Target Marketing magazine October 2012
October is the start of an important time in this industry. Holiday marketing campaigns are getting under way, and I'm sure many of our readers are counting on those to turn their balance sheets around. There are some good signs. In the DMA/Winterberry Group "Quarterly Business Review" of Q2 2012 (see more details in the sidebar to the right), nearly half of all marketers said that revenue driven by direct and digital marketing (DDM) increased in the quarter, and 58 percent said they expect it to increase more in Q3. Even better, 38 percent saw DDM-driven profits increase, and more than half expect them to increase in Q3.
Most readers of this magazine understand the basics of email analysis, but I think it's always important to do some "refresher courses" to stay on top of the email game. Let's review the ABCs briefly and then move on to examine techniques that are more sophisticated and some tools that can help you be more successful.
As we look toward the end of 2012, one of the more troubling issues facing marketers is the focus the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Congress and the media are putting on data brokers. While marketers are only one segment of the data broker debate and cannot resolve this issue alone, we must be proactive in defining our segment and restating and reaffirming our self-regulatory practices. If we are all following our stated "best practices," our arguments for continuing to self-regulate will carry more weight.
Ahead of its time, CheapAir switched from being a phone-to-FedEx travel service to an entirely online entity in 2001. Although Orbitz joined the Web ranks that year—and Expedia and Travelocity had already been there since the late '90s—most travelers were still booking flights offline.
At age 7, Marisa Anne Edmund was already an experienced direct mailer. Wearing roller skates while packing boxes of expensive optical components, she'd already started her career at her family's Barrington, N.J.-based optics, imaging and photonics technology company, Edmund Optics (EO). At the moment, she's EO's executive vice president of marketing and communications and its vice president of human resources. And while the former roller-skating packing line worker is known for injecting a bit of fun into the otherwise serious world of engineers, what really sets her apart is her ability to see the big picture.
In 2006, ISPs started to rethink how they evaluated inbound email. AOL, Gmail, Microsoft and Yahoo! began to realize the old approach of counting complaints and hard bounces was a poor way to identify spammers. The truth was spammers found "work-arounds" that allowed them to avoid ISP thresholds. How did a seemingly unrelated event, like changes to email filters, force marketers to rethink application of email marketing best practices?
Sometimes you just can't beat low tech. Yes, there are many ways my high-tech laptop, smartphone and tablet with all those apps make my life easier and more efficient, but it is the simple and humble and happy yellow Post-it Note that makes me smile and inspires some of my best thinking. I use them in all sorts of everyday ways, from writing notes to myself across all the piles on my desk to brainstorming with the large flip-sheet Post-it Notes in client meetings to leaving little messages for my husband in unexpected places around our home when I am on the road. Post-it Notes just can't be beat.
For direct mail to continue to be a profitable marketing channel, businesses and organizations must identify the most cost effective solutions for their marketing programs in light of this coming USPS transformation. Getting up to speed on these regulations and the impact on mail programs is critical to success.
Have you been trying to seduce Google into giving your Web pages a number one spot—but Google keeps spurning your advances? There could be a good reason for that. You could be trying to "dress up" your content too much, and it's falling flat with the Big G. Part of that difficulty comes from the need to seduce Google. Instead of authentically writing great content—content that grabs their readers and doesn't let go—they focus instead on giving Google what they "think" it wants.
In the digital marketing world, the unsubscribe link can be the most critical part of an email—even to veteran senders. Every time you send, you could lose a potential customer. There are many reasons for this, but the good news is if you strive to build relevant, smart-targeted emails and properly manage your opt-out process, you can reduce spam complaints, improve deliverability, achieve higher open/click rates, gain consumer insights and increase the return on your overall email program.
When I was starting out in marketing in the late 1970s, the standard response device in direct marketing was the business reply card (BRC). With the advent of PURLs (personalized URLs), use of the BRC declined dramatically. Many argued that the BRC was an unnecessary component of a direct mail package. Why waste a piece of card stock when the prospect could just go to a URL?
Check out the marketing titles publishing in October, November and December from Portfolio Hardcover, McGraw-Hill and Routledge.
On Nov. 22, 1963, consultant Paul Goldberg—with a huge mailing for Consumer Reports going out across the country—was having lunch with two colleagues at the Café Carlyle in New York. The maître d' came over to the table to report that President Kennedy had been shot.