Behind the Curtain

Over the past season, we have been looking at many data-driven elements, including the data itself and the processes that are involved in analysis and reporting. However, a simple, often-overlooked, but key part of the whole process is the people who work with the data. Different people are involved across so many parts of the data process that it is worth a few moments to consider this fundamental question: How much does the WAY people interact with the data have to do with the quality and usefulness of the data itself?

Building Social Media ROI Through Influencers

Elusive though it may seem, Tricia Tangradi has found the ROI of social media. After she implemented a social media marketing program, the director of marketing and support for HouseMaster, a Bound Brook, N.J.-based home inspection franchise system, saw revenue increase 15 percent above last year's numbers. Plus, franchisees active in social media realized a 36 percent year-over-year (YOY) revenue increase from "mobilizing" HouseMaster's biggest fans.

Lucky 7 Prospect Conversion Tips

Old-school direct marketing techniques still rule in new-school media, old channels still reach business prospects who like traditional messaging and proper data use is important. Those are just a few of the takeaways from "Multichannel Marketing for Business: New Ways to Find and Convert B-to-B Prospects—and How They Really Work," a webinar hosted on Oct. 4 by Target Marketing.

Political Excess, in Marketing

The presidential election has inundated Americans with marketing through every channel permissible for months. I'm guessing many people who allowed the candidates to contact them by email, phone or social media have lived to regret it, because the appeals have been constant. I think this reveals more about direct marketing than politics. We've all seen the impact real-time digital channels have had on marketing.

Research 101

Like many of my columns, the inspiration for this comes from my day-to-day life at an interactive agency. We currently have the pleasure of working with a industrial gas company—helping it re-organize its public-facing Web content, and redesigning the site to make it both more usable and more engaging. If you're anything like me, you've probably never given even a moment's thought to industrial gas; which, in my opinion, makes the redesign process all the more exciting—an information architecture (IA) challenge. So just for the sake of context, companies like my client supply gasses to a wide variety of industries—to preserve foods, improve the efficiency of industrial processes, treat hospital patients and even put the fizz in soft drinks.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

The simplest, most effective way to diffuse buying objections is with a simple, straightforward guarantee. Having an unconditional promise of 100 percent customer satisfaction can be the difference between making a first-time sale to a customer who becomes a very loyal (and profitable) customer … or not. A no-risk guarantee entices fence-sitters to jump off the fence and comparison-shoppers to choose you over the competition. It's a key element of your offer as part of what you're willing to give in exchange for response.

The Case for Secret E-shoppers

I have spent more than 40 years writing and designing direct mail. One basic rule hardwired into my DNA: Before committing a mailing to print, always hand samples over to strangers to make sure everything makes sense and it's easy to order. These could be relatives or folks in the office who work on other projects.

The Direct Marketing Election

The 2012 presidential election is important to direct marketers for reasons that have nothing to do with who wins or loses. It has been shaped by the tools of direct marketers—and many that marketers are only just starting to explore. It's not just politics imitating marketing, but perhaps also a glimpse into direct marketing's future.

The Evolution of Deliverability

Email deliverability has evolved considerably during the past decade. It started out as a niche discipline based on personal relationships and brand recognition, then underwent a seismic shift as several factors made it a necessity for everyone who sends email of any significant volume. The advent of deliverability technology saw the next major change in the market and allowed senders to have an idea of where they stood—i.e., "Am I being called a spammer?"—from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) perspective. That brings us to today and the future: Deliverability is a one-to-one science based on individual consumer choice.

The Mobile Multitool

In a time when smartphone use is experiencing rapid growth, it's important for businesses to think about how they can seize communication opportunities presented by mobile technology—especially in marketing to other businesses. From a visual for one-on-one sales pitches to a comprehensive product catalog for viewing on the go, there are a number of potential uses for mobile marketing and purchasing. Already, marketers are prioritizing the mobile users, thinking about their needs first in the development of digital assets.