September 24, 2013
During the latest state of the business address from USPS Postmaster General and CEO, Patrick R. Donahoe, the use of digital technology and data leveraging were heavily endorsed. “Any company that needs to reach and retain customers should be using mail,” Donahoe stated in his address. “The more we can bring the mail and the digital experience together, the more opportunities we create for people to buy your product, or donate to your cause, or enhance your message.”
The use of both technology and mail can create a marketing tool that is much more effective than both traditional and new media. Marketing is highly competitive, and marketers who know how to successfully use digital and print together have a strong marketing tool in their hands that will help them to cut through the clutter and get through to their customers. Since technology is integrated into every day life for most consumers, it is important to engage them both through their handheld devices and their mailbox.
Donahoe presented four ideas for incorporating digital and print and challenged marketers to embrace and incorporate them in their marketing campaigns. They were:
- mail that allows people to use their smart devices to interact with it
- personalized mail that receivers find engaging because it has individualized data about the user
- mail that reduces the number of steps to make a purchase – like a postcard or catalog that allows the user to speed their purchase in one or two clicks
- mail that’s vibrant, colorful, and attention getting.
Need help with ideas on how to bring digital and print together? Contact the Meredith Print Advantage team today.
Derived from USPS Press Release.
September 12, 2013
We all seem to be inundated with the digital world nowadays, with the latest iPhone release being top news, social media galore, and most of our daily lives being centered around technology. How do these daily lifestyle changes affect marketers trying to get messages out to their target markets? Marketing channels have changed and grown, even for traditional marketing mediums. However, consumer opinion remains largely important and critical for marketers.
This leaves the question: How do consumers want to be reached by marketers?
Direct mail isn’t the newest, fanciest method out there, but it is one of the most preferred by consumers. It can also be one of the most effective. A large majority of consumers (73%) reported that they would prefer to receive a direct mail piece over an email.
Why is this? First, people simply enjoy receiving mail. Customers have proven that they will respond to a direct mail marketing piece, with 65% making a purchase as a result of receiving a marketing piece in the mail. This can also increase customer loyalty. Mail is also a great option to deliver a strong message to a consumer with tangible quality, instead of a digital message that is easily deleted and forgotten. Some consumers don’t even have email, or have enough spam filters that a promotional email won’t make it through to them.
Marketers need to step back and get down to the basics of a great direct mail piece. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Know your target audience, and target them. If you send out a mail piece to everyone you can get an address for, you could lose out on a higher ROI than if you target specific audiences.
- Personalize your message. Direct mail is easy to personalize to your customer, and leaves a lasting impression.
- Offer a great promotion. Make it worth your customer’s time to follow through on your Call to Action.
- Send a quality piece. From start to finish, your pieces should be 100% accurate and quality-driven.
- Strategize. Be sure any piece you send is incorporated into your marketing plan.
- Follow up. Always follow up, and be creative with how you do so.
August 29, 2013
A strong call to action (CTA) is critical for all marketing materials. A company may send out the most engaging and interesting mail piece out there, but with no CTA, the ROI diminishes significantly. Do yourself and your brand a favor and be sure that every single message that touches your target audience has a strong CTA before sending.
Effective CTAs are short and to the point. CTAs should not be the same across every marketing piece, they should vary depending on the message each piece is trying to get across. Simply asking for a customer to purchase your product may be direct, but may not be enough. Using CTAs to engage a customer across many messages, whether it be a direct mail piece, insert, mini catalog, or through a digital media will ensure your marketing is not passive.
CTAs can easily be personalized, which engages a customer further. Every CTA should be able to be completed quickly and immediately. For instance, if a direct mail piece has a CTA to download a coupon for a particular product, the QR code or URL should be easily accessible on the piece, as well as on a mobile device. The shift from print to digital download should be seamless, in order to give the consumer the most satisfying experience, and in turn, give you the best ROI.
Every CTA can be tested and tracked to determine which is working the best for your brand. CTAs with specific, brief instructions work best and show the highest ROI.
August 21, 2013
With traditional catalogs seeming too big and bulky in today’s technology driven world, mini catalogs are catching on quickly. Marketers are able to take the content they would have had in a larger catalog, and segment it to work in mini catalogs that are more cost effective and are showing a higher response rate.
These mini catalogs can be mailed at the cost of a standard automated letter, but can contain up to ten pages of content. Marketers can easily schedule more editions of these mini catalogs to go our to their target audience, rather than sending a few large pieces over the year, or in addition to the large pieces. These multiple touches help the consumer to stay in touch with the brand, and can even be personalized for the specific consumer to create a better relationship and lasting effect. Mini catalogs are a great way to save on printing and postage costs, all while engaging the audience, and in most cases, see a higher response rate.
Mini catalogs are also designed to not need wafer sealing which can damage a mail piece when a consumer tries to open it, unlike similar mail pieces. This can effect both open and response rates. It is also more cost effective to not have to add the wafer sealing. The mini catalog design makes it easy for marketers to get creative with the piece and overall campaign as well. Mini catalogs can be used alongside traditional catalogs in a marketing campaign too – there are many different ways to utilize this print piece. Changing up the format and design of a traditional catalog can give a marketing campaign a new life, as well as bring new value and interest to a target audience.
August 15, 2013
The USPS has a new way for marketers to make their mail pieces even more personalized. The new tool is called Picture Permit Imprint Indicia, and allows marketers to imprint their logo, company branding, or trademark to First-Class and Standard IMb (Intelligent Mail barcodes) mail pieces.
Companies can submit their images to the USPS’s website for approval for use. Testing is done on the images, so it takes between two and three weeks for approval. This is to ensure the images meet operational requirements. All images must be in full color, and there is a fee of 1¢ for First-Class Mail and 2¢ for Standard Mail.
Picture Permit Imprint Indicia can help consumers identify mail from specific companies faster, which could increase open rates and enhance value of mail for marketers. By including a picture permit, marketers are able to make a stronger first impression with their target audiences, all while strengthening company branding.
August 13, 2013
Myth #1: Print is Ineffective.
Many have a misconception that print is out-dated and ineffective. However, a large majority of consumers (73%) reported that they would prefer to receive a direct mail piece over an email. Another survey has shown that 70% of Americans would rather read content in printed form rather than from a screen. Print has hundreds of options that can be used in order to gain consumer attention, with a little creativity, print can provide a great ROI.
Myth #2: Print Can’t be Personalized.
In reality, printed materials can be easily personalized, which can provide a more tangible personal experience than digital media can provide. Variable printing methods allow marketers to make their print content extremely personalized to each customer. Personalized print can make the piece much more memorable to a customer, and can also make them feel special, as it is perceived that much time and effort goes in to making personalized pieces.
Myth #3: Print Provides Limited Options.
Digital media provides many fancy features and flashy images and colors, which leaves print to be perceived as boring. Printed pieces can make just as strong an impact by using a more creative approach. Scrap the standard design and go for a die-cut piece, add texture, coating, embossing, or even smell to the piece. By engaging the consumer’s senses, you leave a lasting impression.
Myth #4: Print is Not Eco-Friendly.
Many believe that paper and print are very harmful to the environment, when in reality, paper is a very renewable resource that can be recycled. The paper industry replants more than four times the trees it consumes every year. It is up to consumers to recycle, but companies can help with the effort by encouraging both employees and customers to recycle paper products.
Myth #5: All Printers Are the Same.
No two printers are alike, and our team at Meredith Print Advantage understands this. Our team can help you create the printed piece you desire, and we’ll handle the print process to see it through to completion. We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach to our clients, and we expect our printers to have the same philosophy. Contact us today to get started on your next great piece.
July 31, 2013
Consumers continue to report that they enjoy receiving mail and reading print magazine because of their tangibility, among other reasons. Tangibility requires an engagement of the senses, especially if the mail piece is going to be remembered by the consumer. Here is an overview on how to engage each of the human senses:
- Touch: This is the most immediate sense that comes into contact with a print piece, the moment the consumer pulls it out of a mailbox, or off the magazine rack. The feel and quality of the paper, whether it is heavy or light, textured or smooth, can make a lasting impact with the consumer. Some print pieces play up the sense of touch even more by adding a sample to feel or various textures in order to call attention to a specific message.
- Vision: Vision is the second sense that is engaged when a consumer picks up a printed piece. Colors, design, and text can make an impact in the consumer’s mind very easily, especially when these visual principles are used in the best way to convey the message. Up to 65% of the population are visual learners, meaning an effective use of visuals can create a strong correspondence with a brand in their mind.
- Audio: Many do not consider using audio in print materials, but with the use of QR codes, augmented reality, and other scanning technology, marketers have a great opportunity to add audio through a link from the printed piece. Directing a consumer to digital content can help to engage all the senses, not just audio – which will make the message that much more memorable.
- Smell: As mentioned previously, smell through printed materials can cause the consumer to actively engage with the product being advertised, creating a personal experience. Using scent can also trigger a consumer’s memory back to the particular product later on. “Call-to-Sniff” print inserts can cause consumers to stop and take the time to engage themselves with the ad, since it provides that experience with the product.
- Taste: This sense is primarily engaged when a sample of an edible product is sent directly to a consumer. This opportunity to try a free product typically appeals to consumers, who will try the product, get that individual experience, and hopefully, remember the product for purchase.
July 26, 2013
Many assume that mail and print has declined with the rise of digital technology and content consumption. However, this has proven to be untrue. Mail continues to be a great marketing tool, for many reasons.
First, people simply enjoy receiving mail. Customers have proven that they will respond to a direct mail marketing piece, with 65% making a purchase as a result of receiving a marketing piece in the mail. This can also increase customer loyalty. Mail is also a great option to deliver a strong message to a consumer with tangible quality, instead of a digital message that is easily deleted and forgotten.
Consumers report that they like the schedule of receiving mail – since it is only delivered once a day, they do not feel the constant inundation of multiple messages as they do through other media, such as email. Marketers can also easily target a specific audience or consumer group through mail campaigns, and find measurable results of the campaign.
Another huge reason why mail continues to be a viable marketing tool is that it can easily be integrated with digital resources, such as a website or other digital media. The combination of both print and digital advertising is a very effective method to reach a target audience.
July 18, 2013
The USPS recently announced that all 67 of its districts should see real time tracking by the end of the year. The new mail intelligence device is called IMD Wireless, and was introduced in January of this year. It is currently being used in over 50,000 USPS offices so far. These IMDs allow a wireless data transfer to occur, which assists the USPS’s current intelligent mail scanner.
According to the USPS’s press release, “the IMD wireless solution will enable the IMDAS device to transmit product service information, as well as operational data for current programs like managed service points (MSP), collection point management system (CPMS), and global positioning system (GPS) data every 15 minutes.”
The new tracking system allows customers to follow the real time tracking of their package or mail piece every 15 minutes. This tracking mechanism is becoming industry standard, so the USPS is introducing this system to keep up with its competition. Real time tracking should be available in all USPS offices by the end of the year.