May 2007 Issue


Culture: More Than a Language

One of the most prominent topics in direct marketing today is ensuring that messaging to customers and prospects is relevant. As it relates to Hispanic marketing, cultural relevance has been trumpeted as the key to opening the door to this consumer group and keeping it open for effective customer retention. To get a better handle on what cultural relevance means to direct marketers, Target Marketing spoke with Sonya Suarez-Hammond, director of multicultural marketing insights at Yankelovich Inc., a consumer research firm in Chapel Hill, N.C. Target Marketing: What information can help marketers ensure their communication with Hispanic audiences is culturally relevant? Sonya Suarez-Hammond: Culturally appropriate marketing

Direct Selling: The Theory of Relativity

No, you didn’t accidentally open a science journal, and no, this isn’t an article about Einstein’s theory of relativity. Instead, it’s an explanation of why so many direct mail efforts simply do not work. They lack relativity, the ability to relate to their audience, or for that matter, offer any relevance at all. This theory isn’t about the continuum of space and time but about cause and effect. Simply, when marketing to a target audience, if you deliver a relevant message in a relevant format in a relevant presentation, your chances of achieving a desired response will grow exponentially. This all sounds simple, right? Then

E-commerce Link: Lights, Camera, (Sales) Action!

Online video is riding a wave of popularity. Industry researcher Forrester Research reports that 34 percent of all Internet users view video online at least monthly, and 53 percent have seen a video online at least once. The content of those videos ranges from movie previews to amateur productions to video-phone captures uploaded to video-sharing Web site YouTube, whose $1.65 billion acquisition by Google grabbed headlines last year—and put a hefty dollar value on the online video phenomenon. There’s no doubt that online video is cool. But for merchants who need to focus resources on maximizing conversions and loyalty, the hype factor alone isn’t enough

E-mail: Court Your Prospects

Of all the tactics marketers can use to grow their business, one always rises to the top: Market to your house lists. A marketer’s house lists are made up of individuals who overtly have requested to receive communications. They are customers and warm prospects. They should be the most responsive group a marketer can reach with a message. To put it simply, they are people who have asked to have a relationship with your brand. Relationships are not to be taken lightly. In today’s cluttered media marketplace, reaching a group of individuals who have raised their hands to show interest in starting a relationship

Editor’s Notes: Past Its Prime?

At the end of February, I pulled out of my office inbox a continuation notice for a free trial to min, also known as Media Industry Newsletter. I racked my brain for a minute, trying to remember if 1) I had signed up to receive this publication and 2) if I had gotten a sample issue. With a negative answer to each question, I put aside the invoice-like notice but decided to keep an eye out for the publication. A week passed with no sample issue, and I received another continuation notice—this time, featuring the teaser “LAST CHANCE” on the outer envelope. Inside, the

Famous Last Words: How to Write Right

I do not read blogs. So many of them are simply unreadable—wildly undisciplined and unedited stream-of-consciousness musings that never seem to get to the point. A magnificent new book of advice for writers (and speakers) is “Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear” by Dr. Frank Luntz (Hyperion, 2007). A corporate and political communications consultant who has been called the “hottest pollster in America” by The Boston Globe, Luntz has made a huge impact on modern history. Working with Newt Gingrich, Luntz persuaded the Republicans to introduce the “Contract with America” just six weeks before the 1994 mid-term elections. The

Great Brands Never Rest

Have you gotten caught up in “The Secret”? The buzz has been spectacular. More than 3.7 million books have been printed and more than 1.5 million DVDs have been sold. “The Secret,” as explained by Rhonda Byrne, its author and producer, is all about the law of attraction: Like attracts like. No doubt a savvy marketer and a very rich woman, Byrne makes it seem so simple. Ask, believe, receive and … voila! Everything is wonderful. There is little mention of discipline and action. I don’t buy it. Sorry Rhonda. There are many detractors, and even books that were rushed to market to expose

Market Focus: Organics Buyers

When you think of people who buy organic foods, do you imagine hippies wearing love beads and living in communes? Think again. This is a well-educated, affluent, health-conscious group that’s willing to spend more for healthier products. “Organic consumers focus on making the best choices for their health and the world,” says Randy Frank Leeds, publisher of Organic Gardening magazine. “They are you and me.” A Healthy Market Organics buyers are a big market that’s growing. The organic food market was worth an estimated $3.6 billion in 2006, more than double the $1.5 billion market of 2001, according to Mintel. “There are 35 million ‘true greens,’

Melissa Data Adds DPV™ and LACS-Link™ to its Address Management Solutions

Enhancements included free and in advance of the August 2007 USPS® mandate RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (May 1, 2007) — Melissa Data (, a provider of data quality software and services, today announced that its address management solutions, MAILERS+4® and Address Object, now include DPV and LACSLink at no additional charge – meeting new USPS CASS certification requirements months early. Previously available as optional upgrades, Melissa Data is providing these data files for free to new and current customers to help eliminate undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail. These product enhancements come in advance of the USPS mandate that starts August 1, 2007 and requires

Nuts & Bolts: Book Club

Content aside, “Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution” ($29.95, HarperCollins), is a revolution in reading fundamentals. Cross out paragraphs, rip out pages—the book’s prologue invites you to. But whatever you do, know the authors care little about the means by which you enjoy it (or not), so long as the end is anti-pretty-much-everything you’ve known/done/learned in marketing up until now. With informative prose interspersed with engagingly random factoids, authors Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons attempt to snap a finger in front of what they contend to be the collectively glazed-over eyes of the marketing world. The flag they’re waving: “Power has

Nuts & Bolts: Eye on Privacy

A spate of do-not-mail bills has been introduced in state legislatures in the past few months. While these are attempts to capitalize on the extremely popular Do-Not-Call Registry, nationally maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the sponsors of these new bills also claim the prevention of identity theft and environmental concerns as motivations. At the time of this writing, two bills already had been pulled or withdrawn by their sponsors (Colorado HB 1303 and Montana HB 718) in the wake of concerted opposition from groups such as the U.S. Postal Service, Letter Carriers’ associations and the Direct Marketing Association. In withdrawing their bills, the

Nuts & Bolts: Tech Talk

Effortless E-mail VerticalResponse, a self-service e-mail and direct mail service provider, has announced it is adding a new set of tools to its e-mail marketing product. The improvements allow users to address the look of outbound communications, as well as strengthen their ability to track response. Specifically, the new features include Email Canvas, a tool that includes several prebuilt layouts into which users can add text and images; a media library into which images can be uploaded and stored; a Click-to-Conversion tool that enables users to track a recipient’s initial click to a page visit; and a ROI calculator. Web: Find the Best Postal

Nuts&Bolts: Case Study

Challenge: Increase brand awareness and drive sales through creative affiliate marketing solutions. Solution: Develop relationships with bloggers and other online influencers, using product education and incentive plans to generate word-of-mouth buzz. Results: Sales for Q4 2006 increased 10 times over same-quarter sales in 2005. For Dean Rist’s money, few channels deliver ROI like affiliate marketing. Which is why one of the first things he did two years ago after being named the director of direct marketing at iRobot, a Burlington, Mass.-based manufacturer of robotics for consumer and military activities, was to start planning an affiliate marketing strategy. One of the challenges facing iRobot, says Rist, was that its

Postal Changes Take Shape

When the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) approved most of the recommendations made by the Postal Regulatory Commission in March, it set into motion an often confusing set of regulations and cost increases that will have a wide-ranging impact on direct mail users of all sizes, budgets and markets. Since the initial rate changes for First Class and Standard mail are scheduled to be implemented on May 14—followed by scheduled changes in July for periodicals and catalogs, and in August for mandatory use of Delivery Point Verification (DPV)—hopefully you’ve already begun preparing for these adjustments and new requirements. If you

Reaching Hispanics Online

With 14 percent of the U.S. adult population being Latino and about half of this group going online, your company very well could have a Hispanic following without actively seeking it out. According to a study, “Conexion Cultural/Connected Culture,” released in March by Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research, Spanish-dominant survey participants reported they consume two-thirds of their online content in English due to a lack of Spanish-language alternatives. In a March report, “Latinos Online,” researchers from the Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Internet Project noted that just one in three Latinos who speaks only Spanish goes online; that rate is three times higher

Special Report: Hispanic Marketing

More than 41 million Hispanics call the United States home, and a little more than half of these consumers go online. Despite the clear opportunity in marketing to Hispanics online, only about $150 million of the $16 billion total online advertising spend is dedicated to targeting Latinos, says Lee Vann, founder of Captura Group. This is surprising, considering research from Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research shows two-thirds of online Hispanics have been using online channels for more than five years. William Fleming, CEO, MotionPoint, agrees that online marketing has lagged behind its offline counterparts in service to Hispanics. “People are used to walking into

Still In Style

I’m fairly certain the study of direct mail would still be my favorite pastime even if I hadn’t grown up as the daughter of the postmaster of Inman, Kan., (pop. 1,194). It’s true that, from an early age, I was as eager to see the newly issued stamp designs as some of my friends were to see the newest fashions. But, as fond as I am of direct mail, I also recognize that, thanks to changing technology, new media opportunities, and exciting possibilities offered by the Internet, direct marketers now face a dilemma: What should we do with direct mail? If you’re already using it,

Sweet Success

In a red brick building in Salem, Mass., within a stone’s throw of the Atlantic coast, is a small company that uses local labor to handcraft a line of gourmet chocolates sold through multiple channels to customers worldwide. This company is demonstrating that a viable multichannel selling strategy needn’t be reserved for just the behemoths in direct marketing. Harbor Sweets sells its luxury confections via a catalog, Web site, e-mail campaigns, retail channels and wholesale accounts, including Whole Foods Markets. Its overall sales have been growing 10 percent annually in recent years, and its average order value has increased 6 percent since 2004. Not

The Language of Service and Sales

In 1995, consumer electronics marketer Crutchfield was one of the first companies to staff its in-house call center with Spanish-speaking service representatives, which it calls sales advisors. A decade later, it became one of the first wave of e-tailers to develop a Spanish-language Web site, upholding its brand promise to deliver exceptional service to its entire customer base. As would be expected, the impetus for the launch of a Spanish-language version of the Crutchfield site was the firm’s Hispanic customer base. Sale advisors noted a growing number of Spanish-speaking callers who wanted to research and purchase products online, but faced a language barrier with Crutchfield’s