Marketing with online polls, an untapped market and more

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How can an online poll best be used as a marketing tool?

“An online poll is an immediate dialogue that breaks down the consumer fear that something is just advertising,” says Jason Feffer, founder of SodaHead. A poll also provides valuable data: An advertiser can take the results and target communications to specific audiences based on how they voted.

“You can also do contests,” Feffer adds. “The advertiser can reward the person who does best job of virally marketing that poll widget, so you can spread the widget on 10,000 different profiles. That's an ultimate example of empowering the consumer.” Crafting the question, Feffer says, is the hardest part because you have to craft it to get the type of response you want and avoid negative complaints.


When considering untapped markets for prospecting, which stand out?

The key is not treating this group as a single cluster, but instead segmenting the population to better
match offers to their needs, according to Denise Hopkins, VP marketing and product development for Experian Marketing Information Services.

She suggests that the underbanked population has entered into the spotlight as a strong source for prospecting. “This is where additional data becomes important,” she says. “This population represents 77 million consumers and is one of the fastest-growing demographics, spending $10.9 billion on non-traditional financial transactions, such as check cashing and payday loans, and $13 billion per year in non-bank transactions.” Hopkins adds that looking beyond your typical customer base at emerging groups can expand your prospect list with consumers who are receptive to offers and have the purchasing power to increase your ROI.


How can direct marketers more effectively make use of postcards?

With advances in digital color printing, many marketers are taking a fresh look at postcards, replies Shelley Sweeney, VP of Xerox Corporation's Direct Mail and Data Processing Service Bureau Segment. She says, “The image quality from digital color rivals offset print. More importantly, digital allows for full personalization of postcard content — making images and text more relevant. Personalized postcards now play a central role in many direct marketing communications programs, including service reminders, customer acquisition and relationship management, and cross-media communications.”

Postcards are also suited to the customizable templates increasingly used in Web-to-print ordering systems, and marketers can now print on a range of stocks. According to Sweeney, “Full-color personalized postcards can help marketers boost sales, improve response rates and build customer relationships as part of a marketing communications program.”

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