Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Use Direct Mail to Rev Trade Show Marketing

With direct mail accounting for 30% of trade show attendees' ad spending, snail mail is still essential to show marketing even in this increasingly digital world, points out Charles Dugan in a recent Trade Show News Network post. Based on his experience as owner of a trade show display firm, Dugan offers some good tips on direct mail tactics. Starting with the basics, he advises planning at least two campaigns: an early awareness mailing to get planners to put the show on their calendars and then a follow-up mailing closer to the show with exciting materials and attendance incentives. Then cut costs and boost response with targeting, both geographic and demographic. Use available mailing list data to personalize, ranging from gender all the way to ethnicity or specific hobbies. Offer incentives for attendance, with the inclusion of complementary tickets for example. Take advantage of direct mail's unique physicality to make a dimensional package that's fun and enticing, boosting open rates and response. And integrate snail mail with digital, via QR codes for example. QR codes can be used to promote access to exciting website materials, including videos, or something as simple as an online RSVP. For more, see the article at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top E-Mail Marketers Widen Lead in CTRs, Opens

In e-mail marketing, there's a widening gap between top and bottom performers. A 2014 E-mail Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study from Silverpop found that the top-performing quartile of e-mail marketers scored a 9.5% click-through rate (CTR), six times higher than the overall median click-through rate of 1.5%, per a summary report in Marketing Land. Meanwhile, bottom-quartile performers mustered CTRs of just 0.2%. Analyzing marketing e-mails sent by 3,000 brands from 40 different countries during 2013, Silverpop calculated mean and median benchmarks for various e-mail metrics, including click-through rates, open rates and bounce rates. Evaluating the CTRs of fourteen different industries, the study found real estate, construction, health care, consumer services and nonprofits generated the highest median CTRs. According to the study, transactional e-mails – messages triggered automatically by events such as purchases, subscriptions and account activity – earned a median CTR of 4.2%, compared to a median CTR of 1.5% for non-transactional emails. The study also reported that unique open rates for the top-performing quartile of e-mail marketers stood at 39.4%, more than double the median for all marketers and way above the bottom-quartile performance of 6.5%. Health care, nonprofits and education represented industries earning the highest median unique open rates. For a summary of Silverpop's study in terms of CTRs and open rates by industry, go to

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Loyalty Rewards Needed to Woo Millennial Shoppers

To win over the fickle millennial shopper, a loyalty rewards program is essential, at least based on a new report from Bond Brand Loyalty. As reported recently in Ad Age, Bond's fourth-annual survey of more than 6,000 consumers, found that 37% of millennials, defined as 20- to 34-year-olds, said they would not be loyal to a brand that doesn't have a strong loyalty program (compared with 30% of all respondents). And brand loyalty programs must keep competing to please these younger buyers: Of millennials surveyed, 68% said they change when and where they make purchases to get loyalty rewards, and 60% will switch brands if incentivized. No wonder loyalty programs are elbowing each other in a crowded field. On average, people are enrolled in 10.4 loyalty programs, according to the Bond study, although they are only active in 70% of them. Looking for loyalty rewards worth emulating? See the survey's top-ranked loyalty programs by company in each market category at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nonprofit Insight: Track Donors, Not Channels

"Track the donor, not the channel," to create effective nonprofit integrated marketing campaigns, recommended Sean Powell of The Engage Group, speaking at the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s Nonprofit Digital Day. Powell was joined on a Digital Fundraising 101 panel by Mikaela King, vice president of marketing at Defenders of Wildlife, who provided hands-on advice based on her organization's shift from structural division by marketing channels, such as direct mail and social media, to division by audiences, such as donors and advocates. "It’s not about how the organization is structured. It’s about what’s most important for the donor," explained King. "It is very hard to integrate marketing when you are not integrated internally." After restructuring for a donor focus, King advocated a three-step approach; first target the audience, then determine what you will offer, and finally create the messaging. It's especially critical for successful integration to sync data, added Heather Marsh of ABD Direct: "Make sure that your data is in line before starting a large integrated campaign. If you can’t really make sure you’re talking to people accurately, don’t do it." For more panel insights, read the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) report at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

E-mail Inbox Flooded? It Must Be Thursday

If your e-mail inbox is especially crowded, it's probably Thursday. Thursday is the most popular day for sending e-mails, with Tuesday a close second, according to the Who's Mailing What! review of e-mails sent between June 2013 and May 2014 by more than 2,500 companies and organizations. Almost 84% of all e-mails were received on a weekday, led by Thursday and Tuesday, as retailers and publishers blasted inboxes all week long, with many sending multiple e-mails daily for their various brands or titles. The top e-mail categories for Thursday alone were Catalogs-Consumer, Retail Traffic Builders, Magazines-Special Interest, Magazines-Business/Financial, Fundraising-Social Action (Causes), Newsletters-General, Seminars/Conferences, Catalogs-Food & Kitchenware, Catalogs-Children/Teen and Fundraising-Politics. For details, see

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Firms Alter Social Tactics Due to Low Buying Impact

Marketers are refining social media strategies as research shows social media's minimal direct effect on purchasing, reports the Wall Street Journal. Companies are taking note of information like the recent Gallup poll finding that 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers questioned said social media had no influence on their buying decisions. Gallup concludes that "consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content." At the same time, brand advertisers must deal with Facebook's changed management of users' news feeds, going from a largely chronological stream to featuring items Facebook thinks users will want. As a result, brands reached just 6.5% of their fans with Facebook posts in March, down from 16% in February 2012, according to EdgeRank Checker, a social-media analytics firm. So U.S. companies, which spent $5.1 billion on social-media advertising in 2013, are beginning to shift gears. Per the WSJ story, many are no longer seeking to maximize the quantity of Facebook fans or Twitter followers as much as the quality of interactions, by tracking brand mentions for example. However, this adjusting of social marketing strategies hasn't hurt Facebook so far, according to WSJ. Facebook first quarter net income nearly tripled on a 72% increase in revenue. For more of the article, read

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Direct Mail Dying? Not With Young Response High

Paper mail volumes may be declining, but there's a sign that direct mail is nowhere near extinction: the high response rates of younger adults. In the introduction to the Direct Mail chapter of the Direct Marketing Association's 2014 Statistical Fact Book, Laurie Beasley, president of Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc., reassures anxious direct mailers, "An encouraging sign for direct mail marketers is that very young adults, 24 and younger, are among the most mail responsive groups today." Why? Because getting paper mail is a life experience that it is becoming rarer and rarer in the digital age, Laurie posits. Young millennial adults are not as desensitized to receiving vast volumes of paper mail addressed to them, tailored to them, as were their parents and grandparents. So what was once a mundane activity is now an uncommon and slightly exciting experience. Everything old is new again apparently, and that's good news for direct mail. See Laurie's comments at