Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Think Data Mining Is Inaccessible? Think Again!

Powerful personalized print and digital campaigns start with great data. But data, by itself, is just that — data. For it to be useful, data has to be understood, analyzed, and organized in a way that marketers can use to understand, speak to, and motivate their audiences. This process is called data mining.
Data mining is a scary phrase for many marketers, but it doesn’t need to be. While it as often seen as within the purview of only the largest companies, the basic process is actually well within the grasp of any sized marketer.
There are three steps to data mining:
  • Know what data is available.
  • Ask questions about that data.
  • Look for useful relationships.
The first step is to understand the headings in your database. What data are you capturing? Most databases have basic information, such as name, address and purchase history. Are you also capturing information such as age, gender, and home ownership? If so, this tells you the types of queries you can run.
Running queries is the second. “Running queries” simply means asking questions of the data. If you are a retailer, you might ask, “Which customers purchased hardwood flooring last month?” If you know that these customers are also likely to purchase area rugs and hardwood conditioning products, this gives you a great start.
Third is to run a variety of sorts. Is there a relationship between hardwood flooring and gender? How about income? You might find that data you once thought irrelevant, such as the date of purchase, has more relevance than you think.
Even basic software, such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access, provides data mining capabilities. You can also purchase add-on data mining modules or third-party software or work with a third-party data house that specialize in this process. Costs can be very reasonable.
So get curious. Take a few hours to run a variety of sorts just to see what you can find. That curiosity could pay off big. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


Share on LinkedIn

Is Your Print Project Really Finished?

Any marketer has access to high-quality printing, but far fewer take the time to invest in high-quality coating. For those that do, the extra time can make the difference between buyers seeing your project as “a nice piece” and a really great, memorable one. Let’s look at three reasons you might want to add a coating before your project goes “live” into the hands of your target audience.

1. Protection.  Sometimes a project needs that extra level of protection to keep it looking its best. Printed pieces can be exposed to a wide variety of harsh environmental conditions, including mailing equipment, high levels of moisture and dirt, high-traffic conditions (such as retail signage and displays), and constant handling. Coating provides an important level of protection that keeps the piece looking its best. If you need full waterproof properties, you may want to consider a laminate.
2. Gloss. Shine adds sparkle and impact. It instantly conveys the impression of value and quality. When you print or mail a piece with a high-gloss coating, you are telling recipients, “You matter!” UV coating offers the hardest coated surface and the highest level of brilliance and sheen.
3. Special effects. The number of options for specialty coatings is exploding. Spot varnish, for example, highlights specific areas of the printed piece for visual interest and impact. (Think lips popping out on a lipstick ad.) Soft touch creates a printed piece with a velvety finish. It produces a wonderful tactile feel, with the added benefit of offering fingerprint resistance, as well. Some specialty varnishes can be enhanced with effects such as glitter, tint, and scents. If you want to use a laminate, you can even get holographic effects.
Different finishes have different benefits and drawbacks. They also have different ranges of cost. Talk to us about the differences between coating types and ask to see samples. Then use coatings to make your next project shine.

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


Share on LinkedIn

Print and Digital: Complements, but Not Interchangeable

In the marketing world, we regularly hear about print and digital marketing being used together. Digital and print media reinforce one another, so rather than seeing the two as competitors, marketers are encouraged to integrate them. However, integration doesn’t mean that the two channels are interchangeable, as one new survey shows. Consumers still want a choice.
A survey commissioned by Two Sides North America reveals that U.S. consumers are unhappy with corporate initiatives forcing them into digital-only communication and eliminating paper-based options. Many of the questions related to bills and statements, but the results apply to marketing communications, too.
Consumers want to be able to choose whether to receive paper bills and statements, and they don’t want to have to pay extra to do it.  For example, 79% of respondents want the option to continue receiving printed information, and 77% would be unhappy if they were asked to pay for it. More than three-quarters (79%) felt that paper options were easier to read compared to screens.
There is also suspicion about the motives of companies forcing their customers to go paperless. Overwhelmingly (85%), consumers agreed that cost savings is the main reason companies use claims such as “Go Paperless—Go Green” or “Go Paperless—Save Trees.” More than half (57%) question the truthfulness of such claims.
So use digital and print-based communications wisely. Use email when you need to touch base quickly, such as sending company news, alerting customers to a flash sale, or offering reminders. Use print where digital communications are not as strong, such as for . . .  
  • In-depth communications.
  • Contacts that contain highly personal information.
  • Mailings that involve brand or personal trust.
Studies also show that information is easier for people to understand and recall in print, so use print for “weightier” topics and messages that require attention to detail. If you want to move customers to digital communication, ask first. Don’t make the decision for them. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


Share on LinkedIn

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Can Surveys Help You Raise More Money? You Bet!


When first start planning a fundraising campaign, does a donor survey come to mind? If not, maybe it should. Donor surveys can be tremendously useful in planning a fundraising campaign so it raises the maximum amount for your project.
Let’s say you are a private high school looking to raise funds to replace grass athletic fields with artificial turf. Before mailing out your fundraiser, you decide to survey alumni and friends of the school who have donated to capital projects in the past. Questions might include:
  • Are you aware that our school is investing in an artificial turf field?
  • What do you think are the most important benefits of this investment?
  • Are you concerned about any health risks associated with artificial turf?
  • Do you see any competitive advantages of artificial turf over traditional grass fields?
  • Do you know whether any our school’s direct competitors already have artificial turf?
Surveys can be sent in print or by email, and the answers can help you plan your next marketing steps.
For example, if donors are aware of the performance benefits of artificial turf but don’t know about other benefits (such as reduced maintenance costs to the school, lower water usage, and reduced use of agricultural chemicals), this gives you talking points about the value of their donations they may not be aware of.
Likewise, if donors know the competitive advantages of artificial turf but are unaware of how many of your school’s competitors already have them, this allows you to position their donations as a way to help your school stay competitive.
Or perhaps donors have misconceptions about the health hazards of artificial turf based on their knowledge of older turf products. This allows you to discuss advances in technology and alleviate potential concerns before misconceptions can derail your fundraising efforts before they get started.
The issues and questions will be different for every organization. But what stays the same is how a simple survey can provide critical insights that can improve your messaging and get that project funded more quickly!

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


Share on LinkedIn

3 Tips for Creating a Visual Brand


Top brands have key written marketing strategies, but they have visual strategies too. Think about some of today’s most iconic brands—Nike, McDonald’s, Disney. Just one glance and the entire brand—its core messages and key products—rush into your mind. Do you have a visual brand? If not, how can you create one?
1. Be consistent with brand colors.
There’s a reason top brands place such importance on their brand colors. Think Tide Orange and Coca-Cola Red. Not only are these brand colors used for products and logos, but they infuse every aspect of these companies’ marketing, both digital and print.
Even if you don’t have an official brand color, identify colors that are consistent with your company message and image. Use them consistently throughout your materials. Color can be a consistent presence in all of your marketing materials that triggers visual memory.
2. Tell your story in pictures.
What’s your brand story? How can images of your products tell that story? For example, from a branding perspective, Harley-Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles. It sells independence and freedom. Visuals of the open road are as important as the motorcycle itself. Likewise, Lexus doesn’t sell cars. It sells prestige. Its advertising shows cars driven by men in expensive suits or by women dripping with luxury.
What feelings do your print materials need to evoke? Are your products designed to give people financial freedom, make them better moms, or boost their social standing? If so, what images will reinforce those messages?
3. Go professional. 
Stock imagery works in a pinch, but it tells a general story, not your story. Try hiring a professional photographer and using pictures of your storefront or corporate offices, your employees, and your products in use (rather than just house shots). Build a visual identity based on real people, places, and things associated with your company.

Visual branding is a powerful tool — use it!

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

Share on LinkedIn

Nurtured Prospects Are Higher-Value Prospects

Lead nurturing is the process of drawing prospects into the sales funnel, then “dripping” relevant information to them via print, email, or other channels to keep them moving through the funnel until they make a purchase.
Lead nurturing is a powerful tool, but it is a process unfamiliar to many marketers. According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. It’s worth learning!
Let’s look at five types of lead nurturing campaigns and how they can boost your bottom line.
1.  Product-focused campaigns
Once someone “raises their hand” to show an interest in your products, your job has only begun. Now you can begin feeding them content such as case studies, white papers, and data sheets. Give them enough information, and the right information at the right stage of their buyer journeys, to make a purchase decision.
2. Overcoming objections
Part of a customer’s journey is asking questions, so feed them information that anticipates those questions and answers their objections. This might include technical papers, customer testimonials, or analysis from industry experts. A comparison/contrast with competitive products might be in order.
3. Lead re-engagement campaigns
At some point, prospects can become disengaged from the process. Maybe they were wooed away by a competitor. Maybe they handed the project off to someone else. Or maybe they just got busy. Blog posts, case studies, and customer testimonials are great ways to renew their interest. 
4. Promotional/closing campaigns
After a prospect has been exposed to escalating “drips” of relevant content, it is time to close the deal. Send a promotional offer or specific, personalized call to action to get them to pull the trigger.
5. “Top of mind” campaigns
Even once someone becomes a customer, don’t stop pursuing them. Keep that relationship going with a welcome letter, postcard, or information kit. Make new customers feel valued and appreciated, then stay top of mind with educational newsletters, tips and tricks postcards, and regular “drip” emails to keep them engaged until they are ready to make another purchase. 
Need help planning a lead nurturing campaign? Give us a call!

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

Share on LinkedIn

Friday, July 19, 2019

Getting Great Results from Personalized Print

Personalized content is everywhere—direct mail, email, magazines, and even ads that follow you around the web. But as a marketer, how do you get there? Just dropping in data-driven content doesn’t guarantee success. Whether it’s print or email, here are three keys to remember when creating any personalized marketing campaign.
  • Don’t rely on data alone. In a recent study, 51% of consumers said that personalized communications make them more likely to buy. However, that’s only after you’ve gotten down the basics. Ultimately, all of the elements—creative, messaging (including personalization), offer, segmentation, call to action, and incentive—need to come together to determine success. 
  • Focus on relevance, not “personalization.” It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant, it is worthless. You can have the best residential landscaping service around, for example, but if your list includes a high percentage of people living in apartments or condos, your ROI will stink.
  • Know, know, know your customers. Understand what makes your customers tick, then market to what matters to them. For example, the Millennial generation prioritizes experience over specs. If you sell custom bicycles, for example, capture their attention with the value of a family cycling together or how much faster their urban commute would be without getting caught in an automotive snarl.
Investing in your marketing database and developing an intimate understanding of your customers takes time, dedicated resources, and human resources, but it is one of the most important investments you can make.
Need some help? Let us help you develop your next personalized print or email campaign. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


Share on LinkedIn