So many choices, so little time and money

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 
Now what?

When we started this column, we titled it, “Confusion Says”. Of course, it was a play on the words Confucius Says, usually the beginning of some thoughtful point of philosophy, some short and simple phrase from long ago, loaded with insight. Our Confusion Says column speaks to the confusion that exists in the world of marketing. Confusion has always existed in that world, but today the number of choices and subsequent directions are anything but short and simple. They are more confusing than ever before. We wanted to review the options and present the facts as they exist today.

What remains consistent is that, of every option you choose, it can succeed or it can fail. It is all dependent upon the development of the strategy and the execution of the tactics. ME is now in control as never before. ME has the ultimate channel changer, their keyboard and their mobile device. They will Like you, Follow you and Link up with you, but only if you ask permission and only if you have something relevant to say, something relevant to them that is. If that relationship works, they will buy from you. If that relationship fails, well, remember, it’s not ME it’s you.

Every channel we explored should be used dependent upon time and money. If only we had it all. As we reviewed in earlier segments, most should be used in concert with other channels. Yesterday, I watched an advertisement for Google on TV. A few days ago, they emailed me an invitation to use their services and several weeks ago they direct mailed me a printed promotion for these same services. Yes, even Google, a 14 year old multi-billion dollar highly successful company that is most noted as a search engine for web sites, even Google uses TV, direct mail and email to market its services. It integrates multiple channels. Now, the TV commercial has come and gone. The email is somewhere on my hard drive. The Direct Mail piece, well, that’s sitting right in front of me now – a constant, unobtrusive reminder of it, the other advertisements and, of course, the company. This is cross-channel marketing. It is what you need to do as well.

As we move forward and new information is gathered, we will provide you with what the industry has to say about all of these channels.

The confusion will continue. We will find the facts to sort it out.


Posters, banners and signs: Focusing on the neighbourhood

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
What’s new in the neighbourhood? That’s the question that posters and banners are designed to answer. They tend to focus on the immediate, the now. Signs tend to focus on the brand and the location. Either way, they are messages between you and the market. Okay, so these are things that most of us already know. So what? Well, there are a few facts we should keep in mind.

First, design is critical to your image, in fact, for many, it is their image, at least the first impression anyway. The University of Cincinnati and Better Homes and Gardens conducted a study on signage in October of 2011. What they found was that of 200 business school students, 79% said that the quality of the signage inferred the quality of the company. It’s a handshake, a first impression. You are what you project. So, if you advertise with a hand painted sign or a low resolution picture banner, you might sell a lot of used lawn furniture, but don’t expect to sell any diamond rings.

Next, if you are a new business, signage tells people that you have arrived. Use it. When we opened our first business, it was on a busy street corner. We set up a large well lit awning sign and we kept it lit all night. There was a bus stop across the street and the bus drivers called out the stop with our name as that destination. We were so prominent we became an immediate fixture. In our first year of operation, we set a record for the highest first year dollar volume location of some 400 North American locations in over 20 years. I’m not saying it was the sign, but it sure helped. It will help you too.

And just to restate the obvious, make the sign big and clear. That U of C study mentioned above also discovered that 50% of consumers drive by and miss small or unclear signs even when they are looking for that location. Not only that but, 64% of women aged 18 to 24 will miss the sign under the same conditions. There is just too much visual competition. For signs trying to attract drive by traffic, the layout is very important. Your logo should be in the top left along with a graphic and one or two key words. That’s all the time they have to read your message. Too much information and your message will be lost. It will become a blur. A blur just doesn’t sell stuff. Locating your message shouldn’t become an Easter Egg Hunt.

Did you know that after television, consumers considered indoor signage as tied with magazines as the most useful source of new product information? Well, neither did I until I read that U of C study. So what? Well, you can capitalize on this by placing product information signs in your business. Think of it as an informative customer service person spreading your message all day, every day. By the way, that same study showed that outdoor signs were the third most useful source of new product information. Are you in a mall or on a busy street with windows? If so, you know what to do.

And the, “But Wait There’s More” moment:

Remember QR Codes? We talked about them in June of this year. Where ever possible, every banner and poster should have a QR Code. It changes the static to the dynamic. It takes your customers and prospects to your other communications media. If successful, it engages them to interact with your brand in the worlds of email and web. It develops a relationship and that helps to grow your company.

Next: So many choices…So little time and money. Now what?


Marketing With Tangibles

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

Now, how about something we can really get our hands around?

Trinkets and trash, that’s what they used to call promotional products and advertising specialties. It was stuff you gave away as an afterthought without any real consideration of its impact. You just did it because… well, that’s what someone said to do. They bought it and you had to give it away. As it turns out, these items have a lot more value than some people think.

Promotional products have become an $18+ Billion dollar world-wide industry. Almost every major brand on this planet uses promotional products. There are literally hundreds of thousands of products to choose from. Practically any item that you can think of has been transformed into a promotional product. Why? Because name recognition and brand retention is strengthened through the use of this form of advertising. The life span or staying power of these products can be very long and thus your message is seen again and again, sometimes over years and to a wide ranging audience. Once again, rarely is marketing a home run. It is a series of hits and a series of runs – back to our reference to “Moneyball”. Promotional products are one more tool to keep your game alive for a very long time.

Now, back to the trinkets and trash comment, ME wants something useful not just clutter. If the item is useful, ME will keep it. If it has ME’s name on it then ME will keep it for a very long time. As an example, on and around my desk I myself have one branded calendar, two branded travel mugs and scores of branded pens. I see the names of those companies every day, all day and each item they have given me is useful. That’s why I use them.

The promotional product industry also consists of employee recognition items. This is all about motivating, rewarding and retaining employees. Providing an employee with an item that has their name on it is a special moment. Rarely do people discard an item that has their name on it. Our offices have well over 100 awards with our company’s and our employees’ names on them. Some awards were presented over 40 years ago. Again, it is all part of building the team and subsequently, the brand.

Let’s look at some statistics from a study performed by the Advertising Specialty Institute.

    84% remembered the advertisers of the promotional products they’ve received.

    62% have done business with the advertiser on a promotional product after receiving the item.

    42% had a more favourable impression of the advertiser after receiving the item.


The 2012 State of the Industry report in Counselor magazine lists the top 26 categories of promotional products sold. Shirts are the undisputed leader with 20% of revenue. 42% of men and 30% of women own a promo shirt. Writing instruments account for 7.3% of revenue and have the highest retention percentages. 56% of women and 46% of men own one of these. Calendars account for 4% of revenue. 28% of women and 19% of men own a promotional calendar. 81% of people surveyed said that they kept a promotional product because it was useful.

In summary, promotional products can help build the retention of your brand in the marketplace and within your company. Of course, the more useful the product or the more special the moment, then the more likely it will be kept and displayed for all to see. Promote your web site on the item and engage people on another media. It’s one more way to work cross media marketing.

Next week:Posters, Banners and Signs: Focusing on the Neighbourhood


Social Media: Fans, Friends and Cascading Media

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Facebook is a party. It is not a trip to the mall. Facebook is a doorway to family and friends. We bring our pictures and all kinds of information about us to the party. We share. We play games there, connect to old friends and make new ones. We review our past and we plan our futures on Facebook. It’s fun. According to a recent ExactTarget study, 30% call it their “guilty pleasure” It has become an alternate life, a place to kill time, an escape. It is a place of serendipitous discoveries where we discover things we were not even looking for. It has been called the “default social community” and most of the community says that marketers are not welcome. Period. Yet…here’s the rub, the ultimate tease, according to a Nielson study in 2009, 90% of the Facebook community trusts product recommendations from Friends. We are not allowed in, but, but, if we can get there, then Oh Boy, Look Out. We are on a rocket ship to marketing nirvana.

So, focusing again on ME. When ME goes to Email, Google and LinkedIn, ME takes their wallets. That’s the trip to the mall. ME is going to shop. ME is looking for deals. If ME met and Liked You at the Facebook party, ME might look you up if you gave ME a deal. 58% of Fans expect this according to ExactTarget. Remember, just because ME Liked you at the party, it doesn’t mean you have permission to call ME. If you start constantly calling (marketing to) ME without permission, then ME will drop you. 44% will Unlike you if you post too frequently. The question remains: How do we get ME, that we met at the Facebook party, to Like our company and visit us at the mall and shop with us?

First, be entertaining when you are at the party and every time you call. Remember it’s a party. ME is there for fun. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not ME it’s you. A recent report, “The Power of Like” a collaboration between comScore and Facebook, talks about how social marketing works. It states that accumulating Fans is only the first step. The next step is accumulating Friends of Fans and thus amplifying the marketing message. They talk about Fan Reach, Engagement and Amplification. Once the brand has been seen on Facebook, presumably for this discussion from “paid media” (an ad), it then attempts to Reach its Fans via the News Feed and their Brand Pages. If it is “entertaining” enough, Fans become Engaged and they talk to their Friends about the brand. This is “earned media” and thus we have Amplification. Yes, it’s all about gossip. One Fan talks about the brand to a Friend and that Friend talks to another Friend etc. etc. So, although an initial brand Engagement rate might be just 1%, it is Amplified to a factor of 10 or more. It cascades.

That’s the theory with some supporting data. The author, Andrew Lipsman was reported in Time Business on August 7, 2012 as stating that there was still not enough data and that the process will play itself out over the next couple of years. Right now, it appears that the stock market has decided not to wait. It’s hard to sell products at a party when people only attend for fun.

Of course, the next step in cascading Fans and Friends of Fans into customers is to seek permission for one to one marketing via ME’s favourite digital marketing channel – Email. You, know, the shopping channel. One more step in cascading media.

Next week: We Interrupt Your Life To Bring You This… Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago!


Social Media: The Twilight Zone of Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Check out the introduction to this old TV series, The Twilight Zone. So what do you think? Does this represent marketing’s journey into the world of Social Media? Using the key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension, one of sound, sight and mind into a land of shadow and substance of things and ideas. Crossing over into The Twilight Zone. Well, If your answer is yes, there are many marketers and financial analysts that would agree with you. The highway behind us is littered with the bodies of those who have tried and failed, but the good news is that some have succeeded. Let’s see why. “The key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension” or we might say, “Two guys in their parent’s garage fiddling with the internet”.

I like the first version better, but the second speaks to the reality of social media. The other reality is that these social media vehicles rise and fall with amazing speed. Think Digg, Friendster, MySpace and Napster as some of the names from the past. Today we are witnessing the following companies drop in value from their initial public offerings: Zynga down 81%,Groupon down 77%, Facebook down 45%. On July 2, 2012 Microsoft took a $6.1 billion dollar write-off of aQuantive, the online advertising company it purchased in 2007. It has never made money for Microsoft. On the flip side we have Google up 80% and LinkedIn up 130%. Here we are with the “shadow and substance of things and ideas”.

Some good news facts are: Syncapse Social Trac Report states that 28% of fans are loyal users and that
the average fan is 41% more likely to recommend the company. 48% of people aged 18 – 34 check their Facebook when they wake up. The Hubspot March 2012 report on the State of Inbound Marketing states that 65% of companies have acquired B2B customers through LinkedIn and 77% of companies have acquired B2C customers through Facebook. In a 2012 social media study comScore reports that Fans and Friends of Fans spend about 2x as much on average in Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Who will survive and who will not? Why do some make money and stay in existence while others lose money and eventually disappear and why should you care? The answer to both questions is: ADVERTISING. Some sites do this well and some do not. People on some sites accept advertising and people on some sites do not. You want to be on a site that implements advertising well and that people accept the advertising. In other words, ME accepts YOU.

Reflecting back on our many discussions about ME and you will recall that ME has a firm grip on the channel changer. ME controls the conversation and they are not giving that up. If the relationship falls apart, it’s not ME it’s you.

Here’s a tidbit for you: the July 7, 2012 issue of the Economist magazine quoted a representative of Moonbeam Development (yes, you read that right – two guys in a garage again) that used the company Leadbolt to PUSH ads into people’s mobile notification bars without their consent. They received death threats. How’s that for a tight grip on the control of the conversation for you? That is a world of crazy. So how do you win in this environment? One word: PERMISSION.

As pointed out in our discussion about Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires PERMISSION. It also requires respect, empathy and relevance. Content is king. As Lyris pointed out in their November 2011 report, email and social media are the only two permission based channels. You don’t just barge in with your offer. They are not the “interruption based advertising” of TV and radio. The psychology of this seems not to have hit home with the advertising crowd. In their pursuit of the social media gold rush they see lots of targets (i.e. potential customers) gathering on a site and they deploy the old “push” style advertising that they are used to, the “spray and pray” method of marketing. Successful marketing in the social media world is achieved today through content and cascading media.

Next week: Social Media…Fans, Friends and Cascading Media


Direct Mail: Testing, Testing, Testing can you hear ME now?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
To continue with our dance theme from the last entry, let’s look at the start of the dance. We need to be heard. We need a microphone. One that works. We need to test that mic. Direct Mail needs to be tested. Tap, tap, tap. Do you hear ME? We are fine tuning here. Not everything will work. Some tunes bring everyone onto the floor. Some do not. Ever been to a dance where no one is getting up? Conversations are low. People are looking around checking out the ceiling, the floor, the shape of their paper cup, their watches. Looking for the exits. When do we get to leave? Have we spent enough time here? Shouldn’t I be somewhere exciting right now? Then, suddenly, a tune breaks out. It’s alive. You love the beat. Maybe you’ve heard it before. Your feet are moving. Everyone crowds onto the dance floor. They are coming to the party. Moving to the sound. In Direct Mail, you want to be that sound. Over and over. They never want you to go away. They keep coming back. You have found the magic. The right tune. Testing, testing, testing is your route to finding that song and becoming what everyone longs for. With that objective, let’s focus on ME.

Is the Direct Mail message getting through to ME? We won’t know until ME communicates with us loud and clear. Although we send the message, it is ME who determines if the message is ever received. It is ME who decides to contact us. They control the channel. Think of the intro to “The Outer Limits”, a 1963 Sci Fi television show. That’s us on the couch in front of the TV. How do we get that remote to work?

As we know, marketing is a continuous process constantly evolving to meet the needs of ME and like all marketing, testing is critical to the success of Direct Mail. Marketing is not a one hit wonder. It is not a home run. It is a series of improvements until we load the bases and the runs start to come in. It takes time. Marketing is like the movie, “Moneyball” for those of you who like Brad Pitt and sports. It is a focus on the stats, on the numbers, on the results. Some of the methods we use to separate and measure the results of our campaigns are things like: numbered coupons, gift cards and reply cards, various offers, different toll free #s and email response addresses for each campaign, specific QR Code and PURL landing pages tied to each campaign.

We send Direct Mail to segments of our markets to gauge the response to our offers. These segments might consist of geography, gender, age, customers, prospects, income and previous purchases etc. It is important that we send a sample size that will yield “statistical significance”, but not one that uses up a large portion of our list. We might send out 5-10% of our list to a minimum of 500-1000 per campaign. We will need to measure the results of each modified campaign so that we can focus our efforts on what has provided the highest responses and alter the offers accordingly. Remember that our success depends upon the list accuracy (50%), the offer (30%) and the creative (20%).

There are Power Locations on every Direct Mail piece. These are locations that will be noticed first by ME. They are: the outer envelope, the opening or heading of the letter, the closing of the letter, a PS section in the letter, a burst in the letter or card, the lower left portion of a postcard and an insert in a letter. Straightforward offers or calls to action should be at these locations. In other words, it answers the question, what’s in it for ME?

Next week: Social Media…The Twilight Zone of Marketing


Direct Mail: The Dance Continues

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
So, let me get this straight. Are we saying that Direct Mail is like dancing? Well, yes, it sort of is. But like everything in life, there is more than one way to perform this dance. One form is a physical expression of individualism with or without a partner and with or without the flow of the music. It is spontaneous and eclectic. Touching is usually not allowed. Another form is the movement of two people in synchronization with the music. Think of Dancing with the Stars.

Direct Mail is Dancing with the Stars. It is planned and rehearsed over and over. It is not random. It is not spontaneous. It is you engaging your partner with a series of choreographed moves. In Direct Mail your partner is the customer/client/prospect. You guessed it, it’s ME, the object of your attention.

In Direct Mail we don’t just show up at the dance and jump out onto the floor, well, not unless a lot of substance abuse is involved, but that usually doesn’t turn out so well. Planning is crucial to the success of Direct Mail just like any marketing campaign. The first thing we need to do is to decide with whom we would like to dance before we even get to the floor. We need to target an audience. What does ME look like? This is a focus on your products and services and the markets that could use them. Why should ME dance with you? List the benefits because you will need them in your direct mail marketing. We are only going to use a few of these benefits at a time in Direct Mail because we want to provide a simple, easy to explain benefit that can be grasped quickly and acted upon urgently. Again, it’s all about ME.

Where do we find ME? The best targets are your house list. That is a list you have compiled from your database. This list is 5 to 10 times more likely to respond than a purchased compiled list. After all, they have danced with you before. Hopefully it was a good experience for ME. Another good target is a response list. This is a list you have purchased and it consists of targets that have purchased from other’s direct mail in the past. In other words, they have danced before. This list is 3 to 5 times more likely to respond than a purchased compiled list. They like to dance. The next target list you can use is a compiled list. Again, it is something that you have purchased and it is random, but relevant to your product or services. It looks a lot like ME.

Next week: Direct Mail…Testing, Testing, Testing can you hear ME now?


How will Direct Mail get to ME?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

Direct Mail! You mean Junk Mail, don’t you? I mean, who wants that? The answer, it seems, is quite a few of us not only want Direct Mail, but we respond to it quite well.

First, let’s establish the definition of Direct Mail, what it is and what it is not. Direct Mail is a subsection of Direct Marketing. It is a mailed item addressed to a specific individual usually based upon a prior business relationship or upon research. It offers specific benefits for that individual. It’s not unaddressed circulars and flyers that arrive in the mail or with a newspaper. That’s the stuff we call Junk Mail (believe it or not, the response rates for these are pretty good too). So once again, it is marketing directed at ME. You could consider it to be like an email or SMS text message, but without the digital component, or, as more and more are saying, the annoyance factor.

Now, like a lot of digital messages, you may not have asked for it. You may not want it. You may not even look at it. BUT…it’s not in your face. It’s not in your space. It’s not using resources that you are paying for. It has not demanded your time and used your money to get to you. Like digital media, it does not have your permission to be there, but you know what? That’s okay. You can look at it when you want to. ME is in control and ME likes control. It is personal and ME likes personal.

One more time, Direct Mail is the only media that can be used to contact ME without permission. Good news! Right? Well, yes, but it’s only the first step to get to ME. You caught my eye, but there has to be more than that in the relationship. Like remembering my name would be good for starters. What about what ME wants? Have you thought of that?

Rule #1 in Direct Mail is to address ME by name. If you don’t know ME, why should ME communicate with you? If you are mailing to existing or former clients/customers, then presumably you have their names (just a guess here). By the way, according to a 2012 report from The Ballantine Corporation, after receiving direct mail, 70% of consumers have renewed relationships with business they had previously ceased using (you really called!). Now, if you are prospecting, then rent a list based upon the known attributes of your clients/customers. That same Ballantine report states that 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving Direct Mail (you really know ME). According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of people will open an envelope with their name on it (ME likes ME). In addition, according to Target Marketing, 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for new account acquisitions. The right names on the right list will provide 50% of the campaign’s success rate and remove the stigma of old school push, mass-marketing.

Rule #2 is to send a message that ME is interested in. 30% of your success will be based upon your offer. It’s all about ME. You know your product and you know your audience. Targeting is the very established process of creating an offer of specific interest to a specific group. It is relevant marketing. With Direct Mail you can deploy a PURL campaign that is focused on the wants and needs of ME. It will begin an interactive conversation with ME using content that ME controls and that you provide. Using Direct Mail as a bridge to Email marketing and thus, cross channel marketing is very effective. Remember that 143% increase in response we reviewed on May 14, 2012?

Rule #3 is to get ME’s attention right away. You have their name (50%). You have their offer (30%). Now you need their attention. Creativity and design will provide the remaining 20% of your success. Just to make it clear, creativity is not only art. It is a point of differentiation. Examples would be: images that support the message, the size of envelope, the colour of envelope, the message on the envelope, the headline. ME is busy and has lots of things to do. Drab and bland just doesn’t cut it when you want to get to ME.

Rule #4 is to create a sense of urgency. Present ME with an offer that expires in a relatively short time line of say, one to two weeks, maybe a month dependent upon the business. The point here is that there must be a final date for the offer and that date cannot be too far away. If this is something that ME wants, then ME must act right away.

Rule #5 is to have a call to action. Define what must be done, when and how. If you know ME’s name, have something that ME is interested in, have caught ME’s attention, have something that is about to slip away, then you must let ME know what to do. Now that you have taken it this far, it’s the only decent thing to do.

Next week: Direct Mail…The Dance Continues


What’s with Print and Marketing Anyway?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

Isn’t printing a bit old school? I mean we have new media today that allows us to communicate with almost anyone anywhere at any time. Why would we print? Not only that, but isn’t printing bad for the environment? That’s what many of us think, but we are wrong on all counts.

Here’s a question: Has printing evolved to become the most ecologically responsible of all media?

Let’s look at a few facts and see what we get. Thanks to the efforts of many who are concerned about the environment and who have devoted years to the subject, the printing industry is now one of the few media that can claim to use recoverable, recyclable and renewable resources. In North America, for every tree that the industry uses, it plants three more. The North American forest products industry now plants 1.5 BILLION TREES PER YEAR. That’s 4.1 million every day. The industry has become agriculture. Trees are grown and harvested for use, just like any other crop. According to the Mother Nature Network there are more trees in America today than there were 100 years ago.

So, how did this happen? For many years now, almost every company/organization involved in the printing/forest industries has been focusing on how to improve the environment. In our own company alone, every year as part of our certification, we are audited by Rainforest Alliance to the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) standards. FSC provides internationally recognized standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies, organizations and communities interested in responsible forestry.

Now, let’s have a look at that so called, “environmentally clean” “electronic/digital” media. This media functions on the use of monitors, hard drives, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc., all of them primarily non-recyclable carbon based products. Where does this stuff go once we throw it away? In most communities, it is dumped into landfills or is burned emitting toxic chemicals into the air. It even has a name, High Tech Trash. Where do we obtain the material to make more of these devices? Why, we use more fossil fuels of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guiyu in China’s Guangdong Province is the world’s largest electronic waste site, with an estimated 80% of its 150,000 population working in the e-waste processing business. Source.

We can ignore the facts and listen to the misinformed, but the reality is that every time we buy a new electronic media device, we are contributing to more pollution. In addition, each time we use one of these devices, more energy is required. When viewed, printing is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprint and that occurs at its point of manufacture. The other media require energy every time they are used. The more they are used, then the more energy we must produce. In North America, over 50% of energy is generated from fossil fuel sources. This is not a good ecological situation. Many studies continue to be focused on these issues. Some examples are: the UN News Centre, the Environmental Literacy Council, the It Environment Initiative and many more.

In our company, our multimedia division loves our digital projects, web sites, mobile apps etc., but not because we are under the misguided belief that we are helping the environment. As to which media is more ecologically friendly, we might want to give that some more thought.

Okay, so if printing has a much better environmental record than we were led to believe, how about marketing results? What does print have to offer? According to the Winterberry Group, Direct Marketing mailings grew at a 5.6% rate to $163 billion (USA) in 2011 generating nearly $2 trillion in sales. The ROI on this was $12.00 of sales per dollar of advertising expense versus $5.24 for general advertising. Target Marketing’s 2012 Media Usage Forecast states that 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for acquisition in 2012. In June, 2012, The Atlantic Monthly Group reported that the print medium is still capturing 25% of the total USA ad spend dollars. Printing and Direct Mail lives and is doing very well, thank you.

The next questions must be: If printing is doing so well, is environmentally positive and is used by so many, how can you use print effectively in your marketing efforts? We reviewed some facts and methods in our communications of May 11, 23 and June 11, 2012. The subjects were Initial Contacts, QR Codes and PURLs. Essentially, printed material is a very effective doorway to your other media connections.

You do remember ME, right? Then you would remember that ME controls the conversation now and ME wants a relevant conversation. In addition, ME controls the method of contact. You must obtain permission to talk to ME with one consistent exception – Mail. Yes, ME will accept your attempt to communicate with them through the mail. It is not considered intrusive and unlike every other method of communication, ME will accept that you did not have permission to do so. Now, if you do not communicate with something that resonates with ME, then you will be ignored and your message will move to the recycle bin and turned into who knows what, napkins perhaps. I do this all the time.

“You had me at hello.” A great line in a pretty good movie, but how often does this happen in real life? Not too often. ME wants more than “hello” and you want to form a business relationship with ME. Next we will have a look at good Direct Mail practices.

Next week: How will Direct Mail get to ME?


Mobilizing for Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
There was a time, not too long ago, when a certain credit card company used the following line in their advertising: “Don’t leave home without it.” Of course, they were saying, take us with you because you never know when we might be needed in your life.

Today, as mobile phone users, we need no convincing as to the importance of our phones. We are addicted. Leave home without it? Many of us won’t leave the room without it. For some, might need you in my life has become you are my life. Driving this message home for me was the first time I overheard someone talking on their phone in a public toilet stall. Multitasking – the mantra of smart phone users. I wonder, just how urgent was that call?

Let’s look at some of the numbers. A 60 Second Marketer 2011 report states that 4 billion people use a mobile phone and 3.5 billion use a toothbrush, providing evidence that, for some of us, communication is more important than hygiene. An IPOS Research Canadian survey in May of 2012 identified that 79% won’t leave home without their smart phones. It went on to identify that 25% would give up their TV before they gave up their smart phone. 70% use them for emailing. 60% use them for web searches. 59% use them to search for products and 50% use them to search for Restaurants, Pubs and Bars (maybe tied to that toilet stall issue I mentioned earlier). Just saying…

The studies and the numbers are extensive. They all point to the same thing. We are becoming more mobile in our communications and marketing must adapt to our growing mobilization. Marketing organizations have coined new phrases for this approach such as, One to One Marketing and Location Based Marketing. That’s the obvious. What is not so obvious is how to reach out to the mobile audience. Remember we are talking about ME and ME does not want their personal space (grimace and refer to above) intruded upon with marketing messages. In fact, if you do intrude upon this space without an invitation, you will be locked out of further communication. So, it’s a dicey situation. How do you reach out with promotions without offending your prospects? How do you deepen the relationship? The answer is, seek permission, of course. How do you do that? Let’s review a few options.

One very effective approach in obtaining permission to contact smart phone users is to start with a QR Code (Quick Response Code). A QR Code can be printed on just about anything (see our video) and should be directed to a mobilized site with special content (the promise). It is scanned by a smart phone and linked to a landing page of your choice. This morning, one of our staff came in with a QR Code label on a banana. When scanned it took you to a mobilized menu of options ranging from a movie to product information. This QR technology was developed almost 20 years ago in Japan and has proliferated throughout Asia, Europe and now, North America. As usual, you must offer some reward if the QR Code is scanned and then further potential benefits if they provide permission to be contacted by your company. Remember the ME principle.

Another option is to use a PURL campaign as identified on May 23, 2012. Again, future benefits must be identified and then later, provided. A printed item is sent to the customer with their name in the PURL. When they enter/click on that code a custom landing page appears. Provide a questionnaire asking for permission to send SMS mobile messages or email messages with special content when they are available. Remember email (56%) and SMS text messaging (41%) are two of the methods used to send marketing messages that resulted in a purchase by consumers using their smart phones according to an ExactTarget 2011 report.

Regardless of the method used to engage the mobile customer, you must have a mobilized web site. Never send a mobile phone user to a standard web site that has not been mobilized. On top of that and again, the most critical note, is never send mobile marketing messages without permission. That type of advertising is called “interruption advertising”, popular on TV and radio, but absolutely not in personal communications. A closing quotation:

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”

Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson, the world’s 4th largest advertising agency.

Next time: What’s with Print and Marketing Anyway?