May 16, 2013
The United States Postal Service has announced its newest promotion available later this summer. The Product Samples promotion runs from August 1st through September 30th, and offers a 5% upfront discount of postage fees for qualified sample mailings. The samples must be trial-sized.
Registration for this program is now open. The USPS is promoting product sampling as it has been proven to be a successful marketing tool, especially for companies specializing in consumable goods. Direct mail has also proven to be quite effective in gaining customer attention, so the USPS feels that this promotion will not only incentivize their services, but bring great results to marketers.
This promotion is also designed to increase awareness of the USPS’s Simple Samples pricing in Standard Mail, which provides customers with flat-rate pricing. Volume discounts, fewer mail-prep requirements, and no outer packaging requirement are other perks of the Simple Samples program. Marketers also have the ability to send these campaigns to every address along the mail route.
May 14, 2013
Magazines are seeing a comeback in both readership and advertising sales, after being hit hard through the recession of 2008 and 2009. Publishers are finding that consumers are wanting a tangible print experience, through touch, feel, and sometimes even scent. They are unable to get those experiences through the web.
Many print titles have come back with very strong brands to back up their magazine title. Consumers want to experience the magazine brand itself, as well as the content it delivers. The economy is another factor, with the turnaround bringing consumers to home improvement or luxury brand titles. Magazine titles have also gotten smarter in delivering content to their readers, through multiple channels which brings convenience to the consumer.
Marketers are recognizing the influx in magazine readership, and advertising more with magazine titles, depending on the industry. Magazine brands have also increased the value for marketers, since they are able to advertise on multiple channels through the physical printed magazine, its website, and tablet content.
April 30, 2013
NEW YORK, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP) – the nation’s leading female-focused media and marketing company with an audience of 100 million American women - today announced that it was expanding the Meredith Sales Guarantee program following a very successful inaugural year.
Brands participating in the first year of the Meredith Sales Guarantee experienced an average return on investment (ROI) of $7.81 for every $1 invested in advertising in Meredith magazines, proving that advertising in Meredith magazines increases product sales at retail.
Meredith’s $7.81 ROI, incorporating the impact of both annualized consumer response and total households, was far better than the average $2.79 ROI for campaigns run on digital portals/ad networks as measured by Nielsen Catalina Solutions over the last five years.
“The results from our first-year partners have been incredibly strong,” says Dick Porter, President, Media Sales, Meredith National Media Group. “Over the past year, we have been able to demonstrate to a broad range of inaugural clients that Meredith magazines are delivering sizable sales increases and improved return on their investment. Based on this success, we are now expanding the program armed with this new data demonstrating how Meredith magazines are much more effective than ad portals in driving retail sales.”
The innovative program guarantees clients an increase in sales performance for brands that advertise in Meredith’s industry-leading portfolio of women-focused magazines. On average, Meredith magazine readers generated an increased sales lift of nine percent on advertised brands in categories such as food, beauty, household goods and over-the-counter drugs. In addition to increasing product sales, the research also revealed that more than half of buyers were new purchasers of specific brands.
Kimberly-Clark, Tyson Foods and Ken’s brands were among the first of 25 brands that participated in the program.
“We were excited to be among those first to market with this program, and have always been strong believers in the connection that magazine brands have with their readers,” says Mark Kaline, Global Director-Media, Licensing & Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark. “These initial results have been above our expectations, and the Meredith Sales Guarantee has helped us demonstrate a sales return tied closely to the media investment made for our brands who participated.”
Kaline adds, “Meredith has created a highly innovative program that leverages its deep assets and insights to benefit its marketing partners. They deserve enormous credit for reaching out and working with partners to help them understand not only the value of this program but how to maximize their investment in magazine media. We believe it is essential that other magazine media as well as all media partners continue to find creative and effective solutions to proving ROI for their clients. “
According to Bob Galietti, SVP, Group Account Director at Havas Media, “Gaining insight into shoppers and what helps stimulate a purchase is extremely valuable, and the Sales Guarantee program proved itself to be an extremely worthwhile investment for Tyson Foods.”
“We generated a sales lift across all regions nationwide, particularly in areas where consumers were the least familiar with the Ken’s brand,” says Tim Cahalane, Senior Brand Manager, Ken’s. “Our ads in Meredith magazines helped to introduce consumers to the Ken’s brand heritage; differentiate our products on a crowded shelf; and grow our sales above the category trend.”
The Meredith Sales Guarantee sprang from a year-long research study measuring ROI for higher frequency advertising campaigns that ran in Meredith magazines. Using analytics from Nielsen’s highly regarded Homescan panel - paired with Meredith’s industry-leading 100 million-name database - purchases by consumers exposed to specific brand advertising in Meredith magazines were measured against identical shoppers with no exposure. On average, those consumers exposed just to Meredith titles purchased 10 percent more of the advertised brands.
“Meredith cares deeply about what advertisers think and they go to great lengths to use research-based insights to ensure its advertising programs, like the Sales Guarantee, meet the high standards that marketers and their agencies expect,” says Ken Pearl, CEO, Advertiser Perceptions. “In fact, of the more than 100 media brands and companies we work with, Meredith has consistently demonstrated not only a thirst for advertiser knowledge but the ability to take and implement actions that cascade from the top of the company.”
“The ROI for advertiser investment was significant,” says Michael Brownstein, EVP/Chief Revenue Officer, Meredith. “We are delighted with the results from this first year and are looking forward to expanding this offering to a broad range of clients and categories including new categories such as automotive, pharmaceutical, and retail.”
In order for advertisers to participate in the Meredith Sales Guarantee utilizing Nielsen Catalina Solutions’ analytics marketers had to commit to a minimum level of advertising impressions over a 12-month period across several Meredith titles. The commitment is based on advertising category, with minimum thresholds for frequency, and can only be applied for marketers with national advertising schedules.
April 29, 2013
Mobile-activated print media is becoming more and more popular, with augmented reality taking credit for 10% of all mobile activations last year, according to Nellymoser, who recently released a report. Print is seeing an increase in mobile-activated ads, with magazines seeing at least 10% of all ads including some sort of mobile activation.
Image-based scanning, which includes both augmented reality and watermarks, allows interaction to take place between the consumer and their phone with the printed piece. It literally brings the printed piece to life, and is becoming more and more popular.
Just under 20% of mobile activations through printed piece came from QR codes or invisible watermarks, showing that the consumer is becoming more familiar with the codes and how they can be used. QR codes make up 68% of those mobile activations. The challenge that comes with QR codes is insuring that the content behind them is exciting and makes the consumer want to scan the code to see what is behind it.
Overall, the use of smartphones to gain access to mobile-activated media is on the rise. Consumers are continuing to be educated on how to access the content through their mobile devices, but if the content behind the code or augmented reality is appealing and pertinent to the consumer, the consumer will be more apt to follow the mobile-activation path.
April 26, 2013
Fast Company recently published an article written by Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) Chief Strategy Officer, Steve Kerho. The article highlights the importance of good content for marketers in dealing with big data. Here is the article in full:
BEFORE BIG DATA COMES BIG CONTENT
BIG DATA IS ALL THE RAGE–BUT INSTEAD, MARKETERS SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT BIG CONTENT.
BY: STEVE KERHO
“Everyone in marketing is talking about big data. It’s an interesting and important topic but there’s another one that’s worthy of attention: big content. For without it, what would big data do?
Big data doesn’t appear spontaneously. Consumers engage and interact digitally with content, and marketers track and collect and make sense of those activities. Big data isn’t just a function of better data-tracking technology; it simply wouldn’t exist without the ever-expanding catalyst that is big content. Insights from big data should be helping brands create more, better big content.
Let’s define big content in marketing terms. Basically, marketing content refers to any artifact with which a consumer interacts that relates to a brand. Content gets “big” via its amplification, iteration and dissemination across multiple channels, devices and platforms. When content “jumps the tracks” and is no longer controlled solely by the brand, but can be summoned and even manipulated on demand by consumers themselves, then it’s “big.”
The digital era has made big content possible by expanding the footprint of branded content from broadcast and print formats to web formats such as, online CRM, display ads, social-media posts, pins and tweets, custom publishing, SEM, mobile apps and SMS messages.
The growth of digital content continues unabated. The Internal Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the digital universe, a measure of content, will have grown by a factor of 300 from 2005 to 2020. And Google’s own statistics show that its total number of indexed pages was one trillion in 2008 and is expected to reach 30 trillion in 2013. The average number of daily searches on Google, another measure of digital demand, has grown by a factor of four from 2007 to 2011, according to comScore.
Marketers have contributed significantly to this content growth. Based on a 2012 survey by Content Wise, marketers increased their total spending on content development by 45% from 2005 to 2012, when the percentage of marketers’ budgets allocated to content creation increased from 31% to 39%.
Content growth stems from the most basic of economic principles–supply and demand.
Consumers are hungry for more relevant content experiences, and some want a deeper experience with their favorite brands, which would drive consumption of brand-related content within social channels. That consumers can now participate in those conversations has also fueled growth. To feed this demand, marketers have increased their supply of content and continue to fill out the increasing number of channels with which their consumers engage.
For example, a 30-second Super Bowl ad is one piece of content that will live in multiple channels. It can end up on the brand’s YouTube channel which might also include several longer, re-cut versions or outtakes. The video can also live on the brand’s website and a special Super Bowl microsite created just for this campaign. Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr can carry photos from the ad shoot. And of course, all of this content can be placed on the brand’s Facebook page, which will likely be live before the spot airs on TV.
SEO and SEM terms will drive traffic to various destinations carrying the brand video, not to mention tweets during the big game. The brand could also embed the video into emails to its consumer database. With just one TV commercial, the brand could conceivably create dozens of pieces of content that live across 11 channels before anyone even shares it.
The variety and number of social-media channels is responsible for much of this growth.Prior to 2004 the key social-media channels were MySpace and to a lesser degree, Second Life. Fast forward to 2013, and there are more than a dozen social-media channels worthy of marketers’ attention. Rare is the marketing campaign without a strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.
It’s worth mentioning that the cost to create and support multiple pieces of content continues to decrease. That’s not to say good content is cheap–it isn’t. But the process of conceiving, building and deploying digital content becomes easier and cheaper each year.
In the last 10 years the cost to create, update and maintain a robust brand website decreased by approximately 30%. The broad availability of open-source content management systems (CMS), offshore development resources and increased access to and use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) have also contributed to lower costs.
Home-improvement retailer Lowe’s is a good example of a brand’s evolution in using big content. The Lowe’s Creative Ideas program (LCI), which has been around for 15 years, is designed to drive loyalty and purchases through increased engagement. A print magazine was the program’s original media channel but now its story-centric content can be accessed across various consumer touch points and channels including, a magazine, Lowes.com, an eNewsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and apps.
In this evolved approach, a story is at the center. The marketer takes into consideration the different channels through which the story will be distributed and what assets (visuals, video, podcasts, etc.) can drive deeper customer engagement. Providing so much digital content means Lowe’s can create a rich behavioral-data set illuminating what consumers have the most interest in.
An example of story-based content is “Dinner Time to Office Hours,” in which Lowe’s demonstrates how a dining room can double as a home office. The story is made up of inspiring visuals, several ideas and specific projects. The online version of the story is delivered through a slideshow with a link to building instructions and a “how-to” video. This content is also featured in Lowe’s Apple Newsstand edition, in a more interactive format and in an e-newsletter, on Facebook and Pinterest.
It is easy to see how a story-centric rather than channel-centric approach could boost growth for Lowe’s content ecosystem. For instance, Lowe’s Holiday LCI 2012 issue had 286 pieces of content versus only 88 pieces for the same issue in 2010, a 325% increase.
Much of this growth is from additional content elements within digital. Lowe’s has determined that consumers who engage with this content deliver markedly more revenue, or ROI, compared to its customers who do not engage with its content. Other considerations for creating Big Content include performance measurement, budget allocation and agency selection.
These combined forces and marketers’ reactions to them can’t be ignored. We are living in a world of big content.”
To see the Fast Company article, Click Here.
April 24, 2013
The innovative Meredith Sales Guarantee is highlighted in today’s editions of The New York Times. Here’s what advertising columnist Stuart Elliott had to say:
Last year, the Meredith Corporation began guaranteeing advertisers increased retail sales if they buy ad pages in 14 magazines like Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal. Meredith executives intend to announce an expansion in 2013 of what they call the Meredith Sales Guarantee, which uses Nielsen Homescan data.
“Every single client meeting I’m in, people are pressing harder and harder for accountability,” said Stephen M. Lacy, chairman and chief executive of Meredith. “They say, ‘I’ve only got X amount of money; where should I place it to drive more sales at retail?’ ”
“We hope this is very helpful to the advertising community as they make those tough decisions,” he added.
Advertisers that included Ken’s Foods, Kimberly-Clark and Tyson took part in the program in 2012, with 22 brands. According to Tom Harty, president of the Meredith National Media Group, there was a sales increase of nearly 10 percent for brands in categories like food and over-the-counter remedies in households that received the Meredith magazines compared with a control group of households that did not.