Target Marketing February 2010
A monthly online feature for Target Marketing readers (also running bimonthly in Target Marketing magazine’s Nuts & Bolts department), Affiliate Spotlight introduces you to a variety of players on the affiliate marketing scene. Check back monthly for the lowdown from Google Affiliate Network's Dan Chiss on the fastest-growing and top-performing affiliates around.
If you're looking for a great read that is a change of pace from the typical business book, let me recommend "Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul" by Dr. Stuart Brown. I guarantee you Brown will change your mind about play. It will become something you do first, not put off until all your work is done. I'm more convinced than ever of the importance of play and the necessity of stepping back, taking time-outs, and the need for creating reflective time, and space in our highly reactive and ever-changing culture.
The other day, I reached into my fridge to grab a single-serving container of Stonyfield Farm peach yogurt and came face-to-lid with the following message: "Junk mail trashes our planet." Accompanying this copy was an image of a mailbox bending over to purge itself of the so-called offensive direct mail efforts (strangely enough, most of the pieces looked like First Class mail). At first impression this struck me as funny, because the decline in direct mail spending actually has made mailboxes pretty light on what Stonyfield calls trash.
I'm somewhat of an anomaly in the freelance copywriting business. I say this because I am one of a small group of copywriters who write a significant amount of direct mail for two distinct and different markets: consumer mail-order marketers and B-to-B lead generation.
Think about the e-mail messages you receive in a day. Whether from colleagues, family or friends, this amount of e-mail adds up quickly. In fact, studies show that, on average, business users receive 133 work-related e-mails daily. In one year's time that totals 35,000 e-mails.
An e-mail from reader Nathaniel Rink a while back asked two questions about how to set prices and describe them. Here are my thoughts.
Rather than putting their money where their mouths are, a recent report tells businesses that claim to be customer-centric to show it by lending more credence to customer insight. The Consumer's Voice—Can Your Company Hear It?, a report put out by The Boston Consulting Group in November, shows that companies spending more for insight into their customers ($670,000 per full-time market research employee) have poorer strategies than those who pay less ($400,000 per employee). The answer, says the management consulting group, is to put a different strategy in place, backing up those corporate mission statements and annual reports touting commitment to customer centricity.
A pounding beat communicates urgency. Avatars explain After Inc.'s problems. Those watching the trailer for IBM's business process management game learn they alone can provide the solutions that will save this mythical company.
What happened to Jerry Dow one day in a Suddenlink Communications call center is possibly the dream occurrence for every boss. A customer service representative, so grateful about how a software improvement he'd helped implement simplified the direct marketing process, hugged him.
As dutiful marketers, we pay close attention to our delivery results and identify e-mail marketing campaigns with lower than expected opens and clicks as harbingers of potential delivery issues. But as ISPs tweak their spam filtering techniques, marketers must consider user engagement in addition to the basic precepts of deliverability best practices if they intend on making it to the inbox.