Monday, December 7, 2009

Enhance Response with Variable Data Printing

So many direct mail pieces today are still addressed "Resident" or "Our friend at" showing that the sender has NO idea who they are mailing to, nor do they apparently care. Cost/piece is their only criterion and that cost/piece mentality will kill them ultimately. About once a month I get a direct mail piece from a window replacement company offering to provide a quote on replacing my windows. Since I live in an apartment (a complex with 700+ units) imagine the cost of this mailing and all of the recipients who are not remotely qualified to begin with. If they are mailing to just my zip code they are wasting over 47% of their mailing on UNQUALIFIED PROSPECTS! If we look at our local Sectional Center they would be throwing away 28% of their total mailing costs.

As I'm writing this, I just got a recorded telemarketing call from a mortgage refinance company offering to take advantage of low rates today in refinancing my home mortgage. As an apartment renter, it's a waste of my time, their time and money and it takes me away from running my business. Yes, I opted out. But why did I get this call in the first place?

Back to the purpose of this blog. The advent of Variable Data Printing has ushered in a new era in direct marketing. The days of sending everyone the same thing has changed, and you now have the capability of importing and using key, variable data for each UNIQUE prospect or customer. Imagine receiving an e-mail with the following:

1223 Main St
Any City MI 12345

with static copy and photos on the mailing.

NOW, imagine this image:

David Fant
1223 Main St
Any City MI 12345

My name on a billboard stating "David, your new car is waiting" then in the photos is a photo of the last car I purchased, and similar style/types of cars that are on sale, either new or used!

Which image has the greatest impact? Certainly the second one will get my attention quickly and appeals to my past purchasing pattern and interest. Even if this is a prospect mailing, behavior/interest information is available to append to prospect data to allow you to feature items that meet your prospect's interests. For example, consider a resort that has a spa, golf course, hiking trails, gourmet restaurants, exercise equipment and a swimming pool. If you purchase a prospect list that includes people who enjoy hiking and gourmet food, those should be the images on the mailer. If the prospect is into golfing, focus on that for the images/copy.

Office Technology Magazine did a recent survey of users of VDP and discovered the following facts:

Response rate was up 36%
Average order size was up 25%
Repeat orders were up 47%
Overall Revenue Profit was up 31%

These increases were based on a comparison between non-VDP mailers and using VDP for the mailing.

VDP CAN work. It requires a lot of thought, preparation and planning, but the results are WELL worth the effort. Market Mapping plus LLC can help you build an effective VDP campaign and help you track the results. Contact us today for more information.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Why Direct Mail WORKS

Every day I read news reports/articles that revolve around the demise of direct mail and the transfer of advertising/marketing dollars to the web, social networking and other new, recently available media for reaching customers. The problem is that this idea has been around for over 100 years. Back in the early 1900's with the advent of AM Radio, people proposed the demise of newspapers and magazines. FM Radio was the deathknell for AM Radio. Television was going to destroy radio as an entire industry. Cable was the end of broadcast television and the internet will be the end of cable television.

As you might have noticed, not one of the media that I mentioned has disappeared. In over 100 years industries have worked hard to reinvent themselves and provide a valuable service to their ever changing audience. However, one way direct mail has always fit into the mix is that it can integrate with any advertising media to reinforce and enhance the impact of your message.

Direct mail:

1) Is personalized so the person receiving the message can see the message is intended for them.
2) Is HIGHLY targeted. You can pick not only demographics, but lifestyle variables
3) Can be kept for future reference/use.
4) Can include a referral to the web, a coupon or call to action.
5) Is highly trackable which allows you to focus your message and refine your audience.

Many companies from Lands End to The Wall Street Journal to Columbia Records have all worked to integrate all forms of media into their advertising campaigns. The net effect of doing an e-mail blast followed by a direct mail piece, or a direct mail piece followed by an e-mail blast is to lift response, in many cases significantly. A recent presentation from the head of marketing at Lands End indicated that in a side by side test where they compared JUST e-mail, JUST direct mail and a combined campaign, the combined campaign lifted response AND SALES over 60%.

Wouldn't we all like to lift sales 60%?

Create direct mail that is targeted, with copy that is designed for the recipient, that is coded to track response and you will see that direct mail is NOT dead. It's becoming the medium of choice to drive people to the web. The medium of choice to track response. And the best supporting vehicle for your advertising campaign.

For more information on building and tracking effective INTEGRATED advertising campaigns, contact Market Mapping plus LLC and we can help guide you though the process and get you to increase sales through combined marketing techniques.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Customer profiling doesn't need to be expensive.

Today, markets are getting segmented over and over again. What used to work for direct mail or other advertising media have now fractured into ever smaller pieces of the pie. As an example, in the past, if you wanted a cooking show on a broadcast media you could sponsor a show on PBS or possibly one or two shows on commercial TV. Today, you can do broadcast tv, cable tv (multiple channels), the internet will provide instant information on cooking and cooking products.

The issue becomes more complicated when selecting where to advertise or market your products and services. Creating a custom profile can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 or more. Each profile will help you focus your message which means you can be more selective in where you advertise. More selectivity means higher response rates. Higher response rates will translate into higher sales and higher quality prospect contacts.

The process of creating a custom profile is simple. Taking a sample of your customer list (minimum of 2,000 names/addresses needed no older than 2 years old) demographic data will be appended to each record. If you have social media or advertising media information (how they become a customer in the first place that's an added plus). From here, household specific data will be appended and analyzed based on your specific market. You NEVER want a profile completed using a a larger market area than you actually draw from. (For example, some profiles are compared to nationwide figures.) This skews your profile and will NOT allow you to take into account local market demographic trends.

From here, Market Mapping plus LLC can do the analysis and provide a complete written report on who is purchasing your products and services, where they are located and where to find new customers in your area. An investment of $6,000 may seem high. But, over the course of a year you can save this in wasted advertising dollars going to a market segment that will never enter your store.

Contact us today to learn how a Custom Profile can help YOU reach your intended marketing goals.