Digital Printing: Dynamic, Innovative, Flexible
Digital Printing: Dynamic, Innovative, Flexible and the Wave of the Future
Every day someone is talking about digital, and for each person it can mean something different. In general, digital means communication and distribution of knowledge through a variety of channels including on the computer, a mobile device, television, video, and audio. In other words, anything that’s electronic. The word also connotes communications that are efficient, immediate and impactful.
In the marketing world, digital means connecting with targeted audiences without borders. In the printing world, it’s a means of printing where the images can be the same or variable from piece to piece.
Although digital printing presses have been around since the early 1990s, they are constantly evolving. In the past 10 years as the quality, speed and price points have improved, the marketplace has been more and more accepting of this format. And it’s no secret that all printing today starts in someone’s computer.
How does digital printing work? Basically, on the press, a digital image goes into a computer and is then transferred onto a variety of surfaces and/or paper stocks, allowing files to be quickly and economically printed, usually in short run quantities of 5,000 or less—although this is changing. This approach compares to color offset printing, commonly used for high-volume commercial work, which involves preparing and printing the artwork through a time consuming pre-press plate process that allows for very little flexibility.
So what does this mean to a marketer in today’s fast-paced environment? It means that digital printing not only has arrived, it’s definitely the wave of the future. To ride the wave, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Digital technology is a vital means of communication. The use of digital technology is an absolute must in this age of targeting the customer and providing that customer with the information he or she will respond to.
Digital printing has become more competitive. Compared with traditional printing, digital printing becomes more competitive as the number of versions increase, and costs go down. Until recently, the quantities were typically limited, but as new technology has come on the market, variable imaged programs are run as trigger campaigns and produced as the customer defines the criteria.
Be aware of the paper stock used for the campaign. Whenever technology changes rapidly, it’s always a scramble to keep up with the ramifications. In the case of inkjet technology, the paper companies are in some cases still trying to figure out how to provide the right stock to the printer. Marketers should make sure they are in the loop on this topic.
Think through the whole campaign from beginning to end. Digital printing provides the opportunity to use various marketing channels and make electronic changes on the fly. As a result, it’s even more important to carefully think through a whole campaign. The best advice is to work closely with your printing provider to take advantage of that provider’s technology, scalability and flexibility.
Omnichannel has been buzzing for over a year and still hasn’t lost its ring. Yet, despite the fact that we are surrounded with omnichannel references every day, the concept still seems slightly out of reach. What really is omnichannel? How do we achieve it? What’s holding us back? What about our audiences?
Beyond defining omnichannel and the challenges that accompany it, all marketers need to first and foremost place their omnichannel goals in the context of their audiences. Today, what audiences want most is content, and a seamless content experience across all of their devices. From online shows, to ecommerce transactions, and even social media personalities’ accounts, content has the ability to bridge the gap between brand and audience in this new omnichannel world.
One of the major challenges is that there are still some questions around the meaning of omnichannel. Essentially, omni means “all.” Channel in this context is a “means of communication.”
What Is Omnichannel?
Here is how we characterize it at Paradysz and PM Digital:
- A holistic, comprehensive organizing principle to achieve customer-centric foundations.
- The development of campaigns from the point of view of the customer.
- Content driven by unique customer behaviors and histories.
What Is Omnichannel Not?
Omnichannel is not:
- Multiple channels operating in isolation.
- The development of campaigns from the perspective of the brand.
- Content and campaigns specific to only shopping.
A true omnichannel approach puts customers at the center of a brand’s marketing efforts. Not only will this approach allow marketers to analyze their efforts in context of the whole picture, but it empowers them to build out the right recipe for particular customer segments. It no longer suffices to create separate experiences and silos of content across various subject areas, channels and devices. Consumers demand comprehensive experiences without breakage points, allowing them to seamlessly interact with brands on their terms.
Build a Dashboard
A step in the right direction is the ability to build dashboards that can help you understand programs across channels. Dashboards that are successful have the following characteristics:
- Scale up to executive level, and drill down to campaign, channel and customer segmentation.
- Real-time interactive filters that accommodate questions and issues as they occur.
- Comprehensive displays of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across goals and budgets.
Developing an omnichannel strategy is complex, but well worth the effort.
Drive Business Results With LinkedIn
In today’s rapidly evolving world we must adapt, or risk falling by the wayside. Online connections will never replace real-world contact, but you can leverage your relationships online to drive tangible results in the real world. LinkedIn, with over 200 million users worldwide, can be used to make sales contacts, find decision makers, land a new gig or reach out to the next valuable employee. To get the most value from LinkedIn, here are three key points to consider.
1) Are you an anonymous user?
Don’t be! LinkedIn is a tool for professionals. When you’re looking at a profile, make sure that person can see that you viewed their profile. Whether you are in sales and looking at a key decision-maker, or you just applied for a job and are checking out the HR manager, this is a great way to draw attention to yourself, but in a professional way. Your reconnaissance could potentially turn into a conversation that may drive the result you are looking for.
- Click “Settings” from the drop-down menu under your name in the upper right hand side of any screen.
- Click “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
- Select the top option.
- Voila! No more anonymous user.
2) What have you done, and what are your skills?
Whether you looking to expand your business, or on a job search, your profile needs to be as up to date and robust as possible. Make sure that you’ve fully listed your work history. There are no space constraints in your profile, so “more is more.” List every position you have had, plus any technical skills. This does not mean you should do a “keyword dump,” whereby you cram words in unnaturally. But do make sure that everything you can do is listed, so you can be found by people doing keyword searches. The moment you are going to need LinkedIn is not the time to be making your updates, so get going now.
- Endorsements are a great way to get noticed. When you’ve listed your skills, people will be able to endorse you. - This makes you more credible.
- If you want to drive traffic to your profile, giving endorsements to others can be a great way of motivating people to look at you.
- Don’t over endorse people, as it can come across as less credible, even spammy.
3) Have you connected?
Think of the benefits of a robust LinkedIn network. When you have mutual connections, you can see more information about people you are not connected with directly. Regularly sharing content on LinkedIn gives increased engagement and recognition. One of the best tools to build your network is the “Import Contacts” feature. By clicking on “Contacts” and then “Add Connections,” you will be prompted to input your email data. While I don’t suggest you blindly send out a request to connect with everyone who has ever emailed you, this can be a great way to find those diamonds in the rough.
- When extending an invitation to connect, take a minute to write a personalized message, instead of using the pre-canned message provided by LinkedIn.
- Adding a few details, like how you met or why you are connecting, will increase the chance of a response.
Brian Murray, director of talent with Likeable Media, invites you to connect with him via twitter.com/BTMurr and LinkedIn.com/in/btmurr.
9 Rules for Writing Video Sales Letters
The “next big thing” in online video is video sales letters.
Here’s how it works. Prospects are sent a short email inviting them to view an onlinr video on a subject of interest. The email copy teases the subject to generate interest and maximize click-through rates.
When the prospect click on the link, a video begins. The sales message is delivered both via audio and visually.
The video often contains a PowerPoint showing paragraphs of the audio copy as it is being narrated. Another option is the “talking head” – a video of the narrator speaking, and sometimes drawing notes or charts on a white board.
Another appealing option is to include cartoons that are drawn as you watch, illustrating the sales points. To see a short sample of a cartoon-style video I am using to sell a new ebook, visit this URL: www.addvideo2yoursite.com
Video clips can be short, but for direct-response marketing, video sales letters typically run 15 to 25 minutes; the script is around 3,000 to 3,500 words.
A key difference between video sales letters and static (landing pages or print) sales letters is this: A prospect may read a conventional text sales letters several times, and can go back to reread portions if desired. And they often do. But the prospect will only watch a video sales letter once.
That in mind, here are some guidelines for writing effective video sales letters:
1— The way to begin is to grab audience attention with a statement that breaks them out of their normal pattern, says my colleague David Jenyes. Surprise them. Shake them up..
2— Tell an engaging story that sweeps the listener along with it. Superstar marketer Michael Masterson calls this the “velvet slide.”
3— Keep it simple. The “information density” – the number of facts per page – should be about 20% less than a text-based promotion.
4— Use short sentences and especially short words. I don’t use any word longer than 9 letters.
5— Use short paragraphs – a couple of sentences is typical. This makes the text on the video easier to read.
6— If you want to dramatize or prove a copy claim or fact, you can insert a chart or graph into the video presentation. Even if the prospect only has a few seconds to view it, charts and graphs give the impression that your point is well backed up.
7— You can concisely state the problem your product solves in the lead of the video sales letter, but be sure to explain the solution within the first minute or two. If you wait too long to get to the solution, you risk having the prospect click away in boredom.
8— Don’t use more than two numbers in a sentence. If you do, round off at least one of them.
9— The tone of the copy should be positive and enthusiastic because the prospect heas a voice reading the text. But it should also sound authoritative.
When I talk about video sales letters, invariably I hear the objection, “They’re too long! I always click away. Who would sit there for 20 minutes and watch?”
Answer: Plenty of people. How do I know? Testing shows repeatedly that video sales letters usually generate higher conversion rates than static landing pages.
If you still object to video sales letters because you just don’t like them, I quote this advice from ace copywriter Peter Beutel: “Don’t let personal preference get in the way.”
Unhappy About Your Campaign Results? Take a Look at Your Marketing Department’s Goals
No matter how well you execute your marketing campaigns—sharp copy, fresh products, appealing promotions—your own marketing department’s organization, goals and metrics will have a surprising influence on your long term success. Are you organized so that everyone gets the “big picture” that will lead to success? Do the performance metrics you use to evaluate key staff truly reflect the organization’s long-term goals? What, in fact, is the big picture for your organization, and what are those long-term goals?
For some marketers, the answers are easy. In the high-growth years, you may be simply looking to acquire as many customers as fast as possible. In which case, you are marketing at virtually maximum frequency at any opportunity.
But most of us face limited marketing resources, and we manage a large customer file that needs careful segmentation and contact frequency strategies. We know that we need to acquire not just any customer, but one that will be profitable.
So, where does your organization come in? Let’s take customer acquisition. Most of us operate with a negative cost per acquisition. That means we have to rely on future sales to justify the prospecting program. But if your customer-acquisition group operates in a silo or is measured based simply on how many customers they bring onto the file each year, it doesn’t take long for even a gifted marketer to start acquiring the low-hanging fruit—the one-and-dones, the promotion grabbers with no likely subsequent purchasing.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in prospecting over the last decade has been the ability to leverage the wealth of data contained in prospecting databases to predict the potential demand of a given prospect, and target those names within a list or database that are more likely to provide sufficient return on your marketing investment.
Unfortunately, every customer file is eventually infiltrated with lower-value customers. That’s why so many of your customers lie dormant. It’s not your marketing efforts. It’s not your products. It’s their needs. They simply may not require more of your product or service.
Now consider your retention versus reactivation efforts. You’ve probably invested in external data enhancement to understand your customers better. You have some sense of which are your best customers and most likely to reorder in large amounts. But when it comes to reactivation, do you treat those customers really differently? Once the customer has aged to a certain point, do you reduce the number and frequency of contact?
If you broke down the wall between retention and reactivation roles within your department, you would notice that some of those inactive customers are actually better suited to increased investment and the normal retention sequence.
Even more challenging is looking at which active customers aren’t worthy of the normal retention sequence. Does your marketing organization facilitate slotting some of those active customers into the less expensive reactivation sequence? Too many of us throw good money after a bad acquisition, like mailing expensive full-offer catalogs eighteen times a year to a customer who is inherently unlikely to order frequently or in substantial quantities.
The next time you look at how your marketing department is organized, and what metrics are used to measure their behavior, consider your long-term goals around customer acquisition, retention, reactivation and profitabilty. Aligning your organization with your goals and metrics is the ticket to improved campaign success.
Blair D. Barondes is vice president of database marketing at MeritDirect, with a 25-year history of innovation in B2B marketing, including MeritDirect's MeritBase, the MeritMatch multi-channel matchback, and Mercury Response-Analysis toolkits. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member Profile - Don Hinman
Member Profile Don Hinman
Ruth P. Stevens talks with Don Hinman, aka “Dr. Data,” who recently retired from Epsilon and launched his own consulting practice in data-driven marketing, where he can be reached at email@example.com.
1. Don, we are so flattered that someone of your stature, based in Texas, would take the trouble to join DMCNY. What’s behind your decision to become a member?
Joining DMCNY was an easy decision. Epsilon is based in Dallas, although I was based in Denver. (I’ve now relocated to Sarasota, FL.) Besides the national DMA, there are lots of local clubs. But most of us recognize that New York has been, and is still, the center of data-driven marketing (DDM). Our industry is based upon relationships and great leaders. Being connected with the center as well as other organizations is important. DMCNY members are some of the most important leaders in our industry. And, yes, some of us live west of the Hudson!
2. I hear you’ve retired from Epsilon. What are you up to these days?
After spending over 30 years with some of the leading DDM companies, I wanted to do what I’ve seem so many of my colleagues do – share my experience and knowledge across a spectrum of DDM uses. As “Dr. Data,” I am frequently asked to help people with how data can solve their marketing problems. My new role as a consultant helps me do this more easily.
3. How did you get into direct marketing in the first place?
I like to play with data! I first started work in radio. Why? I liked to push the buttons on the control board. I got my Ph.D. because I liked going to college (during the 70’s) and learning how to play with data in structuredways through statistics. Since DDM is so dependent on measurement and counting, it has given me many opportunities to play with data. I have moved from company to company always in search of the biggest and best data.
4. What do our members need to know about recent developments in the world of data-driven marketing?
No channel is better than another. When I see people line up behind direct mail or digital marketing as their expertise, I wonder why they want to limit themselves. Our customers are exposed to mail, telephone, Internet, email, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and more. Just because one may increase or decrease in effectiveness and use, customers are still using it. We need to be channel agnostic. Data-driven marketing works across all channels.
Kim Upshaw – DMCNY Member Profile
I-Behavior, now a part of the WPP family, was an early and innovative player in the world of cooperative databases. Postings’s Ruth P. Stevens spoke with Kim Upshaw, i-Behavior’s Business Development Director, and a recent addition to our club’s roster of members.
Tell me about your career. How did you get into direct marketing in the first place?
My career in direct marketing started after college, when I responded to an ad in the New York Times for a position at the Lake Group, the list brokerage and management company in Rye, NY. At the Lake Group, I worked on prestigious accounts like Hearst and Bon Appetit. From there I went on to work in brokerage at the Coolidge Company in NYC for a short period of time, when I was recruited to work at Hearst as assistant manager in list marketing. I was able to make significant contributions to the bottom line, and was eventually promoted to director of list marketing at Hearst, where I successfully grew revenues for many years. Upon leaving Hearst, I worked briefly in sales at the United States Postal Service, until I moved in 2011 to I-Behavior, a growing data and analytics company, where I am responsible for driving membership in the cooperative database among the non-profit and publishing verticals.
What’s going on at I-Behavior? Any new products, success stories, things our membership should know about?
The I-Behavior Data Cooperative continues to grow, resulting in even greater depth across a variety of verticals. We attribute much of our success to the continuing multi-year investment in modeling enhancements and system capabilities along with the best client services team in our industry.
In May, we launched I-Behavior in the U.K. to bring data cooperative and digital audience solutions to companies there. Our U.K. clients are experiencing the benefits a cooperative model provides in making marketing more efficient.
In September we launched Zipline, I-Behavior’s data management platform. Zipline brings companies the tools to find new ways to monetize their data; reach more customers through alternate channels; and experience improved targeting in their online and offline marketing campaigns.
I-Behavior customers can now reach consumers on Facebook. Through a partnership with our WPP sister company, Xaxis, I-Behavior is excited to offer our customers the opportunity to promote their offers to modeled digital audiences on Facebook.
Now that you’ve been a member of DMCNY for a year, what would you say are the benefits of club membership?
The DMCNY provides lots of benefits to its members through networking receptions and luncheons. These events have given me the opportunity to learn about innovative trends in the industry and to network with top industry executives.
What do you see as some of the challenges and new directions where our industry is headed?
One big challenge we face is determining how to use the many new data sources available from social media. This trove of “big data” can provide additional data points once it’s been validated. But for now, companies have not yet figured out how to discern what’s fact or fiction in this self-reported data.
Another challenge we face is getting companies to allocate sources back to the right channel. Many marketers are still using “last touch” to assign credit to a sale, and this may not be the best approach. Direct mail continues to lead the charge in closed sales. But mail is often not getting the credit it deserves. For many mailers, direct mail continues to be their best medium. A new direction some companies are beginning to employ in multi-channel marketing is allocating the sales by percentage across all channels. This seems like the best approach, so far.
Interview conducted by Ruth P. Stevens. She is a B-to-B consultant and educator, a past president of DMCNY, and current editor of Postings.
Kim Upshaw, i-Behavior’s Business Development Director, and a recent addition to our club’s roster of members.
Doug Berger talks with Terri L. Bartlett, President of Marketing Edge
Tell us about today’s marketing student.
As Marketing Edge carries out its mission, we don’t target only marketing students. We also seek out talented students in other areas, including PR/communications, economics, finance, and design, among others,
Each is a rich pool for potential talent. In addition, today’s students are digital natives. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re well-grounded in incorporating digital into marketing. So, we present programs designed to bridge the digital gap between students and the marketplace.
How does DMEF help today’s students become tomorrow’s industry leaders?
Last year, our Board approved a new strategic plan. Within that plan, we visually identified what DMEF is: We act as a funnel, attracting the largest number of students to direct/interactive marketing. Through numerous programs,we narrow down who the top students are, so, at the end of that funnel, we help place the best and the brightest students in our field.
At this funnel’s largest end are our Student Career Forums, one- or half-day programs that last year introduced more than 400 students to our field. The next level is our Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge, which engages hundreds of students and faculty in marketing campaigns.
We offer scholarships. Students apply, and we carefully vet them to assess their commitment to this field. Taking it a step further, we offer the Interactive Marketing Immersion Xperience, or I-MIX, an intensive, one-week program that delivers industry knowledge to highly motivated juniors and seniors and provides them networking exposure to successful business people.
The Next Generation Leaders is our premier program. It offers applicants – recent graduates who represent the cream of the crop – the opportunity to acquire valuable work experience during a 12-month rotating residency program. Our associates receive exceptional training through two or three assignments – six or four months at each participating company. And the companies gain new ideas and momentum from these exceptional students.
How can marketers support DMEF’s work?
There are a number of ways, but I’ll focus on two. We offer sponsorship opportunities for our awards dinners and various student programs, including those I’ve mentioned and our recently relaunched Professor’s Institute.
Importantly, there’s general giving, which can be done on a corporate or individual level. Certainly, we welcome contributions to our scholarship funds. This year, we plan to award $125,000 to worthy students, up from $85,000 last year.
What does your DMCNY membership provide DMEF?
The DMCNY, the organization as well its individual members, has been incredibly supportive of DMEF. This kind of closeness and camaraderie is invaluable. In fact, for a nonprofit organization like DMEF that’s dependent on contributions and in-kind donations, the DMCNY’s longstanding support simply cannot be quantified – nor can our appreciation of the Club and its members.
Marketing Edge (formerly known as The Direct Marketing Educational Foundation -DMEF) works to attract,educate, and place college students in direct/interactive marketing careers, thereby expanding and enriching the talent pool of trained, market-ready marketers. Posting’s Doug Berger spoke with President Terri L. Bartlett.
Tim Kennon - DMCNY Member Profile
1. Your company has been an active supporter of DMCNY. To you, what are the benefits of involvement in our club?
If you don’t give back, you can’t move forward. The DMCNY is the heart and soul of the direct marketing community in New York City. As a direct mail vendor, we need to be connected with that community as a sponsor, supporter and member, so we too have heart and soul.
We enjoy bringing clients to the DMCNY luncheons for the educational benefits they gain and the opportunity for them to meet and engage with each other. If there is a better way to educate and entertain our clients, we haven’t found it yet.
2. Tell us the story of your career.
I was selling mutual funds in 1986, and a friend asked if I would come into business with him. I visited his lettershop, and didn’t quite get it, so I said no. He asked again a year later, and I decided no wasn’t an option. My family was growing, and I needed more income potential. I joined the company and then bought it outright five years later from him and his dad. The company was already 36 years old and had a very good reputation. They wanted $36,000; $1,000 for every year they ran it. Fair enough! Yes turned out to be the correct answer, and I’ve been saying it ever since. I’m in my 25th year with the company, and we have grown the business twenty times over. It beats the heck out of selling mutual funds.
3. You help your clients be successful marketers. What ideas or tips have you learned from working with them recently that you can share with our readers?
That’s right! We learn everything from our customers. They make us a better company. We help them execute their marketing plans, and in direct mail marketing, execution and timing is the key to success. We listen to them carefully, offer constructive feedback, make sure all the details are planned and communicated, and then we produce it.
Our clients are creating targeted, personalized direct mail with lots of versioning and lots of color. We use digital print so they can use variable language and graphics that fit a specific segment or individual. In the last few years, our customers started asking for handwriting. So we purchased five Autopen machines. Everyone opens a handwritten envelope, and it’s the first item they open. Response rates are on the rise, and everyone is delighted.
4. What are your plans for your business in the next 12 months?
Last year we were a bit overwhelmed during our September through December period. It’s always our busiest, but this time it was 30% busier than the previous year. We did it, but by Christmas Eve we were all spent. We’re purchasing some digital envelope equipment for the smaller projects to speed up the process and turn-around time. When you need 2,500 full-color Thanksgiving card envelopes today, and it’s November 22, offset print just doesn’t cut it.
We’ll also be adding additional membership card printers, since that business is booming. Digital color print is constantly growing, so we are installing an Indigo printer over the summer to meet the demand for the fall. And most importantly, we are looking for two more very good people to fit in, learn the business and become a part of the team. Our clients like us for what we do for them, but they love us for who we are.
Donna Baier Stein was honored as the 2013 Copywriter of the year by AWAI (Association of Writers and Artists, Inc.) at a ceremony in Delray Beach FL. Donna also spoke at the conference on "Stepping into the Flow: Crafting Successful Copy That's Easy to Read and Easy to Write."
LiftEngine announces a new solution called Merge Optimization Modeling that reduces prospecting costs and boosts campaign ROI. "MOM" is a post-merge program that scores all prospects, allowing marketers to eliminate those with a low propensity to respond. Contact Chris Montana to learn more.
SMS Marketing Services announces the addition of Amy Williamson as vice president of sales and Nick Tassi as senior vice president of cross-channel sales. SMS Marketing Services also received a 2013 Gold Davey Award for print/collateral and two 2013 W3 Awards for their website.
Gail Henry, executive VP of Leon Henry, Inc. is proud to announce their re-certification by WBENC (The Women's Business Enterprise National Council).
Ruth Stevens and Bernice Grossman announce the publication of their new research report, "A Deep Dive into B-to-B Prospecting Databases: How Seven Data Suppliers Compare. Click here for a free download.
Here's the latest news from fellow club members.