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Objective Judgment   Leave a comment

What marketers do is often judged on a client’s perception of “whether it worked”.  But how do you know if it worked?  Without a reply vehicle it is nearly impossible to tell. Including a reply card, an online portal, or custom coupon code for point of sale gives you a tangible account of the campaign’s performance.

Quantitative response information gives marketers the opportunity to analyze the respondents by geographic, demographic and psychographic factors. Without this information, targeting future campaign is done blindly. With response information, revisions to the targeting strategy can be made to improve the response of the next campaign.

I was thinking about this issue and naturally came to the analogy of education. Without testing, how can we tell “whether it worked”? It would be unwise to base a student’s progress in a subject area only on gut feel. We have to be able to assess the student’s learning so we can adjust what is being taught and place that student appropriately in the future.

Please don’t judge a campaign based only on subjective information. Make the commitment to bettering your marketing plan by always including a response vehicle…and then committing to using that information for your future campaigns.


Posted April 9, 2012 by Dee Dern in Database Analysis, Direct Mail

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What’s in Store for Direct Mail   Leave a comment

I am often asked about the future direct mail. People wonder if electronic media will replace it in the long run. My response is always “direct mail isn’t going away”. I firmly believe this and encourage people to continue to use direct mail as a key element in their marketing plans for several reasons.

  1. Direct mail has a long shelf life. If the creative or offer is strong, people will hang on to the piece—even if they don’t make a purchasing decision right away. They may handle it multiple times, reading portions of the offer over and over.
  2. Human beings like to touch things. We like fluffy things, soft things, squishy things. We like to see how the structure of an item changes when we press, fold or crumple it. Direct mail’s structure can reach people like no other medium.
  3. Integrating a mobile call-to-action into a direct mail piece makes it actionable and trackable. Whether you ask people to scan a QR code or opt into a text campaign to get a coupon, enter a sweepstakes or learn more, you can now provide them updated info and continued engagement.
  4. Most of us like to get mail that isn’t a bill. I remember so clearly, amidst the loneliness and homesickness of my freshman year of college, how a simple letter from home or from another friend who was away at school would brighten my day—or even my week!
  5. Your message with direct mail can be consistent and variable for all of your targets. Clear messages, consistent branding and a vibrant look and feel make direct mail appealing. Utilizing personalization and variable data can make your message personal and meaningful.

And, there are companies that are using direct mail to reach our other senses…even taste and smell! Imagine a direct mail piece that can not only sing, but one you can taste or even smell freshly cut grass. It’s already happening. Yes, my friend, direct mail will continue to evolve and is here to stay.

Posted December 12, 2011 by Dee Dern in Direct Mail

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Direct mail is tried and true for radio broadcasters   Leave a comment

Chances are if you’re in radio, you’ve used direct mail to increase your ratings. Whether you’ve sent a full sized, fold out piece to promote a contest, a postcard to let your listeners know about a line-up change or a 6 x 9 postcard with your summer concert schedule, you’ve likely found that direct mail is a tried and true method for increasing your ratings.

While Arbitron continues the transition from diary to PPM measurement, radio stations are continuing to find a well-designed direct mail piece continues to be a reliable way to influence listeners.  The USPS says that “98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it is delivered and 77% sort through it immediately.”* People want to get mail that interests them…so much so that they have made checking the mail an important part of their day.  In fact, the DMA says that 79% of households read or scan direct mail they receive. ** Impressive numbers.

Budgets have been tight for the past several years, for everyone. As marketing dollars begin to become available again, the wise radio station will put direct mail back into their marketing plan. No other method of marketing has this depth of reach…and none have the same level of tactile impact. Direct mail has a proven track record in the radio ratings game. Are you planning direct mail this fall? I’m betting that your competitors will be.

*Deliver Magazine, June 2011. ** 2010 DMA Statistical Fact Book.

Posted July 18, 2011 by Dee Dern in Direct Mail

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The Average American   2 comments

The average American is dead. I read a story in Deliver Magazine (Feb. 2011) discussing how there is no longer an “Average American”. The 2010 US Census data will show this more clearly than ever.  In several cities and states, no race or ethnicity is a majority of the population anymore. Twenty-five years ago, two-thirds of all households were married couples. Now, married couples will be a minority in the US. And married couples with children will be fewer than 21% of households—only 1 in 5.

What does this mean to you? It means you can no longer define your target audience as “average”. It is diverse, in both age, ethnicity, income, household composition and more.  It means your best marketing strategy is to understand, clearly, the diversity of your audience.  Analysis, research, surveys, segmentation and targeting will be more important than ever for successful marketing campaigns. Direct mail allows you to use this information combined with new technology like variable data printing to customize your marketing—even down to the household level. One targeted home may receive a message based on a high income level while another may receive a separate message or offer based on their lower income. Other marketing avenues don’t give you the same ability to target and customize like this.

Demographer Peter Francese shared this observation, “If you have a product or service that you think would be valuable to single people, I can’t think of a better way to reach them than through the mail. If they live alone there’s obviously nobody else who’s going to open the mail except for the, so you reach them directly.” This kind of thinking can make your marketing more powerful to the “Not-So-Average American”.

Posted May 9, 2011 by Dee Dern in Database Analysis, Direct Mail

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How do you know if they are getting the message?   Leave a comment

Measurement.  The biggest frustration of my marketing career has been from the beginning and always will be clients who don’t measure their response. I am taken aback when folks don’t gather response data but expect to be able to determine whether a campaign is successful or not.

Cataloguers and not-for-profits are great at capturing marketing codes. They simply ask recipients to “Enter the code in the yellow box” or just include a code on the reply. The coded response vehicles give them accurate, measurable, analyze-able (I think I made up that word) information. Information that tells them whether a particular catalog performed better than another, whether a demographic group responded better or whether a rented list is worth mailing to again. Even whether a certain type of donor can be convinced to give more or more often.

Without response information, it is difficult to create a sustained marketing plan. How can you improve on last year’s results if you don’t know what they are? By guessing? By choosing only what you like? Ultimately everything marketers do is to create results. How futile our work is when we can’t define or show our results.

Unsure what to track or how? Eagle Marketing can help you find ways to measure your response. It can be as simple as adding a code to your marketing piece or measuring ratings only in the geographic areas you’ve targeted. Or it can be as innovative as adding a mobile call to action. Adding a simple 2D barcode and brief instructions on how to use it allows recipients to snaps a picture with his/her camera phone for more information.  Adding a quick mobile marketing message instructing them to text in for more info is also an easy way to track engagement. Need help building response info into your marketing plan? Just ask…I’m sure we can help.

Direct Mail – It works!   Leave a comment

I love direct mail. I really do. Not because it has created a living for me but because I find it such a powerful way to communicate with people. It has withstood onslaughts of postal increases, the telemarketing boom, online marketing, magazines, billboards and more. And it still reigns as a solid marketing medium that delivers response. But why? A couple of things come into play with direct mail that make it such a response-friendly medium. Pat Friesen of shared that the US Postal Service was recently named “Most Trusted Government Agency” by 87% of the respondents. My feeling (and Pat’s too) is that this creates a perceived sense of trust with things that come in the mail. Another thing that makes direct mail responsive is its permanence. Direct mail sticks around on my kitchen island for days, weeks, even months. I see the message over and over as I reshuffle things. Other mediums might not keep reminding me the way that direct mail does. A third benefit to using direct mail is the accuracy and targetability (I think I just made up that word) of lists. Mailing addresses can be verified using software to determine that they are complete, accurate and deliverable. And, a lot of demographic, behavioral and purchasing information is affiliated with street addresses allowing marketers to select only those addresses they want to target. Not many other mediums can say that at such a thorough level. Marketers have tried many ways to reach people with their messages but the most enduring and responsive medium (other than word of mouth) is direct mail. I personally hope that more people will focus their resources on this tried and true classic of marketing in 2011. Happy New Year!

Posted January 2, 2011 by Dee Dern in Direct Mail

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Are you creating a human connection?   Leave a comment

My office is in my home. Tucked in the corner of the basement with a small window and warm caramel walls.  I have worked from home for more than 9 years. It works for me on nearly every level.

There are, however, negatives to working from home. The biggest hole in the “work from home” life is the lack of social interaction. I miss my colleagues. I miss those coffee breaks and the “let’s go get lunch” invitations. In order to combat my hermit-like work life, I schedule “dates” with friends, colleagues, other small business owners, vendors and clients for coffee or lunch. These “appointments” have partially filled that space for me.

People can very easily feel isolated in our crazy, technology-filled lives. Now more than ever, your job as a marketer is to create a human connection with your customers. Targeted direct mail or emal marketing are reliable, cost-effective, trackable way to create a loyal bond with your customers.

For direct mail: Variable printing, finely targeted mailing lists and data management are powerful tools to make this happen.  Targeting your marketing message to your prospects’ and customers’ lifestyle or behavioral traits with variable data printing can be just like tailoring your conversation to the person across the table. These direct mail tools empower you to use information (your own, or purchased) to target your marketing message. Personalized, targeted eblast campaigns also do the trick. Sending a gift of dark Belgian chocolate to your best customer because you know she likes it can create a bond that could last a lifetime.  Don’t waste the information that’s available to you. Use it to create those human connections.

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