Do You RSS? Your Competition May Soon

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

E-mail Postage—YESSSS!

A Coup de Grace for the Internet Free Lunch March 2, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 17 IN THE NEWS Diverse Groups Team Up to Fight E-Mail Fee WASHINGTON (AP)—A variety of interest groups have joined forces to fight a proposed bulk e-mailing fee they claim strikes at the heart of online communication—a level playing field for rich and poor. America Online plans to introduce a service that would charge businesses and other bulk e-mailers a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user’s mailbox without first passing through junk mail filters. —Will Lester, Associated Press, Feb. 27, 2006 Goodmail and AOL

Gardeners: Sow Seeds in a Competitive Market

Each spring, millions of Americans head outdoors to turn over the soil and plant gardens. Approximately 79 percent of all U.S. households participate in one or more types of gardening, according to a 2002 survey conducted by the National Gardening Association on behalf of the Mailorder Gardening Association (MGA). What’s more, these 85 million households spent an average of $466 on their lawns and gardens in 2002 for a total of $39.6 billion. The typical gardener is a home-owner between the ages of 45 and 65, who cares about the appearance of his or her home and property and enjoys spending time outdoors. How

Seattle Times Segments and Scores

Challenge: Increase subscription and retention rates for daily newspaper Solution: Use predictive modeling to develop a comprehensive segmentation strategy Result: The Seattle Times Co. now is able to vary its prospecting and retention messages to different segments When The Seattle Times Co. (STC) set out to increase the subscriber base for its daily newspaper and get a clear picture of its retention rates, the multimedia publisher knew that good, solid data would be the backbone of such an initiative, so it got busy gathering a robust set of survey-based attitudinal data on both customers and nonsubscribers. But once it had that data, the challenge

Share of Pocket: Mobile Marketing Is Poised for Growth

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

Spot-on Creative

Success in any medium requires a thorough understanding of which techniques make a campaign breathe and grow versus those that cause it to wither and die on the vine. Winning creative for direct response television (DRTV) spots—whether short-form or long-form—hinges on several dictums that have not changed, regardless of consumers’ growing practice of commercial-skipping. Of course, following the creative rules does not guarantee success. Tim Hawthorne, president and executive creative director of full-service DRTV agency Hawthorne Direct, in Fairfield, Iowa, points out: “Poor creative rarely can inhibit a great DRTV product from hitting a home run. Great creative rarely can prohibit a poor DRTV

Talking Tech

It’s one thing to size up how fast a new technology might be adopted based on customer market size, user interest surveys and other progress measurement tools. To provide an additional layer of perspective, Target Marketing caught up with JoAnne Kim, director of e-Marketing services at e-Scholastic, the e-commerce and online communication arm of children’s publishing company Scholastic. She provided insight on which tech developments are powering her company’s online endeavors, as well as those emerging solutions that are on e-Scholastic’s radar going forward. Target Marketing: How do you stay abreast of the latest technologies? JoAnne Kim: We find out about the latest technologies in multiple

The Many Paths of Direct Marketing

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

What’s Your Value?

In today’s multichannel selling environment, there are a number of important analytical metrics that every direct marketer needs to know and constantly measure. Among them: • What is the value of your customer list—today and projected for the next three years? • What does it cost to recruit or acquire a new customer? and • What is your “payback” period—that is the time it takes for a new customer to become profitable? These are critical measurements of the financial health of a company. Let’s look at ways to value your customer list, and home in on the specific customer metric of