Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Are Your Direct Mail Plans Election-Ready?

After Labor Day, the nation will be heading full tilt toward the election--with TV, online and mailboxes full of national, state and local political appeals. Have you adjusted your direct mail plans for that political mail deluge? Because, despite the dominance of TV and the growth of digital, leading market researcher Borrell Associates forecasts political direct mail spending will still hit over $380 million in 2016. The biggest challenge for direct mail marketers will be delivery delays. Political mailers get preferential rates and expedited processing from the U.S. Postal Service, while commercial direct mail marketers generally use Standard rates or Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), which are processed on a time-available basis and thus pushed back by political mail volume. So we thought it would be a good time to help our nonpolitical clients prepare for the coming political promotion flood by passing along a timely post by the Planet Central ad agency. The biggest spike in political direct mail usually comes at the end of September and continues through Election Day, the post points out. So marketing plans need to take into account potentially delayed in-home dates during that period--assuming an added two to three days for local mail delivery and up to a week longer for national campaigns. So how can marketers minimize the impact of congested mail delivery? The simplest option is to accept delays and help meet target in-home dates by mailing earlier, the post notes. A second option is to avoid delays by switching to First Class postage to earn equal delivery priority with political mailers--assuming the added cost makes bottom-line sense. A third option is to reduce delays by drop-shipping mail closer to its destination. So, for example, rather than following the multi-step path from the originating USPS sectional center facility (SCF) to the regional Bulk Mail Center to the destination SCF and finally to the local post office for delivery, drop-ship mail as close to the destination as possible to shave delivery time. For the complete post, including planning for election impacts on media and online advertising, read

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Data-Driven Marketing Power Drained by Basic Mistakes

Data-driven strategy is an ideal that many marketers, especially in the B2B world, have not fully mastered. For example, a 2015 survey of marketing professionals by Ascend2 and ZoomInfo found that only 33% of respondents called their data-driven marketing strategy “very successful.” The good news is that just 10% said their data strategy was somewhat or very unsuccessful. Still that leaves a lot of room for improvement! What's preventing marketers from maximizing data success? In a recent post, Hila Nir, vice president of marketing and product at ZoomInfo, cited the three most common mistakes sapping data-driven marketing potential, with a focus on business-to-business marketing. No. 1 is wastefully "throwing the net too wide" and hauling in confusion. While there is a mass of multi-channel data you can gather and analyze, only some data and patterns are relevant to marketing success. So where do you start? Nir advises going to the foundation of the customer relationship--the actual customer contact--and building from there. The No. 2 error is failing to frequently refresh customer and prospect data. Data value erodes over time as basics such as mailing address, job title, phone number and e-mail change. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that stores lots of outdated legacy data can make the problem worse. And maintaining data quality is a big job that only grows with the size of the database. That's why 79% of the most successful data-driven marketers in the survey said they outsourced some portion of data management. Finally, mistake No. 3 is simply failing to take full advantage of customer and prospect data to improve cost-effectiveness and ROI. Trying to find a path through the data weeds to ideal customer targeting can certainly be daunting and strain internal resources--which is also why many successful B2B marketing efforts turn to consultants for database analysis. Needless to say, DBM Designs is among the data service partners who stand ready to assist! For the full article, go to