Direct Marketing

Want to Personalize? Don’t Do This….

When marketers talk about producing “personalized printing” or 1:1 printing, they are talking about printing that communicates with a customer in a way that static direct mail cannot. By definition, this approach is based on knowing something about each customer, even if it’s just name and address.

When done correctly, however, 1:1 printing is more than just “personalizing” a document. After all, you can personalize something well or you can personalize it badly.

There is an industry pundit who is fond of telling the story of receiving a personalized marketing pitch from a hotel in Las Vegas. The mailer was fully personalized based on the details of his recent visit. In personalizing the piece, however, the hotel assumed that the man stayed in the hotel alone because he was single. In fact, he was married, and his stay there had been tied to an industry event. When the mailer arrived, it featured a scantily clad woman on the front of the card, paired with a salacious invitation. Unfortunately for the marketer, the pundit’s wife collected the mail that day. Needless to say, the invitation never made it inside the house.

Personalization alone doesn’t create relationships or sell products. Relationships are developed by knowing your customers and sending relevant communications that pair your products with the needs of your customers in an appropriate and beneficial way.

Something as simple as a quick list append to identify marital status would have saved this hotel’s mailing. There are other pieces of demographic information that can help improve, not just the “personal” nature of a mailing, but its relevance, as well. What additional pieces of data might help improve your next personalized mailing?

Print versus Digital – the debate continues….

Print Bests Digital for Driving Purchases

Want proof that print drives sales? Just ask the researchers at Temple University, who found that print has more impact than digital when it comes to increasing reader engagement, recall, and ultimately, purchases.

The study was sponsored by the Postal Service Inspector General’s office (OIG) in conjunction with Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making. The study found that print ads are more effective than online ads in five of nine categories and equal in two of them.

Researchers found that, while digital ads grab attention more quickly, readers lose interest in them more quickly, too. Print holds attention longer, which translates into greater emotional response and absorption of the message. This, in turns, leads to more sales.

The categories in which print bests digital?

  • Review time  (amount of time a reader spends with an ad)
  • Stimulation (emotional reaction to an ad)
  • Memory speed and confidence (how quickly and confidently a reader remembers the advertising source and content)
  • Desirability (subconscious desire for the product or service)
  • Valuation (the subconscious value a reader places on the product or service)

If you’ve been tempted to buy into the hype that digital ads are superior to traditional print marketing, think again. Try adding targeting and segmentation for an even more effective combination.

And Wheeler’s can help you…..

5 Design Tips to Make You Stand Out

Your customers are buried under an avalanche of conventional and uninteresting print materials every day. How can you elevate your marketing collateral, direct mail, and displays with simple design changes, no matter what your budget? By creating a unique visual identity.

Being unique doesn’t mean throwing out the basic tenets of marketing and design. But with a little creativity, you can incorporate out-of-the-box typography, an unexpected use of color, or a dash of purposeful discontinuity that will build an engaging and memorable experience.

Here are some tips for creating a lasting impression:

  • Communicate with clarity, humility and brevity. Try some light humor, if appropriate.
  • Use typography as a design element. Experiment with different fonts and selective kerning to convey a specific image and tone, from classic to playful to edgy.
  • Pick unique imagery.
  • While stock imagery is readily available and affordable, stock images can make your marketing look like everyone else’s. Custom photography is worth the investment.
  • Use placement and color of images as part of the design. An image that is tightly cropped or bleeds off the page in an unexpected way will capture the reader’s interest. Try black-and-white, selectively colored, or sepia-toned photos for something a little different.
  • Select papers and finishes to further set your piece apart, taking into consideration textures, coatings, varnishes and unusual shapes and sizes.

Be creative, but don’t skip on the basics, such as including all special fonts in the files you send to us. Skipping this step can lead to printing delays. Also, in your enthusiasm to be different, avoid using techniques that make copy difficult to read, such as over-hyphenating, using too many windows, and filling every space with text.

Need help with color or design suggestions? Just ask. That’s why we’re here.

5 Reasons to Beef Up Your Visual Content

Is your marketing content heavy on the text? Or graphics? If it’s the former, you might want to change your strategy. Today’s marketing content, whether in print or electronic media, is increasingly heavy on the visual content.

Here are five facts supporting the importance of graphics and images that every marketer ought to know.

1. Ninety-three percent (93%) of communication is non-verbal.

2. Ninety percent (90%) of the information transmitted to our brains is visual.

3. People only remember about 20% of what they read, but as much as 80% of what they see.

4. More than half (55%) of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds actively reading text on the page.

5. Social sharing more than doubles when images are used.

According to the infographic from HubSpot, the average number of Facebook shares of posts without images is 28. With images, the average number of shares jumps to 65. Without images, the average Twitter shares is ten. With images, it jumps to 20.

Strong, powerful graphics are critical to any print marketing program and can make the difference between your message being noticed and remembered and not. Need help finding great stock images to complement your print and electronic marketing? Let us help.

Data source:

Boost Response Rates by Providing Choices

Want to boost the results of your next marketing campaign? Give customers a choice in how to respond.

You might be thinking, “What do you mean? We provide a phone number or website address. Isn’t that enough?” Not necessarily. Customers have different personalities, different lifestyles, and different preferences. The easier you can make it for them to respond, the more likely they are to do so. How this looks will be different for different people.   

For example:

  • A retiree might not respond to a personalized URL, but might send in a pre-filled tear-out card.
  • A busy mother might not fill out card but might make a phone call on the way out the door.
  • Generation Y consumers who might never make a phone call might respond to Facebook invitation.
  • A traveling executive might not take the time to log into a URL, but might scan a QR Code on his way to the airport.
  • A 20-something might prefer logging into a personalized URL where she can generate “personalized” communication without the pressure of a live person.

What are some of the commonly used response mechanisms? Phone (local, 800 numbers), tear-out forms (yes, many people still prefer them), general URLs with online forms and customized landing pages for tracking different campaigns, personalized URLs, QR Codes, social media (Facebook, Twitter), and even SMS text messaging.

Are you giving the response options that they prefer and are most likely to use? If not, talk to us about helping you identify your audience’s communications preferences so you can give them what they want.

You might be surprised by how this simple change can boost your response rates.

Want a Bigger Marketing Pay-Off? Try This!

Want to boost response rates? Think “multi-touch, multi-channel.” These campaigns increase awareness and retention and boost response rates, too.

When one manufacturer wanted to introduce a new product, for example, it created a snazzy, four-color mailer addressing recipients by name and encouraging them to log into a personalized URL to sign up for a sweepstakes and learn more about the product.

Knowing that multiple recipients within the same company often received its mailers, the marketer created three versions of this particular mailer, each with different graphics. This way, when employees shared their mailers with others, they would see the variation, discuss it, and create a buzz.

As a reminder to those who had not yet responded, the company sent a personalized follow-up e-mail with the same branding and imagery as the print mailer.

Sales of the product jumped 81% and exceeded sales projections by 13%.

While it might seem that using multiple touches and channels will significantly increase your print and postage costs, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially if you are reducing the size of the mailing to a highly targeted audience or using e-mail or text messaging as the “pump primer” or follow-up vehicle.

Also consider the higher return on investment these programs can provide. You can have a low-cost campaign, but if it returns dismal results, what does it gain you? Conversely, if a multi-touch, multi-channel campaign takes your response rates from 4% to 18%, with a higher donation or per-sale value, what is the value of that? Instead of looking at the upfront cost per piece, focus on ROI.

Need help adding channels to your next campaign? Let Wheeler’s help! Call us today.

5 Tips for Getting People to Read Your Content

The buzz is all about content marketing these days. Direct mail, newsletters, white papers, social media, blogs. But more important than the channel used to deliver your content is the content itself. Are you giving your audience something they want to read?

Here are give tips for developing content that will engage your customers and prospects and serve as a powerful marketing vehicle for your brand.

1. Develop a strategy. 

Be strategic about releasing your content. What information do you want to deliver? In what order? Does timing matter? Do you need to deliver different content to different segments of your audience or through different channels?

2. Make it relevant.

Not every segment of your audience wants to hear about the same products or receive your message the same way. Adjust your content, timing, and channel to different segments of your marketplace.

3. Don’t be dull.

In an effort to present every relevant piece of information, marketing materials can be outright dull. Spice it up. Take a different angle. Use interesting graphics. Develop fresh and interesting ways to present the information. You don’t want it to read like an advertisement or bore your audience to death.

4. Make it worth their time.

You know what you — the marketer — are getting out of delivering your content. But what about your audience?  What do they get out of it? How does it benefit them?

5. Make is sharable.

For email, mobile, and online content, create an incentive for sharing the content. When the coupons, event schedules, blog posts, or social media updates are shared by others they know, recipients see the information as more credible and they pay more attention.

Want more ideas for creating sharable content? Just ask!

Want Better Results? Get Scientific!

When it comes to marketing spend, there is value in trusting your gut. But more and more marketers are looking to the numbers.

According to a new survey by Adobe[1], marketers are increasingly relying on data and analytics to guide their decisions. Creativity is critical, but that creativity needs to be guided by hard numbers that tell you what looks great and what is actually working.

Among the findings from the survey:

  • 51% of marketers rely more on data and analytics to guide their creative decisions.
  • 74% say capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.
  • 67% say data (metrics from digital ads, campaigns, website, etc.) is informative in evolving my company’s marketing creative.

When it comes to your creative direction, don’t be shooting in the dark. Let Wheeler’s help you develop metrics for your print campaigns so you know not just what folks in your office think is spectacular but what is actually getting results.

1 “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” (Adobe, March 2014)

When Is Personal Too Personal?

One of the benefits of 1:1 PRINTING is the ability to increase the relevance of each communication by making the message more personal. By using information you already know about the recipient, you are able to communicate on a more intimate, 1:1 level.

But this approach can also be misused. Individuals and businesses are very protective of their privacy these days, and rightly so. Customers want to know that their data is not only safe, but that the marketers they do business with won’t misuse it.

What are some first steps you can take to ensure that your customers and prospects know that you care about their privacy?

  • Include an official privacy statement in your information-gathering materials.
  • If you will be collecting data, include a notice of physical and data security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.
  • When personalized your marketing messages, don’t disclose overly personal details (“Hey, Bob! Ready to default on that sky-high mortgage?”).
  • Be transparent. Provide full details about what respondents have to do in order to receive any prizes or promotional items.
  • Follow all opt-in regulations, including double opt-ins for email lists and providing the option to opt-out of future marketing contacts.
  • Assure that respondents’ information will not be sold to third parties.

Privacy standards, both in print and online, are always evolving. So stay abreast of the discussion. Talk to your customers to find out any other concerns and address them. The more you can assure your customers that their personal information is safe with you and that it will be used appropriately, the more you will win their trust.

Survey: Traditional Media Still Strong

In a survey conducted by MediaPost for “Engage: Affluent,” traditional media came out on top when it came to marketing luxury goods. The survey asked consumers and specifically a subset of those defined as “affluents” (those with incomes of $75,000+) about the channels in which they were the most likely to recall seeing advertisements and in which they remembered being “considerably” or “somewhat” interested in the products being marketed. The following channels ranked the highest:

1. Television

2. Magazines

3. Websites

4. Radio

5. Newspapers

6. In-home mail

Among consumers overall, social media tied for third when it came to both recall and interest in the products being marketed. But among affluents, social media ranked much lower. It ranked only #7 among those with incomes $75,000+, #8 among those with incomes $250,000+, and #9 among those with incomes $550,000+.

Smartphones ranked #8 among consumers overall. Among affluents, however, they once again ranked lower. Smartphones ranked #10 among those with incomes $75,000+, #11 among those with incomes $250,000+, and #12 among those with incomes $550,000+. (When it came to tablets, the trend was reversed — tablets ranked #15 overall, but among affluents, they rose to #12, #13, and #9, respectively.)

What can we take from this data? It’s important to broaden your media mix to include a variety of channels. Multi-media marketing has been proven to be far more effective than using a single channel only. At the same time, when you are selecting your mix, your heaviest focus should remain on traditional media, including a mix of direct mail and print advertising, where the eyeballs and attention still remain, even among more affluent consumers.

For more information, and to read the report directly, go: Here

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