Archive for the ‘loyalty marketing’ Tag

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.


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.

Be Remarkable and Be Remembered   Leave a comment

How do you get customers to become loyalists when they’re barraged with marketing messages from companies vying for their attention? We could list the many “how to’s” but here’s the bottom line — you have to Be Remarkable. Recently I was on the receiving end of “remarkable” from the most unlikely of sources.

Story #1:

Heard any stories lately about phone companies and their amazing customer service that goes the extra mile? More than likely, your answer is a big NO!  Phone companies aren’t known for exceeding expectations; they’re more often the source of frustration and gripes for lousy service.

Imagine then my surprise and delight when I received a handwritten note card from a Sprint employee thanking me for my business and offering a 25% discount on my next in-store purchase.  Seems Sprint has decided my loyalty is appreciated. And I appreciate them taking the time to tell me so. It seemed so, well, personal.

What happens when you feel appreciated? For starters, you feel good.  And you feel good about your decision to use this company, their product or service. You feel more emotionally connected to them and their brand and you become more passionate and engaged. And chances are, you will tell your friends, family, and colleagues. So by exceeding your expectations and showing appreciating, this company has turned you the customer into a fan who will tell others this remarkable story.

Story #2:

Here’s a story about another type company you’re unlikely to get excited about – an auto body shop.  I became a fan recently of Caliber Collision Centers when they surprised me with their excellent customer service. I dropped my car off some for repairs recently. The staff was so attentive and caring I was taken aback.  They asked about the accident (not our fault), empathized over the inconvenience and offered me copious amounts of coffee and water.  The service agent followed through on his promise to call every Tuesday and Thursday with an update. And the repairs took 3 days less than anticipated.  In short, they exceeded my expectations and generated a level of loyalty in me I didn’t know possible.

When I complimented the office manager on their great service, she told me she tries to treat customers the way she’d like to be treated.

I hope I don’t get in another accident soon but if I do, I know where I’m headed.

How are you working to be remarkable and remembered? We’d love to hear your story.

Posted May 31, 2012 by Amy Blum in Branding

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A Reversal of Fortune   Leave a comment

There’s been a rush to exit for Netflix customers. The company lost 800,000 customers in 3rd quarter this year, the first time ever its customer base shrank instead of grew. The reason for the slump is simple. They chose to ignore the KISS rule – Keep It Simple Stupid – by first raising prices and then splitting its business into 2 companies. Customers who used both DVD and streaming services would need to manage two accounts at two different websites.

Why would a well defined brand with loyalists galore make it more difficult for customers to use their product?  Some days I can barely remember my own name let alone one more online account. Smart loyalty marketers focus on me and how to make my life simpler, easier, better. Anything else is just a complication I don’t need.

So the Netflix got the backlash it deserved. Twitter and Facebook went a buzz and the stock took a dive. And Netflix got the message loud and clear. Qwikster, the newly formed company, quickly went away. CEO Reed Hastings, to his credit, sent an email in August to customers apologizing for moving too quickly.  You got to give the guy some credit for admitting he screwed up.

“There is a difference,” he said, “between moving quickly – which Netflix has done very well for years – and moving too fast…” As my 7 year old would say, “Duh!”

Anytime you ask me to do more to access the same services I’ve known, and possibly loved, you’ve lost my loyalty and potentially a customer. What shocks me is Netflix had such a strongly defined brand of super servicing the customer and then came greed and inconvenience. And there went loads of customers flocking to the door. What were they thinking? Clearly not about loyalty.

Posted November 14, 2011 by Amy Blum in Loyalty Programs

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Want to build loyalty with your mobile consumers, but not sure where to start?   Leave a comment

Mobile messaging or text/SMS campaigns are a quick way to engage with the largest number of mobile users. Over 90% of mobile devices in the US have the ability to send/receive text messages[i] and pretty much anyone under the age of 44 is texting more than calling[ii].  Even the majority of smartphone owners prefer to receive basic coupons, deals and newsletters.[iii] Seems like the ideal way to reach the largest number of consumers, right? Right! But, before you get started make sure you know the rules.

1. Participation in a mobile messaging or SMS/Text campaign must be 100% opt-in.  As a marketer you can’t purchase a mobile database or spam existing customers’ mobile phones with your message. You must use traditional media to engage and inform them about your campaign and entice them to opt-in.  This is not only a Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) best practice. It is the law (CAN SPAM Act and FTC Act).

The United States Federal Trade Commission is prosecuting those that don’t comply with the CAN SPAM Act. A recent egregious case involves a marketer who, in one 40-day period, sent more than 5.5 million spam text messages, a “mind boggling” rate of about 85 per minute, every minute of every day. 

This is an extreme example, but there are countless cases of legitimate marketers that aren’t complying because they aren’t aware of the laws or misinterpret them. So, simply put – marketers must use traditional media (print/web/TV/radio/outdoor) to inform consumers about a text campaign. Consumers can only participate by actively texting the correct keyword/short code from their mobile phone or a web interface promoting the campaign.

2. Not all mobile users have unlimited text plans: If you send unsolicited messages to consumers they may be paying for them. It is important that the consumer has the control of who they engage with via mobile. Creating compelling mobile campaigns that offer value to the end user will drive them to engage with your brand.

Eagle Marketing can help you determine the right way to build a loyal connection with your mobile audience. For many, connecting with mobile users via simple text is a great way to extend your brand. There are various campaign types and you can include click to call or a mobile web address to extend your engagement. We’ll continue to blog on mobile messaging best practices. Have question or thought on the topic? We’d love to hear from you.

[i] CTIA – The Wireless Association 11/10

[ii] Nielsen Mobile 2009

[iii] Harris Interactive 2/11

Posted March 8, 2011 by Amy Blum in Mobile

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Giving Thanks   Leave a comment

My twin daughters turned 4 last month so we celebrated with a princess party and a small group of their preschool buddies. In passing I mentioned to a friend I was writing thank you notes for the gifts they received. Her response? “What, are you nuts? Who does that?”  She thought it wasn’t necessary because the kids couldn’t read and probably had no clue what gift they gave.

My friend may be right but I sent the notes anyway. It so happens I’m a big believer in thank you’s, in acknowledging gifts and sometimes sending them for no reason. I once sent a big box of cookies to a long-time client who left us, briefly, to work with a competitor. I wanted to thank him for his business and show appreciation of our long relationship.

This time of year has me thinking a lot about appreciation…and gratitude. Gratitude for my health, my family, my circle of wonderful friends. Gratitude also for the talented people I work with and those I work for — my clients. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing the work I enjoy so much. Gratitude reminds me…and I thought worthy of reminding you… to press pause now and again to simply say thanks. A sincere thanks, without expectation, strings attached, or hope for response. Really, can you ever say thank you enough? I don’t think so.

 The owner of a neighborhood wine bar recently told me she delivers a cork tied to “free drink” coupons to hotel managers who send her business. A thank you that’s both clever and memorable. I send a box of diabetes-inducing toffee. Not so clever but definitely delicious and hopefully memorable.

I’d like to know — what do you do to say thank you and to show your appreciation? To your loved ones, to your customers, to your loyalists? From a marketing perspective, it’s just smart business. Invest in a gratitude mentality – with sincerity — and you’ll easily stand out in the crowd.

Posted December 6, 2010 by Amy Blum in Loyalty Programs

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A Timeless Truth – Listen and Learn   Leave a comment

Last week we talked about An Inconvenient Truth of marketing, Know Thyself – who you are and what you stand for. This week — a Timeless Truth that has nothing to do with the coolest new marketing idea. And everything to do with getting back to basics.

I had one of those “Aha moments” a few weeks ago when I attended a social media seminar at the swanky offices of a digital agency with high end décor and an incredibly breathtaking view of the ballpark. I went to learn new ways to engage consumers with the latest digital tools and techniques. During that hour, experts talked about ROI, social CRM and on-line clout. What stuck me most though was their common theme — an ageless fundamental.

To be successful, companies need to create connections. Build trust. And engage the customer to inspire their loyalty. You do this by listening and learning. Fostering two way conversations that matter. The tools – be they social media, direct mail, email marketing, mobile — are relevant only in that they allow that process to take place and that they best fit your target market.

Think for a moment about how your organization cultivates loyalty and generates business. Are you focused on telling and selling or are you in a meaningful dialogue that resonates with your customers? This requires asking their opinion, understanding their needs and making adjustments along the way. It also requires vision, commitment and work.

As a consumer, I don’t just want to have it my way at Burger King; I want to have it my way wherever and whenever possible. Not because I’m some high maintenance prima donna (and so what if I am?). But because I’m a busy working mom of three and if you know me and take care of me, I will love you for life.

One of the companies I love is Amazon. And not just because I love buying books. The last time I logged onto, I got a pop up of recommendations based on recent purchases or searches. Gee, thanks guys for knowing what I like and serving it up. Even if it is computer generated, you are saving for me that most precious of commodities – time. Bless you.

So when you think of loyalty marketing, think of this Timeless Truth that relationships do matter and that consumers will care more if we stick to the basics.

I read a quote recently by Irish critic, journalist and novelist Rebecca West that I think sums it all up:

“There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.”
        Rebecca West
        Irish critic, journalist, & novelist (1892 – 1983)

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