Tag Archives: direct mail

An unabashed plug for Americhip’s amazing paper engineering

I discovered Americhip 10 years ago. They helped me and other direct marketers to produce mail packages that really get results. The first pieces I used them for were mailings incorporating tiny sound chips. Example: Years ago my team was preparing a mailing series for a snow blower manufacturer. A mailing to potential dealers touted their line.

Avalanche In Sight and Sound

When the mailing was opened, you heard the sound of an avalanche and a call-to-action of stocking a line of snow blowers that were less likely let the dealer down when a big snowfall hits and there is a huge, urgent run on them. The mailing signed a ton of new dealers and helped cement our relationship with the client.

Since then I’ve found these folks are a reliable — and especially innovative — supplier of dimensional pieces. Here’s a video demonstrating their incredible paper engineering.

There is no “full disclosure statement” needed here, by the way. I actually haven’t used their services in a few years. But I continue to watch them, for whatever their next innovation will be.

In today’s fragmented, distracted marketing environment, I know that involving as many senses as possible in a promotion is a key to breaking through the clutter. Americhip has been a terrific resource for delivering this impact.

Follow-through is crucial to higher search conversion rates

Yesterday I sent a results report to a client for a pay-per-click (PPC) search  lead generation campaign that my team managed. It showed a performance that was five times higher, in terms of cost-per-lead, than a traditional direct mail campaign. That’s pretty cool. But as I sent the report, I was reminded of this recent report from eMarketer:

eMarketer summary of favored direct response media

It shows how a majority of marketers favor direct mail for lead generation versus search marketing. Scott Brinker was rightly puzzled by this, in a recent post. I agree with Scott that a chief reason for this strong preference for direct mail over search engine marketing (34% versus 8%), when it comes to customer acquisition, is the difficulty many marketers face in getting search prospects to convert.

Indeed, if the lead acquisition campaign my team was leading was instead a customer acquisition campaign, the results would likely have been closer to a dead heat with direct mail in terms of ROI.

But what does that mean? Just that we’re not trying hard enough. As marketers, I feel we cannot allow so many opportunities for conversion to click away from landing pages. There are many tested techniques for improving conversions (new offers, testimonials, guarantees, Web 2.0 landing page design). There are also spectacular new tools to do multivariate testing of these techniques.

Let’s take direct mail for what it should be. It is (usually) the customer acquisition benchmark. Now let’s shift more resources online, but apply them where it really counts: To create campaigns that actually surpass the mail in delivering a strong ROI.

Survey of marketing tech types finds ROI strongest for search and internal email tactics

A recent survey has shed light on what one breed of marketing professionals are perceiving as good bets in terms of measurable return on investment (ROI). The tactic leading the pack is email, sent to an internal — or “house” — list. This is hardly surprising, since it is a relatively low-cost way to announce new products and deals to customers and prospects. What is more interested is seeing how both organic search marketing (i.e., search engine optimization) and pay-per-click (PPC) search marketing are viewed by these same executives compared to other tactics. Here is the full run-down:

Perceived ROI by tactic, from 3,000+ search marketing pros

Considering the search-centric executives surveyed (these were 3,186 “in-house search marketers or agency executives,” as reported in eMarketer.com‘s ROI for Select Marketing Tactics according to US Search Marketers), it’s not surprising both are regarded highly. Both are deemed as “Good” investments in respect to the return they typically provide by one out of every three respondents, and another third (34% total) considered one of these two tactics “Strongest” in terms of ROI.

This would be a glowing assessment of search when compared with other tactics, if only PPC weren’t also deemed as “highly variable” by 28% of respondents. Considering how much control one has on the risks and rewards of PPC, this makes me wonder if that measurement isn’t the voice of a minority who either hasn’t conducted a PPC campaign or hasn’t done it properly.

The booby prize goes to online advertising (“banners, etc.”), deemed “Low Value” by 43% of the group. With opinions of online ads being this negative, is it any wonder ad networks are scrambling to sweeten the kitty with more behaviorally-focused targeting?

What is your response to these numbers?

Email deliverability issues sound familiar to direct mail pros

Recent discussions about email deliverability sound oddly familiar. Before email become a major marketing channel, Standard Presort Mail (known then as Third Class or Bulk) was the exclusive direct response medium. Mailboxes overflowed with catalogs and sales pitches. Back then this would be the case year-round, not just right now — in the protracted post-Halloween holiday season. It was inevitable that direct mailers would begin to seriously strain the postal system, using mail as something for which it was never designed. Weekly DM News reports would outrage readers with fresh tales of huge batches of mail delivered late or not at all. Delivery costs rose and delivery satisfaction fell. And thus emerged other media, following supply and demand (and abetted by Moore’s Law). These media included email. Now the outcry continues, but with this newer channel.

Fellow veteran of direct mail Melinda Krueger (MediaPost’s Email Diva) has a good post in that publication (registration required) about the influence of a dedicated IP address over deliverability. It’s a good primer to the topic of email reputation and how it is measured through the lens of an IP’s suspected spamming track record. More importantly, it helps the “lay audience” — those who think an ESP is a psychic ability and not an Email Service Provider — grasp the unintended consequences of email marketing.

Once again we marketers are using a medium for something no one considered at its birth.