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Marketing Tips Archive (2015)

Four Tips to Clean Customer Data Lists, and Boost Direct Mail Results

Clean customer mailing data

Regardless of company size, direct marketers face the same challenges across-the-board when it comes to managing their customer data. Here are a few sobering statistics from Experian:

  • Nine of out 10 organizations suspect their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way.
  • The three most common errors are incomplete, outdated or inaccurate information.
  • On average, companies with a less sophisticated approach to data quality think more of their annual revenue is wasted.

If you’re like most, you’re collecting customer data in multiple ways: at a physical location, in face-to-face client meetings, on your website or via marketing campaigns. This influx of information can get tangled up over time.

Then overlay this on the natural life events that occur among your customer base: On average, people change jobs every four-and-a-half years. And more than 35 million Americans and four million Canadians move annually.

Is it any surprise your data can quickly degrade if left unattended?

Direct mail success

It’s commonly accepted that up to 50% of a direct mail campaign’s success is dependent upon the list. Accurate mailing lists save time and money with less returned mail and lower mailing costs, plus they help ensure better campaign performance.

Here are four ways you can make a daunting data task a little more manageable to drive better results from your direct mail programs:

  1. Assign responsibility. About 20% of companies say spelling mistakes and typos are impacting their data quality, according to Experian. Consolidating responsibility for list management under one person should lead to improved accuracy and more consistent updates.
  2. Define standards. Another common error is data entered in the wrong fields. Set company standards for how customer information is logged, organized and regularly maintained, especially if you’re unable to assign one person to data management. Formatting standardization should ensure essential fields are filled, creating greater efficiencies, for example, when pulling segmented lists for targeted mailings across various personnel or departments.
  3. Schedule data hygiene. Best case, data should be cleansed before every mailing. Take the time to remove duplicate addresses, names or businesses – often a result of merging multiple lists. And suppress the records of customers who’ve requested no mail.
  4. Keep a back-up file. When you work with a data file, retain the original version. If something goes wrong, you can simply delete the corrupt file and replace it with the untouched one. It’s also a good habit to compare your final data against the original to ensure updates processed correctly.

Bonus tip: Call in the experts. With manual processes in place, human error is the most common cause of contact data inaccuracies. Ask our mailing pros to run your mail file through National Change of Address (NCOA) to validate and update addresses. We can also use other standardization software to ensure better mail-ability and reduce costs.

Need help managing customer data lists or sourcing prospect data? Let us know; we can help!


Ignore the Influence of Color and You Could Be Singing The Blues

influence of color

It’s said you only get one chance to make a good first impression … and it’s proven that color plays a huge role in whether that impression on your consumers is positive or negative.

According to researchers, when shoppers first set foot in a store they make a subconscious judgement about the retail environment – and its products or services – within 90 seconds. And just how much of that first impression is based on color alone? As much as 90%!1

The influence of color on consumers

From packaging to advertising to signage and more, color impacts your sales on every level. Whether it’s a sign mounted on your building, a window graphic to promote a sale or a postcard to announce the arrival of this spring’s new styles, spending extra time on choosing the right color makes good sense. Consider this:

  1. Color matters in marketing. In research conducted by the Seoul International Color Expo, over 93% of subjects put the most importance on visual factors when purchasing products, eclipsing feel (5.6%), hearing (0.9%) and smell (also 0.9%).
  2. Color increases brand recognition. To what degree? By as much as 80%, according to a University of Loyola, Maryland study.
  3. Color boosts memorability. In findings reported by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, color helps people process images more efficiently than black-and-white scenes and, as a result, remember them better, too.
  4. Color improves readership. Multiple studies and sources report that color increases comprehension (by 73%), learning (55-68%) and readability (40%).

So, which color will work best for you?

Marketing software solutions provider Marketo took a closer look at colors, reporting shade-by-shade on how different choices can affect your business:

  • Black is employed by those who wish to communicate classic sophistication, and is often associated with expensive or upscale brands.
  • Blue is likely the most popular choice for brand colors, and is considered dependable, trustworthy, secure and responsible.
  • Brown is thought to be earthlike, natural and durable. The color speaks of simplicity and strength.
  • Green is synonymous with calm, freshness and health. Lighter shades communicate serenity, while darker greens are associated with affluence.
  • Orange is a color full of life and excitement. It communicates fun, exuberance, playfulness and vitality.
  • Red invokes a passionate response, and is aggressive, attention getting, energetic and provocative.
  • Purple is elegant, rich, and sophisticated, and is associated with royalty, nostalgia, spirituality and mystery.
  • White represents cleanliness and purity, making it a popular choice among healthcare and child-related businesses and organizations.
  • Yellow invokes sunny feelings of hope and optimism. Its brightness catches the eye and stimulates creativity and energy.

Consider these insights when creating brand identity, designing or packaging a new product, or promoting your latest offering. Smart marketers who acknowledge the influence of color in their efforts often leave competitors green with envy! Let the experts at Allegra help you pick out the color that speaks to your business.

1Colorcom.com, Why Color Matters, Jill Morton


There’s Still a Place for Printed Communications in Your Marketing

printed communications

Today’s marketing focus is largely on digital, and for good reason. Content in electronic form such as blogs, emails, e-newsletters and webinars as well as that developed for social media and websites can be distributed quickly and relatively inexpensively.

All that said, you’d be making a mistake if you ignore the popularity – and impact – of printed communications.

People – naturally respond positively to printed communications – including younger audiences who you might think would gravitate to digital channels. According to a survey by Two Sides, 70% of people say they prefer to read print and paper communications rather than viewing it on a screen. A full 69% of 18- to 24-year-olds give print a thumbs up over digital viewing.

Bottom line? Successful marketers know a combination of print and digital strategies delivers the strongest results. Here are a more advantages of print:

Print is tangible. Mailers, brochures, magazines and even business cards can stay in desks, offices or homes for weeks, months or even years, while electronic messages often disappear into cyber space instantaneously.

Print is engaging. Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15-second visit.1

Print is fun! An almost unlimited array of papers and coatings, inks and finishes, n folds, cuts, sizes, enclosures and dimensional of shaped options enable you to pique interest in a way no digital alternative can.

Print is “safe.” The fear of spam and computer viruses along with the saturation of online popups and banner ads is enough make many viewers weary of clicking. Beyond the occasional paper cut, print communications pose no such dangers.

Print is interactive. Smart marketers employ printed materials to point readers to online content – and vice versa. Referring to websites and social media pages is good, but positioning QR codes on your materials is even better. By scanning them with their mobile devices, users can instantly connect to web home pages or special landing pages for event invitations, special offers, contest entry forms or online sign-ups.

Remember, print is not dead. In fact, high-quality and impactful printed materials could be what differentiates you from the competition. So make sure you’re always thinking about ways to elevate your digital content through print.

1 International Journal of Mobile Communications, On the Usability of Mobile Commerce, Saif AlShaali and Upkar Varshney


Top 5 Ideas to Drive Trade Show Booth Traffic

trade show booth traffic

If you’re planning to participate in a trade show this year, you’re part of a strong trend. A 2015 EventTrack study by the Event Marketing Institute and Mosaic reports that a significant 79% of the brand respondents say they will execute more event and experiential programs this year compared to last year.

Why the enthusiasm for event marketing? Survey respondents cited goals of increasing/creating brand awareness, improving sales and enhancing product knowledge and understanding, as well as influencing deeper customer involvement.

Of course, if you’re committing the dollars, time and staffing to event marketing, you’ll want to make the most of your opportunity. Here are the top five ideas to drive trade show booth traffic:

  1. Promote, promote and promote some more! Announce your participation and event details prominently on your website or, better yet, create a splash page specifically for it. Add trade show notifications in the signatures of all of your organization’s email communications. And, if your goal is to reach a broad audience, distribute press releases to target media outlets. Of course, advertising is another avenue to consider, including online banner ads.
  2. Have direct mail deliver for you. Begin by notifying everyone on your internal database of customers or supporters. Better yet, invite even more people by renting lists of names that fit your target profile; there are thousands of lists with which to micro-target your most promising prospects!
  3. Publicize your event in social media. Appeal to more prospects by creating event pages on LinkedIn and Facebook. You’ll not only reach your regular followers, but also gain the chance for them to “share” their intentions of attending with their friends and acquaintances – many of whom are likely to be among your prime targets.
  4. Remind your invitees shortly before the event. Don’t allow your top prospects to lose track of your trade show participation. Postcard mailings are an inexpensive way to reach out with save-the-date communications and other event reminders; E-cards are another quick and cost-effective option.
  5. Post signs to ensure your booth is a can’t-miss attraction. Having drawn your top prospects to the event space, don’t let them wander off – or into the arms of your competitors. If available, purchase poster or banner space from the exhibit hall to direct visitors to your booth. And, once there, make a great first impression by ensuring your trade show displays, marketing materials and event handouts (i.e., advertising specialties) are as attractive, appealing and up-to-date as possible.

Are you in the midst of planning for your trade show booth at an upcoming exhibit? Last minute efforts won’t provide you with the results you’re looking for, so remember these tactics for driving traffic to your booth, and contact us to discuss additional ideas.


Marketing Services: Go “Local” and “Full Service” to Save Time, Streamline Processes

marketing servicesGoogle the phrase “marketing services” or “advertising agency” and it’s likely you’ll be surprised at how many choices appear … and how distant from you some options may be.

Then, too, there’s the question of a single resource or multiple choices. For example, that same Google search might reveal those providers who specialize only in website marketing, trade show displays or mailing services.

You’ll want to evaluate your potential marketing partners carefully, perhaps by interviewing several. But, before making your choice, consider the many advantages of working with a local, full-capability marketing services provider, among them:

Local knowledge and insider expertise

Your nearby resource is much more likely to know the ins and outs of marketing your business, organization or nonprofit locally than some faraway alternative.

When does your city’s school year start and end – and when are breaks observed in between? Of 10 or a dozen billboard options around town, which are best positioned to reach afternoon drive-time commuters who’d be most likely to stop and purchase a pizza before returning home? And, will a proposed October promotion complement – or compete against – the locality’s annual harvest fair?

Another good reason to go local? The in-town marketing services provider probably knows other local businesses such as newspapers and radio stations … and may be better able to negotiate rates that are advantageous to you.

Single-source convenience

Think hard before electing to rely on multiple marketing services suppliers. If you do, you’ll multiply the necessity of separate project briefings, creative reviews and campaign invoices. In doing so you’ll sacrifice that one commodity that most owners and managers of small and mid-size businesses are in precious short supply of – time.

You’ll probably miss out, too, on any potential cost savings that might accrue from relying on a single resource.

Cohesive designs, consistent communications

Choosing event displays from one supplier, website services from another and a direct mail campaign from a third is one way to meet your needs … but no way to gain the design cohesion, brand voice and project coordination that distinguish the best marketing efforts. You can achieve all three goals much more readily if you rely on a single, full-capability resource.

Efficient, face-to-face communications

In the world of communications where much is subtle and subjective, there’s no better way to see eye-to-eye than with the face-to-face meetings facilitated by a local marketing services provider. While recognizing that much can be accomplished over the phone, via email and even through video conferencing, there’s usually no substitute for client/provider meetings during which ideas and opinions are more readily exchanged.

Experts cite the importance of body language, greater engagement, higher levels of participation and improved clarity of thought and opinion as advantages of face-to-face meetings. They also can streamline your efforts. In face-to-face situations, there’s a greater pressure to get to the point.