Extend the reach of your print and direct mail   1 comment

We often recommend using a QR code or a mobile call to action on a print ad or direct mail piece to help our clients provide a richer experience to their consumers. Here are some of the benefits:

·        QR codes and text campaigns require little effort on the part of the consumer to use. (Go ahead and give it a try. Text FREEMOBILE to 96362)

·        They offer a great way to connect the physical and digital experiences

·        They are relatively inexpensive to implement for marketers

·        They allow print materials to be tracked

However, it is important to understand that the QR code or text campaign is just a delivery method. It only makes sense if there is a solid strategy behind it.

Most clients easily understand that QR codes or text campaigns provide them a vehicle to track their campaign. They count the number of scans or opt-ins to determine how successful a campaign was. However, if you don’t clearly state what the reader will get when they scan or opt-into a text campaign they may either disregard the call-to-action or be disappointed when the experience doesn’t meet their expectation.

Here are some quick tips to incorporating QR codes into print materials:

  1. Don’t forget that QR codes are being scanned by a mobile phone. The experience MUST be mobile friendly.
  2. Provide a clear, concise call to action. Plainly state what will happen when they scan the code.
  3. Placement matters: Consumers need to be able to get their phone in a position to scan the code and the code can’t be in a location without mobile coverage. Here are some examples of marketers that might want to rethink their placement strategy. And a few more.
  4. Size does too! Anything smaller than one inch square is hard to scan and hard to notice.
  5. Use a URL shortener like bitlyThe more data you try to store in a QR code the smaller the dots become, which in turn means it’s more difficult for smartphones to read them.
  6. Track it: Make sure to use a unique URL for the campaign so you can easily track the response. You can use Google Analytics or bitly’s tracking service.

For text campaigns you have similar guidelines. Just like with QR codes you need to have a clear call to action like “text FREEMOBILE to 96362 for a free trial mobile campaign”. You need to make sure the message isn’t hidden and that it includes some simple legal language about messaging and data rates.

Follow these simple guidelines to help give your customers a richer experience by bridging print with digital and create a more memorable – and measurable – connection.

Posted September 12, 2013 by Amy Blum in E-Marketing/Web, Loyalty Programs, Mobile

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Homegrown Marketing   2 comments

I hope, like me, you have had the chance to get caught up on some good reading this summer. I am finally diving into that pile of parenting books that gnaw and nag at me from my nightstand. As I whittle down the stack, I’ve been stuck by parallels between marketing and parenting and how both strive to make a strong and lasting connection.

 Interestingly, in his new book The Secrets of Happy Families, Bruce Feiler explores how solid business premises from corporate America can be applied to building stronger families. There are similarities in what makes both great and marketing it turns out, plays a key role.

We are a Company Who…:

Do you know your company’s brand? Can you articulate it in a 3 minute elevator speech? With conviction and certainty?  If not, it’s time to reflect on what makes you special and why you do what you do.   What is your purpose and mission? Successful companies, like families, know what they are about.  They know their core values, embrace them, protect them and covet them completely.

For example, we are a family who loves being outdoors and in nature. It’s a strong part of who we are, what we value, how we like to spend our time and where we like to relax.   In essence, it is part of our family brand because it’s so integral to our being.  Your professional brand should be equally integral and clear. It defines who you are and what you say to your customers.

So pause for a minute to finish this sentence:

We are company who…

Hopefully the words came easily. If not, no worries.  Brands are an organic concept that need marinating and maturing before we put them on paper. And then need periodic revisiting and refining.

Eagle’s brand? We are a company who helps clients build lasting customer relationships.

Who is Your Target Market:

Once you’ve locked in on your brand, you need to identify your target market and what they need from you. This can be tricky in both business and parenting (particularly when you have 3 children)!  Kids, like your customers, have certain features in common. They’re all children for example who live in one house. And yet, my 9 year old son has vastly different needs than his 6 year old twin sisters. It would be ineffective to “lump them together” and treat them all the same because they are each, in essence, their own target market. 

To be effective, we motivate our little “customers” best, by tailoring our message customized to their individual needs. For example, my husband and I employ Target Marketing when we transition kids to bed time. The promise of a book does the trick for one while a little song and a snuggle gets another jumping into jammies. 

You may not be singing lullabies to your clients but you do have to know who they are, what makes them tick and what they want and need. 

Try this out:

My target market is…..  And they need ……

Hard to answer?  When it comes to defining target markets, be it brands or parenting, you are never really “done”. This process is on-going, a constant ebb and flow of trial and error, refinements and adjustments.  Remember it’s okay to ask your clients what it is they want and need. It’s better than guessing. 

Rather than be discouraged, think of this process as an exciting challenge to figure out the puzzle just before the pieces get tossed in the air. 

As Albert Einstein once said, “The Three Rules of Work: 1. Out of clutter, find simplicity. 2. From discord, find harmony. 3. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”

Have you found harmony in your corporate identity? If so, we’d love to know how you got there.

Posted August 7, 2013 by Amy Blum in Uncategorized

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Do Your Envelopes Make the Cut?   2 comments

At Eagle we’re always trying to determine what works best and why. Recently we turned our attention to what kind of direct mail envelopes are most effective in increasing return on investment. Maddie Houts, our ace summer intern, set out to do an informal experiment. Here are the results of Maddie’s investigation:…

Post Office Bin     photos 2

At my local post office there are two huge bins where you can throw away any catalogues, magazines, or letters you pick up from your P.O. Box and no longer want.  I decided to rifle through the bins looking for letters that didn’t “cut through the clutter” and make the ride home.

DFB Front  Dog Food Blacklist Envelope

The first I found was a letter from The Whole Dog Journal.  To me, this letter was enticing because it had key words printed all over the envelope.  It promises a “Free issue and a free gift” and on the backside says “WARNING” in a bold font and color.  The back of the envelope lists foods that are hazardous to dogs’ health, but only names the product on the inside.  You would think that any dog owner would open this up immediately, yet the envelope didn’t make it through.  It could be because, according to a Print in the Mix article, what is printed on the back of an envelope is significantly less important than what is on the front.  A supporting study revealed that around 60% of people would not even look at the back before opening one.  This is a possible explanation for its inability to catch the consumer’s interest, as most of the compelling words are on the back.

Envelope-Capital One

Who else finds this letter unexciting? I know I do! Then why am I showing this to you?  Because of all the envelopes in the bins, I feel that this one most effectively highlighted their window.  Experts state that windows aren’t just for bills anymore.  They are incredibly cost and time-effective, and a great use of space if you have the creative wherewithal.  The only color on this Capital One envelope is a blue band surrounding their two windows, which draws your eye to that space.  However, I personally don’t find their copy particularly enticing, and certainly not persuasive enough to make me consider switching my credit card or bank provider.  Also, there was no blue band on the back of the envelope, which I feel disrupts the visual continuity.  So though I commend their window highlighting, I think I understand why the consumer threw this one in the bin.

Envelope 1 Front and Back

SDZ 1 Front  SDZ 1 Back

Envelope 2 Front and Back

SDZ 2 Front  SDZ 2 Back

The San Diego Zoo does a great job with marketing so I was particularly interested in these envelopes. They were sent to two people with different materials enclosed.  They feature text and 4-color pictures, and quite frankly are the first ones I picked up because I had to get a closer look at those adorable animals.  So then why is it that The San Diego Zoo failed to make it through the clutter not once, but twice?! For the Envelope 1, the answer is clear to me.  Though there is an interesting photo and eye-catching text, there is no promise of what lies beyond.  Why do you miss me?  Are you going to renew my membership?  What is this about?  It is unclear and un-compelling motivation for me personally to spend time reading the contents of this piece. However, I think Envelope 2 does a much better job of creating interest in the materials.  It is decorated on both sides, states exactly what to expect of the contents, and offers a coupon.  Notice though that the words “you” and “we” never appear.  Studies suggest a mailer is more likely to fail if it lacks of personal interest.

My experiment and research both support this bottom Line: Use color.  Use words.  Use windows.  Use anything you can to cut through the clutter of the many direct mail campaigns filling the average mailbox.  Because if you end up in the reject bin, the only people who will see your pieces are curious marketing interns like me.

Read more articles about envelopes here, here, and here.

What makes a better brand?   1 comment

A new Starbucks opened up in my neighborhood this week. This one in a supermarket. The one before that? Just a block away with skimpy parking but a killer drive thru that I find hard to pass by.  I cherish my morning “get into gear” coffee and my afternoon “pick me ups”.  No matter the location or time of day, I know I can count on Starbucks to deliver a great product with smart service in a highly reliable, familiar way.  That’s what great branding is all about.  Creating an experience and filling a need in a remarkable, consistent way.

Here’s a quick test. Look at this logo and quickly think of 3 words or feelings it conjures for you:

Starbucks

For me?  Reliable, relaxing, pampering.  All positive around an experience I like to repeat over and over.  I like coffee and I like the coffee Starbucks makes.  If, on the other hand, you despise coffee or tea, there’s probably nothing Starbucks can do to change your world view.  They’re simply not selling anything you need or want. So in your own marketing for your company, product, or service, focus on being remarkable and memorable to your core target audience.  Understand, through research (surveys, focus groups, comment cards) what it is they genuinely want from you and be honest and thoughtful about what commitment you can make to deliver.  And to excel.  Anyone can do mediocre, but to stand out in the crowd you need to be extraordinary.

I would invite you to look at your own brand and the story you tell your core customers. Is it authentic, reliable, consistent?  And is the experience they have with you spectacular? If not, what can you do to make it so.

If you deliver the need in a consistently extraordinary way, the end result is unwavering loyalty.  And you’ll have developed brand evangelists who will happily, and without monetary reward, help you spread the word.

Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.
Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group

Is there a company you love telling friends about? We’d love to hear your stories.

Posted May 15, 2013 by Amy Blum in Branding

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Is It Time to Change that Tune?   2 comments

Lately I feel like a broken record. I’ve been talking to so many of my clients and friends about an epiphany that seems so obvious and mundane it’s almost embarrassing to share. I stress the almost because if it was that obvious, we’d all be doing it.

My new found mantra?  How can I expect different results if I keep doing the same thing?

The simple truth is that to get different, and by implication, better results, we need to do something different. We need to embrace change, mix it up, step outside our comfort box.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this applies to marketing, both for Eagle and for my clients. Whether you are using traditional marketing like direct mail and print ads or technologies like mobile, social media and email marketing, we all can get a little stale. And, like the vinyl records of old, we wear a groove so deep, it’s hard to skip a beat and change it up.  The comfort we feel by the familiar and the resistance we encounter around change, the more we can be assured our results will always be the same.

Take your company’s brand for example.  If you’re a business owner, you know your brand can and should be intricately linked to your core values and a reflection of your professional passion. And yet, that’s not always the case. Sometimes we get on autopilot, forget to check in and to reevaluate and reassess. We get head down and caught in the trees, so it’s hard to see the forest.

Our team at Eagle is passionate about helping our clients to see that forest.  We advocate for change, not always a revolutionary but almost always evolutionary, in thinking, approach and execution.

For example, how might we integrate their marketing tools with technology so campaigns are more interactive, engaging and memorable? How do we leverage loyalty marketing and referral programs to reward current customers in creative and meaningful ways? How might we refresh and organize a website so user benefit is more front and center and how can that site be better optimized for higher search ranking?  And always – ensure that the message is consistent, compelling, concise and in support of those core values and passion where it all started.

Even for a professional marketing agency, this can be a challenge.  We at Eagle have been asking ourselves some tough questions and reconnecting with what is our collective passion, what are our core competencies, and what makes us unique. On some topics, there is instant clarity. On others, we get caught in those darn trees.

So we are sharpening our proverbial saw and looking critically at what needs a refresh.

I’ll share a few items on our list and challenge you to reflect on a list of your own.

  • How can we use social media more effectively to promote our services?
  • How do we evolve our brand to better reflect what we do so well?
  • What clients haven’t we approached lately for testimonials?
  • How do we market ROI and value added to customers on a regular basis?
  • Where are the best opportunities for continuous learning in emerging technologies?

Maybe some on our list resonated with you. If not, maybe they should.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

So reflect for a moment back to that old, worn groove in the vinyl record.  What are the results you seek? Is it ROI, increased sphere of influence, brand awareness, customer base, or traffic on the web? What is it that you haven’t done? And what are you willing to do to get different results?

I think you’ll agree we could all sing a new tune now and again.

How have you made a change, even a small one, that made a big difference in your business? We look forward to your comments.

Obama Overload   2 comments

First, a personal disclosure.  I am a registered Democrat and have almost always voted for Democratic candidates. On November 6th, I will cast my ballot for Barack Obama with support and pride.

As a marketer though, I have a beef with the Obama campaign and thus this blog to vent just a bit.

The Obama campaign has gone overboard in the use of email, mobile marketing and mobile apps to generate donations and support.  Overboard to the point of being downright annoying.  I wholeheartedly support the candidate and the use of these marketing tools to engage an audience and to build loyalty and momentum.  But their tactics teeter on a turnoff.

At first I thought it was cool and savvy the way the Obama folks have been sending out messages that feel personal and intimate and important. So at first I’m thinking, “good going, you guys are smart marketers”.  I click, I donate a little here and there. And then… the avalanche of emails begins. And the inbox fills each week with multiple urgent messages about a looming deadline. Really?  Come on, I’m smarter than that.  I know it’s important but the level of urgency – as demonstrated in these email subject lines – is downright laughable.

  • Last call for Dinner with Barack EVER
  • 583,282 people named Amy
  • I’m asking one last time (dated  9/25 but on 10/22, not one month later, Mr. Obama was asking again)
  • Obama Store: Our biggest sale EVER (Is this sale from Macy’s or a presidential campaign?)

And the volume? You may have seen the President on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently.  During the interview Stewart jokingly asked the President how many new emails he’d have in his inbox by the time the interview was over.  I can relate. While writing this blog late one night, I received an email from both Barack and Michelle Obama asking for donations.  And a quick search for “Obama” in my delete box turns up over 200 entries from everyone from Obama himself to Bill Clinton to Joe Biden.

Then there are the mobile solicitations. One day, I received a text that said “Show you’ve got the President’s back.  Reply with a number and we’ll charge your saved credit card.

I mistakenly thought that meant my phone number so I nearly made a 10-digit donation to the Obama campaign. Try explaining that one to your spouse. Luckily, I caught my error when the auto-reply asked for confirmation.

So yes, I support Obama and do have his back and have donated to his campaign. The lesson about marketing though is clear. Whether you are president of a country, a corporation, or a mom and pop retail store, it’s important to personalize the conversation and engage your audience when using email or mobile marketing. But use caution…overuse and overkill are sure to turn them off. If you have had similar experiences with a marketing campaign on steroids, we’d love to hear about it.

Posted October 29, 2012 by Amy Blum in E-Marketing/Web, Mobile

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You say it’s your birthday?!   Leave a comment

Building loyalty takes a commitment to your consumers. You can’t always be selling. It is about showing them that you not only have great products and services, but that you’re a great company to work with. Birthdays are the perfect time to reach out to your audience to let them know you appreciate them. Whether you offer a formal birthday club with coupons or freebies or just capture their birth date in your e-newsletter signup and send them a simple card, recognizing loyal customers on their special day is a great way to connect.

Eagle Marketing has been running birthday clubs for clients for years. We regularly hear from delighted members how the birthday greeting made their day. Here are just a few examples:

“I don’t know whose idea this was but it is brilliant! And having the video with Ybeth? Now THAT’S what I call the frosting on the cake! Thank you all!!!!”

“Thanks, that was cool! 67 and counting…. Love BayNews9 – especially the weather staff!! Al and all the staff are very nice people and that is why I watch BN9 – You’re a community anchor.”

“Thank you so much for remembering my birthday and actually doing something about it. I know it is just a marketing ploy and you don’t know me from a hole in the wall, but you are the only ones to actually say Happy Birthday to me today. It felt good. Thanks. Your Loyal fan and listener of Baynews 9 since its beginning. -Bruce”

“Thank you Jackie and I am 91 years old smile…. Have a Happy Healthy New Year and many more years to come. – Marie”

Here are some tips to launching a great birthday club:

  • Direct Mail or Email? You choose! Use great creative and silly or heartfelt copy to endear them to your brand. On the one hand, I know I love going to the mailbox around my birthday to see something other than bills waiting for me. Having a tangible reminder of your brand can be powerful. On the other, email messages can include videos or animation and give you the opportunity to start a dialog with a happy consumer ready to thank you for the birthday greeting.
  • Personalize your message: Glean their preferences at signup and then customize your message based on these preferences. Whether it is a customized greeting from their favorite anchor or DJ, dropping in some content or text that would be meaningful to them, or freebies from their favorite show, you are letting them know you care.
  • Don’t Sell: This is the time to thank them for their business. Don’t tell them about the upcoming lineup, latest sale or new model. Simply wish them a Happy Birthday!

There is no reason to limit these interactions to once a year either.  Reach out to your database with holiday greetings throughout the year. Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Winter Holidays, New Years, Veterans Day, July 4th, Earth Day and others are great times to wish them well. It is about connecting. Making them smile. It is a great way to stay top of mind without pushing your wares.

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