Tag Archive for Target Marketing

Creating More Value in the Mail

DMNews published a story about trends in marketing campaigns that stress customers’ ideas of “value”.

US consumer spending grew at the fastest rate in three years during the first quarter of 2010, according to figures from the Commerce Department. Overall spending grew 3.6%, with spending on durable goods increasing 11.3%. For nondurable goods, the increase was 3.9% and for services, 2.4%. These figures suggest the worst of the recession may be over, but it doesn’t paint a clear picture of what the consumer will do next.

The power of putting money back in consumers’ wallets explains the growing popularity of coupons. NCH Marketing Services reports that coupon distribution rose 11% in 2009, while redemption rates have increased consistently over the past six quarters. According to a recent Nielsen report, direct mail is the second-fastest growing redemption method for coupons, posting a 69% jump in 2009.

Price promotions aren’t the only way to a consumer’s heart. Sprint does a good job providing value and relevance to consumers in its communications, including direct mail. Over the past year, the company has shifted its focus away from acquisition toward more loyalty- and customer retention-oriented efforts. There is so much more information about your customer base, so it is a lot easier to get relevant and meaningful. In February 2009, Sprint introduced a complimentary loyalty program for wireless customers and is promoting it through direct mail and e-mail. A mailed welcome package details the benefits of the program.

Determining your customer base’s definition of “value” will drive the right direct mail strategy.

The economy has made things tough for everyone but, in the end, mailing successfully means being able to tap into what’s going on in consumers’ minds. As marketers, we are responsible for giving customers what they want, and at this particular time, that means value.

People Still Want Mail

In a recent LinkedIn discussion a member of the group overheard a conversation at a table in a restaurant between two couples…

… One couple recently bought a home, and they were excited about it. Although they had the new address for a couple of months, they were disappointed that they haven’t gotten any mail yet. They weren’t talking about personal mail or bills – they were talking specifically about retail offers, coupons, and personalized direct mail pieces. They mentioned that the couple in the house next to them had received offers – and the couple without mail was actually jealous of them…

Direct mail is desired! Especially to new homeowners. We offer lists of new homeowners and are happy to talk to you about ways we can help you reach them.

Smarter Selling

The Aberdeen Group published a report of survey results titled: “Sales Intelligence: Preparing for Smarter Selling”. They found that within Best-in-Class companies, an average 52% of sales representatives are currently achieving quota, as compared to a 26% average among Laggard organizations.

Best-in-Class companies see a 9% year-over-year reduction in time sales reps spend searching for relevant company/contact information, as compared to a 5% increase in time among Laggard performers.

Best-in-Class companies boast an average 5% year-over-year reduction in the sales cycle time, as compared to a 7% increase in sales cycle time among Laggards.

These numbers tell the story of the economy and the what a difference implementing good sales lead management and generation can do.

How can we help you find great, relevant leads?

Business to Business Sales Leads

Marketo provided the inspiration for these tips. They propose a process for growing business to business sales leads.

1. Nurture. Lead nurturing is the process of using many channels including the mail, phone, web, email, and other channels to build relationships with qualified prospects who are not ready for sales efforts. Many leads are still in research mode, so communication and offers should provide best practices, statistics, research, etc. to help the customer frame their research.

Lead nurturing:

  • Builds relationships with prospects
  • Creates understanding of needs
  • Facilitates lead scoring

2. Frame the research. Lead nurturing is not sending a newsletter to your entire database, or calling prospects every few weeks to see if they are ready to buy yet. B2B purchases are, by their nature, complex. Buyers need help to see possibilities and issues they wouldn’t think about on their own. If you can help frame the discussion, you will be seen as a trusted advisor and thought leader. This will help buyers believe that your company understands their problems and knows how to solve them. Lead nurturing is your opportunity to demonstrate the value you can provide and to position yourself as a resource.

3. Define what makes a lead “ready”. Work with your sales team to build criteria that determine the steps prospects should take before they are ready for a sales call. Criteria could include:

  • Demographic information – Geographic location, company size, etc.
  • “Push” actions – What have you done to interact with the lead, what have you told them?
  • “Pull” actions – What has the lead done to pull information to them? What pages have they visited? Have they downloaded special information?

4. Score the lead. The prospect is in control of the buying process. Monitor their efforts to pull information and interaction to know when they’re ready to move to the next stage. Interest level should be defined not just by their words but their actions. Actions speak louder than words. Track all the actions and update scores accordingly.

5. Provide detailed information to sales when leads are determined to be “ready”. Don’t just toss the lead over and leave it up to the sales rep to create a continuous experience for the customer.

  • Let sales know what marketing activities the prospect has responded to, and indicate which product the prospect is most likely to purchase based on responses to date.
  • Create tools such as templates, qualifying questions, and call scripts to guide sales reps during their initial contact with the lead. Be sure to refer to the marketing activities they have responded to.

6. Track follow up. Work with sales to create the scoring criteria to build goodwill with them. After that, regularly analyze the leads that were determined to be sales-ready to further refine your lead scoring criteria.

  • Adjust lead score thresholds based on business conditions.
  • Make sure sales follows up with leads and reassign leads that don’t get contacted.
  • When leads aren’t closed by sales as expected, recycle them back into marketing for further nurturing.

7. Track every marketing activity. Tracking every marketing activity is critical to understanding which marketing programs work. What programs directly contributed to sales? What programs generated the highest quality leads? Which programs had the greatest influence on the sales pipeline? You need to know the impact of all the programs.

8. Understand prospects needs. As you build a relationship with your prospects, you should also be learning more about their needs. Every campaign the prospect responds to tells you about their interests. Every page they visit on your website tells you about their interests. Every link they click, and every piece of information they fill out on a form, tells you more about them. Be clever with your forms – don’t ask prospects to enter information you already know, and use the opportunity to find out something new!

9. Track all traffic and tie to new leads. Simple code on your Web pages help you track prospects, whether anonymous or known. This helps tell you which companies are interested in your products. As anonymous prospects complete forms on your website or landing pages, any previous web visits can be automatically attributed to the new lead. This is important to determine the sales readiness of new leads, since you know the entire history of the relationship with that prospect – including which campaign helped them find you in the first place.

10. Data quality standards, including de-duplication. Demographic analysis has long been a part of the sales process, and the Web makes it easier to collect this information. Certain information such as company size can help you determine the lead score. With many demand generation and lead nurturing activities running concurrently, automatic deduplication is imperative. Forms which auto-complete if the visitor is recognized not only help your prospects but can also facilitate the collection of additional information for profiling and scoring.

Restore Old Customers

Traditional customer re-activation strategies are struggling to deliver the results they once did. This has been fueled by cuts in consumer spending and communication channel fragmentation, forcing marketers to develop new approaches. A Target Marketing Magazine article told the stories of innovators who are leveraging customer data, analytical tools and new customer touchpoints to fuel their remarketing efforts with results.

Start With the Basics
The fundamentals haven’t changed. Identify your best customers and the attributes that make them the best. Analyze purchasing trends, patronage patterns and channel usage to bring to light key behavioral characteristics of the ideal candidates.

Don’t stop there. Demographics, wealth data, transactional information and other lists can be used to enrich the customer profile. This information is useful for assessing the value of former customers who had sparse purchase histories but may still be good candidates.

Last, match these reactivation profiles against dormant customer files to “pop” the segments most likely to yield a profitable level of response.

Reactivation efforts most often are targeted at customers who have not shopped or purchased in the last year or more. While these consumers may not be shopping with you, they are buying from someone.

Reactivation Rundown
Reactivation is a form of advanced prospecting. By applying predictive scores to dormant customer files before fielding a reactivation campaign, resources can be prioritized toward those households with the greatest likelihood of response.

A good reactivation strategy encompasses not only who to target, but how to target them. In today’s multichannel environment, opportunities to blend print and other media into an optimum delivery stream for each target segment exist. For example, leads might be generated via a print mail campaign. These leads might then be further qualified using lead scoring and either prioritized for rapid follow-up by phone for high potentials or routed to another channel for less qualified candidates. This blended approach can yield more profitable results. Marketers should choose the medium that optimizes reach and response, according to budget.

Using Predictive Scoring
Aim for a clear view of your best customers. While it is possible, and sometimes economical, to target all former customers, it’s more often the case that a campaign targeting high-value or niche segments produces the best financial results. Focus on predicting who will respond, and then determine the best channel and sequence for the message.

Build New Relationships
A reactivation strategy should include follow-up plans and next steps as well as an outline with how often customers would like to receive communication. Lastly, update files with new customer information and data to ensure future campaigns maximize the information available.

For Designers

As you work on putting together your direct mail piece, one designer shares his rules. Some of them may be valid for you, others maybe not. We just want to get you started.

From: Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual by Timothy Samara

  1. Have a concept
  2. Communicate don’t decorate
  3. Speak with one visual voice
  4. Use two typefaces maximum
  5. Show one thing first
  6. Pick colors on purpose
  7. If you can do more with less, do it.
  8. Negative space is magical
  9. Treat type as image
  10. Keep type friendly
  11. Be universal, it’s not about you
  12. Squish and separate: create rhythms in density and openness
  13. Firecrackers and rising sun: distribute light and dark
  14. Be decisive
  15. Measure with your eyes
  16. Make what you need; don’t scavenge
  17. Ignore fashion
  18. Move it! Static equals dull
  19. Look to history, but don’t repeat it
  20. Symmetry is not good

List selection strategies

The list could be the most significant factor in the success or failure of a direct mail campaign. Regardless of how strong the creative and message may be, if the message isn’t communicated to the right audience, the impact will be compromised.

Surprisingly, few marketers spend the time and energy to accurately identify their audience. In an effort to make sure everyone knows about the promotion, they often communicate with people on the fringes, thus lowering the overall performance and value of the campaign.

One option is to build customer “profiles” for your products or services. If you can determine conversion as a percentage of desirable market segments, you can make an educated decision regarding which segment will produce a positive return on investment. Marketing only to those people with the highest propensity to purchase from you inevitably increases your campaign’s success, performance and value.

Ideas to Stretch Your Mailing Dollars

Creating and producing direct mail advertising can get very expensive. But that does not mean you have to spend a fortune. You just need to know how to make the most of your dollars.

Mail to your best prospects or customers first.

Don’t drop huge quantities all at once. If you are mailing 50 letters to sell more to your best customers, 250 cards to convert first-time buyers to repeat buyers, or thousands of pieces to find qualified prospects, it’s all direct mail, it is measurable and accountable.

Maximize your return. Whenever you invest in postage to communicate with your customers, increase your yield on that investment by also asking for referrals, offering an incentive for new product ideas, direct them to a special page on your website or give them a “Yes or No” option to respond (Yes, I’m ready to buy now … No, I’m not ready now but I do want to stay informed about new products and services).

“Pass-along”. Increase your total exposure without increasing your costs. Ask the recipient to give your mail piece to an interested friend or co-worker. Make sure to provide some kind of a “thank you” for doing it and create a way to track this response too.

Make the postage stand out. Use a different looking stamp or indicia to gain reader interest and attention.

Stretch your budget. Use a more expensive printed mailing piece to your best customers or prospects and less expensive postcards to your secondary targets.

Effective direct mail does not have to cost a fortune.

New Statistics About Mail

In a recent article in Target Marketing Magazine titled To Mail or Not to Mail author Pat Friesen cited some surprising statistics.

“Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed by InnoMedia say receiving mail is a pleasure.”

“Sixty-seven percent of Americans feel traditional mail is more personal than Internet communications, according to research from the U.S. Postal Service.”

“Among Gen Yers (born 1977-1994) and Gen Xers (born 1965-1976), more than 70 percent sort their mail immediately reports the USPS.”

Young consumers invest time with their direct mail knowing it is advertising. They are motivated to receive information to help make buying decisions.

“Studies show direct mail is favorably received by young consumers because it’s tangible-they keep and browse through catalogs; it’s private-there’s an advantage to NOT being able to forward it to everyone in someone else’s address book; and it’s secure-58 percent still prefer receiving and paying bills by mail.”

“There are people who are more comfortable receiving and responding to direct mail than e-mail, even when they have e-mail addresses. For example, marketers of products and services for older seniors (75+), continue to use direct mail to generate leads and sales. These seniors are motivated readers that open and keep direct mail. NOTE: Don’t assume that because you have e-mail addresses for any age group, e-mail is the preferred medium for hearing from you.”

“Mail is more private than e-mail according to 66 percent of those participating in a recent U.S. Postal Service study. They said the Internet is not a substitute for mail. Sixty-eight percent also said mail is more secure.”