Blog Activity

  • Unhappy About Your Campaign Results? Take a Look at Your Marketing Department’s Goals

    Issue: 

    May, 2013

    No matter how well you execute your marketing campaigns—sharp copy, fresh products, appealing promotions—your own marketing department’s organization, goals and metrics will have a surprising influence on your long term success.  Are you organized so that everyone gets the “big picture” that will lead to success?  Do the performance metrics you use to evaluate key staff truly reflect the organization’s long-term goals? What, in fact, is the big picture for your organization, and what are those long-term goals?

    For some marketers, the answers are easy. In the high-growth years, you may be simply looking to acquire as many customers as fast as possible. In which case, you are marketing at virtually maximum frequency at any opportunity. 

    But most of us face limited marketing resources, and we manage a large customer file that needs careful segmentation and contact frequency strategies.  We know that we need to acquire not just any customer, but one that will be profitable.

    So, where does your organization come in? Let’s take customer acquisition. Most of us operate with a negative cost per acquisition. That means we have to rely on future sales to justify the prospecting program.  But if your customer-acquisition group operates in a silo or is measured based simply on how many customers they bring onto the file each year, it doesn’t take long for even a gifted marketer to start acquiring the low-hanging fruit—the one-and-dones, the promotion grabbers  with no likely subsequent purchasing.

    Perhaps the biggest improvement in prospecting  over the last decade has been the ability to leverage the wealth of data contained in prospecting databases to predict the potential demand of a given prospect, and target those names within a list or database that are more likely to provide sufficient return on your marketing investment.

    Unfortunately, every customer file is eventually infiltrated with lower-value customers. That’s why so many of your customers lie dormant.  It’s not your marketing efforts.  It’s not your products. It’s their needs.  They simply may not require more of your product or service. 

    Now consider your retention versus reactivation efforts. You’ve probably invested in external data enhancement to understand your customers better.  You have some sense of which are your best customers and most likely to reorder in large amounts.  But when it comes to reactivation, do you treat those customers really differently?  Once the customer has aged to a certain point, do you reduce the number and frequency of contact?  

    If you broke down the wall between retention and reactivation roles within your department, you would notice that some of those inactive customers are actually better suited to increased investment and the normal retention sequence. 

    Even more challenging is looking at which active customers aren’t worthy of the normal retention sequence. Does your marketing organization facilitate slotting some of those active customers into the less expensive reactivation sequence?  Too many of us throw good money after a bad acquisition, like mailing expensive full-offer catalogs eighteen times a year to a customer who is inherently unlikely to order frequently or in substantial quantities.   

    The next time you look at how your marketing department is organized, and what metrics are used to measure their behavior, consider your long-term goals around customer acquisition, retention, reactivation and profitabilty.   Aligning your organization with your goals and metrics is the ticket to improved campaign success.  

    Author: 

    Blair Barondes
    Blair Barondes's picture

    Blair D. Barondes is vice president of database marketing at MeritDirect, with a 25-year history of innovation in B2B marketing, including MeritDirect's MeritBase, the MeritMatch multi-channel matchback, and Mercury Response-Analysis toolkits.  Reach him at bbarondes@meritdirect.com.

     

  • 9 Rules for Writing Video Sales Letters

    Issue: 

    May, 2013

    The “next big thing” in online video is video sales letters. 

    Here’s how it works.  Prospects are sent a short email inviting them to view an onlinr video on a subject of interest. The email copy teases the subject to generate interest and maximize click-through rates. 

    When the prospect click on the link, a video begins. The sales message is delivered both via audio and visually. 

    The video often contains a PowerPoint showing paragraphs of the audio copy as it is being narrated.  Another option is the “talking head” – a video of the narrator speaking, and sometimes drawing notes or charts on a white board. 

    Another appealing option is to include cartoons that are drawn as you watch, illustrating the sales points.  To see a short sample of a cartoon-style video I am using to sell a new ebook, visit this URL: www.addvideo2yoursite.com 

    Video clips can be short, but for direct-response marketing, video sales letters typically run 15 to 25 minutes; the script is around 3,000 to 3,500 words. 

    A key difference between video sales letters and static (landing pages or print) sales letters is this: A prospect may read a conventional text sales letters several times, and can go back to reread portions if desired. And they often do. But the prospect will only watch a video sales letter once. 

    That in mind, here are some guidelines for writing effective video sales letters: 

    1— The way to begin is to grab audience attention with a statement that breaks them out of their normal pattern, says my colleague David Jenyes. Surprise them. Shake them up.. 

    2— Tell an engaging story that sweeps the listener along with it. Superstar marketer Michael Masterson calls this the “velvet slide.”  

    3— Keep it simple. The “information density” – the number of facts per page – should be about 20% less than a text-based promotion.  

    4— Use short sentences and especially short words. I don’t use any word longer than 9 letters.

    5— Use short paragraphs – a couple of sentences is typical. This makes the text on the video easier to read.  

    6— If you want to dramatize or prove a copy claim or fact, you can insert a chart or graph into the video presentation. Even if the prospect only has a few seconds to view it, charts and graphs give the impression that your point is well backed up. 

    7— You can concisely state the problem your product solves in the lead of the video sales letter, but be sure to explain the solution within the first minute or two.  If you wait too long to get to the solution, you risk having the prospect click away in boredom.  

    8— Don’t use more than two numbers in a sentence. If you do, round off at least one of them. 

    9— The tone of the copy should be positive and enthusiastic because the prospect heas a voice reading the text. But it should also sound authoritative.

    When I talk about video sales letters, invariably I hear the objection, “They’re too long! I always click away. Who would sit there for 20 minutes and watch?” 

    Answer: Plenty of people. How do I know? Testing shows repeatedly that video sales letters usually generate higher conversion rates than static landing pages.

     If you still object to video sales letters because you just don’t like them, I quote this advice from ace copywriter Peter Beutel: “Don’t let personal preference get in the way.” 

    Author: 

    Robert Bly
    Robert Bly's picture

    Bob Bly, a direct-response copywriter for more than 30 years, is the author of 80 books, including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt). Reach him at rwbly@bly.com

  • Getting to Know Anonymous Consumers — What’s Your Strategy?

    Issue: 

    January, 2013

    This is an exciting time, full of amazing opportunities for marketers.

    Given all the change – consumer expectations, technologies, devices, the economy –

    marketers face a monumental task in reaching and grabbing the attention of consumers. Does your brand have a strategy for getting to know, and connect with, consumers individually?

    Identifying Consumers Along the Path to Purchase 

    Each consumer is on his or her own path to purchase. Only in understanding this path can a brand know the next right thing to say, and when and where to say it. 

    A specific challenge facing marketers is the notion of the “anonymous” consumer. Consumers, for the most part, research and shop anonymously and form an independent purchase decision before they step foot into a retail store or log onto a web site. While there is typically a mountain of data about consumers available from many sources, it can’t always be relied upon to be complete or compiled in one place or format. 

    Brand marketers today must be relentless about data collection.  When a brand knows something about a current or potential customer, it can use that insight to influence the purchase when the consumer is in the market. The objective must be to pull together all available data to identify where a consumer is along the path to purchase, and then collect what is missing to form a complete picture. 

    The good news is that consumers will tell you who they are and what they want, as long as you give them a reason to do so.  Here is some advice: 

    • Engaged consumers are more profitable and more loyal than others. Through “engineered engagement” with consumers — while respecting their preferences and asking permission — you can determine the right expression of your brand and product features that appeal to an individual consumer. 
    • Consumers prefer to receive personally relevant information. Conduct meaningful conversations on each consumer’s terms, and then tailor interactions to meet specific needs. 
    • The customer’s journey is longitudinal and not consistent. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the consumer changes. To successfully identify and engage with the consumer today, be willing and able to meet the consumer where they are, and in a relevant and engaging manner. An integrated multichannel program is a necessity to provide a cohesive experience. Consider the behaviors around each channel – from direct mail to social media – and build a plan that leverages multiple touch points and evokes action.
    • Be prepared to modify the engagement process in real time, on the fly, to keep in step with the consumer.

    The changing market is exciting and opening up a world of possibilities. But, one thing remains true: Engaging with consumers one-on-one helps marketers design and deliver a differentiating and impactful customer experience — and that is the strategy that will pay out for both consumer and brand.  

    Author: 

    Michele Fitzpatrick
    Michele Fitzpatrick's picture

    Michele Fitzpatrick is senior vice president, strategy & insight for The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks, and a speaker at the DMCNY September 2012 luncheon. Reach her at Michele_Fitzpatrick@Harte-Hanks.com.

  • Direct Marketing Club of New York Announces 2013 Silver Apple Award Honorees

    Direct and Interactive Marketing Leaders Share Honors at Annual Gala on Thursday Evening, November 7, 2013, at New York’s Edison Ballroom, Times Square

    Direct and Interactive Marketing Leaders Share Honors at Annual Gala on Thursday Evening, November 7, 2013, at New York’s Edison Ballroom, Times Square

    NEW YORK, August 27, 2013 – The Direct Marketing Club of New York (www.dmcny.org) announced today the recipients of its 2013 Silver Apple Awards, now in its 29th year. The Silver Apples recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to direct and interactive marketing, during a career spanning at least 25 years. In addition, for the fifth time in its history, the organization also announced it will bestow a Golden Apple to honor an individual for 50 years of service. A gala to mark the awards will be held Thursday evening, November 7, at New York’s Edison Ballroom.

    The Silver Apple 2013 honorees include:

    • Liberta Abbondante,
      Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst Corporation (New York, NY)
    • Pete Carney,
      Founder & President, Carney Direct Marketing (Irvine, CA)
    • Richard Hochhauser,
      Instructor, Baruch College-City University of New York; Professor, New York University; Former President & Chief Executive Officer, Harte-Hanks (New York, NY)
    • Deborah Holland,
      Executive Vice President, Publishers Clearing House, Inc. (Port Washington, NY)
    • Gary Laben,
      Chief Executive Officer, KBM Group; President, Wunderman Data & Insight (Dallas, TX)
    • Richard Vergara,
      Vice President, MeritDirect (Rye Brook, NY)
    • The corporate Silver Apple Award honoree for 2013 is Target Marketing Group (Philadelphia, PA), for its 37-year history of coverage of the direct marketing field across all channels and sectors.

    The Golden Apple honoree, recognized for 50 years or more of contribution, is Arthur Blumenfield, founder & director, BMI Fulfillment Services (Danbury, CT), who is credited with the development of the first corporate data processing center of Standard Oil of New Jersey (now ExxonMobil), the creation of standards for transferring computerized lists electronically, and who helped to establish the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service, among other achievements.

    "When I think of achievement in the direct marketing field – coupled with leadership, innovation and giving back in our business – I think of the Silver Apples and this year’s Silver Apples honorees," said DMCNY Club President Cyndi Lee, senior vice president, list management sales and strategic development, SMS Marketing Services. "These individuals, and our organization recipient, embody those who have navigated our field with professionalism, ethics, sharing and, most certainly, marketing success. Each recipient has offered so much to the health and practice of direct marketing in every channel, and in every industry – that is why we honor them in this way."

    The 2013 Silver Apple recipients were chosen by the Club’s past presidents. The recipients must have at least 25 years’ experience in the business, a commitment to volunteerism and leadership, and a record of vital contributions to the growth of the industry. The Golden Apple was chosen in a similar manner.

    This year’s event marks the 29th anniversary of the award, and a special gala will be held in Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom, at 228 West 47th Street near Times Square in New York on Thursday, November 7, 2013, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET.

    Each year, the Silver Apple Award event also serves as a key fundraising event to support New York-area programs and scholarships for college-level educational curricula and content in direct and interactive marketing. Ticket sales are underway and space will be limited to 30 tables. For pricing and availability contact Stuart Boysen, executive director, DMCNY, at stuboysen@earthlink.net, (516)746-6700; or Rita Gannt at rita.gantt@experian.com or (212) 471-2880.

    A full listing of winners’ biographies is available here: http://www.dmcny.org/2013silverapplebios 


  • Congratulations to Jerry Cerasale, J.D.

     

    2013 Mal Dunn Leadership Award

    Congratulations to Jerry Cerasale, J.D.

    Join us as at the September 10 Luncheon as we recognize Jerry Cerasale, the 2013 recipient of the DMNCY’s prestigious Mal Dunn Leadership Award.  Jerry has been a leading advocate of direct marketing interests in Washington, D.C. for over 25 years. Read more about Jerry’s outstanding career here and be sure to join us as we honor his work. 

     

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