Blog Activity

  • Omnichannel Everywhere

    Issue: 

    December, 2014

    Omnichannel has been buzzing for over a year and still hasn’t lost its ring. Yet, despite the fact that we are surrounded with omnichannel references every day, the concept still seems slightly out of reach. What really is omnichannel? How do we achieve it? What’s holding us back? What about our audiences?

    Beyond defining omnichannel and the challenges that accompany it, all marketers need to first and foremost place their omnichannel goals in the context of their audiences. Today, what audiences want most is content, and a seamless content experience across all of their devices. From online shows, to ecommerce transactions, and even social media personalities’ accounts, content has the ability to bridge the gap between brand and audience in this new omnichannel world. 

    One of the major challenges is that there are still some questions around the meaning of omnichannel.  Essentially, omni means “all.” Channel in this context is a “means of communication.”

    What Is Omnichannel?

     Here is how we characterize it at Paradysz and PM Digital: 

    -      A holistic, comprehensive organizing principle to achieve customer-centric foundations.

    -      The development of campaigns from the point of view of the customer. 

    -      Content driven by unique customer behaviors and histories. 

    What Is Omnichannel Not?

    Omnichannel is not:

    -      Multiple channels operating in isolation.

    -      The development of campaigns from the perspective of the brand. 

    -      Content and campaigns specific to only shopping.

    A true omnichannel approach puts customers at the center of a brand’s marketing efforts.  Not only will this approach allow marketers to analyze their efforts in context of the whole picture, but it empowers them to build out the right recipe for particular customer segments.  It no longer suffices to create separate experiences and silos of content across various subject areas, channels and devices. Consumers demand comprehensive experiences without breakage points, allowing them to seamlessly interact with brands on their terms. 

     

    Build a Dashboard

    A step in the right direction is the ability to build dashboards that can help you understand programs across channels.  Dashboards that are successful have the following characteristics:

    -      Scale up to executive level, and drill down to campaign, channel and customer segmentation.

    -      Real-time interactive filters that accommodate questions and issues as they occur.

    -      Comprehensive displays of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across goals and budgets. 

    Developing an omnichannel strategy is complex, but well worth the effort.  


    Author: 

    Mary Beth Keelty
    Mary Beth Keelty's picture

    Mary Beth Keelty is Vice President of Marketing for Paradysz and PM Digital.  Reach her at mkeelty@pmdigital.com

  • Digital Printing: Dynamic, Innovative, Flexible

    Issue: 

    December, 2014

    Digital Printing:  Dynamic, Innovative, Flexible and the Wave of the Future 

    Every day someone is talking about digital, and for each person it can mean something different.  In general, digital means communication and distribution of knowledge through a variety of channels including on the computer, a mobile device, television, video, and audio.  In other words, anything that’s electronic.  The word also connotes communications that are efficient, immediate and impactful. 

    In the marketing world, digital means connecting with targeted audiences without borders.  In the printing world, it’s a means of printing where the images can be the same or variable from piece to piece. 

    Although digital printing presses have been around since the early 1990s, they are constantly evolving.  In the past 10 years as the quality, speed and price points have improved, the marketplace has been more and more accepting of this format.  And it’s no secret that all printing today starts in someone’s computer. 

    How does digital printing work?  Basically, on the press, a digital image goes into a computer and is then transferred onto a variety of surfaces and/or paper stocks, allowing files to be quickly and economically printed, usually in short run quantities of 5,000 or less—although this is changing.  This approach compares to color offset printing, commonly used for high-volume commercial work, which involves preparing and printing the artwork through a time consuming pre-press plate process that allows for very little flexibility. 

    So what does this mean to a marketer in today’s fast-paced environment?  It means that digital printing not only has arrived, it’s definitely the wave of the future.  To ride the wave, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

    Digital technology is a vital means of communication.  The use of digital technology is an absolute must in this age of targeting the customer and providing that customer with the information he or she will respond to. 

    Digital printing has become more competitive. Compared with traditional printing, digital printing becomes more competitive as the number of versions increase, and costs go down.  Until recently, the quantities were typically limited, but as new technology has come on the market, variable imaged programs are run as trigger campaigns and produced as the customer defines the criteria.  

    Be aware of the paper stock used for the campaign.  Whenever technology changes rapidly, it’s always a scramble to keep up with the ramifications.  In the case of inkjet technology, the paper companies are in some cases still trying to figure out how to provide the right stock to the printer.  Marketers should make sure they are in the loop on this topic.  

    Think through the whole campaign from beginning to end.  Digital printing provides the opportunity to use various marketing channels and make electronic changes on the fly.  As a result, it’s even more important to carefully think through a whole campaign.  The best advice is to work closely with your printing provider to take advantage of that provider’s technology, scalability and flexibility.     

    Author: 

    Patrick Beddor
    Patrick Beddor's picture

    Patrick Beddor is the National Sales Manager at Japs-Olson Company.  Reach him at pbeddor@japsolson.com

  • 14 Call-To-Action Tips to Boost Response

    Issue: 

    May, 2013

    Think about the Call to Action (CTs) as an advertisement for your offer. CTAs are an effective tool to drive traffic to your landing page and increase conversion rates. Creating persuasive, powerful calls to action isn't easy, but here are some tips and practices that you can test.

    1.       Use value-laden and actionable copy such as “Download Now,” “Get Your Free Trial” or “Speak to an Expert.”  Your copy objective is to get to the point and create trust, urgency and value.

    2.       Use a CTA only to offer something of real value to your visitor. CTAs should not be used for branding.

    3.       Adding the specific offer in the CTA makes it stronger. For example: “Subscribe Now and Save 80%,” which is better than just “Subscribe Now.”

    4.       Place CTAs above the fold and along the visitor’s eye path.

    5.       Use bold, contrasting colors in your CTAs so they don’t blend into the content.

    6.       Make your CTA one of the bigger, more prominent objects on a page.

    7.       Design the CTA to resemble a button, by adding bevels, shadows, and hover effects.

    8.       Make your CTA stand out by surrounding it with plenty of white space.

    9.       Link your CTAs to a dedicated landing page, not your home page.

    10.   Too many CTAs will distract your visitors. A CTA is meant to direct visitors to a specific course of action, so limit yourself to a primary CTA and possibly a secondary CTA only.

    11.   Experiment with and test your CTAs to know what design, copy and placement works best.

    12.   Add keyword-rich ALT tags so your CTA adds search value to the page.

    13.   Mobile optimize your CTAs so any device can see them. 

    14.   Personalization is a good way to improve your CTA’s effectiveness. Create different CTAs for different personas. 

    Author: 

    Brian Snider
    Brian Snider's picture

    Brian Snider is president of The GRI Marketing Group, Inc., and past president of DMCNY.  Reach him at bsnider@gridirect.com

  • What You Need to Know About DRTV Today

    Issue: 

    February, 2014

    Today, $150 billion of consumer products in the U.S. are sold through DRTV, and between 20% and 40% of TV households buy from DRTV.
     

    1.    So, what is DRTV? And what's the difference between DRTV and regular TV? 

    Direct response television is a form of marketing used to generate responses from prospective consumers, as a direct result of the marketing campaign. DRTV is often broken down into three subcategories: lead generation, product direct sales, or service direct sales. The difference between DRTV and traditional TV is as simple as a URL or 1-800 number. Media that has been designated DR based on the presence of a URL or 1-800 number can be purchased at a discount, versus standard TV advertising (brand advertising), thus ensuring media efficiencies. On average, DR prices are 30-50% lower.
     

    2.    Who uses DRTV? 

    Chances are you've seen the old “yell-and-sell” infomercials, with pitchmen like Billy Mays, but those days have passed, and DRTV has taken on an entirely new tone. Today, it's used by more brands than you probably realize: Estee Lauder, American Express, L'Oreal, Bose, KitchenAid, Capital One, Hanes, Keurig, Vanity Fair, Dyson, Garnier, Fab, Travelocity, Playtex, ShoeDazzle, Maybelline, and many more.
     

    3.    Why DRTV? 

    Direct response television is a highly effective customer acquisition medium that offers broad exposure to build your brand while driving response and measurable sales. Tracking and measuring performance can be drilled down to the level of individual airings, allowing brands to cost effectively reach a segmented audience based on daypart, channel, location, or type of programming.
     

    4.    What should I know before considering DRTV?

    Step one is getting to know your customers and their journey. It is mission critical to know where your customers spend, what they watch, and how they are influenced by various media: print, radio, TV, direct mail, out-of-home, mobile, and social. Use data-driven insight, research tools, and emerging technology to create a holistic view of your consumer. Recognize that the overarching goal of DRTV campaigns is to either push continuity programs or drive to retail—or a combination of the two. Not only are these the areas that hold the greatest potential for profit, they are crucial to developing a business model that remains effective at scale.  
     

    5.    Give me a few hints! What are the keys to success?

    One major key to success is creating a seamless customer experience between TV, online, and retail, by streamlining messaging, creative, and in-store signage. To do so, you must surround customers with relevant messaging to ensure a frictionless path to purchase. In addition, establish metrics and benchmarks that ensure a clear line of sight to success. Savvy marketers will consistently test their campaigns to not only mitigate risk but constantly optimize campaigns to drive the highest possible level of ROI, retail impact, and scalability. 

    Author: 

    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith's picture

    Monica C. Smith is founder and CEO of Marketsmith, Inc., and a recent luncheon speaker at DMCNY.  Reach her at msmith@marketsmithinc.com

  • Pre-testing: A Better Way to Beat the Control

    Issue: 

    February, 2014

    The A/B split test is as fundamentally sound, as it is slow, expensive and inefficient. 

    Direct mail testing—even for high-volume mailers—means putting a finite number of possible tests in market.  These tests are either incremental changes or wholesale redesigns.  The former usually assures incremental gain/loss, and the latter requires a lot of risk and reputational capital.    

    Truth is, the vast majority of tests fail.  For two reasons.   
     
    1)   The control is hard to beat.  It benefits immensely from something your test package can never have—exposure.  Your target audience, however large, is still finite.  You mail the same people over and over.  Even non-buyers are exposed to the control. 
     

    2)   Coming up with a test, or 10 tests or 100, for a single campaign is like searching for a needle in the haystack.  The number of possible test packages is infinite, and you are forced to choose an imperceptibly small percentage of them to mail.    

    In split testing, the odds are against you.  With a complete redesign, the odds are even more onerous.  The A/B test will tell you if the new package test wins or not.  But it cannot tell you why.  Perhaps there are components within the complete redesign that are clear winners, but are getting drowned out by the weaker elements.  

    So, what is a better alternative?  Look no further than the consumer package goods industry for an idea.  CPG marketer do lots of in-market testing, also lots of product development work in advance.  By comparison, the direct marketing world does very little. 

    The methodology now available to direct marketers is sophisticated, but simple and intuitive.  In short, It is an online testing program through which your target audience evaluates thousands of different direct mail package ideas in mere minutes.  

    The secret to its success, and why this pre-testing matches up with live test results so well, is the ability to replicate real-world choice and decision making by:

    1-  Showing the target audience concepts, packages or offers holistically, just as they view them home. 

    2-  Asking the target audience answer one question—overall preference—within a few seconds, the same amount of time you get before your package is thrown in the trash.  

    Behind the scenes is very sophisticated statistical modeling to answer the question we really want to know, which is Why?  You end up with scores for every single test element, which may encompass 30 or 40 different component parts of a direct mail package (OE, letter, buck slip, reply form) and, in turn, thousands of package combinations.  

    The business upside is four fold:  
    - Test exponentially more ideas in a radically shorter period of time.
    -   Put fewer tests in the mail, and at higher volume, to get to rollout faster.
    -    Find out exactly what impact each component has on preference and response.  
    -  Test big ideas, those that would never make it in the mail unless you have empirical proof they can work, in a low cost, low risk environment. 

    A/B split testing method has been around for decades, and yet direct marketing has changed dramatically, with more channels, better targeting, better production methods and now, a better way to beat the control.


    Author: 

    Chris Locker
    Chris Locker's picture

    Chris Locker is EVP of marketing and strategy at The Consumer Voice, in the Minneapolis area.  Reach him at clocker@theconsumervoice.net.

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