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Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial where the guy with a chocolate bar runs into the girl with the peanut butter, and when they collide, magic happens. Magic in the form of a chocolatey-peanut-buttery delicious candy treat.

Of course the commercial is ridiculous because, were they really that shocked that chocolate and peanut butter would work so well together? I mean, was it such an outrageous concept?

But the same odd shock happens today with marketers who assume it’s print OR digital; like the two can’t beautifully marry into one delicious integrated campaign. But integration, particularly in the form of interactive print ads, is a growing trend among marketers who see the potential these ads offer.

What is interactive print?

Before we move onto the nuts and bolts of this marketing approach and whether or not your brand should invest in it, let’s talk about what interactive print actually is.

Though print advertising is a very tactile form of advertising (you’re holding that paper, turning the page and smelling the ink), it’s never been very interactive, in fact, most would say reading the newspaper is downright passive. But not long ago, some very clever print designers, along with some savvy marketers, started creating print ads that contained interactive elements.  For the first time, this allowed viewers to be active instead of passive when they saw the ad.

Typically, it is digital technology, like QR codes included in the ad, that provides the interactive element. With a smartphone QR scanner, a flat and lifeless magazine add can suddenly place the reader online, with numerous opportunities to engage with the brand. But it’s not just digital technology that can be leveraged; other technologies can be employed to foster an interactive experience.

To really understand how effective interactive print ads can be, have a look at some of the top interactive print campaigns from 2015. These ads tell the real story behind interactive print: If you can imagine it, other people can experience it.

The Case for Interactive Print CampaignsThe case for interactive print campaigns

Some trends come and go. The ones that go do so because they are little more than a gimmick; a flash in the pan. But you can hardly call interactive print marketing either. The truth is, with the increase of digital technology came a decrease in people’s attention spans. On top of that, while our ability to focus on just about anything has diminished, our appetite for real, relevant engagement has grown exponentially.

These shifts in consumer demand and behavior make the case for why interactive print would most likely be a sound investment for any brand. Consumers have little time or patience for popup ads or autoplay videos while surfing the web. At the same time, many are bored to tears when they receive an uninspired marketing mailout, which inevitably lands in the trashcan.

Interactive print combines the best of both digital and print worlds: the tactile-ness of print with the interactivity of digital media. On top of this, interactive marketing is compelling all brands, both national giants and small, local merchants, to push their creativity, and that’s never a bad thing, particularly from the audience’s perspective.

Print marketing will always be a highly effective method of getting your message in front of the right audience. But to hold their attention and get them to engage more with your brand, you’ve got to dedicate resources to creating innovative and inspiring ads.

Should you be investing in interactive print campaigns? Does chocolate taste great with peanut butter?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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How CMOs Can Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Digital Age

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, big data, and the need to engage consumers across multiple platforms and with personal interactions, the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) has become even more important.

The rapid pace of change sure does explain why so many marketers are completely stressed out.

Besides taking many slow, deep breaths and going for walks in nature, there are some things CMOs can do to keep pace with the changes while keeping their sanity intact.

Embrace Marketing Automation

Proving the value of marketing has never been an easy task. But in recent years, with the addition of ridiculous amounts of data and constantly-emerging marketing channels, proving value has become a bit of a nightmare. Add to this the fact that most CMOs are not techies – they’re simply people who have been forced into situations where they have to figure everything out or else.

This is why it’s important for CMOs to embrace marketing automation tools that make it easy to read and share data. Better customer insights lead to better marketing outcomes.

Hire Those With Skills You Don't HaveHire Those with Skills You Don’t Have

A lot of CMOs cut their marketing teeth during a time when digital was something “out there” that was taking place. But now digital is happening front and center and in their very own department.

This means few CMOs have the skills necessary to constantly adapt, which means they need to hire marketers who can fill in that skills gap. They need to hire people who are proficient in using today’s technologies, can analyze mounds of data while constantly thinking strategy. Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of Neustar points out, "As we continue to move at breakneck speed, finding and retaining data scientists and data analytics talent will become a major pain point for us." 

Finding marketers who wear multiple hats may become a trial, especially for those brands not located in major metropolitan areas. The next best bet is to create specialty teams who collaborate with each other. For instance, you may develop a “content center” whose team members are ninjas when it comes to creating and distributing content. You may also have a “marketing technology” team that specializes in testing and selecting the right tools and channels for distribution.

Think Like a Publisher

 Back in the day, when you heard the word content, you tended to think of PDFs and brochures. But today’s consumers expect more. They want ThinkTsmart, intuitive, personalized experiences across all channels.

Today’s CMOs have to be in the publishing business and distribute content that is relevant and consistent across all channels. (Oh, and it has to educate as well. When you educate an audience, they tend to trust you more.)

All of this is to say that CMOs need to stop thinking of themselves as CMOs and instead think of themselves as publishers whose goal is to use data to create integrated, meaningful experiences for their audience.

CMOs Must Coordinate Teams EfficientlyCMOs must coordinate teams efficiently

It is not uncommon, even for smaller, local businesses, to have parts of their marketing team located in another city, state, or even country. One of the biggest challenges for CMOs in this situation is to make sure all of these dispersed team members are working as a cohesive unit. This requires ensuring everyone is regularly communicating and sharing data, insights, and content.

CMOs also must be able to be the voice of the translator that serves as go-between of what a company does and what a customer needs. This requires understanding the product roadmap while keeping your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs and demands – always listening to those digital conversation taking place ‘out there.’

With all of these demands, it’s easy to see why some CMOs have trouble sleeping at night. But by following these guidelines, they can rest easy while proving their value.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

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What Marketers Can Learn from the 2016 Presidential Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

When you think about it, your marketing campaign has an awful lot in common with a political campaign. For starters, politicians, like brands, try to influence key demographics by offering solutions to problems. They also strive to make sure their message is always consistent and memorable.

If you’re a company looking to increase your reach and sales, you need to view your marketing plan the same way a strategist approaches the campaign trail. Here are some of the things marketers can learn from the 2016 presidential campaigns.

Consumers Aren't IMpressed by the Same-Old Same-OldConsumers Aren’t Impressed by the Same-Old Same-Old

One of the most blatant lessons to come out of the 2016 campaigns is that the American people are tired of establishment politics. Just look at the popularity of a non-establishment candidate like Trump. He is nothing like we’ve seen before in an election year. Brash, unapologetic and unpredictable, he says what others don’t and uses Twitter like a Champion.

Even someone like Bernie Sanders, though a professional politician, has been embraced mostly because of his praise for socialism and promise of radical changes needed for the current economic structure. He doesn’t feel establishment (or at least he didn’t before Clinton won the Democratic slot).

The popularity of these two different politicians speaks to the desire of the people for something new and fresh.

Consumers, who are bombarded each day with hundreds of the same-old, same-old marketing spiel, are also hungry for a brand message that can stand out in a sea of white noise. If you want to be successful, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Bigger Budgets Don’t Automatically Mean Success

Up until this present election, the campaigns that spent the most money on pushing their ads typically did the best at the polls. But not this year. According to data from Fox, Until very recently Trump was only spending about $40 per vote, whereas someone like Jeb Bush, who dropped out rather early in the race and was trailing Trump the entire time, spent nearly $1,200 for each vote. And Sanders was running a very successful campaign on a tiny budget.

What can you glean from this? Focus on HOW you spend your money, NOT how much.

Keep Your Message Simple

Politicians that do well tend to repeat one, clear, simple message over and over again. When Barack Obama ran in 2008, he was the President that promoted hope and change and “Yes we can.” This appealed to many idealistic young adults who were frustrated by an antiquated system.

Donald Trump supporters chant “Make America Great Again” as they wish for a bygone era; a time when this country was perhaps safer and more economically viable.

In your own campaigns, take a message that me be a bit complex and nuanced and try and convey it in one simple, memorable tagline.

Your Product Must Deliver What You PromiseYour product must deliver what you promise

Just about every politician who has ever run for POTUS has run a campaign full of BIG promises. They promise to balance the budget, promise to create more jobs, promise to bring our troops home. More often than not, as soon as they’re in the White House, they deliver very little on the promises that got them into office.

If your campaigns promise solutions, you had better be sure your product or service can make good on those promises and deliver the solutions. Here’s why:

So many businesses focus on acquiring more and more new customers, but repeat business is critical for success. This is because when customers are happy and come back for more, there are no acquisition costs involved.


While political candidates aren’t exactly the same as brands, the tactics they use to increase their visibility and inspire loyalty among voters are effective. Today’s marketers would do well to explore these same tactics in their own campaigns.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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How to Leverage This Summer’s Olympic Games to Increase Your Bottom Line

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 02, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Every four years the entire world gets caught up in the frenzy and excitement of the Olympic Games. This Summer, Brazil’s second most populous city, Rio de Janeiro, will host over 10,000 athletes as well as an expected 500,000 visitors, all ready to cheer on their countrymen and women.

While brand giants like McDonald’s and Nike will have (and profit from) a heavy advertising presence at the actual games, small businesses can tailor marketing campaigns toward the event and reap big rewards.

Here are some ways you can get creative and leverage this summer’s Olympic games and increase your bottom line:

Incentivize Patriotism

More than any other time, except for maybe the Fourth of July, Americans feel a sense of pride and patriotism during the Olympic games. Incentivize this patriotism by encouraging patrons and customers to celebrate in their own way.

For example, you could encourage people to wear red, white and blue and offer discounts to those who show their pride.

Be sure to keep an eye on the news so you can take advantage of a moving Olympic story. Use these stories to send out a quick email campaign or create a print ad that will stir people’s emotions and get them to buy.

Get SocialGet Social

You can pretty much count on the Rio games to be a consistently trending topic on most social media platforms. Be sure to follow official Twitter handles like @Rio2016_en for updates and use the right hashtags like #Rio2016.

Get in on the relevant conversations that will be happening and engage your customers. Consider asking patrons to share patriotic images via their social pages to enter into a contest or giveaway that you sponsor.

Find Real Connections

If at all possible, find some real connections between your business and the summer games. Is there a local athlete competing in the games that eats at your restaurant or uses your products? Promote these connections.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a real connection, have some fun by linking to hot events or athletes. For instance, you could offer a 10% discount if Michael Phelps makes it to the next round or wins a gold.

Host a Watch Party

Want to get more people into your place of business? Host a watch party. There will be dozens of games each day, and like any sporting event, people like to watch the action with others.

Create a fun atmosphere and perhaps partner with another local business to cross-promote.

Get your SEO rightGet Your SEO Right

People are going to be searching heavily for news about the summer Olympic games. This means you’ve got to work on your own SEO game and get it right. Make sure your search engine marketing campaigns and your website’s keywords have been tweaked to reflect whatever is currently trending to capture consumer interest.

Get Ready for Extra Digital Traffic

If you’re going to do the work to get extra traffic to your digital assets, you need to make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle it. Contact your hosting company to prepare for the additional traffic your promotional campaigns might generate.

Be Careful of Licensed Trademarks

While it may be tempting, do NOT use any licensed trademarks or imagery or even specific language of the official Olympic games in your promotions. Olympic organizers are understandably very protective of their brand and you risk possible legal action.

Just because you’re a small, local company doesn’t mean you can’t cash in on the excitement of the upcoming summer games. By getting a little creative you can leverage this excitement and increase your bottom line.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Are You Making These 6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Even savvy and experienced digital marketers can launch a campaign that turns out to be a dud – AKA – it doesn’t yield the desired results. So it makes sense that small businesses who have relied primarily on print advertising would stumble and make some common digital marketing mistakes when just starting out.

Here are 6 of the most common digital marketing mistakes you should avoid making to ensure your campaigns give you big returns.

Not Having Clear and Measurable Campaign GoalsNot Having Clear and Measurable Campaign Goals

This has got to be the biggest mistake businesses make. If you don’t establish clear analytical goals before launching a campaign, you’ll never be able to track it or know what’s working and what’s not.

Always define goals – calls, sales, sign ups, form completions – and be sure that proper analytics are set up for these goals. These insights will help you adjust your current campaign and develop optimized campaigns in the future.

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Creating valuable digital content is not enough if you’re promoting it to the wrong audience. With digital communication channels becoming more and more crowded, it takes focused effort to cut through all the noise and get your message noticed.

Best way to do this?

When defining your target audience, don’t just think description or demographic, think behavior, relevant life events and purchase behavior. Also, consider using tracking pixels and cookies to reach out to people who have visited your site or blog.

Believe That Email Marketing is No Longer EffectiveBelieving That Email Marketing is No Longer Effective

Dangerous myths pervade even the digital marketing world. Just as print IS NOT DEAD – email marketing is very much alive and well. Sure, mobile and social get all of the attention, but who cares, these channels often can’t deliver as well as email marketing.

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of product marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud said it best, “As the lines between sales, service and marketing blur, email remains the customer journey’s connective tissue.”  

A survey from Marketing Sherpa found that 91% of US adults like getting promotional emails from trusted brands. Of those, 86% said they prefer monthly emails while 61% preferred weekly emails.

If you’re not embracing this digital channel, you’re losing out on a goldmine.

Ignoring Mobile

Unless you’ve been living under something very large and very heavy, you have most likely heard that mobile has quickly become the dominant and preferred digital platform consumers use. Does your company have a mobile strategy in place?

Your first step is to ensure your main website is compatible with all mobile devices. Failure to do this will unequivocally lead to loss of revenue. Beyond this, consider whether an app might be a good platform for you to directly engage with customers and deliver relevant and meaningful content that nurtures relationships.

And finally, be sure you have sales and special offers that are tailored specifically to mobile sites.

Not Embracing a Customer-Centric Mindset

If you want to keep customers coming back for more, you must deliver a customized brand experience. This can be done through a customer-centric mindset and personalization, targeting, journey mapping, and data analysis.

Using Social Media to Sell

We’ll end with another one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes, and that is using social media as a platform to broadcast your sales pitch. Remember, sites like Facebook and Twitter are really meant to be a space for dialogue and engagement.

Use these platforms to inspire, answer questions, share thoughts, and develop deeper relationships with customers. Though these acts don’t blatantly sell, they do increase sales over the long run.

There’s no denying that the marriage of print and digital can be powerful and beneficial to your bottom line. And, as long as you avoid these 6 common mistakes, your digital campaigns should give you the returns you’re looking for.

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10 Reasons No One's Reading Your Advertisement

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

One of the biggest complaints we hear from prospective clients is that they are getting very little return on their print campaigns. Many admit that after running ads in the local newspaper, they get little, if any, phone calls.

“It’s as if no one is seeing our advertisement,” they will say.

They’re seeing it, they’re just ignoring it.

If you’re reading this post, it’s most likely because you know the frustration of spending money on advertisements that underperform and you want to improve your results. Below are the most common mistakes advertisers make when creating ads. Avoid these and see a marked improvement on your response rates.

Your Headline Isn’t Large and Bold

Narrow typefaces typically aren’t enough to grab attention. Make sure the type you use for your headline is wide, bold and easy to read. Readers scan newspapers and it’s your job to get their eyes to stop on your ad.

Your headline doesn't convey your main message or benefitsYour Headline Doesn’t Convey Your Main Message or Benefits

A majority of readers will not read past the headline, which means you cannot depend on the body of your ad to get your main message across. If you do, you’ll end up wasting your ad spend. You’ve got to use your headline to tell your reader up front how your product or service will benefit them. Only when a prospect knows that something’s in it for them will they continue to read your ad to find out more.

Your Ad Doesn’t Show How You’re Different from Competitors

The reader knows that you have something that will benefit them, but why should they choose your product or service over your competition who is also offering benefits? Use the body of your ad to spell out exactly how you are different and BETTER than the competition. These competitive advantages are what inevitably make prospects convert.

Your Ad is Cluttered

No reader is going to want to tackle a mess. If your ad is cluttered, they will skip right over it. Use a simple layout and choose one large image over several smaller ones. Also, don’t mix and match fonts. This comes across as unprofessional.

You Have Copy Across Your Image

Never print words over your image or illustration as these words will simply be too hard to read. By all means have copy above and/or below your artwork, just not on top of it.

Your Ad Didn’t Answer the Prospect’s Questions

While succinct ads can be effective, don’t skimp so much on your ad copy that you leave the prospect with questions. You job is to leave the reader believing that giving you their business is a no-brainer. So, don’t skimp on facts and important information that will help prospects convert.

Your Ad Said a Whole Bunch of Nothing

As I just mentioned, it’s important to give the reader enough information that they feel confident picking up that phone or coming into your store. Having said that, make sure you get to your point quickly. Keep the reader interested by crafting your copy in a way that they learn FAST why your offer is valuable and why they should give you their money. Don’t go on-and on with information that does little to sell your company.

Your Ad Doesn’t Incite Fear of Missing Out on a Great Opportunity

You not only have to clearly state what readers will get from you, you also have to tell them what they’ll lose if they don’t take you up on your offer. This is important. Readers must feel a little fear of missing out on a great opportunity. If you want to add even more power to your ad, incite a little fear. You can do this by running a sale that will only last for X number of days or offering a coupon that expires soon.

Your Ad didn't include a call-to-actionYour Ad Didn’t Include a Call-to-Action

Many advertisers get everything I’ve mentioned so far right. Yet they still don’t see increased sales. Why is that? Their ads didn’t include a strong and clear call-to-action. You’ve got to tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. You simply cannot spend money on an ad and hope that after reading it, your prospect will know what to do. Spell it out for them.

Your Contact Information Wasn’t Easy to Spot

If you want that phone to ring, make sure your phone number is big and bold and easy to read. If you want feet coming in through your door, make sure your physical address is prominent. And if you want visitors to your website or social media pages, make sure those addresses are clear as well.

By not making any of the above 10 mistakes you are sure to capture your prospect’s attention, communicate your marketing message effectively, and increase response to your ads.

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.

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Where to Position Your Print Ad for Maximum Exposure

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Just because you’ve spent an innumerable amount of time carefully crafting your advertisement – making sure your headline grabs attention, your typography allows for easy reading, and your images and layout direct your readers’ eye to your call-to-action – doesn’t mean your job is finished.

Choosing where to place your ad is one of the most important decisions that can make or break your overall campaign. In order to get the maximum impact from your ad, you’ll want to consider not only the section of the publication, but also the page side and editorial proximity when negotiating your ad buys. [Keep in mind, even premium positioning, such as the back and inside covers of magazines, which typically come with an added fee, can sometimes be negotiated down if you are a savvy business owner or are working with a professional media buyer.]

Right-Hand PagesClean_Newspaper_Ad.png

When we read, our eyes naturally travel from left to right and top to bottom. When reading a magazine with two pages open in front of you, your eyes with generally end up toward the bottom right side of the page before you turn to the next. Even newspaper readers, who fold their papers to read one page at a time, will usually end up looking at the bottom right-hand side of the page.

Hence, what is called the “anchor” position is the most desirable location for many advertisers and commands top dollar when it comes to negotiating your contract. For those companies with large ad budgets, the expense may well be worth it.

Above the Fold

If you’ve spent anytime advertising online, you’ve come to learn that you always want to get your message ‘above the fold.’ This is because many people don’t bother scrolling down the page before clicking off of it to another one.

This saying originally comes from the world of print. Because newspaper readers often fold pages in half, width-wise, the information appearing “above the fold” is often seen as the most important.

Since the newspaper publishers themselves place their most important editorial content above the fold, many advertisers spend top dollar to get their ads placed here, instead of toward the bottom, right-hand side (as is generally preferred by marketers advertising in magazines).

Magazine CoversMagazine

A magazine actually has four covers: the front, inside front, the inside back, and the back. The back cover is the most coveted and expensive position in the magazine, followed by the two inside covers. Obviously, those inside covers are really the first and last impressions a magazine reader will have. And, when a magazine is placed (or tossed) on the table or couch, there is a 50/50 chance the back cover will be face up, giving all of those ads (or one really big one) great exposure.

Special Sections

Magazines and newspapers are split into different sections, and each can be capitalized depending on your target audience and your message.

Magazines divide their editorial content and place it into the front of the book, feature well, departments, columns, and the back of the book. Less-professional publications will typically cram most of the ads toward the back of the magazine. You’ve seen these magazines, where the last two or three pages is full of ads. Readers tend to skip over these pages. If at all possible, try and place your ad in the first half of the magazine. This position might come with a premium price, but it may well be worth it, and, depending on the publication, you may be able to negotiate this price down.

Newspapers break up their editorial content into sections like local news, sports, arts, business, lifestyle, etc. Getting your ad into the right section of the paper can make all the difference. But think outside of the box to determine which section is the “right” one.

For instance, if you sell a natural supplement that boosts energy levels, the salesperson might stick that in the health/lifestyle section, but you may want to put it in the sports section instead. After all, if your target audience is baby boomers who want to stay active, many of these people will be perusing the sports section, wishing they had the energy to play their favorite sport.

Ad placement is incredibly important to your campaign. Getting it right can mean the difference between little return on investment and huge gains in revenue. As media buyers, we know the ins and outs of ad placement. We’re also able to negotiate on your behalf and get you the best placement for the absolute best price.

If you need help with your next ad campaign, get in touch with us today.

  Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Your Shortcut to Direct Marketing Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 01:36 PM

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to influence buyer decision making. Think about it: with so many consumers overloaded with digital information and prospecting, a direct mail campaign is able to stand out from the noise and get leads to visit a webpage, encourage customers to buy online or collect information (including email addresses) from prospects.

Benefits of Direct Marketing

Consumers engage with physical mail

A study by Epsilon found that consumers overwhelmingly prefer direct mail over email marketing.  77% sort through physical mail as soon as they get it. And encouraging data from the U.S. Postal Service shows that 98% of people check their “snail mail daily.

Compare this to the number of people who find checking their email inbox overwhelming and, more often than not, hit “select all” and then “delete.” How many email marketing messages are never read? But with physical mail, you have a much better chance of having your sales piece read.

Direct mail offers a personal touch

In order for a campaign to be effective, and for you to see a return on your investment, your sales piece needs to connect with customers and prospects on a personal level. Except for door-to-door sales, it doesn’t get much more personal than direct mail.

Direct mail is tactile and a physical presence in someone’s home. They open your sales piece and sit down with it at their kitchen table to “listen” to your sales pitch. When opening an email sales letter, there is always that screen separating your business from their reality. There are also a host of digital distractions (notifications going off, banner ads flashing) that may take their focus from your message.

Inherent trust

People are becoming more and more leery of digital communications because of a concern for privacy and security. How many news reports of hackers breaking into networks and phishing scams does it take for someone to become suspicious of attachments and links in emails?

Direct mail is not faced with these same challenges. In fact, the more “attachments” you include and the thicker the envelope, the more interest you elicit from consumers who want to know what’s in there.

Enhanced delivery

Direct mail pieces can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. The same can’t be said for display ads or email or text messaging. Brightly-colored and interesting-shaped envelopes, handwriting font, and real stamps (instead of mass advertising indicia stamps) are a few ways you can send cues to consumers that your piece of mail is worth opening NOW.

Getting Started

Now that you know the benefits of direct mail marketing, you’re most likely eager to get started. Here are some tips to put you on the fast track to success:

Tip #1 – Buy a quality list

In the direct mail game, a quality list is definitely needed to help you win. Because mailing information changes frequently, be sure you purchase your list from a reputable company that doesn’t sell out-of-date lists that result in undelivered mailings and lost revenue.

Tip #2 – Have a single goalHave a single goal

Don’t try to do too many things with your mailing or you’ll end up confusing your prospect. Before mailing anything, be sure your correspondence has a clear goal. Some goals are:

  • Sales generation – Use your mailing to obtain an order, schedule an appointment or reservation, or induce some other action that directly creates revenue.
  • Lead generation - In B2B messaging, a typical lead generation mailing might ask for the reader to make an appointment; in B2C mailings, the goal may be to get someone into a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online store.
  • Customer retention - In addition to presenting special offers (all customers like getting in on a deal), these mailings are focused on customer retention and often include newsletters, updates on loyalty program status, and announcements of exclusive, customer-only buying opportunities or special services.

Tip #3 – Consider postcards

Besides the low cost, another big advantage of sending postcards is that there is no envelope to open – hence – no barrier between your clearly-crafted message and your prospects’ eyeballs.

Tip #4 – Personalize it

Personalizing your direct mail campaign will give you the highest response rates. Variable data printing allows direct mailers to not only insert the recipient’s name in the address and greeting, but also to match text and imagery to the recipient’s purchasing history and/or demographic information.

Tip #5 – Repeat, repeat, repeat

Repetition is key to a successful direct mail campaign. Of course you don’t want to mail so often you annoy people. Generally speaking, mailing once a month is a good rule of thumb. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response after your first, second, or even third mailing. They call it snail mail because slow and steady wins the race. Keep at it and eventually prospects will begin to see your company as credible and worth doing business with.

Measure your successTip #6 – Measure your success

Every campaign, whether digital or offline, must be measurable. Consider using a unique phone number or store coupon for accurate tracking.

If you want to stand out to prospects and get a high response rate for your efforts, you’ve got to do something different than what your competitors are doing. Because everyone and their uncle are sending emails and using Facebook ads, direct mail can be seen as something very special.


Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.  

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6 Things to Help You Not Fail at Integrated Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Today’s marketers have more channels than ever to deliver their brand’s messaging and promote its products and services. Beyond traditional channels like print, OOH and radio, marketer’s may now choose between social media, email marketing, and mobile marketing, to name only a few digital channels.

Luckily, word has gotten out that marketers need not choose between traditional or digital methods, but can create integrated campaigns, choosing the best of both worlds to get the biggest return on their advertising investment.

While there is no one-size-fits-all formula to creating successful integrated marketing campaigns, there are definite ways marketers can maximize viewership.

Understand Who Your Audience Really IsUnderstand Who Your Audience Really Is

Your audience is far more than demographic data. Beyond being an educated male with an income above $50,000 or a mother of children between the ages of five and 16, your audience has attitudes, interest, behaviors, and concerns. By uncovering these, you will be able to identify which channels will best reach your audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my current target customers?
  • What motivates them?
  • How do they like being communicated to?
  • What information will they find useful and relevant?
  • What language will engage them most?

Before developing your strategy, let alone creating your content, you need to know the answers to these questions.

Be Smart in Your Channel Selection

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll be able to uncover which channels are the best to reach your audience. But…

WARNING: Do not try to be everywhere at the same time.

You’ll never be able to manage your campaigns effectively if your message is spread far and wide. It’s not necessary for you to be on every single channel your audience may use. Integration does not require you exhaust yourself or your resources.

Instead, be ruthless in selecting and rejecting channels, only concentrating on a handful of the most effective ones.

Ensure a Consistent Visual Identity

When integrating your campaigns, it’s incredibly important that your visual identity remains consistent across all channels. This means much more than making sure your logo is the same and prominent; it means spending some time to be sure you have an overarching design – that is look and feel. This includes the style of images and graphics used, as well as common colors and fonts. All of your communication, no matter the channel, should appear as if it came from the same company. A person reading an email from you should recognize that you are the company whose ad they’ve seen in their local paper.

Create Relevant Content That May Be Repurposed

In order for any piece of content you create to be effective, it must be relevant to your audience – that is, something that speaks directly to one of their pain points. Your content must also be clear, compelling, and consistent. Don’t use confusing industry jargon, but instead language that is instantly understood by the reader.

In addition, every piece of content you develop, whether it’s a blog post, white paper or infographic, should be able to be repurposed. Developing strong content takes money and time, so be sure you get the most bang for your buck. Break that blog post up and turn it into a series of Tweets, or take that while paper and turn it into a video.

Make Sure All of Your Channels Are Working Together

The goal of all of your content and various channels should be united: to drive traffic to your ultimate target, whether that’s a specific landing page, your blog, a social network like Facebook, or right through your door. This means all of your content on these integrated channels must share a similar call-to-action, telling the reader specifically what you’d like them to do.

Track your campaigns and adjust where necessaryTrack Your Campaigns and Adjust Where Necessary

Perhaps more than any other campaign, an integrated one requires proper analytics and attribution methods be in place to understand if you have achieved your goal. Those brands looking to drive in-store sales with coupons can use a tracking platform that generates unique barcodes with every coupon reader print. This is how major national brands get data from all of their regional retailers. You can use the same method.

If you haven’t begun to leverage the power of integrated campaigns, there’s no better time than right now (because your competitors are most likely already using them).

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Topics: marketing

4 Ways to Get Sponsored Content Right

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:23 PM

Sponsored content, also known as native advertising or content marketing, is the advertorial of the digital age. Placed in the online versions of local and national newspapers, sponsored ads can help your marketing campaigns achieve their goals.

One of the most successful articles in the New York Times in 2014 was actually a sponsored ad. The article titled, “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work” was created by Netflix who was promoting its original series Orange is the New Black. According to Contently, the article was one of the New York Time’s highest rated and ranked right alongside – and even better than – some journalistic content.

The New York Times is not the only major publication to offer this marketing channel. The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have also jumped on the bandwagon. With more and more publications offering sponsored content to advertisers, the challenge becomes remaining unique and relevant in a sea of marketing noise and offering readers great content that engages and informs.

Here are 4 ways you can be sure to create the right kind of sponsored content.

Write in the style and tone of the publicationWrite in the Style and Tone of the Publication

By now you know that all of your ads, be they traditional ads or sponsored content, must speak to your target audience in a language they understand. But native ads must go beyond this and mimic the style and tone of the editorial content around them.

Once you’ve purchased space for a sponsored article, spend some time reading that publication’s articles to get a feel for the type of content they publish. This is the style and tone readers expect and you’ll need to deliver.

Don’t Sell, Tell a Story

Though it is used to highlight your business, sponsored content is, in fact, content – not a traditional ad. Do not ask for a sale – that is a big no-no in this space and your brand will come off as tacky. Take this opportunity, instead, to inform your reader and offer genuine value and engagement.

Be Transparent

Sponsored articles must be transparent. Never try and trick the audience but make it obvious your brand’s article has been sponsored. If you don’t follow this golden rule, prepare to pay the price. If you were the reader, how would you feel if you believed the piece you were reading was editorial content only to later find out it was paid for?

Contently conducted a study on the trustworthiness of sponsored content. Their findings were that 66% of readers felt they had been tricked by sponsored content at some point. But almost 33% of readers claimed they would be equally apt to click on a sponsored article as they would an editorial piece if it looked interesting.

The takeaway: Be honest and offer great content.

Don’t be Afraid to Spend Money on Producing Your ContentDon't be afraid to spend money on producing your content

Though sponsored content can bring you huge gains, you will find creating an entire article will require more work and resources than your typical static ad. Don’t assume you can just pull and old blog post and use that. Remember, readers will respond to relevant information that offers real value.

In addition to the cost of placing your article, you’ll also want to consider spending some money on producing a winning content piece. You’ll most likely need:

  • A qualified writer (either in-house or outsourced) familiar with journalistic standards.
  • A graphic designer to curate or create engaging images to accompany the article.
  • A project manager to oversee collaboration with the publication.

Go into your sponsored content campaign knowing you’ll need to invest some money upfront and you’re more likely to get a big return at the end.


Can sponsored content help you reach your company’s goals? Yes, as long as the content is informative, transparent, and developed with the reader in mind. Sponsored articles are meant to nurture the relationship with your audience. Though sales may not be immediate, readers will eventually convert into loyal customers.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Topics: native advertising, sponsored content

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