What’s on your 2013 to-do list?

Effective Front-Door Marketing Breaks Through The Clutter.

According to a recent poll by the American Marketing Association, 27% of marketers are looking to try something new. http://ow.ly/gDmxK

To combat ad clutter in an increasingly noisy landscape, data suggests an advantage goes to marketers who embrace a highly targeted yet multichannel approach. A 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.

The front door, however, represents an underutilized, additional channel— 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.

2013 is the perfect time to try 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? Isn’t it time you tried front-door marketing?

 

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?

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?

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?

Be Direct; Bypass the Mailbox

Getting Attention with Front-Door Marketing

As the United States Post Office continues to take a beating – posting a $747M net loss in April alone – marketers have got to wonder about the long-term viability of this once stable and reliable entity to effectively deliver marketing messages.  Postal staff has been reduced, offices have closed, and changes in service may be coming soon as the USPS looks to find ways to survive losses in the billions for its fiscal 2011.

Is your advertising message getting lost in the clutter?

The mailbox is certainly finding it difficult to compete in a world where marketing messages have permeated nearly every aspect of daily life; it has sadly been relegated to the role of clutter collector. Smart marketers are responding by targeting their best prospects with offers that bypass the tired mailbox and bring value directly to the front door.  Major brands like Kohl’s, BestBuy and McDonalds have learned that front-door marketing is a highly effective tool in getting the right message to the right consumer at the right time – ensuring that messages are both delivered and heard over the noise.  A direct response discipline in its own right, front-door marketing eliminates the reliance on postal services and bypasses a clutter-filled mailbox, reaching consumers with personalized brand value.

Are you relying on outdated methods to generate customer response? Perhaps it’s time to consider broadening your reach beyond the mailbox with a more focused and effective front-door marketing approach.

Using the Front Door to Meet Cable Subscriber Goals

Front-Door Marketing Helps Increase Customer Acquisition, Retention and ARPU

Photo courtesy of redjar via flickr.com

In nearly every aspect of life, economic concerns and a rapidly evolving landscape are causing consumers to make spending choices cautiously. Yet even so, IDC’s recent report on U.S. Consumer Fixed Broadband Services forecasts consumer demand for fixed broadband services to remain strong. The market is expected to increase by nearly 13 million new consumer broadband subscriptions before 2015, even amid economic challenges for the industry. This anticipated growth is great news for cable providers, but capturing market share is clearly a tricky proposition that will take some creative thinking and smart marketing.

Leading cable providers such as Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications have leveraged front-door marketing’s sophisticated data intelligence, high-quality physical media, eye-catching creative and an attractive offer to meet a variety of marketing objectives. Front-door marketing has the ability to attract new subscribers, while working to recapture subscribers who have “cut the cord,” downgraded their service, or may be in the market for bundled services.

Consumers may be just plain tired of scrimping and saving – driving interest in minor indulgences such as affordable access to cable services for home entertainment and communication. But making cable affordable is just part of the equation. The ability to get the right message to the right audience – whether it is a limited-time offer, special pricing promotion, free trial period (premium channels) invitation, tiered package offer, or other subscriber incentive – is critical to gaining market share.

Front-door marketing is proving highly effective in this arena, delivering special offers and promotions to meet new customer subscription goals and increase average revenue per user (ARPU).  Are you efficiently and effectively reaching the consumers in your subscriber area with relevant services and ‘can’t miss’ offers?

Effective Front-Door Marketing Can Meet a Variety of Goals – Quickly

Working with an Experienced Partner Sets the Foundation for Success

Handled with skill and technology, today’s front-door marketing campaigns are able to generate results faster than most other media. In fact, with a highly-efficient distribution system in place, speed-to-market can be maximized with campaigns frequently executed in a 10-14 day timeframe.  Now that’s a fast track to results, which can be tied to a range of client metrics or priorities.

Consumers redeem front-door media offers in-store, and coupon redemption is tracked to evaluate campaign results.

There are a number of ways to measure success and it’s important to determine those criteria up front.  Frequently, the ultimate goal is redemption of a promotional offer, however front-door marketing can and does serve a variety of purposes.  It can be used to generate traffic, provide loyalty incentives, increase awareness or reinforce branding efforts; it is an ideal component to an acquisition, retention or ‘re-activation’ program. 

The medium also works well to reinforce a position when a company is expanding or finds itself going head to head with the competition.  New product launches and trial programs can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy, getting information and product into the hands of those most likely to respond. Response-driven mechanisms like coupons, toll-free numbers and drive-to-web incentives are popular and effective – made even stronger by working with a skilled, trusted front-door marketing partner.

Meeting marketing goals effectively – while communicating a strong sense of brand – is a top mandate for national and regional businesses, and is well-supported by delivering a high-quality message of value to a very precise target.  Are you defining metrics and moving quickly to engage your best prospects? Are you teaming up with an experienced and knowledgeable front-door marketing partner that knows the ins-and-outs of deploying a successful campaign?

Value Beats Ad Clutter Every Time

Front-Door Marketing Bypasses a Crowded Media Landscape to Meet Your Best Customers at Home 

With the onslaught of brand messages permeating nearly every facet of life, why do marketers think more of ‘the same old same old’ is a good idea? It’s misguided to say that the means to beat ad clutter is to just distribute more and more of it. 

Instead, why not increase the effectiveness of underused, grassroots channels to deliver value? Savvy marketers—and savvy customers—are becoming well aware of the front door as valuable real estate in this effort. No barriers remain at the front door, and newfound abilities to target effectively have evolved this channel into a conduit for brands to deliver VIP treatment that equates to value and drives response. A recent PowerDirect article in Marketing News, an online publication of the American Marketing Association, details this phenomenon and highlights the targeting strategies that are fueling highly effective front-door marketing today.

More than ever before, being heard has to do with delivering value. And achieving this demands an understanding of what makes an audience tick, and ultimately acknowledges that relevance and value are what fuel long-term customer relationships with specific products and services. Do your campaigns focus on delivering value as a priority?  What are you doing to demonstrate an understanding of what your best customers need and expect from their favorite brands?

 

Deal of the Day?

Random Deals Have Their Place – But Targeted Offers are Often the Better Deal, Both for Consumers and Major Brands

Groupon's deep-discount model is enticing, but offers are not always relevant.

The appeal of a deal that is just too good to pass up can be, well, difficult to pass up. And a new one every day may sound great in theory – but that sweet price break is not always a highly relevant offer. More accurately, it is rarely relevant.  Daily deal websites such as Groupon, Living Social and Gilt may entice the saver in all of us, but as they fill up email boxes, text messages and Facebook pages, the subscriber may begin wondering what they really signed up for.

From the marketer’s perspective, Groupon charges a comparatively high percentage of the pre-paid coupon’s face value.  This model is only ideal when the marketer’s product has a very high margin (like services such as spas) or needs brand awareness that is too costly to develop through other channels (e.g. small, unknown, local businesses). Larger retailers such as restaurant chains, major retailers and brand manufacturers have slimmer margins, are better known and just don’t need to widely offer such deep discounts.

Are there better options? While daily deal sites are still proving their usefulness, there are alternatives that are highly targeted, provide significant value and cost the consumer nothing up front.  One such method is front-door media – used by major brands like McDonalds, Kohl’s, Home Depot and Best Buy to bypass the mailbox and get the right message of value directly into the hands of their target shoppers. Similar to the daily deal sites, the discounts are significant – often in the neighborhood of 50 percent off or more – but unlike those sites, the offers are highly targeted and meant for the recipient based on a variety of factors such as demographics, lifestyle segmentation, consumer behavior, ethnicity and consumer buying power. Front-door marketing is not a new tactic, however it’s more sophisticated than ever, and effectively poised to drive traffic and purchase decisions as part of an overall marketing program.

Are you considering new, untargeted and unproven methods to increase sales? Will the end result warrant the investment? Shouldn’t a major brand like yours be speaking directly to your customers with branded offers delivered directly to the front door?

Retailers Ride Holiday Growth Wave into 2011

Retail momentum continues, as consumers’ desire for discounts is fueling promotions and shopper incentives

Retailers were generally pleased with the 2010 holiday season, seeing 5.7 percent growth over 2009 and handily beating initial projections by the National Retail Federation.  In fact, the NRF further says that January marks seven straight months of retail gains, demonstrating that many consumers are ready to spend after a long and difficult economic slump. It’s a winning situation for consumers – retailers are anxious to maximize this upswing and are upping their game with continued promotions and discounts. 

Good news for shoppers who have come to expect some level of competition for their spending power. Their expectation of value is rock solid and increasing the pressure on retailers to deliver.  For retailers it is a bit trickier though, and marketing efforts must break through the barrage of promotional activity to really get the consumers’ attention as they travel the path to purchase. Shoppers have become savvier about sifting through their options – comparing prices and demanding value as they prioritize their spendable income.

In turn, marketers are layering additional tactics onto established and successful retail marketing strategies.  Capitalizing on what they already do well – such as developing incentives that demonstrate real customer understanding – marketers are raising the bar by adding underused channels such as front door marketing into the mix.  Bypassing a crowded field of messages, retail marketers are in some cases exceeding a 20 percent response rate.

Are your retail marketing initiatives generating the results you need, especially as Americans seem to be stepping out of their years-long spending slump? And if not, what are you doing to expand on your campaign strategies?