4 Creative Print Add-Ons to Drive Response & Engagement

One of the key benefits of print media is its tangibility, which opens up the possibilities for creative flexibility. Die-cut shapes and tri-folded panels are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some creative print media enhancements that range from simple to more complex, and can work for any budget.

Power-Direct-Front-Door-Marketing-Creative-Add-Ons1. Scratch-offs
Scratch-offs are most often seen and used in lottery games and tickets. That element of surprise and chance is a characteristic of scratch-offs that makes them a simple and relatively inexpensive add-on to any type of print creative. Most commonly, we’ve seen scratch-offs used for sweepstakes with one grand prize winner. However, other marketers have used scratch-offs just for the additional interactivity between the consumer and the print media, and the underlying prize is the same for everyone.

2. Gift cards
Affixed gift cards literally add some weight to a piece of print media. While gift cards can vary in type, less expensive options are available with gift cards printed just on a heavier stock. Gift cards are a great creative add-on because 1) they extend the life of your advertising message when the consumer keeps the card for use, and 2) they can achieve a variety of objectives, such as drive foot traffic, increase average load, or encourage repeat visits.

3. Rub-and-smell
One of the newer introductions to print media is scent technology. While past rub-and-smells delivered only standard stock smells like strawberry and lemon, today’s technology can mimic nearly any kind of unique scent. A Pine-Sol front-door campaign executed by Power Direct introduced two of the brand’s new scents on a two-sided door hanger, and the home care brand leveraged the front-door media’s ability to deliver directly to the home to maximize impact.

4. Paper engineering
What is paper engineering? Think pop-up construction, shifting panels, and pull tabs. While paper engineering is an interesting way to make a printed media engaging, keep in mind that more complicated constructions can get confusing and may not always represent your brand the way a simple pop-up would. Paper engineering is also a great option for marketers on a tight budget since the additional cost is usually for only paper rather than external materials.

Would you like to see some live, physical samples of any of these creative add-ons? Just contact us to request a media kit.

What are some other unique print add-ons that you have seen or used?

3 Tips For A Better Hispanic Marketing Campaign

Targeting-Hispanic-Consumer-with-Power-DirectThe Hispanic market represents a huge potential and challenge for every marketer. As reported by AdAge, US Hispanic media spending grew faster than general market media, with a 4.6% growth in 2011. However, strategies and spending varied across the board for the 50 largest Hispanic advertisers, with some slashing budgets while others, including Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, and Kraft, posted big increases.

With these varied results, how can marketers ensure their advertising dollars are maximized with the Hispanic audience? Here, we share 3 tips to get your best result:

1. Deliver cultural relevance.
As with any type of multi-cultural campaign, differences in dialects, food, acculturation level, and values can impact a marketing campaign and should be considered. For the Hispanic audience, whose constituents identify by country of origin (e.g. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Salvador, etc.), even idioms or local colloquialisms might not translate from one Hispanic subgroup to the next.

2. Reach consumers when they’re most responsive.
Hispanic shoppers are responsive to incentives and offers, and reaching these shoppers during the decision-making process is critical. As most purchase decisions are made even before a shopper steps into a store, marketers must make an effort to reach shoppers at home. With the increasing number of consumer touch points available to marketers now, care must be taken to rise above the ever-increasing ad clutter.

3. Create word-of-mouth to amplify impact.
Localized campaigns, like front-door marketing, that are relevant and include valuable offers can create greater traction by leveraging the natural word-of-mouth, large family size, and the close-knit nature of Hispanic communities. The key here is to focus on delivering a hyper-local advertising message that can be naturally shared by the Hispanic shopper and their immediate community and network.

To learn more about how front-door marketing reaches and engages Hispanic consumers through the front-door, check out this Portada article or read one of Power Direct’s case studies.

What other tips would you offer to maximize a Hispanic marketing campaign?

3 Steps to a Better Targeting Plan

Photo by cliff106We’ve talked about targeting in the previous post and how it’s done for a front-door campaign. In general, though, leveraging available consumer information, whether third-party or in-house, is one of the most important steps in a campaign.

Here, we share three steps you can take to creating a better targeting plan for your next campaign.
 
1. Start with the right strategy
Take a moment to understand how you are reaching your customers. If it’s through the front door, then evaluate whether your message will resonate in the same way that it does via a television commercial. Ask questions: What do we hope to achieve? Can we make a unique, high-value offer specifically for the front door? Is the offer compelling enough to drive ideal customers to action?
 
2. Leverage existing customer information
Many brands already have well-developed customer profiles, created from either internally managed sources or response data from previous campaigns. Leverage this information to create a unique profile for your campaign. Doing so will allow you to identify any new learnings from the campaign and enables you to track these customers and their behaviors more accurately. Furthermore, data modeling of this customer data can help find “look-alikes” and even predict future behavior.
 
3. Add other quality data sources
If you don’t have years of curated internal customer data, then use third-party resources. Resources like Nielsen Claritas, Simmons, and the US Postal Service provide demographic, behavior, and purchasing data that helps you further understand your target audience. Also, be certain to use up-to-date information, such as in the case of the Census demographic information.
 
What are some other ways you’ve improved your targeting plan? Share with us your ideas in the comments below.
 

Are You Targeting At the Right Level?

A look at  DMA, zip code, and block group level targeting

Can you visualize who receives your marketing message? Is it 10,000 people or just 100?

Prior to the skillful targeting capabilities applied today, front-door media, like other many other media, was delivered based on zip code or even DMA market saturation. That meant everyone within a zip code (approximately 13,000 households) or a market would receive the same media message regardless of demographic importance or project objective. However, by abandoning this type of approach and moving to the use of US Census block groups — census-defined territories consisting of 100 to 400 households–marketers can now define and execute extremely targeted distributions.

How targeted are we talking about? Here’s a simple map illustration of the difference between targeting at the DMA, zip code, or block group levels.

DMA-ZipCode-Block-Group

And here’s a more detailed look at the difference between the zip code and block group levels.

Block-Group-ZipCode

How are you currently targeting your ideal customers? Is your message targeted enough to help achieve your marketing goals?

Why Print Media Isn’t Dead, According to Forbes

Print-Isnt-DeadAccording to this recent article from Forbes, print media is far from dead–it’s still a powerful and necessary component of any ad campaign.

Read the full article here, and here are some of the main benefits–all of which we agree with!–of the print media that makes it a strong contender in today’s marketing world.

  • Tangibility – The physical nature of print media increases its longevity, a direct contrast to the ephemeral nature of online ads.
  • Credibility – A sense of legitimacy is still inherent with print media. Unlike online ads which have spawned a fear for spam and viruses, there’s no danger posed with print media.
  • Target Marketing – The variety of print media options means you can target and reach any specific audience, no matter how niche.
  • More Engaging – Websites and online ads are skimmed, usually within 15 seconds. On the other hand, print media is tangible and thus, more engaging.

Are you currently using print media in your ad campaigns and, if so, what advantages have you seen over other media channels?

5 Terms to Help You Evaluate Your Front-Door Program and Partner

Defining-Front-Door-MarketingOver the years, we’ve worked with a multitude of clients within various industries, all of whom have needed some education, in some form, in front-door marketing. Instead of providing all of our sales collateral and presentations, we’ve listed five key terms (and their definitions according to PowerDirect) to help you frame a better understanding of front-door marketing, and how to evaluate future front-door partners.

1. Front-Door Marketing
(noun) A highly specialized and measurable discipline that uses creative, precisely targeted media to reach and engage consumers through one of the last uncluttered environments — their front door.

Contrary to popular opinion, front-door marketing isn’t just door hangers. Polybags, boxes, and express envelopes are among the different print materials and construction that can be delivered to the front door. In front-door marketing, the focus is on the uncluttered space, rather than the media type. Your front-door partner should be able to develop any type of front-door program for you — and not just using door hangers.

2. Block Groups
(noun) Formally known as US Census Block Groups, these are Census-defined territories of approximately 100 to 400 households, and typically smaller than a zipcode, which includes approximately 13,000 households.

Block group targeting and delivery is unique to front-door marketing because it allows for extremely targeted and efficient distribution, while still providing enough market coverage. Ask your front-door partner at what level they target and deliver (DMA, CBSA, zipcode, or block group) to determine overall program efficiency.

3. Reco or Counts
(noun) Short for “recommendations” and “household counts”, these data sheets outline the program’s targeting recommendation based on specific consumer demographics

Recos and counts are a good demonstration of a partner’s targeting capabilities and experience. What typically happens in the targeting analytics process is that the front-door partner will rank all the block groups in your desired market based on your ideal customer profile (or specific demographics) and select the “best block groups” for your campaign. Ask your front-door partner for counts or recos in a specific market; your front-door partner should be able to provide you with recommendations that include not only demographic, but also psychographic and expenditure information.

4. GPS Delivery
(noun) Delivery that can be tracked and verified via a global positioning system

The use of GPS technology varies across the front-door marketing industry. What doesn’t vary is the back-end reporting and analysis of the GPS “maps”, which log GPS coordinates and movements on a satellite map image. Ask your front-door partner to provide you with a post-campaign GPS map and analysis. Their GPS teams should be able to provide you with information on how fast the delivery occurred, any indications of abnormalities in delivery, and a grade for the overall delivery.

5. Overages
(noun) Block groups that are similar to program-selected block groups, and have been identified as “contingency” zones in the case that program-selected block groups cannot be delivered to.

Overages are basically contingency areas. Most front-door marketing companies recognize that not every city is a perfect delivery zone. Geographical limitations may prohibit delivery in certain block groups; thus, overages will address this challenge. Ask your front-door partner what limitations they have on delivery and what their policy is to address these limitations.

Are there any other front-door marketing terms you’ve encountered and don’t have a definition for? We’ll be happy to help you define them; just leave your comments below!

The 5 Most Common Myths About Front-Door Marketing

Truth-Myths-Front-Door-MarketingTo be frank, when we say “door hangers”, there are certain perceptions attached to the media. Yet which of these perceptions are true and which are actually just myths? Learn the 5 most common myths about front-door marketing and door hangers, and the truths about consumer perceptions, delivery, and dumping.

Myth #1  Door hangers are a flimsy, low-quality media for mom-and-pop shops, not major brands.
The truth? While door hangers have historically been perceived as cheap and used by small pizza and laundry-mat chains, today’s door hangers are nothing like their predecessors. PowerDirect’s industry-leading standards have reinvented the media into a large format size (5.5” x 17”) that is printed on quality stock, and is visually impactful. Fortune 500 clients like Comcast, Clorox, and Verizon have recognized the value of the media and regularly employ it as part of their marketing campaigns.

Myth #2  During delivery, delivery crews dump the door hangers into the trash.
The truth? Dumping used to be an industry problem, but the introduction of technologies like GPS and dedicated auditing teams have minimized dumping issues. Furthermore, having worked with our delivery teams for more than 10 years, PowerDirect has trained and educated the delivery teams to meet our exacting distribution standards.

Myth #3  People don’t like door hangers, and response rates are dismal.
The truth? Less than 1% of all calls received through our Customer Service line are opt-outs from people who don’t want to receive door hanger advertisements. As for the response, while the industry average varies due to the different delivery standards, PowerDirect’s clients have seen response rates between 1% – 2% and usually greater than other comparable direct mail or solo mail efforts.

Myth #4  I don’t want to deal with all the consumer complaints.
The truth? Our policy is to direct all consumer inquiries, including complaints, to our in-house Customer Service team. Our team handles all opt-outs (usually less than 1% of all calls), requests for additional door hangers (yes, we do get these very often!), and miscellaneous inquiries. Aside from our phone support team, our in-field Auditors also deal with any field issues as they occur. 

Myth #5  Door hangers are more expensive than other print media.
The truth? The pricing for front-door media will vary depending on the media type (door hangers, polybags, boxes, etc.), but we’ve found that our pricing is very comparable to solo mail. We’ve also found that the ROI for front-door media campaigns are higher than other print media because front-door marketing, delivered to one of the last uncluttered spaces, successfully engages consumers. 

What other myths have you heard about door hangers or front-door marketing? Leave your comments, and we’ll add them to the list!

Go Multi-Channel to Beat the Ad Clutter

How adding underutilized, alternative media channels can help your brand beat the clutter

In our previous post, we discussed the challenges that marketers face in diminished response in their brand marketing efforts. One of the key issues was that of ad clutter and the increasingly noisy communications landscape that marketers are facing. To combat ad clutter, data suggests an advantage goes to marketers who embrace a highly targeted yet multichannel approach. 

Multichannel-to-beat-ad-clutterA recent study by ATG  confirmed that nearly 80 percent of consumers consider more than one media channel when making purchasing decisions, and 25 percent use three channels or more. Furthermore, 78 percent of those surveyed said they use catalogs to browse and discover products — a notable validation for print media in the face of a growing array of digital strategies.

Advances in digital media — such as email, websites, social channels and mobile apps — have indeed forced print advertising and direct mail to take a hit. But the reality is that a decline in print tactics does not correlate directly to greater successes on digital initiatives. IDG Connect (2010 Report) recently confirmed that consumers receive 14-15 brand message emails daily, above and beyond their busy inbox for work-related communications. As a result, email overload and clutter is driving disappointing response rates for email marketers. Email is cheap though, so marketers determined to stick with an email strategy may simply increase outbound mailing efforts. This reinforces the cycle of clutter — with consumers using more powerful spam filters to stop the onslaught and email marketers further increasing their traffic. It’s part of the misguided approach that says the means to beat clutter is to just distribute more and more of it.

In contrast, data from Pitney Bowes indicates that the typical American household receives roughly 15-17 pieces of advertising-related mail per week. Although light in comparison to that amount received each day digitally, these direct mail materials pool in the mailbox and represent another source of clutter. The inherent advantages of print — the quality sense of color and heavy paper, the emotional connection of holding and feeling the material — these benefits are often undiscovered in a pile of mail that is statistically very likely to head straight for the recycle bin. 

The front door, however, represents an underutilized, additional channel that addresses some of these issues — free of the clutter that appears in the mailbox, online and on TV, and a highly visible avenue for message placement. This represents a vast and largely untapped channel for Fortune 500 brands to bring value to a precisely defined audience, with measurable results enabled by technology-based processes. Most consumers are tired of established mass advertising and direct marketing methods that bring self-serving messages and little to no value so the high-value offer left just for them is perceived as personalized, special treatment from a trusted brand.

Given the current marketing climate, all of these characteristics have coalesced to re-invent the front door as a strategic marketing channel. Further, science and technology — the same tools that are routinely applied to the more crowded media venues – are enabling front door campaign execution with controlled, technology-based precision. Marketers have a quiet, uncluttered environment to offer value and build ROI with an intelligent, response-driven mechanism.

What other alternative media channels have you added to your campaigns?

Understanding Diminished Response to Brand Marketing

Reasons why your marketing ROI may not be what you expect

Media-Clutter-NoiseMarketing to today’s consumer has become more complex. The communications landscape of today is busier and unlike anything ever before, with information and messages coming from mail, email, telephone, Internet, radio, television, mobile, social, even outdoor communications. Consumers are facing a surge in information that has the potential to, at best, overwhelm and, at worst, alienate. While marketers do calculate their targets, targeting may be too broad or a single consumer may represent the sweet spot for any number of target groups. As a result, that individual walks away unresponsive and feeling as if bombardment really is the name of the game. 

The New Normal
Broad-sweeping financial, economic and even political issues have had impact on the lives of Americans today. There is in effect a new normal, defined as permanent changes in consumer thinking based on the recession and economic challenges. Seeking value as a priority, paying cash for necessities, foregoing credit cards, searching for discounts and putting money in the bank have become the rule rather than the exception. And while the recession may officially be over, some economists say many of these changes in spending habits, initially seen as temporary, have taken hold for the long haul. This economic trend represents a significant opportunity for marketers, going beyond the sole purpose of grabbing someone’s attention, and instead delivering usefulness and value.

Feeding Fragmentation
At the same time consumers are overloaded with marketing messages that may or may not be applicable, marketers are dealing with increasing audience fragmentation. There was a time — a very short time — when a television ad could reach 70 percent of the viewing audience. Nowadays, network television has given way to an army of terrestrial, cable and now digital broadcast options offered by satellite, cable and fiber optics. The Internet changed the world and reaches anyone and everyone. Traditional print media — whether it be newspapers, magazines or direct mail — adds to the list of individual options for viewing information and interacting with commercial messages.  

Social media, email, print, radio and television all play a role in this deluge of information which continues to grow.  Marketers are seeing less favorable returns on their marketing investments and in turn must buy and manage communications strategies over a much greater number of channels.

Consumers in Control
Further, there is a marketing savvy present in today’s consumer that has grown out of this experience. Faced with a barrage of marketing messages and brand choices, it’s easy for consumers to believe that everywhere they look, everywhere they go, someone wants to sell them something. 

That growing media noise has taught consumers a new skill — that is, shutting down messages that are neither of interest nor meant for them specifically. Tuning out non-essential communications is a phenomenon that has dramatically reduced overall response rates,  even in the face of more and more and more communication and outreach from marketers. 

Marketers are determined to be heard over the noise but are ultimately only feeding the problem by buying more ad space and airtime, sending out more direct mailers, making more cold calls, and posting more tweets and Facebook updates. The good news is that consumers don’t inherently hate ads. They just hate bad ads that don’t bring value or otherwise matter to them – those are the messages that drive consumers away feeling alienated and are the type of tactics that skilled marketers need to sidestep.

The challenge for marketers is to understand that brand loyalty is being replaced by the pursuit of straight-up value, and take that concept further and determine new methods and channels for delivering on the consumer’s expectation of brand value and personal relevance. In our downloadable white paper (name and email required), we explore more about this issue and possible ways to improve ROI and motivate consumer action.

What other reasons or events have affected the response to your brand marketing efforts?

10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Direct Response Campaign

Leverage strategic thinking and execution to improve direct response campaigns

10-Simple-Ways-Increase-Direct-ResponseReaching the right consumer is becoming more difficult with the increasingly cluttered media landscape. Consumers are also becoming more accustomed to marketing messages, and their filters are more discriminating. However, this challenge is also an opportunity for marketers to win customers by delivering relevance, value, and, ultimately, engaging the customer.

Here, we’ve outlined the ten simple steps to improving your direct response campaign and your perceived relationship with your customers.

1. Think globally, but execute with precision
In today’s jam-packed direct response landscape, broad targeting can alienate. Reinforce your brand relationships and deliver on value expectations with precision targeting instead. Doing so will put you at the top of the consumer’s consideration list.

2. Execute today based on what you need to achieve tomorrow
Base your efforts on what can help you grow your results tomorrow and beyond. Capitalize on what you’re doing well and expand your strategies to include more than “just more” of the same.

3. Avoiding message clutter maximizes results
Take a savvy approach to your campaign by combining technology and a range of channels as well as grassroots communications such as front-door marketing. Remember: the only real difference between alternative and traditional media is perspective: the right channel is the one that reaches the responsive customer with the right message at the right time.

4. Customers expect you to know what they need; don’t show up empty-handed
Your brand message should always be persuasive, and give customers a genuine reason to respond and a high-value offer delivered in a useful, convenient way.

5. The path to purchase starts at home
Understand what makes your customers tick and meet them early on their path to purchase. While there are many elements that influence purchase decisions, perhaps none are stronger than experiences that start in the comfort of the home.

6. Science and technology drive results, but only if you stay close to the data
Integrate data about your customer into every campaign stage and use the data to support your plans rather than reshape them.

7. Don’t waste resources: targeting is the name of the game
Use factors such as demographics, lifestyle segmentation, consumer behavior, ethnicity, and consumer buying power as the starting points in your campaign’s targeting. Don’t forget to refine your ideal customer profile as the campaigns progress.

8. Test, evaluate, and adjust – learn something from every campaign
Always be prepared to re-prioritize data points that may unexpectedly impact your response rates, such as weather, geography, timing. Be further prepared to make adjustments with secondary campaign executions, such as increasing the frequency or value of your offer or shifting resources into a less cluttered channel.

9. Tracked results validate efforts and help expand targets
Direct response campaigns have the advantage of trackability, so keep a close eye on your campaign, budget, and results. Implement tracking and campaign management tools to help you close the loop on your investment, and when results are validated, use assumptive data modeling to build on what worked.

10. Even class direct response strategies can benefit from a fresh approach
Marketing budgets are tight and campaigns need to deliver, so develop a process for every campaign. Compare channel and results and think of ways to connect media touch points to maximize your efforts.

What are some other tips you would recommend for improving a direct response campaign?