IMB migration, online sweepstakes and paid search

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IMB migration, online sweepstakes and more

How can mailers prepare for IMB migration?

“The Intelligent Mail initiative is the first full-scale USPS barcode change since 1980, and many com­panies find themselves in uncharted territory,” says Pete D'Amato, VP of global marketing and product management at Pitney Bowes Emtex Software. “The best advice for mailers as they prepare for this change is to start early.”

He offers a few best practices: “Assess your current capabilities, and verify that your systems can meet the USPS reading, sorting and reporting requirements. Choose vendors wisely: Are they CASS-Certified? Can they ensure that upgrades and hardware will be ready well in advance? Is the document software designed to meet mailers' needs?” D'Amato also notes that, “If you barcode prior to presort, you can improve results.” He adds that you should factor in both current and future needs, and you may want to begin with a consultation or a readiness assessment.

How can direct marketers use an online sweepstakes to drive brand awareness, keep customers and get new customers?

“Online promotions such as sweepstakes, instant wins and photo contests are incentive marketing tools that can be used to motivate a client's desired behavior,” says Steven Gray, COO of Money Mailer.

“Advertisers can use these types of interactive promotions to extend the reach of their coupons by raising brand awareness, keeping existing customers and driving customer acquisition,” he notes. “Chance-to-win promotions keep consumers engaged with brands. The incentive of a chance to win combined with the accessibility of the internet provide a great, low-hurdle opportunity for businesses to connect with the right consumer.” Gray adds that clients can use promotions to build opt-in databases, which they can use to remarket to consumers.

How can online marketers ensure that they are working with a legitimate provider of paid search services?

“First, ensure that your provider complies with the main industry self-regulatory organizations, such as the Network Advertising Initiative, Truste, and Internet Advertising Bureau,” advises Roy Shkedi, CEO and founder of AlmondNet. “Feel free to ask specific ques­tions, such as, ‘Do you include an opt-out link in the privacy policy of all sites where consumer data is col­lected?' Second, look at the internal privacy policies that the company upholds and what type of data it collects.”

He continues, “Check to see if your provider has an internal team that monitors their privacy policies. AlmondNet audits the privacy policies of all data provider partners and requires insertion of a consumer opt-out option and other privacy policy modifica­tions for the consumer benefit prior to integration.”

Shkedi concludes, “It's always important to take a proactive approach when privacy is concerned.”

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