Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Want More from Your Print Budget? Try This!

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing channel, but many marketing conversations must continue before they bear fruit. Your direct mail piece may prompt someone to visit your website, for example, but they often need another nudge. This is where retargeting comes in. Once a prospect visits your website, you can target them again (retarget them) on social media. This allows you to engage them further and complete the sale.

Retargeting is possible because once people visit your website, you can track their movements even after leaving it. Your target audience will be shown relevant digital ads on social media sites like Facebook based on the pages they visit.

Don’t Let Them Get Away!

Say you are a manufacturer of pool accessories. You have recently dropped your spring direct mail promotion and want to follow up with people who respond by visiting your website to look at fun add-ons like diving boards and slides. Buyers start flocking in, but most of them are only casual lookers. Some, however, are more interested. If they are curious enough to dive deeper into your product pages to look at the detailed specs, these are the buyers you want to capture.

For example, suppose buyers get to the details on your spiral slides but don’t make a purchase. In that case, you might retarget them with Facebook ads with real customer testimonials about how much their kids love the slide they are interested in. If they go further (say, they click through to the customer reviews) but still don’t make a purchase, you might target them with an urgent call to action that pops up in both their Facebook and Instagram feeds.

They grow up so fast! Use this 20% off coupon to turn your pool into a water wonderland they will NEVER FORGET!

Keep the Conversation Going

You make a significant investment in pulling people into the sales funnel, so keep the conversation going until they are ready to purchase. Retargeting makes the most of your investment in print marketing and can be a vital component of any lead-nurturing strategy.


Friday, February 9, 2024

Why the Upper Left-Hand Corner of the Envelope Is Critical to Your Marketing Success

Where is the most critical area of the direct mail envelope besides the mailing address? The upper left-hand corner. Yes, where you put the return address! How you use this humble section of the envelope can be the deciding factor in whether someone decides to open your envelope or not. 

Why is this space so important?

1. It’s where customers recognize you. If the mailer is to someone you already do business with, they will often open the envelope simply because of that relationship. Even if they do not have an immediate need for your product or service, they will often open it because it is you. Play up that relationship and make sure your company is clearly identified. Add your logo, use brand colors, and ensure you can be recognized, even from a distance.

2. It taps your brand reputation. Even if the recipient has not done business with you in the past, if you are a well-known brand that the recipient respects, they will often open the envelope out of curiosity. This is why brand-building is so essential. When you invest in building your brand, customers will often open an envelope simply because your brand has become familiar and they have a positive association with it.

3. It’s where their eyes go naturally. In English, we read from left to right, so the upper left is where people’s eyes will naturally go first. This makes the upper lefthand corner the perfect place to add attention-getting techniques such as images, colorful brand logos, and callouts. Some companies have even added the signatures of celebrities. One nonprofit, for example, gained permission to use the signature of actress Natalie Portman above its logo to attract attention. If you go this route, ensure you have the correct permissions and that the signatures (or images) relate to the product or service you are marketing.

Take advantage of this powerful area of envelope real estate. Use it to create an emotional connection and tell a story, even before the envelope is opened.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Marketing Differently Based on Customer Acquisition or Retention

Do you treat your customer acquisition and customer retention mailings the same? If so, you should reconsider. The two groups are quite different and should be marketed differently. Let’s take a closer look.

Customer Acquisition Mailings

Customer acquisition mailings focus on reaching potential customers who have not engaged with your brand. The goal is to make a memorable first impression, spark interest, and prompt them to take action.

Example: "Welcome to the Neighborhood" Campaign

Imagine you're a real estate agency targeting new homeowners. Your acquisition mailing could include a personalized welcome package featuring information about local services, exclusive discounts, and a warm invitation to explore “the perfect” property listing. This introduces your brand to a new audience and establishes a positive association with their recent life event.

Here are some critical elements of customer acquisition mailings:

·      Incentives that make it irresistible for recipients to explore your products or services.

·      Visually appealing designs, concise messaging, and a clear call to action.

·      Use personalization to tailor your message to the unique needs and preferences of the target audience.

Customer Retention Mailings

Customer retention mailings aim to reinforce the connection between your brand and existing customers. This strategy fosters loyalty, encourages repeat business, and creates brand advocates. Your messaging and images may be different, and your call to action will be different, too.

Example: "Exclusive Loyalty Rewards" Campaign

You run a boutique coffee shop. Your retention mailing might include a personalized loyalty card thanking customers for their support. The card could unlock exclusive discounts, access to “customer only” events, or free samples of new products. These types of communications encourage continued engagement and repeat visits.

What are some of the key elements of customer retention mailings?

·      Acknowledgment and expression of gratitude for the customer's loyalty using personalized messages.

·      Rewards or incentives exclusive to existing customers to create a sense of belonging.

·      Regular updates on new offerings, events, or promotions to keep your brand top-of-mind.

While customer acquisition mailings aim to broaden your customer base, retention mailings focus on fortifying existing relationships. These groups think differently and are motivated by different things, so don’t treat them the same! Develop a marketing plan that addresses both groups as the unique marketing segments they are.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Get Inspired by Peach Fuzz, PANTONE’s Color of the Year

“Embrace the Warmth”! That’s what Pantone has to say about its 2024 Color of the Year, PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz. The Pantone Color Institute describes Peach Fuzz as a shade that “resonates with compassion, offers a tactile embrace, and effortlessly bridges the youthful with the timeless.”

Many of today’s top brands already use Peach Fuzz in their designs. Pantone’s website features high-profile marketing applications from Motorola, Cariuma, Ruggable, Spoonflower, Polaroid, and more.

Pantone shares stories of top designers and artists inspired by the color on its Color of the Year page. Among them is textiles and apparel designer Tia Carson, who reworked her print “Pareo” across apparel forms with Peach Fuzz in mind. “If we ever needed a sense of kindness and community, now is the moment,” Carson told Pantone. “I tried to create things that felt warm and cocoon-like.”

The idea of togetherness resonated with Carson, so she layered Peach Fuzz with other colors to create color palettes that warm the viewer. “Colors placed text to each other change how we see them,” she explains. “They influence each other. I’m ready to explore this softer color and emotional vibe in 2024.”

Bruce Anthony Marshall, known as the “The Music Sommelier,” wa
s inspired by Peach Fuzz, too. With the color in mind, he created a “musical tapestry” that stirs emotions of community joy, happiness, and warmth. “When I think Peach Fuzz, I feel lightness, hope, positive energy, and a feeling reminiscent of a modern-day Woodstock,” Marshall told Pantone. “It’s a needed celebration of people coming together to uplift one another in a warm sense of celebration and community.”

Because color is one of the starting points for the direction of Marshall’s music, look for Peach Fuzz to inspire the songs, lyrics, and “vibes” he shares with the world this year.

Yiying Lu, artist, public speaker, and pioneer in democratizing art, also creates pieces inspired by PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz. “To me, it's a humane color: it hugs you, gently smiles at you, and puts you at ease,” she says. “It is nostalgic and yet modern, simple yet complex, but always welcoming, loving, and kind.”

The world could use more kindness and warmth right now, don’t you think? So get inspired by Peach Fuzz. Then design something!

Images available at


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Is Personalized Print Over-Hyped?

We hear a lot about personalized printing—addressing recipients by name and tailoring the content based on what you know about them. This approach takes additional time and expense, including refining and analyzing marketing databases, creating customer profiles, and developing messaging for personalized communications. Does it make a difference?

According to the recipients themselves, the answer is a resounding yes!  Research from Epsilon, a provider of third-party data, has found the following:

      90% of consumers see personalized communications as “somewhat” or “very” appealing.

      80% of consumers say they are likelier to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.

      75% of consumers say it is “very cool” when they receive personalized offers.

According to Epsilon, consumers are very willing to provide personal information when they know it will be used to benefit them, providing personalized offers, product recommendations, and deals. More than two-thirds (68%) agree that “it is worth giving my personal information to a company” in exchange for these benefits.

Do consumers feel confident that their personal information is secure? More than half (57%) say yes.

Consumers not only desire personalized experiences, but they do so because they expect those experiences to provide them with tangible benefits and are willing to trade some of their privacy to get them.

So, is personalization worth it? Consumers themselves are telling us yes! So, if you're still on the fence about this investment, let the resounding consumer verdict guide your decision. Personalization is a strategic investment that yields tangible benefits and customer trust, and that is worth the spades.

Friday, December 8, 2023

5 Tips for Better Direct Mail Pieces

Want to create awesome direct mail? You must always carefully consider the list, the message, and the call to action, but other factors make a highly effective mail piece, too. These include things like the trim size, shape, and texture of the piece. Let's look at five considerations for creating standout mail pieces.

1. Trim size. For the lowest possible postage cost, go with a standard 4" x 6" postcard. However, a nonstandard-sized card will stand out, and while it will cost more in postage, it is guaranteed to get noticed. It might even be the first piece they pick up. What's that worth?

2. Weight of the stock. Consumers tend to associate the weight of the stock used in the mailing with the brand's quality and, by extension, the marketed product. Heavier stocks command respect and attention.

3. Texture and "feel" of the paper. In a sea of smooth envelopes, mailers with textured finishes get noticed. Many options exist, from high gloss and spot varnish to specialty processes.

4. Personalized messaging. Even using someone's name on the front of a card will engage the recipient more than a static card. This extra level of engagement might only last for a split second, but sometimes, that is all you need.

5. Colored stock. Most mailers are printed on traditional white paper. When you print on a colored stock, it grabs attention. Use knock-out type, graphics, and images on dynamic backgrounds to get your mailer to jump out of the box. If your mailbox contains a sea of white envelopes and one bright red one with a white knock-out type, which would you pick up first?

There are many ways to get your direct mailer to stand out from all of the others. Why not try something you have not tried before? You might love the results!

Monday, November 27, 2023

3 Lessons on Growth During Uncertain Times

When economic times are uncertain, different businesses take different strategies. Some tighten the belt, hunker down, and wait for things to improve. Others see opportunities. When their competitors pull back, they invest so they are way ahead when times get better.

This strategy sounds good, but does it work? History says it does. Research from Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that, during the past three U.S. recessions, 91% of businesses struggled, while 9% thrived. What did these successful businesses have in common? Marketing! HBR found that, during recessions, successful businesses differentiated from non-successful businesses by maintaining their commitment to marketing, staffing, and pursuing operational efficiencies that would benefit them for the long term.

What happens when they don't? HBR offered one cautionary tale:

[During the 2000 recession,] Office Depot cut staff by 6% to cut losses for the near term. Staples hired more staff and looked for opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and invest for the long term. As a result, Staples’ sales doubled at the end of the 2000 recession and were substantially higher than Office Depot’s sales, billions ahead of Staples before the recession.

How can you apply these lessons to your marketing? During a slow-down, use the time to do the following:

1. Invest in technology. Improve operational efficiencies by eliminating repetitive tasks. For example, move repeat jobs or those requiring limited changes into templates stored in an online marketing portal. This saves time, lowers costs, and reduces errors.

2. Expand your channel mix. When you want to steal market share from a competitor, you need to saturate the market with all of the available channels—direct mail, email, social media, and wide-format graphics. Be everywhere!

3. Invest in data. Do a deep clean on your data to use only the most up-to-date information on your target audience. Invest in additional data, if necessary, to make your targeting even more effective.

As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get marketing!” Commit to a long-term strategy. Use the time to make strategic investments. Then, emerge on the other side of challenging times even stronger and more profitable.

Want More from Your Print Budget? Try This!

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing channel, but many marketing conversations must continue before they bear fruit. Your direct ma...