March 2008 Issue


Acquisition 2.0

Selling on the Web is quickly becoming less about marketers’ supply meeting up with customers’ demand, and more about customers actively bringing demand toward supply. The question is: Who is driving the bus?

Are You Equipped?

Most successful data-driven companies outsource the construction of their marketing databases. Why? Because it is cheaper and faster, and the product is better. To use a ridiculous example: It would be possible to go to auto parts suppliers and assemble a company truck from spare parts. Since it’s more than likely that no one in the company has ever done this before, it would take a year or more, be quite expensive and would certainly not perform as well as a production model bought from GM, Ford or Chrysler. But as an advantage, your staff would now know how to build a truck from

Direct Selling: Making a Match

No industry standard exists for matchback processing. That much is true. But in this article, you’ll learn methods that, when used appropriately, just might help you with the all-important task of better identifying the sources of unknown orders. First, let’s identify the real problem with matchbacks. Working with various companies during the past several years has given us the opportunity to see the outcomes of a number of matchback processes. The results? Most consumer catalogs see match rates between 25 percent and 50 percent for unaccounted-for orders (i.e., orders that cannot be attributed directly to a catalog mailing, e-mail campaign, search marketing or

Doing More With Less

Selling can be a delicate process requiring the finesse of a diamond cutter. I was approached recently by someone who wanted to sell me a service I have no need for now, but might at some time in the future. I told him I have no clients in this sector right now. He continues to e-mail me every couple of weeks, telling me how great his service is. I don’t need those e-mails; I have his contact information. And now he’s beginning to annoy me. On the other hand, I was approached a few months ago by another person who sells office furniture. My company is

Editor’s Notes: Booper Soul

First off, I’ve got to give a shout-out to blog poster Vasco DaGameboy for my headline this month. His (or her?) use of this term to refer to the Super Bowl in a Feb. 2, 2006, posting to Techdirt struck me as a super representation of what has become a downright ludicrous trademark battle. Well, it’s not actually a battle because the National Football League, which owns the trademark, has been super effective in scaring off all uses of the event’s name in any context outside of sponsors’ communications. What started my research into this super silly scuffle was a mailing from the telco/cable/Internet company

Eight Steps to More Effective Welcome E-mails

Brand and subject lines are key factors in getting your e-mails opened, but so is your recipients’ prior experiences with your e-mail efforts. According to a study conducted last year by Return Path, a New York-based provider of global e-mail deliverability tools and services, 51.2 percent of survey respondents indicated prior value influences their decisions to open e-mail. What’s more, prior value was the only factor to exhibit year-over-year growth. What this means is the value clock starts ticking with the very first e-mail contact you make. And for many marketers, that’s the welcome e-mail. To ensure your welcome message sets the proper stage

Famous Last Words: What You Own

From Lawrence Van Gelder’s article in The New York Times, Dec. 28, 2007: Egypt plans to copyright the Pyramids, the Sphinx and various museum pieces and use the royalties from copies to pay for the upkeep of its historic monuments and sites, The Guardian of London reported. Quite simply, 4,000-year-old edifices are in public domain. How could Egypt enforce the copyright? It cannot. The entire concept is preposterous. What is not preposterous is what you can copyright. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and

In the Same Boat

More than a year has slipped away since postal reform legislation was enacted. During that time, a rate case developed under pre-reform rules was enacted and decimated flats mail; overall mail volume was down for the U.S. Postal Service’s first fiscal quarter of the year; and the Federal Trade Commission reported that the USPS is hampered by regulations requiring it to use more resources than necessary to support its products and services. So, the real work of postal reform continues. To get some perspective on what mailers can expect in the near future, Target Marketing called on Leo Raymond, director of postal affairs for

Market Focus: Public Librarians

Are you looking for a well-educated, up-to-date, tech-smart market for your product or service? Look no further than public librarians. Librarians? Aren’t they women of a certain age with their hair in buns, wire-framed glasses perched on their noses and the ever-present index finger up against their lips shushing rowdy patrons? If that’s the image you have of librarians, you need to update your mental files. “These people are very well-versed in technology as well as information,” says Pat Billadeau, national accounts manager for MCH, a compiler of business-to-institution data. “They know all the new things.” Here, we give you a book’s worth of

Media Usage Forecast 2008

With the specter of a recession looming, results from Target Marketing’s second annual Media Usage Forecast reflect the caution that marks the start of 2008. The majority of direct marketers plan to hold the line on or even increase their budgets, which is good news. Still, the group of respondents tightening the purse strings on their media budgets rose 23 percent compared to last year, and the group planning a budget increase dipped about 10 percent. An intriguing development is that a smaller percentage (5 percent) of respondents are indicating uncertainty about their budget plans for this year contrasted with the response to this

Nuts & Bolts: B-to-B Marketing

Forrester Research analyst Laura Ramos forecasts an optimistic 2008 budget picture for B-to-B marketers. While she predicts most marketers “expect purse strings to loosen up,” she also says integrating search, Web site and e-mail marketing programs will provide a foundation to experiment with emerging Web 2.0 tactics, “while keeping the sales pipeline full and critics of further marketing investment at bay,” Ramos says. As part of a joint study with Marketing Profs, Forrester surveyed 369 B-to-B marketing professionals in firms with annual revenues ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion. The survey found traditional tactics make up the greatest share of

Nuts & Bolts: Book Club

In the current telecom market, cable TV companies are offering phone service and broadband, phone companies are offering television, movies and broadband, and electric utilities might jump on the bandwagon, too. Working to stabilize the free-for-all marketing activity behind telecom marketing wars, the competitors are asking, “How can we hold on to our customers?” In his recent book, “Customer Churn Reduction and Retention for Telecoms,” Arthur Middleton Hughes, a pioneer of database marketing, author and VP/solutions architect at data services KnowledgeBase Marketing, applies database marketing logic to the telecom service industry. Hughes answers questions about telecom layoff projections and provides insight into how marketing and

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy

Have you noticed that consumer notices are suddenly sexy? It may well be a reasonably inescapable conclusion given the amount of guidance marketers received at the end of 2007 and will continue to receive in 2008. The fact is the Direct Marketing Association issued its Commitment to Consumer Choice program, with a new notice provision for each solicitation. Further, the Internet Advertising Bureau is working on its own best practices document for disclosures. Even the Federal Trade Commission held a town hall meeting on behavioral advertising, focusing much of the discussion on notice to consumers. That’s an awful lot of attention for something that

Nuts & Bolts: Five-Minute Interview

Widgets and brands with fan affinity are a match made in marketing heaven. These bits of code can be embedded on Web pages or computer desktops, allowing a company to feed brand news, entertainment and offers to its fans. And when this audience places these widgets on its personal pages on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, the brand’s exposure is magnified. These benefits, plus the ability to track and measure user interaction, led the Oakland Raiders to Gydget. This San Francisco-based widget developer helped the franchise launch a news-driven widget in August 2007. Andy Rentmeester, the Oakland Raiders’ Web manager, shares insights on

Nuts & Bolts: Global Update

China Post boasts a long history, with more than 3,000 years of national post, more than 500 years of private post and more than 100 years of contemporary national post. But still today, the concept of “post office” for this organization is very different than that of the USPS. For example, China Post is also one of the largest banks in the world. And while its customers have one of the highest savings rates globally, Chinese consumers physically go to their local branches to make remittances for other banking services. In the midst of a rapidly emerging marketplace, China Post sought to create

Nuts & bolts: Tech talk

Versatile VDP Printable Technologies, a provider of integrated marketing, Web-to-print and personalized direct marketing solutions, recently launched the FusionPro VDP Suite, Version 5.0. The software offers users a print-vendor agnostic document composition tool with a wide range of customization options. The new version, in particular, showcases two additional features. The first feature, variable text on a curve, allows designers to draw variable text curves using several methods—including freehand, control-point and ellipse drawing tools. The second feature, soft drop-shadow effects, allows users to specify solid or semi-transparent drop-shadow effects on variable text with control over the drop-shadow opacity, angle, distance and spread. This feature is designed to

The ‘E’ Connection

This month’s column is an interview with e-mail marketing consultant and expert Jeanne Jennings. Jennings is an 18-year veteran of interactive marketing and product development, and she is a staunch direct marketer. Her area of expertise is permission-based e-mail marketing, and she works with medium- to enterprise-sized organizations, helping them become more profitable and productive with their online marketing initiatives. During her interactive marketing career, Jennings has helped organizations such as Hasbro Toys, the Mayo Clinic, Siemens AG, Verizon, Boston’s Museum of Science and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is also the author of “The Email Marketing Kit: The Ultimate Email Marketer’s Bible.”