Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smart Direct Mail Reaps New-Mover Bounty

New-mover lists provide direct mailers access to one of the most valuable event-triggered consumer segments. A family move drives a leap in purchases of goods and services--household furnishings and appliances, home-improvement services, phone services, insurance, banking and financial services, medical services, pet care, restaurants and even nonprofits. In fact, research shows new movers spend more in the first three months after a move than most people do in a three-to-five-year period. A timely introductory mailer can not only reap immediate revenue, research also shows new movers are five times more likely to become long-term customers. Depending on promotion, final counts and costs, mailers may want to further target a new-mover mailing by factors such as household income, age, home value, presence of children, move distance, geographic radius and more. Because of proven response, new-mover mailings are popular, so it's worth some creative thought to stand out in the crowded mailbox of a new resident. A recent Target Marketing magazine article by Paul Bobnak, director of Who'sMailing What!, provides examples of four ways to improve impact. The first response-booster is a no-brainer: Offer a new-mover discount. Bobnak cites Pottery Barn's 5 3/4" X 10 3/4" self-mailer with three 15% off coupons redeemable in-store, online or by phone, plus promotion of free design services. Idea No. 2: Leverage marketing's tried-and-true emotional copy motivators (greed, guilt, fear, exclusivity, need for approval), such as the GEICO auto insurance mailer touting a potential $500 savings based on the new address. Hook No. 3: Offer desirable content with the promotion, such as a retail furniture chain's 16-page mini-catalog with tips on interior design along with coupons. Finally, Tip No. 4: Make it easy to respond. Bobnak shares a local hospital's postcard with mobile-scannable QR code leading to a pURL welcome landing page and pre-populated form, plus a gift (thermometer) for adding data such as insurance and e-mail address. For the examples:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Right Mail Helps Local Firms Compete for Sales

Direct mail is a great way for local businesses to draw traffic and compete for sales--if it is crafted to win attention. A recent Target Marketing magazine piece by Paul Bobnak, director of Who's Mailing What!, offers real-life examples of seven basic direct mail tactics that work to woo local customers. 1) Start by selling the benefits rather than the features of a product or service, and put a personal face to the company with names and photos while you're at it. 2) If you are a competitive local service (plumbing, painting or HVAC, for example), make sure you show the range of tasks you can do to set your business apart from other service professionals. 3) Deliver essential information to alert custumers to their potential need, such as the water heater sticker with emergency shutdown instructions and troubleshooting checklist sent by a plumbing contractor. 4) Generate trust and show expertise by educating consumers, like the eight-page, soft-sell brochure on replacing a heater or air conditioner from a home services provider, which leveraged credibility to then promote the company. 5) Make smart use of the calendar to tie into holidays and seasons, such as Mother's Day retail specials or Halloween "scary furnace" checkups. 6) Make it easy to order and then retain contact info, such as a pizzaria's mailed menu sized to post on a refigerator door. 7) Create innovative and personalized call-to-action devices. Going beyond coupons, a local nursery mailed a personalized gift card that snapped out of a postcard, for example. To see real mailing examples:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

B2B Lead Gen Rediscovers Direct Mail

Direct mail is enjoying renewed interest as a lead generation tool among business-to-business marketers, according to Demand Gen Report. Demand Gen Report's "2016 Demand Gen Benchmark Study" found direct mail not only still in the B2B marketing mix but earning increased spending by some marketers. Besides working to drive leads at the top of the funnel, direct mail was seen by surveyed marketers as an effective way to drive conversions later in the buying cycle, with 21% citing it as most effective at boosting conversions, tied with social media. A recent Demand Gen Report article interviews some B2B marketing execs to find out why they opt to invest in direct mail along with their digital lead-gen efforts like e-mail, search and social media. The CMO of Salesfusion sees direct mail as a way to stand out with the target audience, citing over-exposure in the digital space and touting a 10%-15% conversion rates for direct mail. Aptos is trying the same tactic and increasing direct mail spending, including a high-end mailer to nurture "suspects." Ricoh Americas also is sending out "high-end and very targeted dimensional mailers," especially to global and major accounts, and combining mail outreach with an interactive website and phone follow-up. B2B agency Babcock & Jenkins has "leveraged direct mail as part of an account-based marketing approach" for clients like CSC, IBM, Jive Software, Lifelock, Tripwire and Xerox, per the article. Stressing direct mail's place in an integrated strategy, Ruth Stevens, president of B2B consultancy eMarketing Strategy, explained why mail can be more effective at outreach than other channels: "In the B2B world, there's an increased understanding that you cannot get all the business you need by using e-mail as an outreach medium, since e-mail address data is far less available than physical addresses." Read

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

When Mail Budgets Hold Steady, Innovators Spur Ahead

In a marketing landscape of digital growth, direct mail spending is holding its own, with 69% of marketers planning to increase or hold steady 2016 direct mail budgets, according to Target Marketing magazine's annual "Media Usage Survey." But direct mail success isn't guaranteed by simply staying the course, and marketers who want to break away from the pack can look for inspiration from a recent post by Tech.Co, a media company and events organization for startups, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, which suggests five innovative ways to use direct mail in 2016, including some real-life examples. Tech.Co's five areas for mail innovation: 1) use Augmented Reality (AR) apps to give 3D reality to products via videos and demos (or consider other mobile-enabled options like QR codes and Near Field Communication); 2) leverage free incentives and sampling opportunities, with eye-catching examples from the archives; 3) wow with great copy, as showcased by the D&AD agency's decade of award-winning examples; 4) grab mailbox attention with innovative design, going beyond No. 10 envelopes and postcards to oversized, dimensional or interactive mailers, as illustrated by a recent World Water Day piece only readable when wet; 5) finally, and most important in a digital-dominated marketing world, integrate direct mail into multichannel campaigns, avoiding the tendency to silo by channel. For the post and its examples, go to

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Crafting Direct Mail That Woos Millennials

Don't assume millennial customers are digital-only responders. Direct mail is a great way to reach this desirable demographic (aged 19 to 35). In fact, research shows more than half of millennials purchase based on direct mail offers. But you can't necessarily win them over using the same mail tactics that worked with their parents. A recent Retail Merchandiser magazine post by Joan Patrick, director of Marketing for Vision Integrated Graphics, offers good tips for crafting direct mail specifically for the millennial market. One thing is obvious: Most millennials are attached 24/7 to their mobile devices, so mail packages need to include mobile-friendly connections--such as QR codes linked to online video. On the other hand, messaging and offer should not treat millennials as a single buyer persona; yes, there are at-home dependents in the cohort, but more are married, parents or homeowners, so segmentation will improve response. Then, to appeal to a generation weaned on digital and media creative's visual cues, direct mail packages need eye-catching colors, images and graphs. Millennials also tend to prefer a personal, casual style of communication, but mailers need to guard against personalization, humor and slang that don't fit the brand--because millennials value "authenticity" even more. Yes, the direct mail pitch to millennials should still include a WIIFM hook (What's In It For Me?), but marketers must accept that this group can evaluate offers differently. The majority say they prize happiness and life quality over money; so don't just list features and prices, cite personalized benefits. The majority of millennials also say they prefer to do business with socially conscious companies--so let them know your mailer uses recycled materials, or highlight a promotion's charitable giving link. Finally, millennials tend to stress connecting and collaborating; almost half say they'd like to help companies develop future products and services. Mailers can play to that response-getter by including user surveys, user-generated content, and social links. For the full post: