Archive for January 28, 2010

Example of Successful Multichannel Strategy

Practical Ecommerce tells about Fairytale Brownies’ online sales being primarily powered by printed catalogs mailed to approximately 1.8 million households annually. Fairytale Brownies expects to gross roughly $8 million in 2009, with around 60 percent of its revenue from online sales.

“The brownie gift catalog really drives a large portion of our business. Although we do most of our revenue through online sales, a lot of those customers find us through receiving our catalog, so I think there is still a big role for the printed catalog and direct mail pieces in the ecommerce business.”

“We did a total of six mail drops in 2009, and we printed multiple versions of the catalog that are mostly cover change-outs, like the September drop had the first few pages in a Fall theme and Halloween gifts; and the next drop featured Thanksgiving; and the next drop featured Christmas. But the core of the product pages remains the same because it’s less expensive to change out just a few of the outer pages.”

“A lot of the traditional mailing strategies still work very well for us, such as renting mailing lists and prospecting names. The more catalogs you mail, the more revenue you get, you have to be very careful to mail to targeted lists that are producing positive results, or you can over-mail and end up losing money.”

The financial results of Fairytale Brownies are excellent implementations of our suggestions of ways to save on printing.

Paper Mail?

Most of the information available to businesses and marketers is currently promoting “digital” communication. What about paper?

Paper can be touched and felt.

Print is persuasive. On paper, you can communicate at greater length (due to less eyestrain) and more depth – attention spans are longer for print.

Paper materials prompt action.  There are examples that printed pieces drive sales through other channels, including web sales.

Paper gets read when the recipient is in the mood, unlike emails, tweets, texts, or other updates which are usually read immediately or deleted.

To get through, to stand out, to get read rather than skimmed, to trigger orders, printed postal mail is still a great way to use marketing resources.

2010 Consumer Trends published a list of key trends that they see for consumers in 2010. You may be interested as you think forward. We are  sharing a summary email that they sent out in November.

1. BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL The societal changes that will dominate 2010 were set in motion way before we temporarily stared into the abyss.

2. URBANY Urban culture is the culture. Extreme urbanization, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and far beyond will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world.

3. REAL-TIME REVIEWS Whatever it is you’re selling or launching in 2010, it will be reviewed ‘en masse’, live, 24/7.

4. (F)LUXURY Closely tied to what constitutes status, which itself is becoming more fragmented, luxury will be whatever consumers want it to be over the next 12 months.

5. MASS MINGLING Online lifestyles are fueling ‘real world’ meet-ups like there’s no tomorrow, shattering all predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future.

6. ECO-EASY To really reach some meaningful sustainability goals in 2010, corporations and governments will have to forcefully make it ‘easy’ for consumers to be more green, by restricting the alternatives.

7. TRACKING & ALERTING Tracking and alerting are the new search, and 2010 will see countless new INFOLUST (consumers lusting after relevant information) services that will help consumers expand their web of control.

8. EMBEDDED GENEROSITY This year, generosity as a trend will adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative donation services for consumers.

9. PROFILE MYNING (as in data and profile mining by its rightful owners, i.e. consumers) With hundreds of millions of consumers now nurturing some sort of online profile, 2010 will be a good year to help them make the most of it (financially), from intention-based models to digital afterlife services.

10. MATURIALISM 2010 will be even more opinionated, risque, outspoken, if not ‘raw’ than 2009; you can thank the anything-goes online world for that.

Some of these trends apply to you. How can we help you craft your marketing message to respond to what is happening now?

The trend for Mass Mingling also applies to marketing. Even though people are getting more and more information electronically, they are still responding to traditional communication channels. Mail can help cut through some of the electronic information competition and truly complement a multichannel communication strategy.

Who Should Be Your Spokesperson?

In a prescient post by Harvard Business Publishing on November 19th of last year. They shared information gathered by an Adweek Media/ Harris Poll that found that among US adults 37% say business leaders, 21% say athletes, 18% say TV or movie stars, 14% say musicians, and 10% say former political figures, make the most persuasive ad pitchmen (or pitchwomen).

Maybe you, as a leader of your company, would make a great spokesperson?

Call us 602-272-2100 to talk to us about some ideas to implement this in your next direct mail piece.

How to Save on Printing

Use postcards when appropriate. They’re fast, easy and affordable to produce.

If you plan to mail a series of postcards or self-mailers, print all versions at the same time, then mail them over time. The larger your print run, the lower the cost per printed piece.

Consider printing a year’s worth of four-color “shells” or basic templates (lower cost per piece for printing), then go back and do one-color imprints of specific messages or offers in smaller quantities throughout the year.

Consider one-color printing on colored or textured paper stock or other methods to save on printing.

Try two-color printing with screens to add visual interest.

Recycle an existing brochure or catalog by using a sticker, overwrap or other way to call attention to a specific product, service or offer inside.

Reactivate interest in a catalog that’s already in your customers’ hands by mailing out a postcard with a photo of the catalog cover on it and making a special limited offer.

Reduce printing and inserting costs by making your letter double as the reply device. Print the response information at the bottom of the letter and ask for the entire letter to be returned to you.

Reasons to Mail Now

There are no filters removing printed mail from good old-fashioned mailboxes.

Nobody likes an empty mailbox! Mail volume has decreased, a really good offer to the right person has a great chance of standing out.


Now is a great time to take advantage of direct mail and other underused marketing channels.

Many businesses have shifted advertising to online efforts. Maybe this is the time to see our current economy as an opportunity. What a great occasion to increase brand advertising!

Successful brand advertising is all about building a connection with your customer, this establishes your business or product as something which is known and trusted. Brand marketing helps us trust a company and buy when we see their ads later on. One of the greatest challenges for smaller businesses is to establish a name for themselves, and a downturn actually provides an opportunity to do that because it tends to suppress brand building advertising. What a great chance to be able to jump over your competitors, especially if the market leader has curtailed their advertising spending during the downturn.

The Mail Moment

Many businesses are re-evaluating any and all business decisions, including marketing decisions, during this economic cycle. They are looking at response rates to their marketing efforts and the costs to get those responses.

The US Postal Service published a study called “The Mail Moment”. This study was conducted a few years ago after most Americans had adopted new habits for shopping and gathering purchasing information using the Internet.

“The Mail Moment defines the highly interactive daily ritual that consumers devote to bringing in their Mail and discovering what it offers.”

“Right now – in a market you want to reach – your ideal prospect is just waiting for the moment. She’s eager to invite you in to see what your message can bring to her life. She’s even willing to set aside time to focus solely on what you have to say.”

“The study also found that Mail is placed where it’s seen and used and that it moves from room to room, allowing consumers to read it at their convenience. Mail may be the easiest way to reach household and financial decision makers.”

Mail is welcomed into people’s days and plays a unique and personal role in their lives. Mail offers you the opportunity to create an emotional connection with your customers.

Thrive in Turbulence

Deliver Magazine (the marketing magazine published by the US Postal Service) interviewed Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and here are some highlights. He was talking about his book, Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in The Age of Turbulence. I remember reading Kotler’s books in college, it is great that his new ideas are still so relevant.

Eight ways to flourish despite widespread uncertainty and upheaval

1. Secure your market share from core customer segments. Your first priority is to get your core customer segments firmly secured. This is no time to get too greedy. Be prepared to ward off attacks from competitors attempting to take away your most loyal and profitable customers.

2. Push aggressively for greater market share. All companies fight for market share and, in chaotic times, many have been weakened. Slashing marketing budgets and sales travel budgets are sure signs that a competitor is buckling under pressure. Add to your core customer segments at the expense of your weakened competitors.

3. Research customers now more than ever. Everyone is under pressure during times of turbulence and chaos, which means all customers are changing their habits — even those in your core segments whom you know so well. Stay close to them. You don’t want to find yourself relying on old marketing messages that no longer resonate.

4. Seek to increase — or at least maintain — your marketing budget. This is the worst time to think about cutting anything in your marketing budget that targets your core customer segments. In fact, you need to add to this budget, or take money away from those forays you were planning to go after totally new customer segments. It’s time to secure the home front.

5. Focus on all that’s safe. When turbulence is scaring everyone in the market, there is a massive flight to safety by most consumers. They need to feel the safety and security of your company and its products and services. Do everything possible to communicate that continuing to do business with you is safe. Spend whatever it takes to do it.

6. Quickly drop programs that aren’t working. If you’re not watching your spending, rest assured that someone else is — including your peers whose budgets couldn’t be protected from the ax. Cut out ineffective programs before someone else calls attention to them.

7. Don’t discount your best brands. When you do this, you instantly tell the market two things: Your prices were too high before, and your brands won’t be worth the price in the future once the discount is gone. Instead, consider creating a new, distinct product or service offering under a new brand with lower prices. This gives value-conscious customers the ability to stay close to you while not alienating those still willing to pay for your higher-priced brands. Once the turbulence subsides, you may consider discontinuing your newly introduced branded value product line — or not.

8. Save the strong; lose the weak. In a turbulent economy, you need to make your strongest brands and products even stronger. There’s no time or money to be wasted on marginal brands or overly fragile products that aren’t supported by strong value propositions and a solid customer base.

Entrepreneurs Find Direct Mailings Still Key to Winning Customers

The Wall Street Journal published an article on January 12th that discussed the experiences of businesses that tried to replace their direct mail marketing with various forms of email marketing. Their trials did not work; they went back to direct mail.

The article discussed some new strategies of sending more personalized messages to a very select list of current and prospective customers. Please see the previous postings titled “Do More Marketing with Less Money” and “Doing More with Less” for some more ideas about how to make the most of mail.

Mail is a great way to reach your customers and prospects with relevant offers and information. Your audience will give you their time and attention to consider what you have to say.