April 2008 Issue

 

Brand Matters: Are You the Real Deal?

I have always been a cheerleader for the underdogs. They just plain try harder. This is why I favor companies like Caribou Coffee over Starbucks, Frontier Airlines over United Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s over Breyers and Chipotle over McDonald’s. Not only do these “underdogs” try harder, but they also seem more comfortable in their own brand skins. They are original. They are daring. They are independent thinkers. They are the real deal. Is your brand the real deal? I bet your customers know the answer. Stand Out from the Crowd As you look at the vast choices of products and services customers have today,


E-commerce Link: Inbound E-mail

In e-mail marketing, most of the focus is on the outbound programs and campaigns marketers launch to their lists, and the resulting actions recipients take. Let’s put the spotlight on the inbound e-mail communications that these campaigns generate and discuss why attention to this often overlooked area can pay dividends in preserving the size of your list and generating future sales. Today, e-mail is a core component of the marketing strategy for most companies. Yet, many marketers miss important customer interactions. Why? Because recipients do not always behave the way you would like them to. They may: • Directly reply to your e-mail;


Editor’s notes: Sitting Chickens

Chief marketing officers are supposed to be concerned with finding and serving their companies’ target audiences. But with Spencer Stuart putting the average tenure of a CMO at just a little more than two years—compared to nearly four years for CEOs—many have got to be sweating about the imaginary bull’s-eyes on their backsides. A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily noted these stats and ventured a couple of theories as to why CMOs end up on the chopping block so quickly, including a poorly defined role, ignorance of new media and outdated skill sets in today’s digital world. Meanwhile, their employers want to see


Famous Last Words: ROI Is Everything!

I wrote and published my first novel, “Cedarhurst Alley,” in the late 1960s. My publisher was a taciturn Vermonter named Paul S. Eriksson, who ran a two-person shop on West 57th Street in Manhattan. Paul had the inside office; Peggy, his wife, sat outside and kept the business running. My second boss in the publishing business was an outrageously funny guy named Franklin Watts, a hard-drinking, hard-living, ex-traveling book salesman who started his own company and then, in a disastrous move, sold out to the encyclopedia giant, Grolier. When Watts was drinking, he slurred his words, and everybody was sure his mind was gone.


Finding & Funding

If you’ve watched any amount of late-night TV, you’ve undoubtedly experienced commercials of the “if you’ve been in an accident … ” variety. While these ads contribute to the stereotype of lawyer as ambulance chaser, they do reach people in trouble who might otherwise be reluctant to turn to the courts for assistance and legal relief. But while finding a lawyer is the first step in any lawsuit you plan to file, in many cases the issue of how to find a lawyer will soon be supplanted by the question of how to fund one. If you have been in an auto accident or


Five PR Challenges

Let me say at the outset that I have no idea who I will vote for in the general election. Being a committed Independent, I will not be voting in the Pennsylvania primary on April 22. As of March 27, the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are dead even in the opinion polls. The candidates are beginning to hammer each other, freeing John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, to act, look and sound presidential on the national and international stage. If strong action is not taken to break the logjam, this internecine scrap will go down to the convention in August


Lose the Chlorine, Help the Environment

When evaluating greener paper options, take into consideration not just the source of the fiber in the available stocks but also the processes used to create these more environment-friendly sheets. In particular, the bleaching process produces harmful dioxin gases, even when taking post-consumer material and de-inking it for reuse. The following terminology, as reported by San Francisco–based paper manufacturer New Leaf Paper on its Web site, applies to papers that have been created without chlorine for bleaching and, thus, are less harmful to the environment: Unbleached—Unbleached paper is either gray or dyed during paper-making. This process involves the least environmental impact. Unbleached paper


Market Focus: Physical Therapists

As patients, we often turn to physical therapists when seeking treatment for back pain, debilitating injuries or trauma rehabilitation. According to Julie Hilgenberg, advertising manager for the Alexandria, Va.–based American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), efficiently and effectively reaching therapists requires an understanding for and appreciation of the tendency for these professionals to be well-educated, compassionate and interested in learning the latest trends in therapy technology, business management, and treatment methods and modalities. The 2008-2009 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook reports there are more than 172,000 physical therapist positions in the U.S., 52,000 in private or public hospitals, and about 17,000 in home health


Maximize Your Traffic

There is a good deal of buzz these days about blogging, viral marketing, social networking and other new methods of generating eyeballs and traffic online. But that traffic will not make you money unless you can convert those unique visitors to leads or customers. Whether you are selling a product directly from your landing page, asking visitors to download a free whitepaper, or promoting a webinar or demonstration, conversion rates can range from less than 1 percent to more than 50 percent. Here are 10 keys to creating landing pages that can maximize your online conversion rates. 1. Build your credibility early. People always


Nuts & Bolts: Case Study

Challenge: Make up for a decline in store traffic Solution: Relaunch the Web site with a comprehensive online inventory and gift center Results: Sales increased approximately 105 percent in the first month Remaining flexible as the marketplace shifts keeps companies sharp, and when retail traffic diminishes, merchants focus on the Web to entice customers to visit retail stores and make purchases. Because most consumers prefer to view jewelry pieces in person, providing a positive online experience often is a challenge. When Days Jewelers experienced decreased retail traffic last year, the 100-year-old Waterville, Maine-based company created a new Web site to better showcase its product


Nuts & Bolts: Creative

Creating an effective print ad is not easy. The environment is cluttered. And people read newspapers and magazines for the content, not the ads. So, our ads need to attract attention, be relevant, clearly communicate and compel the reader to take some kind of action. A fair—but tall—order, you say? Here’s four secret weapons: Color. Science tells us that color plays a strong role in our subconscious judgment. In fact, research indicates that color can improve readership, brand recognition, recall and response. According to one study by Strath-more Press, ads in color are actually read up to 42 percent more often than the same


Nuts & Bolts: Postal

Sophisticated mailers triple bid printing and lettershop services, buy paper direct and seek out volume discounts, but often stop short at maximizing, or even fully understanding, logistics methods, tools and techniques. Here are six places to tap for unrealized savings: 1) Deliver directly. The closer mail is delivered to its ultimate destination, the deeper the discount. For instance, if you can deliver your mail to one of 29 Bulk Mail Centers nationwide, or even one of the 400-plus Sectional Center Facilities (SCFs), it saves the post office time and money—and it will pass those savings on to its customers. There are more than 38,000


Quantumdigital Achieves Forest Stewardship Certification

Forest Stewardship Council Recognizes QuantumDigital’s Dedication to the Conservation of Environmental Resources AUSTIN, TX — April 1, 2008 — QuantumDigital, the only complete online service provider for direct mail, on-demand digital printing and eMarketing solutions, has achieved certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) on behalf of the company’s focused environmental efforts in 2007. FSC is recognized by the corporate and governmental sectors and the Non-Governmental Organization community as the model to ensure that forest resources are maintained for today and for future generations. In 2007 QuantumDigital recycled 80 tons of paper, saving over 1,300 pulp producing trees, half a million gallons of water


QuantumDigital’s Online Direct Marketing Technology Enhances Long & Foster’s Direct Mail Process

Largest privately owned real estate company in U.S. chooses web-to-print online portal to improve accuracy, convenience and turnaround time for agent-generated mailers AUSTIN, TX — April 1, 2008 — QuantumDigital, the complete online service provider for direct mail, on-demand digital printing and eMarketing solutions, today announced an expanded relationship with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. (L&F) – the nation’s largest privately-owned real estate company. L&F will be moving direct mail and print marketing collateral from an inside direct fulfillment facility to QuantumDigital’s web-to-print online portal for processing, production and mailing. The decision was made by Long & Foster after 16 years of producing


Reap What You Sow

Marketers hoping to launch a new affiliate marketing program—or invigorate an existing one—should recognize that the best affiliate marketing programs are built on relationships with clear rules of engagement, strategic planning and a steady stream of compelling consumer promotions. Attracting Affiliates Is Only Half the Battle It’s not enough for affiliates to join a program if their marketing partners do little to help them succeed. Affiliates cannot deliver on marketing goals unless the objectives are shared and the right tools and information are made available. All affiliate programs operate within their networks’ standard affiliate agreements, which outline payment frequency, regulations and standards for


The Green Production Process

Felt-covered amphibians and marketing managers agree: It’s not easy being green. But that doesn’t stop Kermit or your friendly neighborhood production company from trying. “Green” is more than today’s favorite buzzword. Marketing managers should put an ear to the ground for the environmentally sound practices of the companies with which they do business. In doing so, they can save money, exhibit stewardship, reduce their carbon footprints and even improve ROI. Find Where the Green Savings Grow For many years, paper has been easy to recycle, so all direct marketing production companies make it part of their plant processes. But direct marketing managers need to