February Newsletter

February 19th

Sow Seeds Now to Harvest New Customers This Summer
We have made it through most of the winter marketing season. Now is the time to make sure your marketing efforts are meaningful and relevant to your target audience so you can perform at peak level as we move into the summer months.

Wrap up your important-but-not-urgent projects.  Finish a white paper, update your website copy, or implement a new customer relationship management tool before things ramp up in the second quarter.

Strategize.  Read a book or attend a conference.  Research what your competitors are doing – and not doing – to position your company, product and offer more favorably.  Make a plan.

Set your summer schedule.  Summarize two or three topics that showcase your expertise and reach out to media and program chairs of civic groups and trade associations.  Get on the calendars of key prospects and clients.

Sharpen your approach.  Test a pricing discount, a free consultation, or value-added services in advance of a full rollout.  Experiment with a different paper, ink or finishing technique for your marketing collateral.

Remind customers to buy from you.  Recent clients often just need a simple prompt – a postcard or sell sheet – to make a repeat purchase.  Focus on retaining those with the highest profit margin.  When you stop inviting customers to do business with you, the door is opened for your competitors.

Play to your strengths.  There will be much economic uncertainty as things continue to adjust and change.  People won’t stop buying; they will just be more selective.  Craft a message that clearly states why you offer the most relevant product at the greatest value.  The more visible you are, the more confident your prospects will be that you’ll be around in good times or bad.  

Stay ahead of the trend curve.  Email usage is declining in several demographic groups as customers turn more to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks.  Smartphone adoption continues to grow, as well as the number of apps available to download.  Social media promises reach, scalability and cost-effectiveness, so why is direct mail expected to grow as well?  Experienced marketers know that an envelope reinforces your message, personalization gets the envelope opened, and consumers value physical mail – even in this digital age.  Design an integrated, multichannel marketing strategy to take you through the end of the year and beyond.     

Consult with our experts today to review and update your marketing plan for summer.

A Plan? Who Needs A Plan?
by Kara Trivunovic mediapost.com
We all need a plan -- not always exciting or fun, but necessary to accomplish your goals and objectives. Not only will it help you determine what factors are going to drive a program's success, it will also help you avoid best practice mistakes and errors. Let's face it, there aren't too many email marketers who actually execute against a real annual or quarterly communication plan -- so if you do, you are in the minority. But kudos.

Honestly though, most email marketers' days are probably spent either fielding last-minute requests to send an email to support an existing program that is under-performing, or as an after-thought. Whatever your situation, I am sure that at one point or another you have leveraged my favorite mantra: "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

Quarterly or annual planning is almost unheard of in the email space, while common in other areas of marketing. If you have a solid plan, accommodating those last-minute requests becomes a whole lot easier, and measuring your program success becomes more transparent because you have the time to really think through how to attribute that success and to honestly define what success means. In creating a quarterly plan, you need to truly understand the who, what, when, where and why of your email program.

Who is getting the email?  Understanding how your database breaks up based on how you communicate is integral to your programs' success. If an overwhelming number of customers are unengaged, then your communication strategy should vary from what you'd use for a database of highly engaged subscribers.  Getting familiar with that breakdown will set the groundwork for your entire plan.

What is the content of the email? Are there specific offers, editorial content or seasonal direction that you can plan on including in the message? What resources do you need to generate that content? Spending time articulating what you want to say and then aligning it with your audience can help you  identify mismatches in content to segments -- or further identify voids in content to address specific segment expectations.

When should the message be deployed?  Considering the timing of your message distribution in conjunction with offers that have specific time sensitivities or significant volumes can help you avoid missing the expectations of your recipients. This tactic also helps you to eliminate multiple messages coming to customers within hours or days of each other, depending on your specific contact strategy.

Where do you need additional support or resources?  If you are going to need custom data pulls or new creative -- landing pages or additional production support, say -- knowing in advance and planning accordingly for all groups and departments involved makes everything flow so much more smoothly.

Why are you sending the email? The quintessential question: What are your goals for this deployment? What behavior do you expect to drive, how will you measure that behavior, and how will you define success? Answering these questions at the front end of the process can help to validate that all the necessary steps are being taken to make it happen.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 17:15