Tag Archives: direct marketing

NFC Chips Spell the End of the QR Code

11 Jul

Image via Flickr user clevercupcakes

Wow. that was fast. QR codes, otherwise known as Quick Reply barcodes are already on their way out in the marketing and advertising world. Outside of major cities, I wasn’t sure that QR codes had really even taken off yet. I guess mobile software and location-based marketing are out-pacing the use of the QR code.

Check out these two linked articles on Business Insider that announce the end of QR codes.

1. The first article, Death to the QR Code, argues that the existing QR code technology is clunky at best. With users having to download the correct app, snap a picture and wait for the app to work. The mobile user has to be pretty invested in getting to the QR code destination in order to take all the necessary steps.

2. The second article, Google Kills Off Those Little Square Codes You Scan With Your Phone, announces the advent of NFC chips, little chips that will be installed in all the next-gen phones and mobile devices. With an NFC chip all the mobile user has to do is hold the phone near an outdoor advertisement and the phone will take the user to the related web destination. Google is rolling out the use of NFC chips in its Google places program. It recently handed out window decals equipped with the NFC technology to businesses in Portland Oregon as a trial.

You can read more about NFC chip payment capabilities on Business Insider here. Here’s a link to an article about NFC chips, Foursquare and Google on Mashable and one more about why this technology is over-hyped on TechCrunch.

E-mail : Mail : E-mail = Greater Response

7 May

If you are not already trying this in direct marketing, you should. For big campaigns, where every response matters- send a string of related communications: an e-mail, mailing, and then a follow-up e-mail. This “bookend” approach to the campaign will greatly increase the chances that recipients read and reply to your messages.  More details on 3 step bookend campaigns here.

photo via Flickr user mark_rutley

Ever Wondered What WORKS in E-mail and Direct Mail?

4 May

Question?
Have you ever had to put together copy or design for an e-mail, postcard or direct mail marketing campaign?

Problem
If you don’t have a history of testing within your organization, (and sometimes even if you do) it’s hard to know what works. It’s also hard to decide if an image-heavy or text-heavy message will work, without knowing what the competition is sending out. I mean there’s only a few seconds of opportunity for a consumer to open and read your message. If it looks the same as every other piece of mail or e-mail it will get tossed.

Solution!
Well over at DirectMarketingIQ.com- they KNOW what companies are e-mailing and mailing to prospects! Through their E-mail Campaign Archive and Who’s Mailing What Archive, these folks collect thousands of e-mail and direct mail campaigns per month from leading companies and organizations.  They are literally sitting in a pile of mail packages and tracking stats and trends. Then they write candidly about trends on the Direct Marketing IQ website. So these are some pretty great resources for folks in direct marketing to check out!

Marketing to Pet Owners

7 Jun

The popular phrase “Pets are people, too!” has never been more true. Pet owners and their furry family members are evolving from a niche market into a mainstream buying power.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63 percent of U.S. households own pets, and, in the past four years, spending on pets has climbed 6 percent each year to a current rate of about $40.8 billion. “With the sophistication of technology and the proliferation of products, people had to become more creative in how they’re going to get their products into the marketplace.” says Vicki Lynne Morgan, president of Califon, N.J.–based Animal Brands.

Pet ‘Parents’ Will Pay More
U.S. pet owners range from low- to high-income levels. But because owning and providing for an animal is such an emotional activity, even lower-income prospects will purchase high-end products, asserts Angela Cooley, president of Springfield, Pa.–based Solutions Pet Marketing. She recalls initially making list selects of higher-income pet owners for a client’s holistic pet store, but eventually found that lower- and middle-income owners were also largely purchasing expensive, organic pet products.

For direct mail success, it is important to appeal to pet owners’ emotions, including unconditional love and nurturing. “You can appeal the same way to a pet person and their sense of nurturing as if you’re marketing to a parent,” says Morgan. Pet owners know that if they take care of Fluffy, she will return the favor by lowering your blood pressure, reducing your stress and fighting your depression. “Pets enhance the health of the owner, so anything that has to do with health care is really enriching the owner’s life—and enriching the pet’s life as well,” she adds.

In terms of copy and creative, marketers agree that the dog is the most popular and common pet—and is, therefore, a good choice when marketers are limited to only one image or narrative. If you are sending out more than one campaign, cast a wider net by varying your use of breeds, age and type of pet in both imagery and copy.

Programs, Presence and Partnership
Loyalty programs are a successful tactic in pet marketing due to a daily need for maintenance and supplies. “Twenty percent of the people purchasing from you are creating 80 percent of your sales—and you market to that 20 percent. You want to be loyal to them,” Cooley says.

Strong lists, segmented out by type of pet, are available for purchase. Marketers can overlay loyalty data, distributing discounts and rewards according to the customer’s level of purchase and, at the same time, send a cat-themed mailing to only cat owners. Aside from purchasing lists and building a custom list, Morgan recommends pet clubs, publications and organizations, as well as partnerships with vendor and manufacturer websites, as potential list builders.

The pet industry is rapidly diversifying, with a huge online presence for added convenience, and pet products and services are also showing up in previously human-dominant industries like insurance and personal services. “Years ago, there were many hotels that wouldn’t take any animals. Now, they’re encouraging. And there’s a huge growth within the service segment—you have day care, pet walkers, pooper-scoopers, training, massage therapy, pet psychologists, all different levels of grooming,” describes Morgan.

With all this industry integration, potential new partnerships can be formed. Morgan suggests fusion marketing for pet marketers. “When it comes to finding people that you want to do direct mail with … you form relationships with service providers that cater to the same clientele. If a marketer really wanted to go directly to a certain audience, they could get some helpful exposure through fusion partners,” she claims. Morgan gives an example of an insurance company informing its clients that it now offers pet insurance, and a pet carrier or crate vendor piggybacking on that mailer with its own offer.

Overall, there is a positive outlook in the pet marketing industry, as the venue for success continues to grow. “This is probably one of your more recession-proof industries. Even if people don’t have the disposable income to go on fancy trips and such, they’re going to stay home and spend even more time with their pets,” Morgan concludes.

(Originally Published in Inside Direct Mail, April 2008.)