PRO interview with Vickie Lobello, fundraising consultant Turnkey’s lead strategist, offered data points that explain why. Lobello cites research, from Salesforce to Millennial Impact reports, verifying that millennials want to make a difference and so form a great pool of prospective volunteers. For example, 88% of millennial females and 82% of millennial males say that it's important to be engaged in work that gives back to the community. A Pew Research Center survey found that 57% of millennials reported volunteering in the last 12 months, compared with 52% of boomers. Even more important for marketers, millennials are a growing donor force. Lobello points out that 52% of millennials say they donated to a cause affiliated with a social issue in the past month. Plus, millennials are more likely to increase their giving year-over-year compared with other age groups! Finally, Lobello underscores that millennials offer potent social media leverage. Research shows 61% of millennials post about issues they care about anywhere from one to 11 times a week on social media! Yet millennials are motivated in different ways from their parents. Messaging, creative and preferred giving channels need to reflect that reality. Randy Hawthorne, executive director of Nonprofit Hub, recently drew on his experience to outline changes in fundraising tactics to successfully win millennials. For example, since millennials spend so much time connected to social media, Hawthorne urges promoting the cause (not the organization) on social platforms. Also, since millennials seek relationships, marketers should realize that a cold ask for dollars may be a turn-off, and should also offer ways for millennials to engage more deeply with a cause, such as volunteering (which leads to donating). Fundraisers also must cater to millennials' impulsive use of technology by offering easy online and mobile donation options. Then maintaining that valuable millennial engagement requires frequent, meaningful communication, not just an annual report! Read our full post at http://www.acculistusa.com/fundraisers-face-the-challenge-of-wooing-millennial-donors/

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Subscription Marketing Basics Still Win Audiences

Despite modern publishing's multi-platform environment (print, web, mobile), many long-time subscription marketing rules retain their relevance. A recent post from Bill Dugan, for niche magazine consulting firm Mequoda, stressed just that point by reminding audience development pros of the fundamentals for price, offer and creative. As a list brokerage with many paid or controlled circulation clients, AccuList USA would, of course, add another important component: quality data. As Dugan stresses, the art and science of pricing still counts. In pricing, whether for print, online, tablet or combination packages, subscription marketers actually have an edge over many other products by being able to sell the same product at different prices each time it’s purchased, from a new subscriber to each subsequent renewal. Pricing strategies can include 1) simply the same price at every stage of buying or renewing; 2) giving the more price-sensitive new subscriber an introductory discount and then selling renewals at full price; 3) maximizing response and profitability with a step-up program from a low introductory price through gradual renewal increases to maximum; and 4) rewarding subscribers with a lower monthly price for selecting a longer (annual) term. Next, marketers can build a range of offers. Based on testing, Dugan reports that the best response is earned by a "soft offer," meaning a trial free issue or more, plus a premium and a bill-me-later for a full subscription. The lowest response offer is the old-fashioned hard offer, requesting up-front credit card payment with no trial or premium,per his testing. And finally, direct marketing success requires wrapping the offer in effective creative. A key to creative response today, whether direct mail or e-mail, is personalization that focuses on the target customers’ needs. Of course, effective personalization requires targeted, quality data! So while Dugan didn't talk about the paramount importance of data, we remind marketers of the continuing relevance of either the 40-40-20 rule (40% of response success from audience/list, 40% from offer and 20% for creative) or the 60-30-10 formula (60% from targeted audience/list). Bottom line, good audience data is key. For more on our proprietary research on market-tested data and selection parameters most likely to boost response, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/subscription-marketing-basics-still-create-winning-formulas/

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Plan Event Marketing E-mails That Lead the Pack

Event marketers often ask for guidance on event industry response for e-mail campaigns. Now we can enhance data pulled from our proprietary research with Eventbrite's new "2017 Event E-mail Benchmarking Report," comparing survey responses from over 340 event organizers across the U.S. and U.K. for a range of event types and sizes. If you're an event marketer with a fuzzy notion of the basic response measure of click-to-open rate (CTOR), you're not alone. The benchmark report found that 39% of respondents said they didn’t know their average CTOR. That's an ignorance that these event pros need to remedy if they hope to catch up with even average e-mail results. The rest of the U.S. event organizers surveyed reported an average CTOR of 12%. That was higher than their U.K. brethren, who only cited a 9% average, but far behind the enviable 17% in the U.S. who reported a CTOR of 21% or higher! Festivals scored the best average e-mail CTOR (14%), while classes and workshops had the lowest (9%). Event marketers who want to improve CTOR can commit to a number of basic creative tactics for layout, copy, mobile-optimization, and use of engaging images. But as data brokers, we must remind that response is even more dependent on the quality of targeted opt-in e-mail data, whether house or rental lists, and use of professional software and database support for list segmentation, updating and permission management as well as results tracking, testing and analysis. Indeed, regardless of carefully crafted e-mail creative, results measurement and analytics are essential to a direct marketing basic: testing of creative, lists and targeting to find what works best. Automation of event updates and confirmation/thank-you e-mails has also proven its value in maximizing click-through rates and conversions/registrations. And, finally, e-mail gains the most reach as part of a consistently branded, multi-channel effort, including social media and direct mail. For more and a link to the free benchmark report, go to at http://www.acculistusa.com/push-your-event-marketing-e-mails-ahead-of-the-pack/

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Data & Content Key to Publishers' Audience Building

In the age of big data and exploding digital content, targeted data quality and database management are more essential than ever to profitable circulation marketing and audience development for publishers and media owners. A recent Marketo blog post backs up that assertion with their advice. Demographics and firmographics are a key starting point, but now media owners also can mine transactional data, behavioral data, and psychographics/interests across channels, the post notes. Smart use of first-, second- and third-party data allows for tailored content, offers and channel targeting. As the Marketo article explains, "For example, you may know that a reader is a part of a cohort that is female, between 18-35 years old, with a household income between $64-96K....But what could you do–in terms of engagement–if you learn through her content consumption patterns that she’s interested in football, responds to sponsored content from travel brands, and mostly responds to content that’s shared on Facebook?" Yet more data from multiple sources–web, print, mail, e-mail, social media–also presents challenges, and Marketo cites Folio's recent survey of publishing leaders, which found 71% citing data management as a top priority for creating and monetizing media products. The solution is a single hub for audience data and automated cross-channel processing in real-time, the post advises, in order to deliver the right message at the right time to the right target. Finally, in publication/media marketing even more than other brand marketing, content counts. Faced with ever-growing digital content noise, media owners must work even harder to deliver content that interests and engages the target audience. For more, including advice on content marketing wins and misses, see to our complete onsite post at http://www.acculistusa.com/data-content-are-keys-to-profitable-audience-building/

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Harness Social Media for Nonprofit Success

At the upcoming Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2017 Conference, we expect to hear a lot about nonprofit social media strategy, so we wondered what social media trends are impacting fundraising this year. A 2017 Redstart Creative blog post identified several noteworthy trends. As in the rest of the digital universe, video is the new response-getting must; now nonprofits can use live video to boost reach and engagement via tools such as new Facebook features allowing live video to be pushed to followers in notifications or timelines. As social media algorithms reduce organic reach and ad competition intensifies, Redstart advises uncluttered "less is more," quality-over-quantity content that focuses on resonating with the target audience. "Reply and engage" should be a new mantra, too, especially since major platform Facebook began keeping score publicly on all brand pages last year by adding a notification that tells viewers how quickly the page replies to messages. Meanwhile, a NonProfitPRO post by Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, founder of Goodworld, cites three basic steps for donor engagement on social media. Step No. 1: Respond quickly. As Pfeifer notes, 83% of Twitter users and 71% of Facebook users expect a brand to respond to their posts within 24 hours, and more than half of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within 2 hours! Step No. 2: Get personal. Responses can include a personal touch, but less time-consuming tactics include tagging supporters in thanks, or a simple “like” or “share” of comments. Step 3: Honor your donors. Even without personalization, make donors feel special via “thank you” messages and the transparency/inclusion of postings of organization news and fundraising goals. Finally, a recent post on npENGAGE by Jeanette Russell, marketing director of the social engagement platform Attentive.ly, underscores the power of "influencer marketing." Attentive.ly evaluated 90 of its nonprofit customers and found that the top 5% of influencers on a nonprofit's e-mail list of 140,000 can reach an average of 34 million people, or 85% the total reach of e-mail and Twitter combined. To identify influencers, use a social scoring methodology based on measurable factors: reach/number of followers, engagement of followers, relevancy, post frequency, and relationship with the organization. Then segment the influencers and their messaging into three main categories, Russell advises: the few high-scoring VIPs; Media (Blogger) Influencers who can be recruited to post to followers; and Everyday Influencers, who may have lower scores but are already on nonprofit e-mail lists so they can be quickly mobilized. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/harnessing-social-media-to-drive-nonprofit-success/

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

E-mail Regains Lead in Fundraising Digital Efforts

In 2017, e-mail is expected to regain its lead role in the digital efforts of nonprofit fundraisers, per numerous nonprofit marketing pros. For fundraisers and fundraising consultants to make the most of a renewed e-mail focus, they may want to check the tactics provided in a recent post for thedatabank.com by Michael Stein, a nonprofit consultant and digital strategist. For example, to maximize response, e-mail outreach in 2017 may require nonprofits to reboot, refresh and rethink, says Stein. He urges marketers to address four basic issues before blasting out e-mails: Check to see if your e-mail template or e-newsletter needs a creative refresh; make sure the e-mail works well for mobile viewers; consider a rewrite of your welcome e-mail to new subscribers for better engagement; and develop new creative and messaging ideas to test for boosted e-mail fundraising appeal. Next, he advises marketers to "mobilize," personalize and automate e-mail campaigns. Certainly, mobile readiness is essential for wooing donors, especially given, as Stein cites, the recent Movable Ink report that, across industries, 69% of e-mail opens were on a mobile device. A good mobile experience should extend from the e-mail subject line to the website landing page and, most importantly, to the donation page, advises Stein. Personalizing is another proven way to maximize e-mail response. That means digital messaging with relevant, timely content based on smart e-mail list segmentation, using data such as event attendance, website downloads, and donation amount or frequency. Finally, marketers need e-mail automation, especially for timely engagement of new e-mail subscribers and donors. Automated responses should include key transactions such as e-mail subscription, event signups, and online giving, since these are often the most opened and read e-mails, says Stein. Other suggestions include using more graphics and video to boost e-mail response. For more, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/e-mail-regaining-its-lead-role-in-fundraising-digital-strategy/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Innovative Media Tactics Help Grow 2017 Circulation

Circulation pros and media owners looking for new strategies to acquire subscribers, boost event attendance and up revenues will find some great lessons in Editor & Publisher's annual feature "10 Newspapers That Do It Right."  It spotlights ideas for 2017 circulation, revenue and engagement growth with applications beyond the newspaper world. For example, the Albany Times Union is growing its print subscription base by offering more frequency flexibility with a Thursday through Sunday and/or Sunday-only print delivery as primary options. "As consumers continue to downsize their subscriptions to fit into a busier and more digital audience, this change in tactics presented the consumer with flexibility," Brad Hunt, circulation sales and marketing manager, explained to E&P. At the same time, the paper reduced subscription churn by using data analysis of starts and stops to develop more efficient retention and engagement touch points, increasing starts by 7% and cutting stops by 18%. In another example, San Antonio's Express-News woos subscribers and boosts ad revenue via multimedia publication of unique local content. For example, in October 2015, the paper launched a 48-page, all-color tabloid magazine, Spurs Nation, about its local NBA team, the Spurs. Full of original and exclusive reporting on the team (80,000 subscribers currently), the tabloid is inserted in the Sunday paper and sold on newsstands. Four months after the magazine launched, a half-hour "Spurs Nation" television show debuted on the local NBC affiliate. Plus, on game days, the paper began publishing a double-truck with a scouting report and feature story. Content was accessible on the paper’s premium subscriber website and on a niche site. So, in a single buy, advertisers can get magazine, newspaper, TV show and website ads! Plus, the paper added book publishing this past holiday season, with a book about major moments in San Antonio basketball. Finally, publishers hoping to woo millennials to their print, digital and mobile platforms may want to study Singapore's Straits Times decision to create Singapore’s first coffee festival. "We wanted to target a millennial crowd in particular, and much of the publicity was specifically created for maximum impact on social media," Managing Editor Fiona Chan told Editor & Publisher. Since the goal was to get millennials engaged with the publication, the paper’s designated Reading Room at the festival gave guests the chance to interact with reporters, columnists and editors through a series of hour-long Q&A sessions. "Readers are increasingly looking for more than just commoditized news that they can get for free anywhere. What they want is to engage with journalists and newsmakers, to ask specific questions about the issues that interest them and to obtain detailed answers," Chan advised. For more detail, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/innovative-media-tactics-offer-ideas-for-growing-2017-circulation/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fundraising Pros Forecast 2017 Direct Mail Trends

For nonprofits, 2017 offers an avalanche of political and technological changes, yet we don't see any trend sweeping direct mail or e-mail out from under fundraising marketers just yet. In fact, NonProfit PRO magazine recently found relevant mailing insights when it asked nonprofit pros nationwide for 2017 fundraising trend predictions. For example, Roger Craver and Tom Belford, editors of The Agitator, predicted that the continued rise of digital technology and data will paradoxically foster an increase in “old fashioned” pre-digital methods of communication and relationship building, such as direct mail, printed "thank you" notes, personal phone calls and print newsletters. Why? Because old-fashioned non-digital communications "provide a key—and currently missing—fundraising ingredient: a human, real-life interaction between an organization and its donors." Meanwhile, Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, principal of Clairification, advised nonprofits to recognize that they are now dealing with an all-encompassing "Generation Connected" (GenC) and must be in multiple spaces simultaneously—but with consistent and integrated messaging. Merely fundraising through multiple channels does not equal integration from the consumer’s perspective, she warns; integration requires coordinated images, messages and offers across channels to avoid muddling the brand. Plus, direct mail is still a top fundraising tool—but not if used as a blunt instrument. Nick Ellinger, vice president of marketing strategy at DonorVoice, noted recent Dutch research that found 63% of the revenues of an additional nonprofit mailing aren’t new revenues but rather cannibalized from the revenues of other communications. However, by investing in donor knowledge and targeting, customization and personalization rather than just mail volume, test programs report stable gross revenue and a significant increase in net revenue in year one (or year two at worst), Ellinger reported. For more trend predictions, see http://www.acculistusa.com/fundraising-pros-forecast-2017-trends-for-direct-mail/

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mailers Must Cater to Millennials As Digital Shoppers

With the millennial generation, roughly those aged 18-35, now outnumbering boomers, most marketers want to keep this big batch of younger purchasers in their crosshairs. Yet direct mailers sometimes report frustration that response does not match expectations.  One cause may be failure to take into account millennial shopping and buying habits. A recent article by eMarketer, drawing from its "US Millennial Shoppers 2017" survey report, cited three shopping habits of interest to direct marketers. First, millennials tend to prefer digital shopping, even while in stores. Second, millennials are very comfortable with mobile shopping. And third, millennials have a strong presence on social platforms.  So it's no surprise that Target Marketing magazine's Summer Gould recently cited five reasons direct mail may flop with millennials--and three come back to the clear digital preferences identified by eMarketer. First of all, a direct mail offer that does not include an online purchase option is missing sales, Gould points out. And, per eMarketer reporting, mailers may be losing sales in a big way considering that 90% of millennials, 93% of Gen Xers and even 84% of boomers said they bought online in a June 2016 Berkeley Research Group survey. Next, since millennials clearly embrace mobile shopping, every aspect of the shopping experience should be mobile-friendly (website, landing pages, shopping cart), Gould advises, and it is certainly key if the direct mail includes mobile-scanned QR codes to connect digitally. Then, since social media matters to millennials, a direct mailer lacking a social presence is also snubbing millennial shoppers. Regardless of digital messaging, printed content also needs to seem authentic and friendly if the mailer wants millennials to make a connection with the offer and the brand, per Gould. Finally, millennials expect a company to be up-to-date with technology and to integrate marketing, shopping and sales with technology--whether in-store, in direct mail, or on the website. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/direct-mail-woos-millennial-shoppers-by-embracing-their-digital-side/

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Addressing 'Big Data' Issues in Agency Agreements

The era of "big data" has created both greater opportunities and greater complications for marketers in terms of access and use of data. In fact, Advertising Audit and Risk Management (AARM), a North American provider of independent advertising audit and consulting services, recently urged advertisers and marketers to review agency contracts to make sure they address evolving "big data" issues. Data can drive a precisely targeted marketing strategy by leveraging insights from transactional and customer behavioral data--assuming that the advertiser has the right to receive and use that data. Based on their experience, AARM cites at least six key, but often unanswered, data questions that should be covered in contracts: Who owns the data; where the data is stored; how long the data is stored; how secure the data is; whether the data is kept separate from that of other advertisers; and whether the data is being used to aid other advertisers. AARM points out that data ownership is not automatically ceded to an advertiser or marketer despite investment in a media buy generating a data stream. Many within the media chain may try to claim the generated data: Ad agencies, trading desks, publishers, demand-side platforms, and third-party ad servers all may seek unrestricted access, if not ownership, of valuable customer data. That's why marketers and advertisers need to be sure that legal agreements clearly and consistently spell out data ownership rights, privacy considerations, security and access rights for first-, second- and third-party data. For more, see the full post at http://www.acculistusa.com/what-data-questions-should-agency-agreements-address/

Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Magazines: Digital Embrace, Platform Tensions

The pursuit of circulation and ad revenue will push magazine publishers to embrace a number of digital publishing trends in 2017, per predictions in a Publishing Executive magazine article by Ron Matejko, president of digital publisher MVP Media. For one, watch for subscription drives to leverage digital outreach.While insert cards and direct mail remain sturdy tools for circulation marketing, Matejko foresees increased use of digital tools in audience development, and he cites the example of Dallas-based D Magazine, which is leveraging its combined database with outreach via automated and personalized e-mail campaigns and targeted social media advertising to audiences that look like their current print subscriber base. The result has been more new and renewed subscriptions for the print product, in fact almost a 100% increase in subscriptions generated monthly through digital efforts. Mobile apps are another area that will see increased interest, predicts Matejko. Consider the success story of Cities West Publishing in Arizona, which expanded its app offerings last year with interactive versions of two monthly print publications, as well as apps to supplement multimedia campaigns for two special issues. The benefits: branding, extended shelf life beyond the newsstand, and revenue via multi-platform value-added for print ad partners. Plus, Matejko cites other tech innovations that could transform digital publishing, particularly when teamed with mobile. For more on his digital publishing trend predictions, see http://www.acculistusa.com/2017-magazine-trends-digital-embrace-platform-tensions/

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Magazine Audiences Grow, Increase Mobile Viewing

The good news for publishers is that total audience—across print, Web, mobile and video—grew robustly in 2016, up 6.4% over the prior year, according to the 2016 Magazine Media 360° Brand Audience Report from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA). But there is a challenge for publications within the data: the continued shift to a mobile audience. Although print and digital editions continued to garner the largest audience for magazine media last year, the mobile platform had the most rapid growth rate, per the MPA's trend analysis. Nearly 80% of the brands reporting showed mobile growth, with 79% of those brands up by either double- or triple-digit percentages. More than a quarter of the brands in the report grew their mobile unique visitors by one million or more each. That mobile growth came at the expense of Web (desktop/laptop) users. In fact, the Web audience represented the only magazine media platform to decline as consumers spent more time on portable devices than computers. Meanwhile, though video remained the smallest audience platform in 2016, it also recorded strong growth, per MPA, up by double-digit percentage rates. For more, see our post at  http://www.acculistusa.com/growing-magazine-audiences-continue-shift-toward-mobile/

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How Paid, Earned & Owned Media Drive Success

When budgets are tight, it's tempting to focus on earned and owned media over paid media promotion. But marketers need to know the growth penalty of that strategy. Brands that use paid media typically grow three times faster than those that rely on owned and earned media alone, according to recent international research from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), as reported by The Drum. At the same time, paid media is more effective when coupled with earned and owned media. IPA research shows that owned media, which includes brand websites, blogs and social media sites, typically increases the effectiveness of a paid ad campaign by 13%. Meanwhile, earned media, which includes online mentions, shares, re-posts and reviews, increases the effectiveness of a paid campaign by a larger 26%. The IPA examination of media marketing further finds that emotion is a vital ingredient to success, and that television advertising continues to be the most powerful in delivering emotional engagement. Researchers report that adding television advertising increases a promotional campaign's effectiveness by 40%, for example. The growing use of video-on-demand and online video has turbocharged video impact: IPA's research shows a 54% increase in the average number of "very large" business effects from adding television and online video together. For more on balancing paid, earned and owned media, as well as brand-building vs. targeted sales promotion, see our post: http://www.acculistusa.com/creating-powerful-synergy-with-paid-owned-earned-media/

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Trends Offer Good News for Fundraisers

While 2017 is starting as a year of uncertainty, especially in politics, a recent CauseVox post by staff writer Tina Jepson spotlights 10 fundraising trends that offer good news and opportunities for nonprofit marketers in 2017. Donation forecasts are upbeat for individual, corporate and recurring giving, Jepson shares. Philanthropy Outlook 2016 & 2017 predicts that an increase in individual and household income will help to boost fundraising efforts for nonprofits, charities, and NGOs by as much as 3.8% in 2017. Plus, with Gross Domestic Product and business savings on the rise, total corporate giving is predicted to rise by 4.7% in 2017. And monthly giving, which accounts for 17% of online revenue, also will continue increasing per the 2016 M+R Benchmarks report. At the same time, donor retention rates are at the highest rate since 2008 at 45.9%, and nonprofits and charities clearly should make retention a marketing priority to capitalize on this powerful fundraising engine, Jepson notes. Another positive for fundraisers is the growth in donor data as digital interactions—websites, e-mail, social media and now the Internet of Things (IoT)—combine with traditional channels such as direct mail to generate a wealth of information about existing and potential donors. So a key goal for 2017 is to gather, analyze and use actionable data effectively. Meanwhile, on social and mobile marketing fronts, nonprofits face challenges as well as opportunities. Social media platforms, including Facebook, now are promoting organic content prioritizing audience friends and family over nonprofit messages so that effective social media marketing will need to rely more on purchased ads and targeting of key demographics. And any nonprofit that hasn't invested in mobile optimization of websites and e-mails is missing a key donation source: Mobile giving makes up 17% of all online giving now and is projected to rise further in 2017. For suggestions on maximizing the fundraising impact of each trend, see our complete post at http://www.acculistusa.com/positive-2017-fundraising-trends-create-opportunities/

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Do You Have a 2017 Cross-Device Strategy?

With mobile now a key platform for digital display ad, social media and e-mail viewing, and even print integrating with mobile and online, marketers clearly need a 2017 cross-device strategy. As a 2016 Econsultancy survey noted, only 14% of marketers said their company was able to handle the customer matching across multiple devices, even though almost three-fourths of respondents felt cross-device customer tracking was a strategic priority. A recent Direct Marketing News article by Pierre DeBois offers some good tips for initiating a cross-device strategy. Start with analytics platform reporting now that Google Analytics, Piwik and Adobe Analytics all offer a user ID feature, a modification to the analytics tag, to allow cross-device visits to be an identifiable segment in the analytics reports. DeBois also suggests setting up report filters for digital traffic to take advantage of what is already known about the digital points at which customers engage, such identifying web traffic by the IP address of a store site to track customers who shop the site while in-store. A mobile site that makes it easy for customers to act immediately—whether they want to order, call or download—is a must. With strong mobile traffic, a marketer can even develop enough audience to support an app launch. Since accessing social media is a key activity for mobile users, and video viewing continues to soar, marketers will want to leverage social traffic stats and demographic parameters to tailor content to social media platforms, with an eye to mobile and visual/video impact. DeBois cites the Google Customer Journey tool as one way for marketers to adjust when media content should be deployed. Then design ads for cross-device viewing and response and take advantage of the paid search platforms' expanded mobile and IoT (Internet of Things) offerings, with device selection for re-marketing and paid search ads, call extensions and cross-device reporting. For the full post, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/do-you-have-a-2017-strategy-for-cross-device-marketing/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Event Marketing: Social, Visual, Data-Focused

Event professionals can look forward to some exciting new marketing trends in 2017--especially in the social, digital and data arenas--as recently highlighted in both an EventManagerBlog survey and a post by MarketingTango, the marketing blog for brands like PIP and Sir Speedy. Data, with a social twist, remains key, with many event professionals reporting to EventMB that they saw an increase in the amount and quality of data available through social media in 2016--data that can be used to improve retargeting and create better multi-channel campaigns in 2017. MarketingTango points out that tighter targeting of the right VIPs and digital influencers will allow marketers to ride their social media coattails to higher Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram traffic and maximize social data ROI. Underlying social media's growth as an event tool is its ability to boost engagement and professional connectivity. Certainly, per EventMB's survey, using contests and giveaways for posting or tagging in social media is a big trend with exhibitors, who not only reap booth traffic but free marketing buzz as people tag and share. MarketingTango likewise notes the growing use of a "digital social wall" to engage attendees in real-time and harness the power of hashtags to own conversations. Social media also offers more ways to connect, and EventMB's surveyed event pros reported increased use of Snapchat and Snapchat geolocation filters to meet and connect as well as use of guest-generated pop-up events such as Twitter meetups. Event marketers further stressed that today's attendees want websites and landing pages that are easy-to-use, faster and more concise, preferring bullets and visuals over wordy pages. Image-based platforms are winning more followers, and many event pros forecast growing popularity for video in event invitations and advertisements, virtual reality experiences to sell venues, etc. For more, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/2017-event-marketing-social-visual-data-focused/

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 http://www.acculistusa.com/blog/

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 http://www.acculistusa.com/blog/

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 http://www.acculistusa.com/blog/