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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Seven Reasons to Make Direct Mail Part of Your Digital Marketing Plan

We read a great article by Kevin Lee on ClickZ.com, and wanted to share! A shorter version is below. You can read the whole thing by clicking here.

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, direct mail stands out, both for the novelty factor and because it comes without digital pitfalls like viewability and viruses.


In the era of Twitter and Facebook, postal direct mail may seem a remnant of the past. At the same time, however, it's clear that the digital marketing ecosystem has its share of problems, some of which can be alleviated by smart use of direct mail. Response rates from email remain in decline. Even content marketing-- a sound strategy for many-- remains an uphill battle in an environment where content exceeds readers.

Even as its influence declines (standard mail volumes are declining at the rate of about 1% per year), direct mail can still work. Here are seven reasons why you should invest some budget in a tech-enabled direct mail campaign:


1. Postal Mail Gives You a True Opt-in

Using direct mail to entice recipients to visit a custom URL (PURL) or activate an app through NFC or QR code is an excellent way to assemble lists of truly engaged customers. Integration of postal mail campaigns with marketing automation suites and analytics packages is easier than ever.


2. The Physical Mailbox is Becoming Less Crowded

As direct mail volume declines, creative mail marketers have greater opportunity to make some noise. This situation is the obverse of the digital mailbox, which grows more crowded each year. As large incumbents move budgets away from direct mail, challengers will have more of a chance to stand out.


3. Pricing Advantages

In May 2015, the U.S. Postal Service Commission announced that it was authorizing the USPS to raise Standard Mail prices by just under 2%; but it also announced a 2% discounts for users of its "Mail Drives Mobile Engagement" program. The Postal Service will offer a 2% discount on mail pieces that include mobile print technology and direct recipients to a mobile shopping experience.


4. Millennials and Digital Natives Like Mail

Maybe it's just the novelty or retro factors, but young people rely on newspapers, fliers, catalogs, and printed matter for purchase-related information. A well-designed mailer can cut through the digital noise. The UK's Royal Mail found evidence that physical mailers actually engage a different part of the brain.


5. Hyperlocality

The USPS' new "Every Door Direct Mail" program provides an affordable way to saturate specific localities. EDDM campaigns-- when combined with NFC, QR, and PURLs-- provide an ideal way to identify locally engaged prospects and customers, drive them online, and track them across channels.


6. The Envelope

Email subject lines in a cluttered inbox and display ads lost on a cluttered page aren't that interesting compared to an envelope. Admit it: you take the time before even deciding to open an envelope to determine who it is from and guess what's inside.


7. Appendability

When you mail to a postal list where you also have their digital touchpoints (email, Twitter, etc.), you can increase the effectiveness of communication by referencing the postal mail they received. An orchestrated strategy beats an ad-hock strategy.

Marketers with developed digital infrastructures can easily add a direct mail component to their mix. The fact that direct postal mail is low-tech enables you to reach real people at real addresses and track back real responses to deliver real results. So if you're not experimenting with postal direct mail, you may be missing out the chance to connect with customers in a powerful, authentic way.

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What are your thoughts on this? We'd like to hear your comments!



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Monday, July 6, 2015

7 Things To Consider About Location

At a trade show, booth location can make or break you, no matter how well prepared you are. Consider these principles while selecting the best possible booth location for your company.

1. Don’t do it alone

Your business has many stakeholders, but the onus is on YOU to select one of the most valuable tools in the marketing toolbox. However, you don't need to make a critical business decision of many thousands of dollars by yourself. Get others involved: your boss, his/her boss, your peers. They will all have insights, recommendations, and preferences.


2. There are no absolutes

Every show has its own particular method for assigning booth space. Find out the selection mechanics for the shows at which you will exhibit. These are among the most common:
* The points method. This approach is based on weighted points for booth size, seniority (number of years at the show), and support of the show (sponsorships).
* Indication of preference order. Here, the hosting association makes final selection.
* Assigned spaces.
* First buy, first pick.


3. Consider a sponsorship

Which sponsorships are more valuable to the showâ€"and to you? If you are willing to pay for preference, this can be a way to better your position when you are up against established, senior exhibitors who naturally get the best locations. Find out whether certain sponsorships have an influence on booth space.

4. Knowledge is power

The more you know about your shows, the better decisions you will be able to make when the time comes. Start by examining floor plans for previous shows. Keep an archive from the show kits from other years. You'll see who draws what from year to year.

While you are at this year's show, take notes on the layout. It's likely to be much the same next year. Check out where the competitors are and list physical considerations, such as columns, traffic flow, and main traffic aisles.

5. How far in advance should you prepare?

You need time to collect information about the factors that will influence the decision. Start early. Many expos open the floor plan selection for next year’s show at THIS year’s show. When choosing next year's space, pay close attention to your first day's performance this year. If the show is in the same venue, be sure you are familiar with last year's stats.

6. Look at traffic patterns
Which is the main door for the show? The door most of the attendees will be using? Where do the buses drop off? Where's the registration area? The restrooms? The food court? What door is near the breakout sessions? The general session? You need to be where the action is, not relegated to the back corner where no one ventures.

7. Keep these practical considerations in mind

Watch out for columns indicated on the floor plan. They are often not well marked. Or, if they are, the sheer scale of the show floor makes that six-foot column look miniscule. But in your booth it can become a monster that blocks your traffic flow and sight lines.

Booths and real estate have this in common: location location location! Include educated location selection in your trade show planning and achieve even better results!
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Read the original: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/27257/how-to-choose-the-right-tradeshow-booth-location-10-things-you-need-to-consider

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four Key Steps to Successful Branding

Here's a marketing truth that bears repeating: Your brand is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your quest to not only attract the widest possible audience, but to differentiate yourself from the competition in a meaningful way. While the type of brand you're trying to build may vary as your company grows and evolves, the steps you'll use to create and cultivate that brand won't. Here are four key steps to successful branding.

1. Make Marketing Decisions with Your Customers in Mind

You wouldn't attempt to offer a service or release a product that is of no interest to your target audience. This same thought should guide you when planning your marketing campaigns and branding strategy. Do your target customers respond well to direct mail materials? Are they the type of people who like print billboards? These are all questions you'll need to continually address and re-address.

2. Simple, Simple, Simple

One of the keys to building a successful brand is the ability to communicate the company's core values clearly and concisely. Keep it simple. Never use ten words when five will do. If you can communicate the idea with image, you may not need to use words at all. Communicate your branding message in the simplest possible way for the best results.

3. Your Brand is Your Brand is Your Brand

Though your brand may naturally evolve as your business changes, it's important to take things slowly. If all of your marketing materials reflect one version of your brand in Quarter 1 and a completely different version in Quarter 4, you're going to develop a bit of a schizophrenic reputation among the people you're trying to reach. For an example of this idea in action, consider the mess Netflix went through when it attempted to split off its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming components into two separate entities in 2011.

4. Consistency in Language and Intention

Every piece of marketing you put out into the world needs to feel like it's coming from the same company. Start by developing a "style guide" that you'll use moving forward. For example, if you write your direct mail materials at a specific reading level, include that in your style guide. Provide a list of acceptable fonts, color palettes, and guidelines for proper logo usage. Consistency is a key way to show people your brand knows what it's doing without actually saying those words.

As your company ages, it will naturally change and evolve over time. The products and services you're releasing today will scarcely resemble the ones you offer ten years down the line. One thing, however, will never change, and that's the power of your brand.