How to Improve Campaign Response by 40% or More (and Have Fun Doing It)
How can you reach that lofty level where multichannel marketing is both profitable and fun? By marrying the right channels with the right campaigns—consistently. Here are the key steps to getting the entire process right.
You’re the modern digital marketer. You confide frequently in your friend Siri. You likely text more than you talk. You know that Mashable is a website and not a potato pancake. You actually know what PPC, CPC, and IAB stand for. And if you’re a true one-percenter in your field, you know that multichannel campaigns – those that employ at least two different but carefully coordinated media channels, including offline vehicles like postal mail (gasp!) – generate overall response and engagement rates 25%-40% higher, and are more profitable, than efforts using one channel only.
“Yes, Jay,”you’re saying,“of course I know that. Siri told me so.” But how do you determine which channels to use for different campaigns? Read on, friend.
KNOW THY TARGET AUDIENCE
If you’re looking to build awareness of your solution among Fortune 1000, C-level executives, texting and social media aren’t going to get ‘er done. And if you’re looking to build engagement levels among Millennials, you can forget about banners or print of any sort. In a word: anathema.
So what you need to do is take a clear-eyed picture of your target’s media consumption habits and propensities. Use primary or third-party research, get your Zoomerang on – whatever it takes in the time you’ve got – but get to know how, where and why your target customers get information.
CALCULATE THE LIFETIME VALUE OF A CUSTOMER OR CLIENT
Lifetime value (LTV) is not first-year revenue, but your projection – based on previous experience and analysis as rigorous as your diet will allow – of what kind of sales you can expect from an average customer during their tenure as your sponsor. (If that figure is really low, you can probably stop reading right now.)
DETERMINE YOUR ALLOWABLE COST-TO-ACQUIRE
Cost-to-acquire (CTA) is the kissing cousin of LTV. It is simply your LTV minus your desired profit margin. With this number in hand, the world, at least from a planning and analysis point of view, is your oyster. You can now start to shake and bake. Huh? Keep going…
PRICE YOUR MEDIA OPTIONS. AND BE RUTHLESS!
OK, you know what they want, you know what they’re worth, you know what they cost. You, sir or madam, are cooking with gas. Take this hot plate full of knowledge to your media-planning department, marketing firm or whomever you use to beat up slick ad sales executives and tell them: “I want xx customers and I can spend $xx to buy them and I want a 20% discount.” Media bid, quotes and yes, even planning scenarios should emerge.
MIX AND MATCH
This stage is where you may need smart and experienced experts (n.b., I know a top-notch marketing firm in Westport, CT that makes free smoothies for clients…). Here we figure out which pairings and groupings of media best complement one another. We know, for example, that using radio as air cover, followed closely by sequences of postal mail and email and retargeted banner campaigns, can be a highly effective way to get consumers to try a new product or service offering. We also know that TV won’t do much to increase your click-through rates, at least not enough to justify the media and production costs. How do we know these things? Because we’ve tested the heck out of these notions.
ONE SIGHT, ONE SOUND
While all the number crunching and browbeating is going on, go visit your creative team. (They’re the folks with drawers full of empty 5-hour Energy bottles.) Work with them to develop a concept, message, value proposition, and look and feel that are clear, concise, compelling and flexible enough to “work” both online and off. Why? Our overtaxed brains respond to relevant, frequent, consistent drumbeats of messaging. So give your prospects’ craniums what they crave.
TEST UNTIL YOU’RE SMART
Aren’t you sick of that word “test”? Yeah, me too. Condescending direct marketers like me tend to invoke it like it’s gospel. But after hiring the right resources (i.e., those with lots of experience with multichannel campaigning), the best way to determine the most efficient mix of media to achieve your campaign objective is to test groupings based on all the knowledge you’ve accumulated by now.
RINSE AND REPEAT
You did your homework and executed your tests. Now you know what works, what doesn’t, and why. So do what works again and go bigger. And then test again.
Successful multichannel marketing requires finding the right mixture of art and science. Do it right and rule the world! (OK, that’s a huge overstatement, but you get the idea, right?)
Email May Not Be Sexy – But It’s HOT!
Despite the ongoing challenges to email, it still rules as a major customer service and marketing channel. Here are some insights from an industry veteran about how to take your email campaigns to the next level.
All the buzz today is about social and mobile, but the true workhorses for direct marketers are direct mail and email. Both channels are not particularly sexy, but they certainly do work!
I’m going to focus on email. Let’s start with research from the Direct Marketing Association in late 2011:
- Email is the single marketing channel that produces the highest ROI.
- For every dollar invested in this highly profitable channel, the return on investment in 2012 is 39.40. (The second highest channel is search, pegged at $22.38.)
One major reason for email’s top position is that it is inexpensive – particularly if you use it to communicate with opt-in customers and prospects. While it is relatively easy to “batch and blast” email, savvy marketers take advantage of personalizing technology to make their efforts pay off.
Here are three concepts that will help you take your email program to the next level:
Relevance is all about making your customer feel special. Use the data you collected when they signed up, and personalize your emails. Better yet, if you can link email subscribers to your customer database, you know if they interact with you in multiple channels how much they’ve spent with you and what they buy. You can mine this data to focus on offers, products and promotions that will capture their attention.
Take it a step further and look at their behavior in terms of what truly interests them. If you have good tracking in place, you should be able to connect email activity (a click-through on a particular link) to site activity (did they view multiple pages, how much time did they spend online, what product categories did they focus on?)
Then, you can use this data to present products and offers that are truly of interest.
Dynamic personalization in email can boost relevance. The basic concept behind it is to set up if/then rules to deliver appropriate messaging. To keep this process simple, think of your email template(s). Reserve a block within the template to present relevant content. Let’s pretend it’s the dead of winter and you sell shoes. With dynamic personalization, the first item featured to those in the north are Uggs boots – and to those in the south, Birkenstock sandals. The rest of the message might be the same for all, but the primary offer will resonate more based on geography. It’s more relevant. And the latest email technology makes this easy to do.
Triggered messaging can be pure gold for marketers. These messages are also based on rules that look at user actions (or inaction) from email and your website (for example, a welcome message sent within minutes of someone signing up for your email program).
My two favorite triggered messages are:
- Cross-selling in email order confirmations
- Sending an email to someone who has started the check-out process at your website but did not complete the order
You are leaving money on the table if you don’t try these two techniques!
Today, between 50% and 75% of all Web shopping carts are abandoned. Do nothing, and you’ve lost the sale. Send one or more reminders that the customer has left something in their cart and you can re-capture between 5% and 15% of otherwise lost sales. My advice is to send more than one email and don’t start with a discount.
And, if possible, you should picture the abandoned item in the email.
It Works. Period.
Let me close with one marketer’s experience that I recently observed: Only 4.1% of their total email volume was triggered and transactional in nature. Yet a whopping 41.2% of their email trackable sales were generated from those messages! I hope that’s an eye-opener for you.
To thrive in today’s marketplace, be relevant, and use dynamic personalization and triggered email messages. You’ll be glad you did!
Canadian Law Calls for Opt-in for Email
The challenges to integrated marketing continue. The new Canadian anti-spam law could hold dire consequences for unsuspecting American marketers. Here’s a breakdown of what the law prohibits, and what it could mean to you if there are Canadian names on your email list.
In 2010, Canada adopted an anti-spam law called The Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act (FISA). The relevant regulator (CRTC) recently published its final regulations, which provide details on the required contact information and unsubscribe mechanism to be included in each commercial electronic message, and the requirements for valid consent. The law will be effective at a date to be set by the Governor in Counsel.
What this means for marketers
It is wise for marketers to assume the law is effective now since a “phase-in”period of three years ran from adoption, and there are compliance steps that one should take right away.
Here’s an important point to remember: The statute covers the “sending” of messages. It is irrelevant whether the message gets delivered or whether the address even exists. It is the transmission alone that will be deemed illicit.
And a caveat: You can still use a Canadian email address without “expressed consent” until the law’s effective date, provided it is not merely a rented name but arises from an “existing business relationship” or an “existing non-business relationship.”
Under the law, a commercial emailer must obtain the “expressed” consent of the recipient before sending commercial emails or other electronic messages, unless there is an “existing business relationship” or “an existing non-business relationship.” For addresses on file on the effective date who have not objected and with whom you have a relationship, there is assumed “implied consent” to commercial messages for two years from the establishment of that relationship.
A “business” relationship
What is a “business relationship”under the law is basically a matter of common sense. The statute defines the relationship in terms of actions or messages relating to actions. Generally, if it feels like business, it’s a business relationship. A business relationship includes enquiries also, but only for a duration of six months per each relationship.
The “non-business relationship” is similarly a matter of common sense. The non-business relationship might have involved a donation or a charitable gift made within the previous two years, such as to a political party, charity or a candidate for public office.
Some exceptions to the law exist for marketers. They include:
- Responding to a request for a quote
- Employment-related matters
- Information regarding a subscription, membership, or maintenance arrangement of the addressee
- Information regarding delivery of a product or service previously ordered
Personal messages are also exempt.
Sender information and unsubscribe options
Disclosure is required of the name and contact information of the sending company, and the company on whose behalf it is being sent. There must be an easy means to object, ie,“readily contact” the sender for 60 days from transmission. A phone number or an email unsubscribe mechanism should be acceptable to meet this requirement.
There must also be an unsubscribe mechanism in the email. This can be a link to a website or an email reply mechanism or “any other electronic means that will enable the person to indicate the wish.” The industry in Canada believes a phone number would be acceptable as well.
Painted with a broad brush
Be forewarned that the statute is not just about email spam, but any “commercial electronic message,” and any message via telecommunication, landline or mobile, such as text, sound, voice, image, IM, or “any similar account.” Presumably, that would include social media venues as well.
Noncompliance with this law can bring dire consequences. The law has penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses. The fines are “per violation,”and there are grounds to believe
that a campaign mailed over a multi-day period would draw a penalty for each day. Thus a three-day campaign might cost a company $30 million.
Be forewarned that there is also a private “right of action” for any individual or business that has been affected by a violation. Take heed: Corporate officers and directors can be held personally liable for violations.
Industry sources believe that these penalties were intended for the worst spammers, but the courts will ultimately decide who that is. Of course, if you have no physical presence in Canada, it may be that any
lawsuit against you in Canada would not be sustainable. It is doubtful that you could be sued in a US court under the Canadian law.
However, it is unclear whether a “penalty” assessed against your company in Canada might not receive enforcement by a US court. It’s best to play it safe.
Any US company with a database of addresses obtained without affirmative consent, such as rented lists or gathered addresses, should consider determining the physical locations of those addresses – and obtain consent from Canadian residents. Obviously, “.ca” domains are Canadian, but the national location of addresses with gmail or domains like “.int,” “.post,” “.co” – the list goes on – could be anywhere. Protect yourself.
Charles Prescott is a consultant and attorney specializing in marketing, privacy and international postal matters. He primarily represents companies seeking to enter new country markets. Previously with the US DMA as VP, international business development, he isnow on its board of directors. Reach him at +1.914.533.0208 or email@example.com.
Two Vital Issues Affecting Direct/Digital Marketers – and How to Take Action
Although direct/digital marketers continually navigate marketing challenges online and offline, two major issues loom that could undermine the very nature of doing business. Here’s a breakdown of their possible impact – and tips for what you can do right now to help.
For decades, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has been supporting the marketing community on critical legislative issues, securing many recent wins, including:
- Standing up for marketers in the face of proposed privacy legislation, including calls for a federal “Do Not Track” registry
- Beginning enforcement to ensure industry compliance with the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising
- Successfully fighting an attempt to raise postage by 10 times the rate of inflation
But this is only the beginning. The challenges we still face include two major ongoing issues:
Privacy legislation is one of the hottest topics among politicians. Senators Kerry and McCain have introduced a privacy bill in the Senate, as have Reps. Stearns, Rush, and Speier in the House. DMA is at the forefront of the fight to ensure that any proposed legislation protects the growth of the Internet, protects the information that fuels it (and offline direct marketing), and ensures that the marketing innovation that drives the US economy continues.
Self-regulation is the most effective way to respond to privacy issues related to marketing and advertising. For this reason, DMA partnered with other associations to launch the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising, which gives consumers a better understanding of and greater control over ads that are customized based on their online behavior.
The Program calls for interest-based ads to include an “Advertising Option Icon” that links consumers to information about online behavioral advertising and allows them to make choices about the interest-based ads they receive.
What you can do
- Make sure your organization is leading the way in complying with the Self-Regulatory Program. Learn everything you need to know at AboutAds.info.
- Periodically check DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice, which provide generally accepted principles of conduct, and are the basis for DMA’s self-regulatory program. To access the Guidelines, which are constantly updated to reflect innovations and new best-practices employed by the marketing community, visit dmaresponsibility.org/guidelines.
- Access DMA’s educational opportunities. We have launched a new, comprehensive course and certification for marketers who use, access, and live in the world of data and information. Upon completion of The Institute for Marketing Data Governance and Certification, attendees will be armed with the most current information and guidelines on marketing data governance. To register, and for more information, visit dmaeducation.org and click on DM Essentials.
DMA for years has supported downsizing and streamlining the Postal Service to render its day-to-day operations more cost-effective. On April 25, the Senate voted 62 to 37 in favor of passing the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789). The Senate took a very important step in passing this bill. Without postal reform legislation like S. 1789, the USPS will continue to lose $30 million a day. Your organizations – both for-profit and nonprofit – need meaningful postal reform NOW.
On May 9, the USPS announced a new plan for retaining retail postal operations and reducing costs in rural America. The plan would keep existing post offices open, but modify their retail window hours to
match customer use. DMA supports creation of the plan.
What you can do
- If your Senators took the important step of supporting postal reform, please thank them for their important votes. Go to the DMA Action Center at dmaaction.org and click on “Tell the Senate You’re Glad They Passed Postal Reform.”
On these vital issues, as well as a wide range of policy and political issues affecting the direct marketing community, DMA’s Government Affairs team constantly works to ensure that marketers’ interests are
Linda A.Woolley is the acting president and CEO of the Direct Marketing Association. DMA today represents nearly 2,500 companies in the US and 48 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies. Prior to becoming president and CEO, Woolley served as DMA’s executive vice president of Washington Operations. In this role, she was responsible for strategically managing DMA’s global advocacy, legislative, and political efforts, as well as DMA’s Nonprofit Federation, Internet Alliance, and Mail Moves America coalition. She was also responsible for overseeing DMA’s corporate and social responsibility. Through Woolley’s leadership, DMA was a founding member of the Digital Advertising Alliance, a self-regulatory program that provides notice and choice to consumers about online behavioral advertising. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Case for Analog in a Digital World
True, the world has gone digital. But that doesn’t mean customers no longer want to hold a catalog in their hands! Here’s another compelling argument for integration; specifically, keeping print, and tried-and-true DM techniques, a part of your marketing mix.
I believe that most direct marketers will find the following to be a reasonable modern definition of our profession: Direct marketing is “the monetization of data in a privacy- compliant manner.” My argument for the continued use of analog direct marketing techniques follows from this premise. (It’s still the data, stupid!)
I grew up in an analog world. I remember shared telephone “party lines” and black-and-white TV. As a direct marketer, I remember an era before PCs, when a mail order was really an order placed though the mail.
Today, most of the articles in print and online are about the importance of having a “social media strategy.” That is the world of direct marketing in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.
But I will argue that direct marketers who ignore print and the tried-and-true techniques like recency, frequency, monetary (RFM) analyses are leaving money on the table. Consumers who buy direct have shifted how they buy (more online and less by phone or mail), but not what they buy. And they still want to have a trusted relationship with companies and buy products and services that are relevant to their own unique lives.
Print and RFM still work
Direct marketing has always been about monetizing data by targeting customer preferences. RFM still works – digitally and in print. Case in point: I mailed a small catalog, with an equally small circulation (30,000) this past fall. The response rate was off the charts. And the results were as predicted by our RFM analysis: The most dollars came in from the most recent buyers, followed by the multi-buyers and finally customers with the largest prior purchases. The catalog, with fully loaded costs, generated a
handsome profit. True, more customers ordered online than in the prior year, but I am certain that, without ensuring those customers had a catalog in-hand, the total profit would have been less.
Why? The slim-jim sized book, with a compelling cover, got the attention of a ready buyer increasingly deluged with online offers. The catalog stood out from the crowd as something concrete the customer could hold in his or her hand.
For that reason, I am of the opinion that adding mail offers to your marketing mix can actually get your products or services more attention these days.
Should you add print to your mix? Test it and see.
Should every direct marketer be in print today? Probably not; however, I would argue that most should – and you will never know whether you should mail until you simply test it.
And that doesn’t have to cost you too much. Printers are creating more ways to make ink-on-paper competitive with other ways to reach customers. Co-mailing alone has made it possible to put more catalogs in the mail profitably.
Finally, here’s a strong argument for testing a print run: Even Amazon and Google – who are no-doubt the most successful of the pure-play digital marketers – are testing print.
Multi-channel becomes omnichannel
The most successful direct marketers understand that you must meet your current and prospective customers where they are. And there are customers who still prefer to view products and services in print, even if their preferred ordering vehicle is online. There are buyers who would prefer to speak with a live, knowledgeable customer service representative before placing an order, and finally, there are still people who will send in a mail order. We must not ignore these individual preferences!
I am a big champion of social media, and agree that direct marketers who ignore that important vehicle do so at their peril. However, I’m also convinced that ignoring traditional direct marketing practices will result in lost profits.
Consider expanding your multichannel marketing to embrace some tried-and-true direct mail practices. The results could surprise you – in a very good way.
Bob Allen is President/CEO of the WindhamFoundation (www.windham-foundation.org),based in Grafton, Vermont. The foundation has two operating businesses: The Grafton Inn and The Grafton Village Cheese Company. Bob retired in 2005 after 25 years at The Vermont Country Store. In 2010, he served as Interim CEO of the Direct Marketing Association in New York. Reach him at email@example.com.
Chet Dalzell talks with Roberta Elins, FIT Advertising & Marketing Communications
New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) offered the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in direct/interactive marketing in 1997. Roberta Elins served as the program’s most recent chair until January 2012. Posting’s Chet Dalzell spoke with Roberta, currently Professor of Advertising & Marketing Communications at FIT.
Q. FIT was the first US university to offer a bachelor’s degree program specifically in direct/interactive marketing. How many students have graduated from the program since its inception?
We have graduated between 300 and 350 students, the majority of whom are active in the direct/interactive marketing field. The degree program is a two-year program.We have 50 students enrolled at any given time.
Q. Do students show a keen interest in the direct/digital discipline? How do they come to choose this specific degree?
A. Today, the students are digital natives. (I like to describe myself and others like me as digital immigrants.) They instinctually understand the process of digital media and are fluent in digital channels. They may be familiar with traditional direct as well, but to make traditional as attractive to them,it’s all in the presentation: “What is the challenge we’re trying to overcome?” With the curriculum – which includes an introductory course, direct response copywriting, Internet marketing, database marketing, media, market research, ROI, Excel for Business, and finance and operations – students
are exposed to direct marketing concepts that are applied in any channel, and, best of all, all of our fabulous faculty are practitioners. One adjunct, in fact, Christine Slusarek, is a recent DMCNY Silver Apple award recipient; she created FIT’s Internet Marketing course and our first online course. Each FIT student also enrolls in an internship to receive direct experience in a business in the field, on the brand side or with an agency or service provider.
Q. Do these graduates then enjoy 100-percent placement? What types of functions within the field do they continue to master?
A. Driven I would say 95 percent are placed in the field. All of them apply what they learn in the careers they go to – but most of our graduates today are in creative, account management, CRM, brand-side and agency-side, at such names as FILA, Estee Lauder, Digitas, Logo/MTV, Zenith Media, Omnicom,
Saks Fifth Avenue, L’Oreal and American Express, among others. And many of them stay in touch. We have a very active LinkedIn group that helps our alums stay in touch with our faculty and one another.
Q. How does FIT interact with the business community, specifically in the direct/interactive areas?
A. First, we treat all our students as marketing professionals, or “pre-professionals.” Our internship program ensures each of our graduates has had in-the-field experience, and all our internship partners are vetted in advance. At least two of our students each year also participate in our program abroad in London (affiliated with the London College of Fashion) where they also work in an internship while they are there. We encourage all students to network locally, hence our active involvement with DMCNY.
Q. Thank you for bringing that up! FIT, thanks to your involvement, is a supporter of DMCNY, offering its students memberships in the organization. How did this partnership evolve?
A. A colleague of mine in direct/interactive marketing, Hayward Henderson, who was then working at The New York Times Digital, provided us a grant that was matched by the Times. Today, we use these
funds to pay for student membership fees at DMCNY, and to provide scholarship monies to attend our London program, DMCNY lunches and DMEF [Direct Marketing Educational Foundation] conferences.
We see student memberships as a great recruitment tool – a way to interact with field professionals. We also choose students to represent FIT as greeters and registrars at the Silver Apple galA.
Q. Are you optimistic that the program will continue to thrive at FIT?
A. Definitely! These digital natives can help companies. They can learn to master on-the-job more traditional aspects of our business while helping brands navigate across channels and connect socially. Their skill sets are in demand.
Corporations, agencies and organizations seeking the services of an FIT direct/interactive marketing intern may contact Andrew Cronan, director of the FIT Career & Internship Center, at Andrew_Cronan@fitnyc.edu.
Getting to Know Anonymous Consumers — What’s Your Strategy?
This is an exciting time, full of amazing opportunities for marketers.
Given all the change – consumer expectations, technologies, devices, the economy –
marketers face a monumental task in reaching and grabbing the attention of consumers. Does your brand have a strategy for getting to know, and connect with, consumers individually?
Identifying Consumers Along the Path to Purchase
Each consumer is on his or her own path to purchase. Only in understanding this path can a brand know the next right thing to say, and when and where to say it.
A specific challenge facing marketers is the notion of the “anonymous” consumer. Consumers, for the most part, research and shop anonymously and form an independent purchase decision before they step foot into a retail store or log onto a web site. While there is typically a mountain of data about consumers available from many sources, it can’t always be relied upon to be complete or compiled in one place or format.
Brand marketers today must be relentless about data collection. When a brand knows something about a current or potential customer, it can use that insight to influence the purchase when the consumer is in the market. The objective must be to pull together all available data to identify where a consumer is along the path to purchase, and then collect what is missing to form a complete picture.
The good news is that consumers will tell you who they are and what they want, as long as you give them a reason to do so. Here is some advice:
- Engaged consumers are more profitable and more loyal than others. Through “engineered engagement” with consumers — while respecting their preferences and asking permission — you can determine the right expression of your brand and product features that appeal to an individual consumer.
- Consumers prefer to receive personally relevant information. Conduct meaningful conversations on each consumer’s terms, and then tailor interactions to meet specific needs.
- The customer’s journey is longitudinal and not consistent. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the consumer changes. To successfully identify and engage with the consumer today, be willing and able to meet the consumer where they are, and in a relevant and engaging manner. An integrated multichannel program is a necessity to provide a cohesive experience. Consider the behaviors around each channel – from direct mail to social media – and build a plan that leverages multiple touch points and evokes action.
- Be prepared to modify the engagement process in real time, on the fly, to keep in step with the consumer.
The changing market is exciting and opening up a world of possibilities. But, one thing remains true: Engaging with consumers one-on-one helps marketers design and deliver a differentiating and impactful customer experience — and that is the strategy that will pay out for both consumer and brand.
Michele Fitzpatrick is senior vice president, strategy & insight for The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks, and a speaker at the DMCNY September 2012 luncheon. Reach her at Michele_Fitzpatrick@Harte-Hanks.com.
What It Takes to Be a (Direct) Marketer
As marketing has turned digital, the hiring process has become ever more complicated. What skills do new marketers need to succeed? And what talents should employers be looking for? At the graduate-school level, the key word is “integrated.”
As a marketer whose career has been an equal balance of agency account management and teaching at the graduate level, I am often asked what skills are needed for entry into our field. The answer was easier in the pre-digital era. That’s because, as DMCNY members well know, the field has changed dramatically – and continues to change – and the skills required to thrive in it have multiplied in recent years.
Today’s entry-level candidates must have significant specialized talents far beyond those required of marketers just a decade ago.
TODAY’S MARKETING STUDENTS
Here’s an important point to understand about today’s marketing students right from the start: Digital natives do not consider themselves direct marketers.
As the academic director of a graduate degree program in marketing for the past 10 years, my experience teaching and advising hundreds of students has shown me they are not familiar with the term “direct marketing” – and do not consider direct marketing to be a specific career path. They define themselves as marketers.
That is one of the reasons I changed the name of the graduate-degree program at New York University from “direct and interactive marketing” to “integrated marketing” back in 2008.
The name change, along with the new curriculum that I developed for it, resulted in a dramatic lift in student response. That isn’t surprising when we consider that students are consumers, and today’s consumers expect the marketplace to be integrated – with branding consistency across all media and channels.
Here are a few more facts about today’s marketing students:
- They have often never seen the hardcopy version of a catalog and are just as often not aware that there might be a hardcopy version.
- They perceive catalog marketers as online marketers.
- They have never belonged to a book or music club.
- They tend to not subscribe to any hardcopy publications.
In a sense, today’s students consider most marketing to be “direct” because most companies that market to them have websites. The concept of 1:1 seems implicit to them because of live Web chats with customer-service representatives and the social media channels that connect them to brands. They view transparency and immediacy as basic elements of “direct.”
TODAY’S REQUIRED SKILL SETS
To thrive in the digital marketplace, today’s marketers (whether or not they consider themselves direct) need:
Financial skills. Those of us who started in direct marketing had to become fluent in profit-and-loss management and response analysis. Measurable marketing skills are essential for digital, and candidates will find measurement skills a key asset for entry-level client-side, agency, and vendor positions.
Marketing skills. Here, it is an understanding rather than a set of skills that is needed at the outset. The skillset will come with experience. What is needed at entry-level is the knowledge that marketing is an
exchange process and that it is costly in terms of media as well as time (social media requires management).
Media skills. Digital media knowledge is the most critical media skill: knowing which media are right for achieving marketing goals, and what the best practices are for the full array – from email, flash, search, and video to social media.
Creative skills. Knowing what constitutes effective creative is essential, from being able to write a creative brief that defines the marketing strategy to assessing whether the work is on-strategy.
The “Four P” skills. Knowing how to leverage product, price, promotion, and place is not essential for entry-level marketers, but a basic knowledge of these key elements is important. For example, the classic direct marketer’s use of promotion in the form of offer development is now central to
a wide range of customer touchpoints well beyond an acquisition campaign; that knowledge is also crucial for website design and copy, SEO, and social media.
And that’s just the start!
MBA and specialized graduate programs are designed to go beyond on-the-job training to build skills in strategy, finance, statistics, analytics—including data security and privacy, brand and product management, operations, management, and business development.
Finally, at all levels there is the need for teamwork skills and a strong moral compass.
As the field of marketing continues to evolve, DMCNY members at all stages of their career paths face the challenge of staying current. What I’ve outlined here is what it takes to build the foundation skills for today’s marketing – which is direct in ways we could never have anticipated.
Dr. Marjorie Kalter is a marketer and educator. She teaches at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Selected for the DMA’s Hall of Fame, she received this honor in October 2012. She is a recipient of the DMCNY’s Silver Apple
Award and the DMEF’s Edward N. Mayer Award for Educational Leadership. She created and headed NYU’s M.S. in Integrated Marketing program, and served as its fulltime professor for 11 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Successful Copywriting in a Digital World
The Digital Age has opened up an exciting array of new marketing channels. The challenge now is to match the message to the medium! Consider these excellent tips for multichannel copywriting.
New media channels are exploding, and there’s no going back. In today’s world, Twitter, Facebook,YouTube, iPads, apps and Pinterest make even email marketing seem, well, 20th-century.
The good news is that direct response copywriting skills are more relevant than ever. The powerful, customer-focused call-to-action remains essential.
TIPS BY CHANNEL
To execute a strong integrated campaign, you can’t just lift copy from Web page to email to direct mail. Your content can be the same, but your voice, pace and structure have to come alive for each medium.
Here are some tips for writing by channel in the Digital Age:
Websites: Invite people into your home.
Websites need to have a strong customer-service orientation. Welcome prospects with exactly what they’re looking for on the home page (including the offer featured in your promotions). Be gracious: Offer multiple ways to engage. Make it easy for prospects to find what they want. Provide clear choices that are user-focused. Be orderly in structuring your site, so visitors can find where they want to go without searching all over and getting lost.
Email: Test. Test. Test subject lines.
Your “Sender” line should either be your company name or an individual known to the recipient. Constantly test “Subject” lines that go right to the point of the prospect’s need; your reader’s unthinking brain is scanning 100 email titles for relevance! Body copy should get right to the point. Give your photos strong captions that link
to action, in addition to your call-to-action links at top and bottom. Create a strong, uncluttered Web landing page with the same look, which focuses only on this offer. Alternate your hard-sell emails with messages that educate and engage.
Twitter: Could 140 characters be too many?
Short, pithy, compelling – easier said than done, but using fewer than 140 characters will leave room for your username on retweets. Lift your tweet phrasing from spoken language. Watch for phrasings that get your attention in conversation or on TV. Could you pose your tweet as a question? Use more extreme words (craving v. hungry; must know now v. curious). Be casual and personal, but not sloppy or self-focused. If you’re posting for a company, make that clear, and stay within the brand personality.
Facebook: Be natural.
This is a medium where the customers, not the companies, are in charge, so make sure you blend in. Writing should be natural rather than corporate, upbeat, and very short (100 to 250 words recommended). Think offers and headlines, and, when customers respond, positive or not, think, “Great! Market Research.
Facebook.com/business will walk you through all their ever-evolving features.
LinkedIn: Everyone benefits.
More straightforward than Facebook, LinkedIn is a good idea for just about every business and professional. Although the resumé format makes it easy to post your professional information, let your writing be a little more personal and enthusiastic than resumé style. Less hard-sell, more friendly and enticing.
Blogs: Make sure you have something to say.
It’s hard to be original all the time. But it’s better to quote someone else than be obvious or trite. Let your passions show. Of all media, the blog should be the most personal. “I was thinking the other day...” “One of my colleagues recently asked me about...” Does it bother you that...?”
Online Video: Talking heads still need a script.
Online videos are so cheap to make, but so often boring to view. With a tight script (and a little rehearsal) you’ll make your point quickly and grab interest. Craft your videos like three 10-second TV spots that together make a :30.
Mobile: Growing fast, becoming huge.
User behavior differs for computers, iPads and smartphones, so take the time to consider technical requirements, creative parameters and user behavior. Picture your prospects walking around with a mobile phone in-hand. What actions are they likely to take? Not the same as sitting at a desk, that’s for sure! Don’t use automated software to convert your website to mobile. Instead, rank the actions your smartphone users perform when they’re out and about, and write your mobile site accordingly.
Direct Mail: Don’t underestimate it.
Direct mail is still a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, but in the digital age, don’t take any element for granted. Going after a younger market? Think conceptual, edgy postcards and QR codes. Find out if localization is an option. Use the larger direct mail real estate to appeal to hearts and minds: Think heartwarming photos and factual pie charts, and make their captions do some heavy lifting. Your letter should be heartfelt, personal, informative and persuasive, but remember, only the person who’s already sold is going to read the whole letter. So focus on your envelope teaser, callouts, captions, and reply form to reel them in. Create integrated direct mail and email campaigns – and look for stronger results than from either channel alone.
The bottom line? Whatever your medium, stay focused on user behavior. Your call-to-action is king.
28th Annual ‘Silver Apples’ Recognizes Industry’s Best
As everyone on Broadway knows, in New York, the show must go on! Hurricane Sandy may have forced the move of the 2012 Silver Apple Gala to the evening of January 24, 2013, but the show went on—as a sell-out.
The stage lights were shining bright and warm inside the Edison Ballroom, where a packed house of more than 250 extended their congratulations to this year’s Silver Apple recipients – Scott Fenwick, Jim Fosina, Don Hinman, Harvey Markovitz, Pegg Nadler, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, as well as corporate Silver Apple recipient McVicker & Higginbotham, and Golden Apple honoree Leon Henry.
The Silver Apples honor practitioners in our field – individuals and a corporate contributor who have given 25 years to the betterment of measurable, accountable direct and interactive marketing, all the while showing leadership, vision, passion and commitment. The Special Golden Apple recognizes a half century of service. As Direct Marketing Club of New York president Cyndi Lee stated, “These are inspirational leaders who motivate others to embrace great marketing ideas and lead their teams toward success.”
Since the first Silver Apples were named in 1985, approximately 225 Silver Apple honors have been bestowed by DMCNY.
It’s perhaps this very inspiration that also gave the festive evening a somber undertone, in that a longtime leader in our field – the Silver Apple and Golden Apple recipient Lee Epstein – passed away just one day before the gala. James Prendergast, in the evening’s invocation, dedicated the evening to Lee, and quoted Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
“Lee was an ambassador, an educator and a friend – a gentle giant whose door was never closed,” Prendergast said. Throughout the evening, several recipients invoked a personal and professional testament to Lee, crediting his mentorship and contributions to our marketing discipline, and to his friendship and philanthropy. [The Epstein family has established The Lee and Rose Lansman Epstein Scholarship at The City College Fund, 160 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall, Room 166, New York, NY 10031; www.citycollegefund.org/donate.]
The event being held at the Great White Way, it was also fitting that Co-MCs Joseph Furgiuele (a past honoree) and Pamela Haas kicked the award-giving off with their own Frank Sinatra-like renditions of My Way and New York, New York – with lyrics politely rewritten to toast the Silver Apples.
The party was on! Ralph Stevens, a Golden Apple recipient himself in 2011, took the podium to present Leon Henry a Golden Apple for his more than 50 years of service. In his acceptance remarks, Leon noted that when he began in package inserts, there were hardly any competitors. Today, there are more than 2,000 insert distributors, Leon said. Talk about innovating your way into a niche, and helping to give birth to an entire marketing channel. Leon also had received a Silver Apple in 1992, and his firm Leon Henry Inc., where he is chairman, received the corporate honor in 2006.
And speaking of entrepreneurs, Pam presented the evening’s first Silver Apple to Jim Fosina, founder and chief executive officer of Fosina Marketing Group. Jim acknowledged Lee Epstein as an “icon and innovator” but also thanked Leon Henry, Arthur Blumenfield and – from Jim’s days at Grolier Enterprises – Dante Cirilli, whom he singled out for showing him how to pick a winning team. “I love accountability. I love the way we stay ahead of the wave of consumer purchase behavior,” said Jim, who also credited his family. “My parents taught me to change my way of believing and doing from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I know I can… and I will’.”
Martha Rogers, Ph.D., accepted the Silver Apple on behalf of herself and Don Peppers, founding partners of Peppers & Rogers Group, and authors of nine books that have sold more than 1 million copies. What people may not know is that their 20+-year collaboration began with a 90-second conversation, and that Don had been educated as an aeronautical engineer. Martha also noted the date they first met – January 21, 1990, or “one-two-one” 1990. [Yes, that was Dick Cavett in the room – he is Martha’s husband.]
Silver Apples honoree Pegg Nadler, president, Pegg Nadler Associates, Inc., did her best to blame everyone else for her being named a recipient this year: her husband, Michael; the past presidents of the DMCNY (who name the Silver Apples recipients each and every year, led by Reggie Brady); past employers Abrams Books, Hadassah, and Metromail among others; the Direct Marketing Association (full-time work at volunteer pay); and past recipients Reggie Brady and Ruth Stevens. Yet the biggest cheer came when the self-proclaimed “database princess” credited the “database queen” Bernice Grossman as her chief source for learning. For the Silver Apple honor, Pegg says she now forgives them all.
It would take a column twice this long for the list of thank you’s from Professor Harvey Markovitz, clinical associate professor of marketing, Pace University, who noted his professional years at JC Penney, Columbia House and Broadcast Marketing Corp. He thanked most fervently Lee Epstein and William Denhard for their support in helping to launch the Interactive & Direct Marketing Lab, a student-run integrated marketing agency, first at Baruch College and later at Pace. Harvey’s students over the years have garnered more than 100 Collegiate ECHO Awards from the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation.
Honoree Donald Hinman, Ph.D., senior vice president, data strategy, Epsilon Targeting – widely known in our business as “Dr. Data” – was “Big Data before there was Big Data,” noted Joe Furgiuele, Don having worked at Allant Professional Services, Acxiom Corporation, National Demographics & Lifestyles, Inc., as well as the Arbitron Ratings Corporation. “I’m a numbers guy,” Don said, “I’ve been to every DMA Annual for the past 29 years, and of the 225 Silver Apples recipients, I know 75 of them.” Don also credited Tim Prunk, Phillip Dresden (a Silver Apple honoree from 2000), and former Chief Marketer columnist Richard Levey (now editorial director at Aimia), all of whom were present for the occasion.
Scott Fenwick, vice president – sales training and development, ValueClick Media, served as MC at the 2011 Silver Apples, and this year it was his turn to receive the honor. His expertise in presenting, negotiating, networking and closing the deal were on display as he shared a coaching technique from another past honoree Andrea Nierenberg: “Everyone, stand up and reach above your heads with both hands as high as you can.” Then he asked everyone, “Now, reach two inches higher.” Scott thanked Lee Epstein for leading him to B’nai B’rith and for Scott’s subsequent involvement with DMCNY, the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island, the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association and as an adjunct professor at New York University. Scott also noted that it was his mother who introduced him to direct marketing – she was a catalog mail order director!
The loudest cheering section of the evening came from employees and associates of the corporate honoree, McVicker & Higginbotham, the direct-response services agency behind some of New York City’s most important non-profit institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Opera and North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital, among others. Perhaps that’s because Tim Kennon leads the McVicker team as the “cheerleader” who said of his staff: “THEY MAKE ME LOOK SO GOOD!!”
Among the past Silver Apple honorees at the gala were Stu Boysen, Kathy Duggans-Joseph, JoAnne Manfredi Dunn, Jonah Gitlitz, Richard Goldsmith, Joseph Gomez, Henry “Hank” Hoke, Karen Isenberg (who served as the Silver Apples Gala co-chair this year with Sharon Mahoney), Marjorie Kalter, Liz Kislik, John Papalia, Brian Wolfe, Jerry Messer, Walter Neff, Chris Paradysz, Adrea Rubin, Ron Sichler and John Von Achen. Past honorees who had passed away this past year include Lee Epstein, Elliot Abrams, Arline Feigen, Neil Keating, Jon Lambert and Milt Pierce.
For full biographies of the 2012 Silver Apple honorees, visit the DMCNY Web site: http://www.dmcny.org/2012silverapple-bios.