Four experts talk about their best practices for expanding and maintaining a robust and clean list of customer data in today's information age — where data comes from a multitude of channels and options.
Developing an e-mail newsletter takes careful planning, including variations on content to reach disparate audiences with the right message to spur response, maintain interest and ultimately increase sales.
Acclimating to the constant evolution of reading channels, like Kindle, iPad and online, experts talk about how their circulation strategies attract new readers and retain current ones in the e-reader age
Marketers squeeze maximum impact from their multidimensional and nontraditional shaped mailers with targeted creative packages. Our experts explain successful strategies using unique mail pieces
Marketers are finding new ways to improve their customer loyalty programs by incorporating online channels from mobile to search in order to reach consumers where they're spending more and more time
Most marketers gather a wealth of information from all customer touchpoints, which enables them to help target offers more effectively. Experts discuss the best ways to combine and leverage customer data.
Marketers have embraced social media to help build relationships with their customers online. Four social media experts discuss how to build communities and incorporate a CRM approach into online fan pages.
As more marketers move away from print, favoring tactics such as online billing and statements, the insert media marketplace may seem threatened. However, experts say emerging media sources help the channel
Buying display ads can be overwhelming. Marketers and agencies are faced with hundreds of ad networks, publishers and exchanges from which to buy inventory. Four online experts provide smart buying tips.
Direct marketers know they can use variable data printing to create highly personalized marketing pieces. Our experts discuss the best ways to segment and measure these VDP efforts to optimize your ROI.
Search marketers are readying new paid search buy strategies in preparation of the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal, which is expected to be implemented in the US by the holidays. Four experts offer tips.
Referring to today's average smartphone as a "phone" is a bit of a misnomer. Most of us have a level of computing power at our fingertips that far exceeds what the most powerful PC offered just a decade ago.
To maximize effectiveness, mobile messaging and offers must be tightly coordinated across all communications channels, including direct mail, e-mail and social media. In practice, personalization is mandatory, not only to improve response rates, but also to avoid customer fatigue. For technology marketers, mobile presents an opportunity to develop an ever-increasing, positive customer-relationship experience and encourage loyalty.
I think mobile marketing holds huge potential for technology marketers right now if they understand that most consumers, and particularly consumers of technology products, are treating mobile devices as an extension of the desktop or laptop browser, not as a separate mode. That means your mobile marketing must now live up to the same standards as your "traditional" online marketing, in all respects, including depth of information and user experience.
The mobile device is one of the most personal of its kind, even more so than the PC. Though marketers are excited by the opportunities this personalization offers, it must be used carefully. Tools like direct mail, print advertising and even packaging can now all become interactive in seconds through the mobile device. What you need to do is start with specific business objectives in mind and execute effectively.
For marketers of technology products and services, the mere fact that consumers can receive and respond to the latest mobile ad technology serves as a pre-qualifier. Our experts discuss strategies and tactics
We know that people often make purchasing decisions based on emotion, and Valentine's Day and Mother's Day provide retailers two great opportunities to tap into their customers' emotional side. However, marketers need to make decisions based on data.
As an online retailer, there are certainly changes we make in marketing efforts through the year. For us, it gets a little tricky around Valentine's Day because our target demographic is completely different for that holiday than others throughout the year.
Valentine's Day is a favorite holiday for e-mail marketers. Scheduled reminders are highly effective, targeting is fairly easy and e-commerce is the perfect place for last-minute gifts. However, that doesn't give us the right — or the need — to bombard subscribers with unrelenting e-mails with deals and offers until they buy.
With Valentine's Day just finished and Mother's Day just around the corner, now is the time to consider your overall approach to peak shopping seasons, and how you can be better prepared for them in search.
Christmas isn't the only important marketing holiday. Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are also big revenue generators for e-commerce. Experts help you driving the traffic you deserve in this key season
People in general are going to talk about your brand, and how they experience your products and services. Those conversations will be both positive and negative. If it's a good discussion, some tips that I would suggest are to be thankful and engage and recognize the consumers, and reach out and say what you think as well. It is someone giving you a high five, in a way, by using social media.
Two years ago, social media was all about "Wow, Facebook and Twitter - get on those!" Last year, what you would hear was, "Wow, I need to look at all this stuff, and there are tools I can use to analyze all of that material out there." A ton of vendors popped up and provided services in that space.
We look at social media as a system. From the business perspective, it is really the relationship between customers, and you can always get smarter about customer relationships. Social media creates a massive disruption in the world of customer relationships, and marketers need to pay heed.
Authenticity is a key part of social media marketing. Social media strips away a lot of the barriers that companies face due to the nature of media. The people are the new mass media; the gatekeepers are gone. If you are going to participate in conversations online, they are not going to happen on your own ground.
Consumers are actively discussing brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Four experts provide tips on moving corporate CRM initiatives to those social media sites as well
Mobile is exciting because it combines many of the models and methods of other channels with the ability to reach and engage consumers anywhere, anytime. Successfully measuring a campaign requires clear definition of goals and key performance indicators. Typical campaigns include database building via e-mail capture and more detailed form fills; sales via m-commerce and mobile coupon redemption; a direct action, such as click-to-call; viral distribution through send-to-friend; and local offer participation that drives walk-ins with maps, directions and coupons.
More and more, the universality and convenience of SMS is making it the channel of choice for measuring the success of all media, whether mobile or not. Notably, print, out-of-home and broadcast ads increasingly include a common short code and keyword call to action.
Savvy marketers are taking advantage of new mobile advertising platforms that combine opt-in programs with advanced mobile technologies to deliver unprecedented consumer intelligence and more precise campaign measurement. Mobile customers are opting in for ads on their phones and to access rewards, special offers and discounts.
In two decades as a marketer, I've seen many successful campaigns and many that fell short. One of the biggest frustrations is not knowing what worked and what didn't until it is too late. That is what makes mobile marketing so attractive: the ability to measure campaigns in real time and make course corrections on the fly.
As mobile marketing gains traction, marketers are looking for the best ways to measure the channel and use the data it provides to build relationships with customers. Four mobile industry experts provide their tips
The "great recession" has dealt its share of challenges to the mailing industry, and mailers are hard-pressed to find good news these days. Fortunately, the US Postal Service delivered an early holiday present in December — there will be no increase in first-class postage in 2010.
Many mailers planned for a 2% to 3% increase in postage in 2010. The lack of a rate increase means many mailers can take advantage of the surplus budget to increase circulation, especially in acquisition and reactivation efforts. The key to doing this successfully is to "mail smarter."
Ever since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 became law, mailers have had two questions: "What's the Consumer Price Index?" and "How much additional postage will I now have to pay?" For the first time in many years, the USPS won't raise first-class or standard-mail postage rates in 2010. But savvy application of some postage-saving techniques could push even more cash to your bottom line while actually enhancing delivery.
All of us direct mail junkies received an early holiday gift when USPS Postmaster General John Potter announced a postage rate freeze for 2010. According to a statement released in October, the Postal Service wants to build long-term direct mail revenue. I personally salute this decision as an economic development tool.
Marketers have long segmented their consumer base through geo-targeting at the country, state, city and ZIP code levels. In search, a retailer with a strong regional presence, like Modell's, can use geo-targeting to optimize campaigns in states where it is a strong brand separately from states where consumers are not as familiar with it. Now, a more "micro" type lets marketers fine-tune campaigns beyond simply selecting the states in which to serve ads.
Online marketers have invested heavily into sophisticated SEM and SEO techniques to drive traffic to their sites, and most are adept at creating and optimizing landing pages for a good percent of our audience. But there's not enough time in the day to create a custom landing page for every paid search term, and no one can control where a customer lands via organic search.
'Tis the season to analyze data. According to a survey by Google and Compete, consumers spent an increasing amount of time on retail sites as last year's holiday season progressed, with the most intense engagement occurring around Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post-Christmas weekends. During these weekends, consumers took time to research and take advantage of seasonal sales.
Given the economic climate and consumers' reluctance to spend, one of the most important things you can do to drive e-commerce is integrate search with other marketing initiatives. Search is a great capture tool that can help boost the performance of other channels and net the created demand. Too often, marketing programs ignore the search component and end up creating a significant amount of demand which then is not captured.
Web site visitor footprints, real-time analytics, geographic micro-targeting and search engine strategies can optimize your marketing efforts. Four experts share how to use these technologies to drive sales.
E-mail marketing is a great way to stay in contact with donors. You may send them updates on cause-related events, send a newsletter, and even advise them of an upcoming mailing. The key is to be interactive and get their attention. Show them you care. Show them you understand them and how they can be of assistance to you and your cause. Whatever you are doing, be sure to ask them for a donation.
Many nonprofits are transitioning from print newsletters to e-mail newsletters to take advantage of cost savings, speed and clickable actions. Building an e-mail list from scratch and growing it to compensate for the inevitable list churn is challenging for many nonprofits.
Many of the techniques that nonprofits use to build files do not differ drastically from those of corporate entities. However, one of the most important aspects to maintaining and growing a file for a nonprofit is to sustain the relationship by communicating and sharing the impact of their gift, time and talent on the mission of the organization.
We've known for a while that donors who give through multiple channels give more frequently and make larger gifts, but now we're finding that the presence of an e-mail address makes a positive difference in the giving behavior of offline donors.
Multiple tactics help marketers tackle e-mail list building in the nonprofit sector. Four nonprofit experts share their top recommendations for growing e-mail databases effectively, while minding permission.
Business-to-business marketers seeking hard-to-reach prospects and looking to address their pain points and know that direct mail provides key benefits as part of an integrated campaign. Four experts share how it's done
E-commerce retailers have long been frustrated with consumers' propensity to fill an online shopping cart, only to get cold feet at the checkout screen. Four experts offer potential solutions to this problem
You can't implement effective lead generation initiatives without a good database. Four lead generation experts share their tips on keeping data clean, sourcing data, qualifying leads and following up.
As technology gains sophistication, choosing and implementing a Web analytics strategy grows more complex. Four experts share advice to ensure you're making the best choices for your company
Buying and renting mailing lists can be an expensive proposition, but it's still an essential part of direct marketing. Four experts share how you can make the most of your list marketing budget this fall
Company of the week
R2C creates, produces, distributes and measures messages that inspire and compel consumers to do something with a brand to drive commercial advantage. The full-service advertising agency specializes in creative, production, media, analytics and performance.
What's in our mailbox this month: fitness postcards from Retro Fitness, American Woman Fitness Centers, Union's United Taekwondo Academy, and Bally Total Fitness. (We're totally pumped.)
Social data can improve a brand's bottom line and customer relationships. Just ask brands Infiniti and Diamond Nexus.
Here are three must-have data sets that every marketer should include in his or her email strategy.