In 2021, Businesses Are Marketing Smarter, Not Harder
With the U.S. economy starting to re-open following the height of the coronavirus pandemic, what does this mean for marketing? Are companies continuing to hunker down? Or are they getting back to business? This is important to know both as a benchmark and for competitive insight. If your competitors are back to marketing full steam, you don’t want to give them an edge because you’re still sitting on the sidelines.
A strategic brief from the CMO Council, “Getting It Done in 2021,” gives us some critical insight. The survey found that, despite a challenging year in 2020, nearly two-thirds of CMOs plan to increase their marketing spend this year. But they aren’t just throwing their budgets any old which way. They are being strategic.
According to the CMO Council, marketers are focusing their budgets on the following areas:
Customer journey, acquisition, and conversion (50%)
Planning around digital growth strategies (36%)
Campaign execution and measurement (35%)
Demand generation and pipeline (32%)
Taking action on customer data insights (26%)
In other words, they are marketing smarter, not harder.
Want to stay competitive? Do the same. Focus your efforts on understanding your customers. What priorities, needs, and fears are driving their purchase decisions? How do they make those decisions and what types of content (and which channels) do they use along the way? Spending money on your marketing database may not seem as important as getting those direct mail pieces and emails out there, but it just might be the most important investment you make this year.
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Is Brand Awareness Worth the Investment?
We all want to sell more products and services, and for decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. Is this a good investment of your marketing dollars? To what extent does brand awareness truly influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.
Here are the results from one fascinating study:
In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they preferred a less familiar brand.
Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, the look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.
Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand but were more likely to make the decision more quickly — 9.8 seconds faster.
What does this mean for you? Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out and then stay there.
This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off in a big way. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.
Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.
Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication” (Journal of Business Research)
The Call to Action: It Matters
Did you know that simple changes to your call to action (CTA) can have a considerable impact on how much revenue you generate from your campaign? Whether it’s direct mail or email, here are three ways to increase the chances that buyers will respond to your offer.
1. Make it specific. Although there are exceptions, the clearer and closely tied your CTA is to the offer, the better. If you are offering “buy one, get one free” pizzas, for example, “Buy Now!” will be less effective than “Get My FREE Pizza Now!”
2. Keep it simple. Especially when your product is more complex, it’s important to simplify. When one financial services firm wanted to sell consolidation loans, for example, its offer and call to action were,
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For many people, however, that offer and CTA combination is way too complicated. Budget analysis? Get started? It’s overwhelming. But when the company changed its CTA to “Estimate my monthly payment,” it saw a 125% increase in conversion (source: MECLabs).
3. Get the sequence right. Don’t assume that people are farther along in the process than they are. If you spring the CTA too soon, you may lose them.
Say a couple wants to buy a home. The realtor doesn’t walk up to them on day one, before they’ve even started looking at houses, and say, “Here’s your new house. Do you want the 30-year or a 20-year mortgage?” The realtor first has to build trust, show them the options, and give them enough information to select the right home for them.
The simpler the offer and the less complex the product, the earlier you can put forth the CTA. If the product is takeout, you can put it right on the front of the flyer. If it’s more complex, such as a summer cruise, you might want to save it for page two or three of a glossy, four-color brochure.
Does this spark some ideas about changes you can make to your CTAs to generate more revenue? If so, great! But don’t just wing it—let us help. Let’s test some of your ideas in your next direct mail or email campaign and see what gets the most traction.
Top Reasons Consumers Open Mail
The more you know about why the mail gets opened, the more you can tweak your campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Recipients’ top reason for opening any direct mail piece is that they are interested in the products or services you offer. But did you know that there are other reasons that recipients open their mail, too? These include:
• Having a positive view of the company.
• Seeing reading direct mail as a leisure activity.
• Seeing the production quality (printing/images/paper) as exceptionally high.
Add personalization on top, and you have a potent combination! Why? Personalization increases the chances of your mail being relevant to the recipient. If you know someone’s age and marital status, for example, you can use profiling to assign them to a life stage that gives you insights into their buying habits and needs. Likewise, if you know that a customer regularly buys books by a particular author, you can alert them when that author releases a new title.
Studies have found that recipients also open direct mail pieces because they have a positive view of the company. This tells us that regular, ongoing branding plays a key (if indirect) role in sales. When you invest in branding campaigns, even if you aren’t selling anything in those campaigns, this increases the likelihood that the recipient will open your direct mail piece when you are selling something. Even if the recipient does not have an interest in the product at the time, if they like your brand, they are likely to check out the offer anyway.
Want to increase the effectiveness of your direct mail even more? Studies have found that adding high-quality printing, imaging, and paper quality can increase open rates, too. When a piece is of very high quality, recipients feel obligated to open it and see what you have to say.
Combine these with personalized messaging, and your marketing pieces will have incredible stopping—and converting—power.
Put the Power of Color to Work for You
When you hand out a piece of marketing collateral or send a direct mail piece, the first thing recipients notice is the color. In an instant, color does a lot of things, including:
Used right, color is also a powerful way to elicit emotion. People tend to associate red with excitement and passion, for example. Yellow is happy, but also cautionary. Blue is cool and authoritative, as well as peaceful. Green is relaxing and symbolizes nature. Make sure your color palette is consistent with the message you wish to convey.
Specific color combinations convey meaning, as well. Consider these powerful examples:
Orange/blue. This combination is a great attention-grabber. Think about the packaging you see in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.
Green/red. This does not have the same contrast as orange/blue, but it still gets attention. This combination is often used by restaurants because it stimulates the appetite.
Orange/yellow/black. This combination shouts, “LOOK HERE!” Go for maximum effect by placing black type against an orange or yellow background.
Purple/yellow. These complementary colors create a sense of elegance and importance that are often associated with royalty.
When assigning colors to your printed pieces, remember that the color you see on your computer may not appear identical on the final printed piece. Images on your monitor are displayed using RGB colors, or those produced by combining red, green, and blue. Offset and digital presses produce color by blending cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), so unless you have a color management system, the color you see on your monitor may not match exactly what you see in print. If color is critical, make sure to request a hard copy press proof before you approve the job.
11 Eye-Popping Stats on Direct Mail
When it comes to ROI, some channels are just more effective than others. Knowing the effectiveness of each channel puts you in control. For example, did you know that one channel has an open/read rate of 42%? Or that recipients of content sent via this channel purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more than those who do not? Which channel is this? It’s direct mail. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Here are nine more statistics about direct mail that you should know.
Think direct mail is a marketing rock star? We do, too! Talk to us about creating your next direct mail campaign.
Editor’s note: Thanks to Small Business Genius for compiling many of the stats cited here. https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/direct-mail-statistics/#gref
5 Steps to Foolproof Direct Mail
When you want to get something right, consult the experts. For direct mail, there is no greater expert than the U.S. Postal Service. Here are five tips for foolproof direct mail from the USPS that every marketer should know.
1. Choose your format carefully. Before you start your design, choose your mailing format carefully. Know how much space you have to work with and design within those guidelines. If you have a lot of content, consider using larger formats, such as flats, that give you more space.
2. Details matter. The major components of direct mail (design, format, and color choices) are important, but there are other details to consider, as well. Is that postcard too small to fit all of the copy you expected? Is that oversized “postcard” not a postcard at all, but a non-standard format that increases the postage budget? Sweat the details.
3. Faux stamps deliver. Delivering mail with real stamps gets better results than bulk mail, but it is expensive. Consider using pre-canceled stamps instead. Pre-canceled stamps offer the personalized look without the price. To qualify, your mailing must have a 200-piece or 50-pound minimum.
4. Pick the right class. Do you know the difference between First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, and commercial mail? Do you know how your postage would change if you switched to a postcard instead of a letter? Or if you used an oversized postcard rather than a standard one? Consider all of your options before your next mailing.
5. Add a letter. Adding a letter to a direct mail package can really boost your ROI, even if it costs more in print and postage. Peter DeLegge, a marketing consultant, has recounted the story of a company that tested two packages promoting its mail-order tool catalog. Package A consisted of a sales letter and reply form. Package B was a double postcard. The result? Package A out-pulled Package B by a 3:1 ratio. Postal costs are important, but they have to be weighed against the potential return.
When it comes to direct mail, details matter!
© 2021 Great Reach Communications