Best Practices

Email Marketing Tips & Tricks

Happy 2021! We’re 2 weeks into it, and it just feels really great not to have to say the year “2020” anymore. Not only are we putting the negativity and bad vibes of 2020 behind us, we’re putting bad email marketing practices behind us, as well. We have a few tips and tricks up our sleeve that we figured we’d share with you. Let’s toast together to better email marketing in 2021!

Your New Year’s Resolution

In a time of highly digital experiences due to current day trends as well as the pandemic, email marketing is as important as ever before. In some cases, it’s a marketer’s only way of communicating with his or her potential and current customers. But…email marketing is only as effective as the tactics used to send it, and having (and keeping) a successful email presence is about as tough as sticking with your new year’s resolution. You have to work for it, by creating and maintaining quality content, imagery, and strategy to really get your target customers to stop, read, get to know your company or product, and ultimately purchase.

Raise a Glass to the Stats

We’re not kidding when we say email, and email marketing, is being used more than ever before. We also know you’re aware of that, since you’re probably getting at least 6 emails a day (at the absolute minimum), and about 3 of them are not from coworkers, friends, or family, but from stores and online businesses. 4.3 billion email accounts send 196 billion emails every day, and, 91% of U.S. consumers use email every day. Not only are a ton of emails being sent – but many of them are marketing focused. And, marketers trust that they’re working. 85% of US retailers see email marketing as a highly effective tactic to acquire new customers, and 89% of marketers say email marketing is their primary channel for new leads. And they’re right in their positive opinions of email marketing, as 44% of those who received email marketing in 2020 purchased at least one product because of promotional messaging, and 71% of purchasing decisions were influenced by email.

In 2021 and 2022, email is expected to ramp up even more, with daily sent and received emails rising to 347 billion. Also in 2021, digital advertising channels (including email) will account for 46% of ad spend. Needless to say, we’re about to invest more time, money, and energy in email marketing campaigns, not less. And, in an era where forming customer relationships is made difficult with a lack of personal interaction, email is an excellent tool to create lasting impressions, without all the noise of other online web experiences or social media platforms. So, as a result, we should get well equipped and get our tactics in line for the email marketing world of 2021.

Don’t “Drop the Ball” (Unless it’s Midnight) with These Tips & Tricks

Messaging

Busy, stressed-out, hustling and bustling readers have become more interested in short, to the point, clear and concise emails. As the reader scans their phone while standing in the subway, walking into work, taking a break from a project, walking their dog, or waiting for their food delivery, they never have enough time to digest a ton of content. Short and sweet phrasing and messaging helps the reader process the email with ease. Consider using a unique and thought-provoking subject line that will catch them as they scroll through their inbox, but, be sure to form a bit of a relationship with your customer before using anything too out-there. Remember to create clear call-to-actions and arrange your messaging in a way that logically makes sense, so that readers can immediately tell what you want them to know and more importantly, what you want them to do.

Also, be a human, and remember that the person receiving your emails is one, too. Do more than just sell to them, but provide them with tips, experiences, and valuable information, while again, keeping the message short and showing that you value their limited time. Make sure you always acknowledge and answer responses as well, even if a response is not necessarily required. Let the human on the other end know you’ve received their message and that you appreciate their reply.

Tone

It’s always important to keep a branded, unique tone throughout your e-blasts or recurring marketing emails. Make sure your potential customers can easily recognize you, your brand, and your mission. Make them feel like they’re getting to know your company, and that they can trust you and what you have to offer them. Remember to consider how your target customer talks, thinks, and acts. What message and language would they most likely respond to?

Templates

Creating email templates isn’t only time-saving, but allows for a more consistent brand look and feel. Having certain brand elements within all of your outgoing emails will help your customers recognize you from the get-go. Templates can also help you include certain call-to-action elements, such as images, buttons, and links, and can help you incorporate social platforms, website, and additional company information.

Management

When managing your emails, it’s best to use groups and distribution lists instead of lumping everyone in the same category or viewing each person as a completely separate recipient. Using an email distribution service can help you get information out to targeted groups of people, and also allows you to easily eliminate uninterested prospects as they unsubscribe. Grouping and sorting your recipients also limits or completely removes the tendency to send mass emails and not consider the end user’s wants and needs. And don’t worry, you can segment your customers in many ways – by behaviors, demographics, purchase data, engagement, and more – the possibilities are pretty much endless. Most importantly, managing and sorting your emails will make for better reporting and tracking, ultimately improving future emails and practices.

Personalization

Using names, dates, companies, and other recipient data can help catch the attention of current and potential customers. But, be careful not to use too much data – you’ll risk coming off as creepy and the user will be more likely to hit “unsubscribe”.

Testing

“Don’t guess. Test.” 2020 didn’t work, so we’re trying again in 2021, and that’s okay. If you’re not getting traction with certain email subjects, messaging, imagery, or call-to-actions, try something different, and test again. Use A-B email testing to your advantage and find what works the best to catch the attention of your desired audience throughout your campaign.

So, are you ready to say goodbye to 2020 and make the most of your email marketing in 2021? Contact us and we help you brainstorm and execute your next smart email campaign.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Direct Mail

Are you a kindle girl, or a paperback jack and hardcover lover? It may be nice to “always have your books with you” with a digital user interface, but you really can’t beat the touch (and even the smell) of a real book. Ain’t nothing like the real thing. Who knows the journey it’s been on – whose hands it’s been held by? It’s exciting, authentic and holds a story, literally and figuratively. These, among many reasons, are why people ultimately prefer physical books. “67 percent of Americans have read a paperback in the past year, and 39 percent of people only opt for print. Contrastingly, 29 percent of readers use both formats, and only 7 percent exclusively consume books digitally,” (Oprah Magazine).

Does this idea transfer over to the physicality of direct mail? You bet. Unless we’re somehow completely avoiding technology (which these days is impossible), we’re constantly bombarded with digital ads and emails. To be specific, Americans receive an average of 605 emails a week, compared to only 16.8 pieces of mail. Basically, for every 36 emails coming in, only 1 piece of physical mail is received. Physical postcards, packages, pamphlets, or whatever else people can get their hands on all work to cut through the digital noise.

Pages…Chapters…No, Books of Stats

Not only does direct mail stand out among digital mail and ads, but its’ impact lasts much longer. “The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days,” (Compu-Mail). What’s more? Direct mail has some serious ROI…

Direct Mail for Dummies

Here are some best practices if you’re new to direct mail or looking to improve:

Economize Words

As humans, we don’t like to read more than is absolutely necessary (unless we’re looking to get lost in a good book). The best direct mail uses clear and concise points. And, when in doubt, ask one simple question: Is this sentence absolutely crucial to the point/pitch? If it’s not, cut it. The best mailers are short and sweet.

Prioritize Graphics

The best parts of your favorite childhood book were the enjoyable illustrations and unique pictures. The same goes for eye-catching direct mail. Clean, attractive graphics can convey complex information while cutting down on copy. And, don’t forget to keep your brand standards in mind when picking graphics. It will help to remove the guesswork for your recipients.

Consider the End Product

While you’ll want to focus heavily on images and copy, remember to carefully consider format, envelope, finish, feel, etc. – and don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or in this case, the envelope). Remember, humans are tactile beings, and first impressions are lasting ones. Give them that nostalgic feeling they have when physically turning the page, or opening up an envelope or package.

Recommendations & Specifications

Trying to economize mail expenditures and use the most cost-effective option? If so, it’s best to follow the Post Office’s guidelines for postcard mailers:

Must be…

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3.5” high x 5” long x 0.007” thick
  • No more than 4.25” high x 6” long x 0.016” thick

Want to stand out and attract attention?

Consider opting for:

  • Larger postcards (6’’ x 9” or 6” x 11”)
  • Bi-folds, Tri-folds, Iron-cross formats, or Extra-large (9’’ x 12”) mailers
  • Dimensional mail that use boxes or bubble envelopes

Final Edits

A lot of writing, editing, rewriting, and finalizing goes into a good book. The same goes for direct mail. It’s only as good as the considerations you make before sending it. Here are some questions and considerations to keep in mind when creating your next piece of direct mail.

Questions

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What would resonate most personally with my audience?
  • What could I do with direct mail that hasn’t been done already?
  • Am I taking full advantage of personalization?
  • Can I convey my message faster/more clearly?
  • What tangible offering would best capture the attention of my audience?
  • How will they respond or access more information?
  • What response mechanisms will best serve my organization?

Considerations

  • Creativity counts – think about what will stand out in a crowded mailbox.
  • You’re only as good as your data – reliable list compilers make a difference.
  • Response is a direct reflection of the offer – make sure it’s enticing and engaging.
  • Provide as many options for response as possible – PURLs, QR Codes and BRCs are all great options.
  • Tie in a corresponding digital ad component when possible – multiple connections maximize results.

The Paperback & The Kindle

Remember when we mentioned that people saw some serious ROI from combining digital and direct mail? That’s because it’s the best of both worlds – the old nostalgic world, and the new fast-paced world – combined. Marketers have noticed some remarkable returns from the combo, like 40% conversion rates, 68% increased website visits, 63% increased response rates, 60% increased ROI, and more.

So, are you ready to get the most ROI out of your direct mail and cut through the digital noise? Contact us to start brainstorming your next campaign today.

How to Tackle Display Ads, Correctly

Simply leading a handful of players to the football field and saying “give it your best!” isn’t enough to win the game. Quality players in the right places – and a strategic game plan to back them – both go a long way.

The same idea can be applied to your display ads. You might have a few ads displayed in various places online, but if these ads are poorly placed, lack information, and are missing cohesive call to actions, visuals, and strategy, they won’t have the impact you’re hoping for. In other words, they’ll likely go unnoticed, and you won’t win over prospective customers. Whether they’re on a computer, tablet or mobile device, when set up and designed correctly, display ads can get your brand front and center quickly, with minimal effort and spend.

Game Play Stats

Generally, if display ads aren’t in your playbook, you may want to do a bit of re-strategizing. Over $500 billion is spent globally on advertising each year, and, not surprisingly, a large portion of that spend is used on the tried-and- true display ad – because it works. Currently, 84% of marketers are investing in display ads because they’re almost always within budget and can accurately target your specified audience (if you’re utilizing “good data”). According to SEMRush, Google’s Display Ad Network reaches 90% of global internet users and mobile advertising spend (which consists primarily of display ads) is now higher than TV advertising spend. Additionally, if you’re looking for lead conversions, retargeting ads are your best bet, with 53% more views than general display ads and 70% more likelihood of conversion.

The Rulebook

So, now that your eyes are on the end-zone, here are the key players to you should consider when creating your high-scoring display ads:

The Path to Touchdown – Include Eye-catching CTAs

The single most important thing on your ad is a relevant CTA that ties in directly with the creative. It can do wonders for your CTRs and provide a better sense of the info users can expect to see once they click on the ad. Most importantly, don’t overthink it. A simple button can get the job done.

Remember the Offensive Line – Design with a Mobile First Perspective

Did you know 70% of all ads are shown on mobile devices? That’s why we recommend designing your mobile ads first, then you can scale up into other sizes for desktops & laptops. Keep in mind that no matter what size you’re working with, brand logos and colors should be prevalent, each asset should have its own space, and you should avoid overlapping whenever possible.

Don’t Overcomplicate the Play – Keep Content Short & Sweet

While there are no strict limits, a general rule of thumb is that less is more when it comes to copy. Wordier ads can be harder to digest, especially if they’re viewed on smaller screens. And when in doubt, mirror your favorite billboard (or sideline) ad – short headlines that can be absorbed in just 1-2 seconds.

Recs & Specs

Although you may be tempted to utilize a trick play, it’s usually best to stick to the playbook. Here are the most common display ad sizes, with “leaderboard” size being the most popular (and we’re not surprised!).

And of course, along with leaderboard ad size, there are a few more MVPs. As a general rule, you should include the following sizes within any campaign:

Other Things to Consider Before Kickoff

While we’re not telling you to call an audible at the last second, there are still a few things to consider before kickoff. To eliminate the chance of a fumble, keep these practices in mind when finalizing your ads:

  • Acceptable file types include JPG, GIF or HTML5
  • Your max file size should be 150KB
  • Ads should be static or animated, non-expanding, non-rich media
  • JPG or GIF back-ups are required but shouldn’t be larger than 120KB
  • JPG or GIF back-ups must be submitted as files vs. embedded tags
  • 1 pt. borders are required and must be a color that’s different from the creative
  • Stay away from transparent backgrounds and anything that blends into screen content
  • GIF ads with partially black or white backgrounds need a border that’s different from the background
  • Strobing, flashing, or other distracting backgrounds are discouraged
  • Animation length should be 30 seconds or shorter
  • Animated GIF ads must have a frame rate of 5 frames per second or slower

Additional Draft Picks

Just like a good trade adds to an already prosperous team, display ads are even more effective when combined with omnichannel tactics like direct mail and/or email. In a study conducted by USPS, research showed that when combining direct mail and digital ads, 68% of industry professionals saw increased website visits, 63% noticed increased response rates, and 60% observed increased ROI.

The Hail Mary

In case you still need some visual representation, here are a few examples that follow the rulebook to a tee.

Ready to see your digital ad strategies cause a real spike in sales? Contact us to see how we can help with everything display ads, from creation to implementation.

Oh, and P.S…Go Eagles.

How to Put Big Data to Work Without it Feeling “Creepy”

Big data has gotten a pretty bad rep at this point – and it’s not for nothing. Over the past few years, the fear of data “creeping” further and further into our lives, and machines “listening in” on us, has some feeling a little nervous, to say the least. But, from a somewhat bias perspective of a marketing company, we don’t think it’s all bad and don’t think you should either. When used correctly, big data can help companies target the right customers, at the right time with the stuff they want, and more importantly, the stuff they need.

Then and Now

In the past, a lot of marketing departments probably were a little overzealous about the concept of data, and went a bit too far with personalization, taking an “anything goes” mentality. This approach can and has felt like it crosses the line, often making customers feel transparent, and even “spied” on. No one wants to feel like someone is watching their every move, I mean…that’s what scary movies are made of. In the past, customers didn’t know who, when, or where data was being collected about them, and in turn, felt mistrust for anyone or anything trying to get their information.

More recently, tech companies have realized that customers feel over-encroached upon, and are making steady improvements to be less sneaky and creepy, and more transparent. They’re more overt about the data they’re collecting, and allowing for customers to be more aware and have an increased say (which seems a whole lot more ethical, if you ask us).

The Fine Line Between Cool and Creepy

With this said, similar to an unwanted encounter at a bar, there’s still a fine line between cool and creepy when it comes to big data, but, if used correctly, it can have major benefits for both marketer and customer. After all, sometimes a (non-creepy) pickup line can lead to a happy marriage. It’s all about saying the right thing at the right time, which is what big data makes happen.

Good Data

The more “good” data that you put into your digital advertising campaigns, the more likely they are to reach the right person at the right time. Thankfully, the days of marketers defining rough, segmented target audiences in hopes that randomly placed ads would lead to a purchase are now GONE. Instead, today we’re using social media feeds, purchasing habits, browsing trends, content consumption, and other tactics to reach the right audience, at a welcomed tune. With good data, we have the ability to know exactly who we’re talking to and how we should be targeting them. It ensures we’re following leads and people, not just metrics and trends, and, at the end of the day, it helps cut down on waste and improve ROI.

Cool Stats

If we haven’t convinced you that good data cuts down on waste, we have some stats to back it up. Currently, the growth in global ad spend is projected to reach $793 billion by 2022. Yet, marketers today estimate that they waste approximately 26% of their budgets on unproductive digital strategies. And, to make things worse, studies show that 76% of marketers fail to use behavioral data for online ad targeting. When looked at all together, most of these downfalls point to one central problem: failure to pull accurate insights from marketing data and to apply them toward strategic decision-making. That’s where the power of good data comes in. It not only provides insight, but helps drive your strategy.

Not All Data Vendors Are Created Equal

That’s right, we said it, and we’re not taking it back. Data vendors are invaluable, but they’re not all created equal. If you think your vendor is leaving the “cool” territory and approaching the “creepy” zone, there are a few important questions to ask them, like, “Is your data properly permissioned?” or “Are your audiences sourced from ‘known’ data signals?” Find more useful questions in this article, and you’ll be better prepared to decide if you’ll accept their pickup-line, or give them the old, “it’s not you…it’s me (but it’s really you)”.

Wishing You Good (Data) Luck

Now that you know how cool (not creepy) and important data is when it comes to digital advertising, let’s put it to good use! If you decide to work with Strata, we’ll help you make actionable insights, plan and strategize, and take your next digital advertising initiative to the next level. Want us to turn your good data into targeted messages geared towards the right people at the right time? Contact us today.

Navigating Communication During Covid-19

Sometimes it feels like it was just a few days ago that we were all saying, “Have you heard about the coronavirus? Do you think it will affect us?” Now, months later, it’s completely changed our lives. Think of it this way, if we were in a movie, back in March the foreboding narrator would have said, “Life as they knew it would never be the same.” Needless to say, the movie has dragged on a bit too long, and I think we all wish that we could turn it off and give it a 1-star rating at best – which is extremely generous.

With that said, saying that the workplace has really changed this year is an understatement. Along with all of the normal changes that a new year brings (marketing tactics, sales tools, technology, trends, and more), this year we’ve been faced with the most impactful (and almost unbelievable) change: a pandemic. This year, it hasn’t been about “keeping up with the times” like it was in 2015, when the Open Concept office floor plans were suddenly all the rage. Instead, change is less about being “trendy”, and more about being safe, and adaptable. Even the more traditional offices can’t afford to lag behind this year. If you haven’t changed your setup and practices, your company simply cannot function.

Evolve or Perish

Like our CEO Jeff Sammak says (even pre-2020), “Evolve or perish”. And this year, if you didn’t evolve, your company either suffered greatly, or completely dissolved. Thankfully, Strata’s been among the lucky few to continue our practice of making smart happen and changing with the very quick times.

The most talked about way (and really the only way) of handling the Covid-19 virus has been to stay home. Unlike other legendary years that have made the history books, we haven’t fought with swords, guns, or even words. No, we’ve fought with boredom (and maybe our siblings and spouses). We’ve fought with being couped up, and when it came to the workplace, not being able to be face-to-face, in-office, and conducting work as usual.

On the other hand, companies like Zoom and Microsoft have hit the jackpot, with virtual platforms that figuratively “save the day” for companies needing to change their methods of communication.

So, other than utilizing Zoom and Teams, how did Strata save our metaphorical ship and keep our business afloat? We followed a few best practices and, of course, learned some things along the way. Here’s where we’ve landed:

How to Best Navigate Communication During Covid-19


Be Flexible

During a time like this, it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to new practices and processes. No answer is wrong until its proven not to work. “Leaders may be tempted to withdraw into small, tight decision-making task forces to make key decisions as quickly as possible. Instead, they can use this moment to define and demonstrate a common sense of purpose with employees, who will be looking for leadership and ways to engage themselves,” (McKinsey). Change always takes a lot of ideas from different perspectives, and a lot of trial and error – and change in 2020 is no exception to the rule.

Utilize Helpful Communication Tools

Again, coming to a decision on the right tools, and ones that seamlessly work together, can take a ton of trial and error. At Strata, we were using Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Outlook, and a few other platforms that felt to be working at first, but lacked compatibility. Eventually, we found what worked together, and worked for us – Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Outlook, Wrike, and various other platforms that worked better in unison. Teams messaging and calling has been an excellent communication tool, as all of our communication can be found in one place, and employees can control if and when they’re available to talk. Having the option to be away, available, busy, do not disturb, and more creates a more office-like communication experience without feeling too detached from coworkers. Wrike, a project management system, has helped us to stay on-task, work effectively together, and not let anything fall behind. And of course, calls and email as usual are always staples too.

Ensure Security

This year we’ve seen a huge spike in online hackers, with an increased risk of viruses and malware. It’s extremely important to not only warn employees of these risks, but thoroughly explain how, when, and where these problems can occur. An open line of communication is paramount to ensuring the safety of a company’s proprietary information. Establish trust with each other, and ensure employees that, if they call you asking if you “sent this email”, it’s not a bother.

Be Aware & Show You Care

Although there’s no longer an “open door policy” like before, make sure you have an “open (computer) window” policy. “Leaders are important sources of resilience for their people—and also important factors in post-traumatic growth following crisis,” (McKinsey). Check in on not only the work and progress of employees, but their mental well-being as well. Ask them how they’re doing, how they’re feeling, and assure them that no questions are “dumb” questions. None of us have ever been through this before, so an open, understanding line of communication is ultimately the best method for the safety and well-being of staff. Additionally, a company’s culture is only as good as its values. In tough times, continuously reinforcing your mission, values, vision, and appreciation is extremely paramount to not only keeping employees comfortable, but motivated and driven. “At this time of heightened anxiety…succinctly communicating facts, feelings, and actions is more important than ever before. Managers must carefully listen to employees and openly communicate what is known (facts), how they feel about it (feelings), and what they are doing about it (actions),” (Risk and Resilience Hub).

Come Together

Lastly, don’t forget to have a little fun and socialize! A great way to do this is with a Zoom or Microsoft Teams happy hour! It may not be quite the same as face-to-face interaction at the office, but it’s a close second and creates a sense of community (which we’ll take at the moment!). Don’t forget to implement activities and create bonding experiences, even if they’re virtual, to continue team-building and keep up employee morale. Because, like we’ve said in the past, happy employees equal happy customers.

Have questions about how we made it through all of the changes of 2020? We’re happy to chat. And, if you’d like to (virtually) get to know us a bit more, check out the Strata team.

An Introduction to High-Intent Consumer Marketing

You’ve researched up-and-coming marketing trends, and within budget, your marketing seems to be hitting all the right points. You’re sending emails and direct mail, conducting your daily social media activities, attending tradeshows, writing quality content, advertising in the several places, and even noticing some ROI (phew, you’re really doing a lot!). It can feel like the marketing industry gets more and more convoluted every day, with increasingly more avenues and strategies to reach the specific audience(s) you hope to target. With all of these different tactics and shiny new programs, how do you know you’re actually getting to your key audience, one that wants what you have to offer, at the right time? Are you “giving the right people what they want”?

High-intent marketing does just this, in a focused, particular way. One where you’re not just shooting at a broad target, but aiming at the bullseye. You’re probably thinking, “that’s nice, but what exactly is intent marketing?” Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

High-Intent Marketing Explained

High-intent marketing targets a specified end user’s intent – not only what they need (or want), but when they’re ready for it. The most recognizable type of high-intent marketing is search marketing. Users and prospects are targeted based on what they’re searching for right now, and are hit with ads, messages, and other forms of marketing communication to meet their current needs. Again, high-intent marketing differs from simply targeting an audience in that it puts emphasis on the timing of needs. For example, maybe I (the customer) am searching for a bridesmaid dress to wear to a wedding. I’m looking for it now, but I wasn’t last month, and I probably won’t be next month (unless of course I’m “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”).

Prospects have an overload of media and advertising to sort through, so the timing and reactionary nature of your marketing is how you stop them in their tracks. If you’re not combining their demographic with their current desires, you’re losing them. Using high-intent data to strengthen your marketing strategy results in more pointed themes, more precise detail in consumer personas and journeys, and highly effective marketing content, call to actions, and keywords.

What Are Some High-Intent Markets?

If you’re still unsure of what markets would be labeled high-intent, here are a few to think through:

  • Recent college graduates

Ready (or not) to take on the world, college graduates are highly focused on improving their resumes, networking with friends and professionals, and ultimately, finding a job.

  • Expectant & new moms

Nervous and constantly searching for the newest and best newborn knowledge, expectant and new moms can’t stop googling pediatricians and childcare facilities.

  • Newlyweds

Young, middle-aged, or older, many newlyweds are looking for another way to intertwine their lives – buying a home.

  • New movers

This audience base is nothing but uneasy in a new territory. According to recent studies, 40 million people move every year and they’re all looking for a new salon, doctor, favorite restaurant, grocery store, drycleaner, and more. If this is where your marketing needs to focus, take a look at SmartMove, Strata’s robust, multi-channel, multi-touch, new mover marketing program that helps you find the perfect time and place to reach your target audience.

“This Seems Exhausting”

It doesn’t need to be as tough as it sounds to use high-intent marketing. Don’t think of it as an out-of-reach, expensive project. Instead look at it as a continuous system, and an ongoing learning process to get the best return on your investment. Yes, you may spend more time and a bit of money strategizing and acquiring data in the beginning, but you’ll spend less time and money targeting the wrong people, or just as bad, the right people at the wrong times.

What to Do Now?

Start with analyzing keywords associated with your website, and compare these keywords to those that come up offsite. Additionally, get high-intent data from CRM analytics, customer service communication and online company reviews, and social media analytics. The goal is to compile data that establishes your desired buyer’s journey, and more specifically, when they approach, get to, and leave each stage.

Once you feel you have a sufficient amount of data, don’t stop there. It’s important to separate the data into different buyer stages, which can have labels like the “consideration” stage, the “informational” stage, and the “buying” stage. Keywords of these stages often look like the following:

Consideration Stage – “best”, “how to”, “where can I”

Informational Stage – “cost of”, “reviews of” “what people say about”

Buying Stage – “buy”, “shipping”, “coupons for”, “[your company name]”

Marketing to customers when they get to these stages is the bread and butter of high-intent marketing. Add in great content, imagery, and offerings, and you’ve got a proactive customer base. Do you have a high-intent market that you’re looking to target with an Omnichannel campaign similar to SmartMove? Strata can facilitate conversions for your company with high-intent direct mail, digital ads, and emails. Contact us today to learn more.

Rule 5: Pick Tools That Enable Your Strategy – Not the Other Way Around

Welcome back to the final rule to our MarTech Series. Rule 5 highlights several tools that can help enable your strategy – including a few of Strata’s own solutions. Throughout this series we’ve looked at some tips and tricks that any marketing department can implement and we hope that you’ve taken away something that will positively impact your team.  

Integrating your marketing technology stack is key to building an efficient and effective marketing department. These tools should allow you to communicate consistently with customers across every channel and brand experience, and they should easily enable a small team to manage (and master) your marketing resources and customer communications.

If that sounds like a challenge for your marketing department, and not one they were hired to solve, we have the ideal solution for your business: At Strata, we develop easy-to-use, integrated marcom tech solutions to help clients streamline processes and content, overcome operational challenges, and take control of their brand.

MarCom On Demand

MarCom On Demand is a highly customizable and easy-to-implement marketing resource management tool that allows any organization to centrally manage brand resources and marketing workflows through one portal. That includes comprehensive asset management, process automation, content customization, and an intuitive architecture that allows you to bypass some of the headaches of MarTech stack management and put more time into building a winning marketing strategy.

Corspon

MarCom On Demand is a highly customizable and easy-to-implement marketing resource management tool that allows any organization to centrally manage brand resources and marketing workflows through one portal. That includes comprehensive asset management, process automation, content customization, and an intuitive architecture that allows you to bypass some of the headaches of MarTech stack management and put more time into building a winning marketing strategy.

Custom Portals

When your challenges are specialized and unique, an off-the-shelf tool just won’t cut it. In these cases, we work closely with our clients, taking the time to fully understand their challenges, goals and needs, then craft a solution that’s custom-built from the ground up to suit their business—and help them increase ROI.

Methodology

These results are based on responses from an online survey of 262 marketers, conducted in March 2020. Of the respondents to this year’s survey, 38% described their companies’ activities as B2B, 20% as B2C and 41% as Both (Figure 9). Respondents reported annual revenue as follows: greater than $100 million (11%); $51 to $100 million (6%); $25 to $50 million (3%); $10 to $25 million (10%); $1 million to $10 million (27%); and less than $1 million (42%) (Figure 10).

We hope you’ve found this series insightful and impactful, and that it’ll help you make future MarTech decisions but if you need a series refresher, click here to read the full report. And, as always, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 4: Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing

Welcome back to our six-part MarTech2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy series. So far, we discussed the following: marketing technology stacks of today, the average MarTech stack used by companies annually, the importance of having your marketing team having the final say in deciding which tools will be included in the stack, and the most used MarTech tools. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at “Rule 4: Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing”.

One of the dangers of focusing too much on your MarTech stack is that so many of the tools only integrate with digital marketing. Not only does this push half of your marketing out of the picture, it can unintentionally pull your marketing strategy more and more toward digital-only marketing.

In a world where even many Millennials prefer direct mail to email, this is a mistake. Your MarTech must empower your entire marketing strategy — online and offline — not skew it to digital.

Yet only 59% of our respondents are using their tech stacks for both online and offline marketing this year, and that’s a concern (Figure 8). You must deliver a consistent brand experience across channels with communication that hits the same notes whether delivered in an email, mobile ad or postcard. By including offline channels as a part of your data-driven, digitally empowered marketing toolset, you can connect with today’s consumers on the level they expect.

Of the 59% who are making offline marketing a priority in their tech stacks, about half are using it for direct mail, flyers and other kinds of print marketing initiatives. Print is important to building connections with a community because it’s a channel your target audience can smell and feel. Those tactile qualities give your brand a more permanent place in their minds and set you apart from online-only brands.

Your MarTech stack can apply the same targeting and personalization to direct mail that it does to digital. For example, one respondent said they intend to use “Direct mail to be customized for specific demographics, skewing toward older consumers that may not use as much technology.” Another planned to use MarTech to enable “specific direct mail campaigns for auto sales and service.”

Some respondents saw a role for MarTech-empowered direct mail as part of their in-person marketing, planning to use MarTech to enable “direct mail marketing, networking groups, seminar attendance and tradeshows.” Another was planning a “digital experience with print using direct mail [that] will play an important part in many industries.”

Keep this in mind as you build your tech stack and make sure the tools you assemble enable all your marketing efforts. This is how you can ensure that your communication is consistent from one channel to another and that you are reaching each customer with their preferred channel.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our series and Rule 5, “Pick Tools That Enable Your Strategy – Not the Other Way Around,” or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.

Rule 3: Take Advantage of Technologies That Support More Than One Channel

Welcome to Rule 3 of our six-part MarTech2020: 5 Rules for Managing Your Technology and Strategy series! If this is your first time checking in on this series, in the past we’ve discussed the marketing tech stacks of today, the average MarTech stack used by companies, and the importance of having your marketing team having the final say in deciding which tools will be included in the stack.

Today, we’ll be touching on why it’s important to take advantage of technologies that support more than one channel.

The marketers who answered our survey put their tech stacks together in different ways, but some tools were chosen far less often than others. For example, fewer than a quarter of the respondents brought customer data platforms (CDPs) or other personalization technology into their core tech stacks. Project management, webinar tech and mobile apps were also chosen for fewer than 25% of the tech stacks discussed.

While those are all effective tools with advanced capabilities, they are designed to support more specialized, channel-specific activities. Those are exactly the kinds of technologies that efficient marketers leave to outside partners.

When we look at the systems that are included in most tech stacks, they are the tools that enable the most essential marketing activities and customer data management (Figure 7).

1. Email Marketing: 78%

Since the rise of marketing automation, email marketing has become the backbone of many customer-engagement and lead-nurturing strategies. Once you’ve chosen an email system, deploying them becomes both easy and essential to the marketing workflow. Many companies outsource some of their email marketing, but nearly every brand keeps parts of it inhouse to easily communicate with customers and optimize relationship management.

2. Social Media: 63%

Like email, social media is cheap to deploy (at least in financial terms, not necessarily in workhours) and essential to a flexible communication strategy. Even if a brand outsources regular posting and social engagement activities, they usually maintain access to the account and the systems running it. This allows you to make immediate adjustments and announcements without waiting on an agency to post them for you.

3. CRM: 58%

The CRM is the customer management system of record in many organizations. The marketing department may have an integrated marketing automation and CRM system, or simply work with the sales team’s CRM for a fully integrated, customer-facing communication team. Either way, this system usually remains in-house under the marketing department’s or sales team’s control.

4. Content Marketing: 52%

Only about half of marketers said they invest in a content management system. But for those who do in-house content marketing or other types of thought leadership, these tools are essential for reliably getting blog posts or other types of content onto the website when they need to be there. If the team works with external content creators, especially independent freelancers, a good content management system will help keep the entire engagement machine running smoothly.

5. Web Analytics: 46%

Fewer than half of our respondents consider website analytics to be a part of their martech stack, but that is likely because Google Analytics is a free tool. While GA does not deliver all the capabilities of a dedicated website analytics platform, it is usually enough for in-house analytics and can be supplemented by a more robust tool provided by an external partner. If the site is kept in-house, deeper analytics and data interpretation become necessary for any brand that relies on its website to play a big role in the sales pipeline.

6. Direct Mail: 45%

Direct mail emerged as a major focus for many of our respondents, but often the technical side is left in the hands of the agency, printer or external marketing firm handling the development and deployment of these campaigns. However, direct mail and all your offline marketing must operate at the same level of targeting and personalization as the rest of your marketing. It’s essential to have the tools to align this channel with your digital marketing channels, even if those tools are supplied by your mailing partners.

Check back next week for Rule 4, “Design Your Stack to Support Omnichannel Marketing,” as we near the end to our MarTech series or click here to read the full report now. And, if you’re ready to see how we can help you strategize your MarTech stack, contact us today.