Tech Fever
March 6, 2006

Having spent the past few months delving into relatively new technologies such as pay-per-call, mobile search, RSS, podcasts and more, I’ve found it’s a tech jungle out there. New applications are springing up all over the globe, with some of the most exciting—and certainly the most talked about—solutions related to new media opportunities. These technological developments are rooted in marketers’ increasing displeasure with the performance of traditional media, causing them to look for different avenues by which to reach and influence a populace that continues to resist mass-media push advertising methods. But amidst the hype of these promising new tools is a bigger, more important

The Many Paths of Direct Marketing
March 1, 2006

To remain relevant to customers and boost the bottom line, today’s direct marketing campaigns must move across the borders of direct marketing media nimbly and fluidly. More importantly, marketing channels need to work in unison so that prospects and customers receive not only a consistent message, but one that builds a case for your products and brand. Does your direct mail creative prominently feature a Web site address where customers can find out more about your product and the particular offer being pitched? Do your search engine marketing (SEM) efforts coordinate with your print ad copy? There are many ways to integrate offline and

Share of Pocket: Mobile Marketing Is Poised for Growth
March 1, 2006

With cell phones more commonplace than computers and mobile devices—such as PDAs and smart phones—catching on quickly, it’s no wonder mobile marketing looks attractive to direct marketers. According to the Cellular & Telecommunications Internet Association, there are 203 million wireless subscribers in the United States, with 70 percent or higher penetration in most major metropolitan areas. On the demographics end, this market trends younger, with most wireless subscribers between the ages of 13 and 34, cites mobile market research firm M:Metrics Inc. But the 35 to 44 age group continues to expand its use of these devices year over year. “What we are seeing

Do You RSS? Your Competition May Soon
March 1, 2006

The big irony of RSS is that while many people view RSS content daily, a significant percentage don’t realize that they’re using RSS technology to manage their information gathering. A study released in 2005 by search engine portal Yahoo! and research firm Ipsos Insight reported that although 27 percent of respondents used personalized Web pages (such as My Yahoo!, My MSN, etc.), only 4 percent realized that RSS feeds drove the content on these pages. In case you’re part of the populace who isn’t quite sure what RSS is, the acronym stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a technology that allows a company to

Network to Drive Revenue
February 1, 2006

There are millions of people out there who not only love to shop, but love to talk about the things they buy. They’re talking online through social networks and online product reviews, providing marketers with a huge opportunity to drive sales. At first, a consumer’s desire to spread his or her opinions across the electronic universe seems very narcissistic. After all, who cares what BillyBob1634 in Sheboygan thinks about the latest iPod? Actually, millions of his online shopping peers do. They care a lot. They care more about his opinion than they care about yours. They’ve become numb to TV commercials, ads and e-mails, and they’re

January 1, 2006

As I write this, I'm still shocked by recent news clips of people being trampled in front of a Wal-Mart and by other stories of violence associated with Black Friday. This kind of competitive shopping underscores the physical safety of mail order. Sure, you might get carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive Web surfing or a nasty paper cut from a catalog page, but these maladies are far more easy to avoid than being punched in the face for a cheap laptop. Interestingly, none of the reporters covering such acts of shopping violence thought to note that some people were avoiding the retail mayhem

Online Synergy
January 1, 2006

Is everyone on the same page? Tactics for integrating your online marketing efforts. The phrase “online integration” has been bandied about for years, but it appears that few companies really understand and implement it successfully. In fact, many don’t have a clear definition of what integration actually entails. Having migrated from direct mail to the Internet back in 1995, I’ll give you my perspective on the positives that can result from an integrated online program, as well as the negatives that will occur if you don’t have such a program. Nowadays, most direct marketers are using, or plan to use, some or all of

Room to Grow
December 1, 2005

Highlights for Children was a 43-year-old magazine with a strong brand before marketing any other offerings to its core customers: parents of young children. In 1946, Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and his wife Caroline Clark Myers founded Highlights for Children Inc. The privately-held company flourished with a single product—Highlights for Children® magazine—throughout four full decades before deciding it was time to grow its brand and its business. Today, Highlights for Children Inc. houses under its corporate umbrella several kids’ book club programs, a toy and game catalog, and an interactive Web site. “We are now much more than a single magazine for children.

E-commerce Link: Work Hand-in-hand
December 1, 2004

Three actions are critical to great affiliate programs There are many techniques unique to individual affiliate programs. However, there still are several elements universal to the successful ones. Three actions critical to any great affiliate program are: plan for success; think win/win; and communicate. Plan for Success Marketers consistently take for granted the level of planning involved in starting an affiliate program. All too often clients ask for a quick setup. When I tell them it will take a few weeks to develop the necessary strategies, they almost always ask if we can expedite the process. While it’s understandable that everyone wants to increase

Behind Time Interactive’s Curtain
December 1, 2004

This publisher is selling magazine subscriptions through an Internet model that seems to be working—even though it’s not a ‘free for all’ With rare exception, magazines and newspapers have struggled with the concept of charging for their online content ever since publishers started doing business on the Internet more than a decade ago. An underlying problem existed in that it had been taken for granted by most consumers that the heart and soul of the “information superhighway” was the idea that Web content should be free and available to all. Thus, the whole idea of charging for editorial content online has been a difficult