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What you know about circulation, flow, stream or rush hour…

Trafficwill add up to YOUR BIGGEST marketing advantage.

TRAFFIC. If you live in a big metropolis, traffic flow is the time it will take you to get from point A to point B. Depending on the time of day, or if you’re running late for an important meeting, that flow time could be an eternity.

On a side note to make you feel just a little better, the world’s longest traffic jam took place in Beijing, China. It was over 60 miles long and lasted 11 days.

Yes, there is more of everything…

The world is getting smaller as more people connect via the internet. There are more people on a wide range of communication channels, as traffic streaming confirm. On the bright side, if your livelihood depends on getting more people to buy a product, you should be happy.

That brings me back to traffic. There are more channels of communication available to all. Some channels, such as a printed display advertisement or a television commercial are preferred by some advertisers, but certainly not everyone. Those are more traditional communication channels. As an advertiser, it all depends on the traffic circulation your customers select, which means multi-channel marketing. The odds are very favorable that your customers are using more digital channels to get up stream.

Marketing is not for the faint of heart…

Actually, marketing was never for the faint of heart. Dealing with people and how they respond to communication has many variables. We strive to do our best by creating profiles of customers, adding them into a variety of determined segments created in a database.

Data management is a good tool to collect and understand change occurring with your customers. Even a potential powerful marketing campaign using multi-channels is totally useless if it depends on bad data for a good response rate.

MailBoxWebJust about every one of your customers has a mailbox. While all your competitors are creating a variety of marketing campaigns, think about using direct mail. If you’re not sure about reaching customers on Facebook, Twitter or one of the other social channels, think of returning to your customer’s mailbox. Ask them what channel they prefer to use in reaching them.

Test other communication channels, Direct mail is a good purveyor of telling your customers where to go. Give them a selection of channels to use and give them a top notch offer on a product for each channel. More choices, more connections and more customers.

Using multi-channel communication with direct mail may just be your biggest marketing advantage for present day communication traffic. It certainly can make your ride to your local bank with money to deposit more enjoyable, even if there is a traffic jam or two.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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People can make a difference…

Here’s how to learn more about your customers and in turn, what they can teach you!TheBeach

The state of advertising, promotions and marketing campaigns in general seem to miss the mark more often than not. I realize there are many changes occurring in marketing but people still buy. In my early days of marketing one of the 4 P’s was people.

I know there are robots coming, but for now, your customers are still people. However, try as you may, not every customer thinks like the previous customer in your database.

There are many answers, but finding the correct one for your company will take time.

3DolphinsAs people search the internet, discussion groups or other social media looking for resources, there are many answers to contemplate. When you wade into such a sea of solutions, such as for marketing, there are many different species you’ll encounter. The wading may take you deeper into the sea hoping to find the right solution.

Learning more about customers and the decisions they make when they purchase your product is also time-consuming, but extremely rewarding. Your customers will tell you a lot about them when they make their purchases.

How do you get the answers you need?

Go back to the sea for a moment and look on the beach. What do you see, besides sand? People are at the beach having fun. These people come in many different sizes and each one may have a different Dolphininterpretation of fun. There’s volley ball, sunbathing, reading a book, paragliding, people in the water and so on.

There are a lot of different things going on by a lot of different people. If each one was your customer, you could walk up to them and ask them a few questions about their purchase and your product.

An astute thinker like you may begin to wonder what questions to ask.  Unfortunately, you must leave the beach and return to the office. You have a bunch of questions to write which will help you reach your marketing goals. Oh, oh, yes, you need to list your goals. How are you going to know when you reach the pinnacle?

This could be the start of something big.

CustomerSigningv2The value of using a customer-centric strategy, especially for small businesses, always leads to better marketing decisions. Your customers will tell you a lot about them when they make their purchases. And what they don’t tell you, analytics and other research you do, will.

Don’t let the word strategy handcuff or stop your customer-centric marketing effort. Keep it simple. Start a phase of the project that you know will give you a quick response. You need answers, and that is important.

You’re never alone.

To learn more about a customer-centric marketing strategy, please visit my web page.

There is also a great post on branding and how customer-centric marketing strategy made a restaurant successful.

For those with analytical minds and need a few tips, here’s a post on the nuts and bolts.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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Considering Starting a New Business…

Or looking for better marketing?

Key2SuccessTake a long, hard look at Direct Marketing. It’s not just direct mail. In fact, the fundamental and techniques of direct marketing are ideal for many businesses. Here are three must have components that belong in every marketing advertisement.

1. When you look at any direct marketing mail, do you look for compelling copy?

You should not assume your marketing copy is compelling. Just because people think they are good writers, what do they know about compelling direct marketing copy? Ask for sample campaigns were they created the copy.

2. Does the design of the direct marketing mail entice you to look closer?

Design is a critical component of direct marketing. Without a clever design, accentuating the copy, does anyone ever look at direct mail? Check your mailbox and look for something clever or intriguing that makes you turn back to reading the copy.

3. Maybe it’s the offer that grabs your attention when you look at direct marketing or mail?

The heart of any direct marketing mail piece will always be an offer. What is an “offer”? Some people mistakenly assume that it’s a discount. It can be, but it could be any number of other things as well.

Very simply, an offer is the “terms of the deal.” It is you saying, “Here’s what you can get. And here’s what you have to do or pay to get it.” It’s the combination of several elements that make up the “deal.” You always have an offer in your marketing campaign, don’t you?

MailServiceProviderNow take a look at the promotional and marketing advertisements in the other communication channels you look toward for purchases. Does the sender use any of the three direct marketing techniques to persuade your interaction? If so, how?

Please bear in mind not everyone is like you. But a small percentage of the consumers you are trying to reach, think like you. When you decide to use direct marketing, adhering to the three components of good direct marketing will get the receivers attention. Like when a fisherman sets his bait when the fish begins to nibble on the baiy – the hook in this case is the offer.

It’s always a good idea to test. For example, depending on how the segmented audience is grouped, there may be a different offer for each segment. To learn more about testing and customer profiles, read “As any small biz marketing nerd knows…

For a beginners guide on Direct Marketing, request our FREE white paper ($99.00 value); The Right Notes in your Direct Marketing and Mail…” All we ask for is your name and email address. The paper is immediately sent.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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As any small biz marketing nerd knows…

Redundancy-Dept

it’s smart to use a marketing tool more than once.

Here’s one way to make you a pure genius.

I just finished an article for the recent edition of our publication, Direct Mail Success, on testing pointers to make sure people get the best response. In this article on testing opportunities with direct mail marketing, I liken it to a listening aid to learn more about your customers or donors.

Today, there are many ways to get answers from your customers, so take advantage of them. What you need is a good manager of the redundancy department. Not sure about this add-on? You will.

Customers or donors aren’t a mystery. They’re quite vocal about their likes and dislikes. In fact, every time a company uses direct mail marketing, the responders will tell you what products they like, which offers they prefer, and which formats catch their attention.

People just simply have to know how to listen to them through their testing. Turn off testing, and all you have are assumptions. Turn it on, and the collective voices lead you down a more definitive path.

How to kill two birds with one stone …

Not everyone likes to test direct mail marketing. In fact, many don’t. If you are one of the many, try this idea.

Sample sizes for testing are usually a proportional amount of the total mailing. However, today there are many cross-selling channels available in direct mail marketing. The other tactics used with any mailing can help you to determine your testing size. For example, the “call-to-actions” buttons give you more data to analyze.

Once you have your testing parameters in place, do yourself a favor. Listen closer to what your customers are saying with their responses and purchases. Look closely at your captured data, especially purchases in other channels.

Here is the coup!

Your customers are painting you a picture of what they want from your company. The picture may jump out at you in the beginning. Use a bit of creative thinking and the picture your customers are painting will come into focus. Even some customer’s phone calls can shed more light on your customer picture.

Analyzing your data with a creative eye is a perfect example of getting more customer information when testing marketing communications, such as direct mail. And, it eliminates the excuses not to test and gather better customer information. Eventually, testing becomes a time saver, yields a higher response, increases customer satisfaction and the bottom line!

Plus, you may add someone on your team as the first Redundancy Manager.

Two Tips for the Price of None!

Marketing-Tip_CrpdWhy Testing?

Study Customers with analytics.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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Not Every Customer is the Same

The same marketing message to each customer is not good enough.

SalesAtTableIf you want your marketing to work 24/7, I’d use both niche and target marketing. Here’s how.

Some people use the words interchangeably. As the promotional noise gets louder and more frequent, it’s wise to look at each one separately. The following two definitions work well in a small business that need to know more about their customers.

A niche market is the separation of the total market on which a specific product is focused. Every product is defined by its market niche. Therefore, your niche market must be specialized, and built to survive among the competition from numerous companies.

For example, the I-Phone has a niche market for smart phones.

A target market is a group of customers which adhere to a specific common denominator that a company can label as a specific group or segment.

Some of the more common segments are geographic locations, demographic, such as age or income, behavioral and psychographic, such as values and lifestyles.

For example, if you are selling a better lawn mower, you would not target an apartment or condominium dweller.

Not every contact is the same.

Not every contact in your niche market list is the same. As your marketing team spends some time studying your customers buying behaviors, they’ll find a few unique ways to segment your niche market contacts into targeted segments. I refer to this experience as breaking down the ICE. It’s an acronym for Interested Customer Engagement which occurs with relevant marketing messages. Plan to use more and better data management.

Just about every contact management system will allow your team to build a profile of each niche market and segment the contacts on how they use your products and services. This procedure lends itself to an easier analysis for determining the best way to segment all contacts.

If this is your first time using both niche and target marketing, the goal at this point is to come up with a few segments. Your future attention and time will allow you to make each segment you build a profitable one and add another as needed.

Set goals for the segment process.

As with anything good that comes from great marketing campaigns, it takes time to nurture a contact. The nurturing process may require added relevant messages for some contacts than others. Using a specific segmenting process for your company helps to break through the promotional noise, and for each contact, to become better acquainted with your business.

Do you use niche and target marketing?

Marketing-Tip_CrpdThere are many articles on this blog that can assist you as you move closer to a customer-centric marketing strategy. I wrote a post a few months back on relevancy and frequency. Click here now to read that post.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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I Need Your Help

What type of business owner are you or work for?

BusOwnersI normally can be found at my computer in the early AM skimming a variety of blogs, mostly about marketing or small business ownership and how they can survive to own the company for another day. Hey, we’re all looking for business solutions.

This particular morning I stopped my skimming when I came across a Marketing Prof’s post titled “The Four Types of Business Owners.” My first reaction – there are more than four types. The successful business owner is a mix of many attitudes required to succeed in their industry. Read on and let me prove my point. I also want to hear what you think.

To give you an idea about the post, the article’s first two paragraphs are as follows:

“Small business owners generally fall into one of four attitudinal segments, each of which has its own unique mindset and behaviors, according to a recent report from Infusionsoft.

The four profiles are based on data from a survey of 850 US small business owners (50% B2C-focused, 28% B2B, 22% hybrid) that explored respondents’ feelings about ownership, goals, challenges, and resources.”

The four types of business owners are…

1) Passionate Creators care deeply about what they do, 2) Freedom Seekers are people who primarily started their businesses to control their own fates, 3) Legacy Builders started their business with a family member, and 4) Struggling Survivors have significant concerns about the value of owning a small business.

Here’s my take, obviously with a slant toward marketing…

In order to become successful, a small business owner must constantly strive for:

  • better response rates
  • open rates
  • conversions
  • cost-per-order
  • lifetime value

In small business marketing, there are plenty of tactical choices from:

  • subject lines
  • offered premiums
  • envelope sizes
  • list selects
  • pricing
  • the placement of the shopping cart or a landing page on the website
  • the use of social media

The choices are endless in both categories.

What do you think?

Of the four business types, the Passionate Creators, Freedom Seekers, and Legacy Builders, in my opinion, are the best equipped to succeed. However, if you put all three of them into one profile, you are going to have a very successful business owner. It’s even likely with a combination of the first two.

Companies who place a value on great marketing have taken time to learn from their customers what makes their product or services better than the competition. It’s one of the many things that lead to bigger and better business.

These same companies are willing make adjustments to increase their return on investment. There is a lot of creativity that goes into leading a small business. Interpreting data with creativity is one. If owners are not passionate about their business, how long will they last?

A small  business owner has the freedom to react quickly to the competition or to a change in a government regulation. There is no reason to jump through hoops and wait for others to make their decision.  Building a better product as customer profiles change, proves  the owner is on a course for success.

I would like to hear your opinion.

MegaPhoneWhat type of business owner are you or if you work in a small business, what is your owner type? If none of the above, please describe.

Please add yours to the comment section below. Based on your comments, I will share the results in a future post.

I am definitely a combination of the first three types of small business owners, and base it on my 30 years in business this month and the thousands owners I have met. To help you make a determination, here is the link to the complete article:

http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/25766/the-four-types-of-small-business-owners

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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Four lessons learned you can apply to your business

PotentialClientClose your eyes -

Imagine directly reaching consumers online – just like you do offline with direct mail but at a much higher frequency of touches!

1. Cross-selling tactics in a multi-channel marketing.

It’s not a dream. I read this morning in Direct Marketing news many corporations do not or lack the resources to fully engage with their consumers. For example, many marketers know cross-selling tactics in a multi-channel marketing campaign can be quite successful by increasing touches, but a lack of talent and commitment from the corner office is part of the problem.

There are probably many other reasons but you won’t hear any doubting from direct marketers. A direct marketer would jump at the change to present a relevant message to a consumer numerous times without breaking the budget.

2. Direct marketers know a good touch when they see one.

DataIt’s in the direct marketers DNA to go after the consumer tooth and nail. For instance, they write powerful copy. Direct marketers know they need an offer no one can refuse. Dazzling design pulls the reader into the mail piece. Some say frequency of messages is like finding a pot of gold.

If you try that with direct mail only, it may cost you a pot of gold. There are no discounts for re-mailing. That’s where cross-selling and multi-channel marketing tactics can save their budget. Email and social media come to mind. Relevancy and frequency in messaging can cause a consumer to stop and take notice.

3. Consumers like to play coy.

GoodDataSuccessful marketing people like using direct marketing and mail techniques. The direct mail skillset was built through the last 60 years in the direct marketing and direct response industry. It’s an industry that started to flourish after World War II and quite frankly, the fundamentals and techniques of direct mail and marketing are ideal in meeting two concerns of today’s marketers –    1) get people to buy a product and 2) how to reach the consumers efficiently.

In today’s economy, prospective customers don’t want to be sold to. Customers can decide where, when, and how they want to interact with your brand. They want to make their own decisions. This decision could be in two weeks or two months before they make a purchase.

With the capability of better web searches, social media and even communication with business associates, there is literally a mountain of information available for your consumers to gather. That’s a big reason frequency is an important direct marketing tactic.

4. Make sure your list of data works for you.

Smart marketers know the most important component of direct marketing and mail is the list of names. If you have a bad, old list of consumers, circa 2013, whatever GreatDatayou spend on that particular marketing campaign is wasted money.

If you have never built a consumer database, there is no better time than the present. Direct marketing and mail work much better with an updated database. So does social media. Cross-selling and multi-channel communications get a better response. It even makes your customer service better. The list of accolades for a great list is lengthy.

Customers are happier because they now receive relevant messages. Revenue increases with every marketing campaign. Data is the business lifeblood needed to succeed with a growing business. Start today. Read my post on LinkedIn. It’ll get you on the right path, right now.

If you want to learn more about direct marketing and mail, request our free white paper now. Once we receive your email it is instantly delivered to your inbox.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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How to Make a Great First Impression to Your Consumers!

Add a nice cover to your direct mail package.

FirstImpressionThe old adage could never be truer: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

If you are considering a direct mail program, your envelope can be that first impression. And making a good first impression is particularly important… especially when you are attempting to attract high-quality, high-value prospects for high-end services or products.

So, when it comes to envelopes and making a better first impression, Rule Number One is use quality envelopes. Yes the envelope will be ripped open and discarded, but don’t play “cheap” with your envelope.

Many cost-conscious businesses want to save direct mail costs and purchase lower cost “utility grade” #10 envelopes –– or use lower quality envelopes that don’t quite match their standard company letterhead, either in quality, whiteness, or touch. Chances are when the envelope looks “cheap,” recipients may not be inclined to open it.

Rule Number Two is avoiding labels. The large majority of direct mailing, 5,000 to 10,000 contacts, envelope addresses are generated using labels, white stock or transparent. While labels could be a time saver, they could also doom your direct mail program. Labels say “Junk Direct Mail.”

However, custom addressing each envelope in such a way that it appears to be a personal correspondence is usually the best approach for ensuring that the envelope gets opened. It increases the likelihood of the letter being removed from the envelope.

Rule Number Three is know when to break away from standard #10 envelopes. There are times when a standard #10 is the only choice. It’s professional… it’s personal… it’s always appropriate.

Marketing-Tip_CrpdHowever, there are times when changing the size of the envelope makes a better first impression. Greeting card-sized envelopes look personal. Jumbo 9 x 12 envelopes appear to contain something truly important. Learn how B2B mailers use the uniqueness of the envelope package to break through the clutter.

Rule Number Four is don’t assume printing a message on the envelope is a rule for all occasions. In certain situations, a printed teaser or message on the outside of the envelope is the power push that’s needed to motivate action and stimulate readership.

In others, it may work against you by if the reader categorizes your mail as Junk! Your market, your audience, your message, and your product and service will tell you if, when, and where to utilize a teaser.

Need more envelope ideas? Read now, “Nine Powerful Ways to Encourage People to Open your Envelopes.” If you need some assistance with an idea, please get in touch. I love to share.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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Looking for Hot Marketing Tips…

MediumBeach

during a lazy, hazy day of summer?

So to keep my post short, there are five direct marketing tips in the first paragraph.

Read them, then enjoy your day!

Your copywriting must grab the attention of the readers, focus on them and not your company, differentiate your product or service from your competition, tailor your copy to different niche segments and the channels you’ll use and why they should buy from you and no one else.

That’s a rather long sentence but it’s not very often to see five tips as promised in the first sentence. As the USPS once said, “We deliver.”

I love sharing with readers like you my experience and ideas which can make your small business marketing more effective. After all, you’re interested in selling more of your goods and services. Right?

Whether you realize it or not, your company is not going to stay the same forever.

A good product and service will help your company grow. As that happens some of the one-to-one personal dialogue becomes harder to maintain. Your customers will change, the market is consistently changing and there is more competition today, but even more tomorrow.

Marketing-Tip_CrpdOne of our favorite white papers we consistently update to meet marketing changes, “The Right Notes in Your Direct Marketing, Make Beautiful Music for Your Customer’s Ears and Your Accounting Department”, on our report sending website, is absolutely free for the asking. All we ask for is your name and email address.

Then there’s the business growth cycle…

Let’s save that for some other time. So please enjoy you day and read our white paper during your next rainy day.

Additional information is available on our website, Direct Marketing and Communications Management.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

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Big Data, CRM, Small Data, CCM…

any one of these can make a BIG difference in your small business marketing.

Here’s why!

PeopleRpeopleIf your company is like many small businesses today, customer-centric marketing (CCM) may be at the center of your marketing endeavors. After all, knowing what a customer wants and likes, increases your chances to sell more product.

The people in the above photo may all have a different reason why they would buy your product. They also have similarities that can be documented and grouped into segments. Marketing must build customer segments and determine what relevant type of message causes a person to react and buy. Like the woman sitting in the box.

So before you jump on the bandwagon, let me share a few ideas you need to think about to take full advantage of a CCM program.

Plan to use more and better data management.

In data management, people are seeing data compiled from a variety of different sources.  Some can come from social media, content marketing, your blog or even an email newsletter.

Yes, your technology person can offer a variety of methods for customer profiling, personas or segments, but not the final determination. Marketing must make that decision.

Before you even think at what cost to your small business, there are many options not involving your checkbook.

  • Small business decisions are easier to make.
  • There is a ton of material on this blog to help you market better.

Let’s look first at Big Data but keep an open mind. It is presented here to help generate a few ideas for your small business.

Big Data is not for a small business but what is Big Data?BigData

I believe the more you know, the more you’ll grow. More knowledge generates more marketing ideas. For example, in Big Data, analytics, descriptive and predictive analysis, enters the mix of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The bigger companies are trying to determine marketing effectiveness and return on investment. The two (Big Data and CRM) when bundled together show data-driven insights allowing marketing to connect the dots between real people.

According to Dr. Michael Wu, in an edition of Information Week published in December of 2013, he defines descriptive data and predictive analysis. Here is my edited version.

Descriptive analytics: “This is the simplest class of analytics, one that allows you to condense big data into smaller, more useful nuggets of information.”

“Most raw data, especially big data, are not suitable for human consumption, but the information we derive from the data is,” Wu wrote. “The purpose of descriptive analytics is to summarize what happened.”

Predictive analytics: make predictions about the future. “The purpose of predictive analytics is NOT to tell you what will happen in the future,” Wu blogged, “it cannot do that. In fact, no analytics can do that.”

“Predictive analytics can only forecast what might happen in the future, because all predictive analytics are probabilistic in nature.” In the most general cases of predictive analytics, “you basically take data that you have to predict data you don’t have,” Wu told InformationWeek.

Now you have a very general idea about big data. Let’s take this new found knowledge and apply it to your marketing.

Let me sort this out in small business bytes.

How are these two data analytics used in a small business? Example from a small business using small data: “Of the 300 customers who know what they want and really like our product, 200 are female and the remaining 100 are male. Total sales for the month for female were $6,000 and male, $2,000.” This is descriptive analysis according to small business.

“By adding 250 new female customers next month to our sales, we may increase the sales dollar volume by over 100%.” This is a predictive analysis according to a small business.  A very simple analogy but you get the idea.

Summary

Let me say it again, “Big Data is not recommended for a small business, but for a small business to put on their thinking cap and give birth to a few ideas.” Big Data is for a small business to emulate. It is there to give a small business a way to generate ideas for the best use of data they can capture on a much smaller scale. Don’t try to emulate the big boys, (especially in customer service)! Strive for data you can use to increase your sales performance.

My simple definition of CCM is – Customer-Centric Marketing means to fulfill all the needs and wants each customer expects, with a passion to succeed, provide an extra step of service and do it all with a smile – and a strong value proposition to keep customers coming back.

How a small business handles customer relationships can be a big reason for marketing success.

Marketing-Tip_CrpdFor additional information, request our report, “Customer Contacts… to know is the ability to manage.” All you need to provide is your name or company name and email address and this enlightening report with examples is immediately sent to your inbox.

Additional information is available on our website, Marketing Communications Group.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.
Marketingeval_logoV3MarketingDocEverything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

 

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