Direct Marketing

To Keep an Eye on

As a marketing solutions company with lots of interest in innovation and change – we’re big on knowing what’s trending and what’s to come. 2021 was filled with a ton of new trends, some – because of changing times and innovation – others, because of big events and worldly occurrences. To stay ahead and prepare for the new year, we’ve looked into the top marketing trends – within design, print, and digital, to keep an eye out for in 2022.

2022 Design Trends

Visual Inclusion

Recent movements around the nation, and even the world, have sparked a broader portrayal of diversity and inclusion in visuals. When crafting your marketing, think about how you can show diverse people in a variety of ways – in your photography, graphics, and iconography. And, even more, think about including imagery of people that your target audience(s) can relate to.“The default for people icons and images are no longer white, male, and able-bodied. There is more representation from marginalized groups in marketing visuals.” The more open, inclusive, and inviting your marketing is, the more likely you’ll bring in a diverse range of interested (and trusting) customers.

Bold Backgrounds

Bold and bright backgrounds and backgrounds with patterns are on the rise. These types of backgrounds attract attention and stand out from the pack, among otherwise modern – and primarily dull, gray, or white – busy feeds and mailboxes. Try using a brighter, bolder background to stand out among other marketing materials. This tactic can be “quite stunning when paired with more simple typography or other design elements,”but, to make this trend work for you and your brand, “ensure that everything has a place and there’s good eye flow between elements.”

Unique & Fun Typography

The year 2022 will be all about typography that “breaks standards”, such as “one single letter…upside down, bigger or smaller, in a different font, or completely missing.” Forecasters expect “lettering that pushes the bounds of easy legibility, creating forms that are expressive in and of themselves.” This unique and rising design tactic can also make for more internationally understandable text and imagery that can be read from culture to culture.

Authentic Imagery

Authentic, realistic imagery that your audience can connect with is always important – but will be increasingly popular in 2022. People don’t want to see fake stock families and disingenuous product photos. They want to see real. “Even commercial photography is shifting to look more like snapshots for these projects” instead of planned, posed imagery. This tactic may be a little less polished and intentional, but it works, because it’s relatable. “More authentic imagery is not amateurish; it’s just a different style.” Yet, this doesn’t mean taking blurry or “thrown together” photos. It means shooting high-quality photography that’s just a bit more casual and realistic to real, day-to-day life.

2022 Digital Marketing Trends

Conversational Marketing

This will be a big one for 2022, as it’s already been on the rise for quite a few years. Why? People want to connect with, and relate to, real people. And, they want fairly immediate responses from those real people. Customers feel more connected with and trusting of companies that tell their story, as well as the stories of their products. They want to hear and see real life examples of what the product has and does, and what sets it apart.

A recent study found that 41.3% of consumers use conversational marketing tools before making purchases. “Unlike traditional strategies, this form of marketing is now available across multiple channels, allowing brands to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit the customer best.”

Read more about customer communication and relatability, here.

Video Marketing

This trend isn’t new, and is likely to continue in popularity for the next 5-10 years. It’s no surprise to us (and likely not a surprise to you) that 61% of marketers see video as a “very important or extremely important” part of their marketing strategy. It’s a useful tactic not only because of its visual appeal and high rate of easily digestible content, but because it can be republished on several platforms, and cut and manipulated for repurposing. A recent study recorded that “84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video.”

To read more on video marketing, click here.

Interactive Content

This year, there will be a noticeable marketing shift from “traditional text-based content toward dynamic, engaging content” like quizzes, augmented reality, polls, 360-degree videos, and more. These tools give customers a more memorable connection with both the product and the company, and get them involved with the brand – not just get them to see it. In fact, 91% of customers are interested in seeing more content they can interact with.

First-Party and Zero-Party Data

We’ve talked a bit about this topic before in a fairly recent blog post, and this trend is sure to skyrocket into 2022. This year, “first-party cookies will force marketers to be mindful of the data they collect and how they use it,” primarily because companies can now only use their own collected data. This also means that companies will need to be much more authentic and transparent with their customers. Along with first-party data, zero-party data – data given to a brand or company directly from the consumer, will also be a key focus. Some examples of ways to acquire this data are through surveys, forms, or email.

2022 Print Marketing Trends

Combining Print & Digital

This particular trend – we’re very well-versed in. Combining print and digital can do wonders for your campaigns, meeting your customers with mulitple touches on and offline. A great example of this combination is using a personalized URL and QR code on a printed piece. QR codes on print marketing not only give customers an easy way to get to know your company better, but can be vehicles to get customers to purchase or sign up for a program – immediately. These types of combination tactics are flexible, dynamic, and cater to many differing age groups.

Creative Customer Personalization

Also, a great online or offline tool? Personalization. When your company caters to a specific type of audience, or even specific customers rather than a blanketed group, you’re more likely to meet customer’s needs and turn them into loyal ones. Additionally, personalization can be cost effective. Why’s this? In order to personalize, you can’t target everyone – just the right ones.

Direct Mail

Lastly, not a new or surprising trend to us, direct mail will continue to grow in popularity in 2022. “With the content marketing boom and remote working becoming the new normal, many consumers have become ‘numb’ to digital marketing campaigns.” So, if you haven’t, why not give direct mail marketing a go? Trying out this re-emerging marketing trend could bring a ton of new customers to your site, as 70% of people engage with a brand online after receiving their direct mail.

Read more on why direct mail is so impactful, here.

Interested in ramping up your marketing in 2022 using one or more of these solutions? We can help! Contact the experts at Strata, today.

With a Combination of Direct & Digital Marketing (and the Right Partner)

Maybe you’ve heard about the paper shortage, or maybe you’ve experienced it first-hand. Either way, it’s something you should know about, as it’s seemingly becoming a bigger issue in our field day by day. But, before we sound all doom and gloom, we do have good news. Although it’s a current issue we’re facing, there are ways to combat it and work around it. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what exactly is causing the shortage, what it means for us (and you), and how we all can continue business as (almost) usual.

What’s Happening with the Paper Shortage?

So, what’s really going on? Well, there are many shortages going on right now – primarily due to all of the craziness that’s ensued over the past few years. The pandemic has been the primary factor in most shortages, from toilet paper to manufacturing products, and everything in between. Something else that’s suffering? Lumber, and in turn – you guessed it – paper.

Back in 2020, the demand for paper dropped by “up to 75% in some segments” due to drops in education and office space usage. Because of this, “paper mills reduced or curtailed production…which caused inventory to drop to levels which have not been seen previously.”

More recently, there’s been a “convergence of Canadian lumber tariffs, increase in demand for home remodeling and building of homes brought on by the pandemic, and hiccups in supply related to transportation.” From home projects to home purchases, we’re now using a lot of wood. More wood demand has called for changes in processes for these previously idle lumber suppliers, which has slowed production – and even worse, transporters impacted by Covid-19 risks has made for fewer available drivers to carry out shipments from mills and shipping ports.

Generally, one thing has led to another, causing a domino effect that’s triggered lumber prices to skyrocket, and has disrupted several industries.

What Does This Mean for Marketers & Print Projects

Yes, the paper shortage is concerning, but it doesn’t make print and direct mail marketing impossible or any less effective. With that said, don’t go overboard. Be aware of the materials you’re using and try to keep a close eye on the balance of supply and demand. While the lack of resources is a hurdle, the shortages are actually giving printers and marketers an opportunity to get creative with project execution by combining print with digital and trying new outreach possibilities.

How Can We Combat the Shortage?

There are several ways to work around the current hurdles we’re facing. The first? Using more digital technology wherever possible (and effective) – like QR codes, for example – to cut back on the paper needed to communicate a message or tell a story. Not only can QR codes and PURLs, or other tools help you use less paper, but they can help you more effectively track, monitor, and enhance your campaign. You can also try supplementing your multiple direct mail touches with other tools like digital ads and emails. A multichannel approach is always more impactful than a single channel, anyway.

Next, look into making your mailers, flyers, and other print marketing materials more cost effective by using a smaller paper weight, or stand out in the mail with a smaller but more uniquely shaped piece.

Lastly, look to work with a company with paper buying power and ample experience. They’ll be aware of the current issues, and will understand what’s best for your company’s marketing needs.

Reach Out

When it comes to shortages of any kind, remember to be patient and plan ahead. The paper shortage most likely won’t be around forever, but the more flexible you can be, the more you can mitigate the issue. After reading this, we hope you’re feeling a bit more knowledgeable of the current shortage as well as what you can do to combat it. If you’re interested in learning more about how Strata’s working through the shortage with our client (and on our personal projects), or are looking to work with us on your next multichannel marketing campaign, feel free to reach out.

Not Our First Rodeo

Even though this wasn’t our first rodeo, SHSMD Connections 2021 didn’t disappoint. We had great conversations with so many show-goers, and we got to do one of our favorite things – talk new mover marketing.

In previous years, SHSMD Connections has brought quite the large crowd. Yet, with the needed precautions due to COVID-19, this year’s show created a much smaller, more intimate setting. Although we weren’t sure how the event would pan out, the smaller turnout gave Strata the chance to really chat with others in the industry, and learn more about the needs and wants of healthcare marketers.

About the Show & Our Experience

This year, two of our employees attended the conference in San Antonio, Texas from September 19-21. With Strata’s booth being front and center as guests entered the exhibit hall, our exposure was unmatched, giving us many great moments for conversation. Our bright orange and yellow (recently refreshed) colors kept the atmosphere light and fun, making it easy for the team to meet as many new contacts as possible while also connecting with familiar faces.

We’re really looking forward to seeing, post-show, how these connections flourish and how we can help healthcare marketers and others within the industry with their new mover marketing endeavors.

Our Takeaways

Our presentation of SmartMove and all that we offer was a huge success, and the feedback we were given emphasized the significant need for our services. Healthcare facilities aren’t just looking for direct marketing, but direct marketing that will make an impact and target the right people at the right time. Whether attendees were familiar with new mover marketing or not, our team educated them on Strata’s personalized touch and efficient processes.

But, not only did Strata come prepared to share our services – but prepared and excited to learn! On their breaks, the Strata team attended numerous breakout sessions and learned about everything from inclusion and diversity in the workplace, to problem solving, engagement, and leadership strategies. They even had the chance to hear from Burl Stamp, President and Founder of Stamp & Chase, who discussed how to properly and effectively engage with and lead teams, customers, and communities (especially post pandemic).

Another great session that the team partook in was Derreck Kayongo’s keynote. Derreck presented on the topic of company culture and how to tackle the subject of company diversity head on, by sharing stories of his own childhood to his own organization, the Global Soap Project. Derreck did a phenomenal job guiding the audience through diversity and inclusion problems, and how they impact the corporate bottom line. He left the crowd speechless. The team was incredibly grateful to have attended and listened in on such impactful conversations, and are so excited to not only come back with some new connections, but with takeaways to strengthen Strata’s services and culture.  

Our Final Thoughts

Overall, SHSMD 2021 was a success for Strata. While it may not have looked like conferences of years past, we’re glad our team had great conversations and made solid connections with those that could attend. Not to mention, our promo items were a hit! See you next year, SHSMD!

Didn’t get to swing by and meet us at the show? Contact us today to see how we can help!

“Say it with Print”

In the digital age we now live in, the mindset that digital platforms will drive out traditional marketing can’t be any further from the truth. Today, we’re talking the power of print – and what it can do for your business that digital marketing alone, simply can’t.

Print Resonates

Print Resonates

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s no secret that these days, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we’re almost constantly confronted with marketing. Whether that’s in music, television, signage, emails, phone calls – it’s everywhere. 69% of recent study participants said that this tremendous amount of information overwhelms them. These days, creativity’s not only a good thing to have, but a necessary skill as a business producing marketing materials. If you’re going to reach your audience, your message (and the mediums you use) must be unique, eye catching, and stand out among and above the rest. Using print materials may not be your first thought, but these days print’s grabbing the attention of potential customers much more than other channels. Materials like brochures, signage, business cards, flyers, and postcards produce a bit of nostalgia, and break away from the digital noise we’re constantly bombarded by.

All forms of marketing still work in their own ways – and we of course think that every audience has a preference, and every message has its best way of travel. But what sets print apart, are the emotions it can produce. Print engages our senses. We can physically feel the quality and craftsmanship that went into that piece of paper or box, and get a sense of the thought behind it. What paper was used? What colors are on the print? What creative choices were made? Okay, maybe not everyone is thinking these exact thoughts, but our subconscious has a sense of these elements, giving us a new view of a company, or establishing additional trust and loyalty. We know this because 76% of people in the US say the quality and graphics of a print marketing material are what captures their attention. This is especially a belief among younger generations, as Millennials and Gen Z audiences tend to be more driven by experience and personalization.

Why not use this to your advantage? Try incorporating quality images and messaging, striking colors, and appealing visuals into your marketing materials – especially if you’re targeting a younger audience – and don’t forget about what it’s printed on. Sometimes a textured paper or an irregular, surprising shape can make all the difference.

A recent San Jose State University study found that “people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts – they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper.” When you have something important to say, “say it with print.”

Print is Personalized

Print is Personalized

These days, services like print marketing lead the way in personalization. In a recent survey, 30% of Americans polled found personalization to be one of the most important features of print marketing – turning it into messaging that really stands out. Not only can you send print marketing directly to your customers in the mail, you can add their name, favorite products, incorporate their pain points, and offer a specific solution to their needs – all possible with the right data. Making your audience feel special with a physical piece of mail, postcard, flyer, or delivery, can really reinforce that they’re important to your brand and company.

Print Inspires Creativity

Print Inspires Creativity

There’s definitely something to be said about physical rather than digital when it comes to creativity. 76% of respondents from Canon’s Print for Action survey said they feel more creative when print is near. And Flora Kessler, strategy partner at Carat UK said: “There’s an element of creativity in print that you don’t always see in digital. So much budget devoted to digital…can soak up the creativity along the way.”

Print is Authentic

Print is Authentic

When companies use print media to display their message, there’s always an underlying message. That message? Stability – of imagery and wording that reflects trust and solidarity. Print can be pinned to a cork board, stuck on your refrigerator, tucked away in your pocket, and taken with you. Most importantly, it doesn’t change without your action. In this way, print is trustworthy, and therefore, much more authentic than digital alone. Print’s physical makeup also provides context. It’s tactile, and provides a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Digital media has no boundaries, and no known ownership. You can’t really be a title-holder, so to speak, of digital work, yet with print, once you pick up a piece, it’s yours to keep. Plus, print has no delete button – so it’s taken much more seriously. A digital work may be read over once or twice, but print work is read, reread, edited, edited again, and then probably goes through several other “final read throughs” and “double-checks” to follow. A printed piece is nostalgic, familiar, and comforting to most. It’s patient and kind, and does not ask you to ever “log in” to access materials.

As time goes on and marketing material options expand, the power and trust of print only grows. We’d suggest that you continue to use it, and intertwine it with digital whenever possible to get the most from your marketing and reach your audience(s) in more ways than one.

Looking for ways to incorporate the power of print into your marketing efforts? With years and years (and years) of experience under our belts, we’re print experts. Contact us today to start brainstorming your next print marketing campaign.

The Proof is in the Numbers

At Strata, it’s pretty obvious that we love (and believe in) direct mail and its marketing power, and think it’s an important touchpoint in any multichannel campaign. We could go on and on about why we think it’s great, but we understand that sometimes it takes some hard facts and solid numbers to seal the deal and make you believe in direct marketing, too. You’ll see – the numbers simply speak for themselves.

The Stats

  • For every 36 emails you receive (on average), you get 1 piece of mail in your mailbox.
  • The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days.
  • 59% of US respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products.
  • Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.
  • Per USPS, 98% of people check their mail daily and Americans spend upwards of 30 minutes with their mail on a single occasion.

Source for stats above: Compu-mail

  • 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read or review the information at their leisure.
  • 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day.
  • 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed them that catalog.

Source for stats above: Bolger

Direct Mail Stats Infographic

Sealing the Deal

More generally, we believe in direct mail because it’s:

Tangible

Everyone opens mail. Even if you don’t have access to television, internet, or a cell phone, as long as you have an address, you’re reachable through mail. Opening mail is a part of the daily routine for many, and neglected by very few. Direct mail seamlessly integrates into our lives and rituals, so we see it as welcomed rather than intrusive.

Targetable

With direct mail, you can target by geographic location and send your piece to all residences within your selected zip code(s). You have the ability to organize your mailing list by demographics, such as age group, income level, parenthood, pet ownership and more.

Customizable

There are never-ending possibilities when it comes to organizing and developing your content in an effort to present your message to your target audience and lead them to take action. You can use your pieces to inspire immediate purchases by including limited-time offers and copy that conveys a sense of urgency.

Measurable

Incorporating a special offer, online promotional code, or even a website questionnaire into your campaign can make it easy to track responses and measure success. After all, direct mail is proven to be one of the most quantifiable advertising platforms.

The Bottom Line

Direct mail is effective because of its seamless integration into our lives, yet strong presence on our counters. It catches our attention while giving us control as to what we’ll do next as a current or potential customer. That’s why we think, well…we know it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics for reaching large groups of consumers.

Ready to get the most out of your direct mail? Contact us to create a highly successful marketing campaign that incorporates the latest direct mail tricks and trends.

Make Your Direct Mail Thrive with Tracking, Enhancing, and Attributing Results

We’ve said it time and again – direct mail really works. In fact, direct mail open rates can reach up to 42%, which is a lot higher than most e-mail open rates. Recipients of direct mail also “purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.” While these are excellent stats, we know it’s not always that easy to track and measure ROI from physical mail in the same way you track ROI from your digital strategies. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. We believe in not only the importance of direct mail, but in its results – with the right tools and resources.

Be Consistent

First and foremost, consistency is key when it comes to direct mail ROI. To get the most out of your direct mail, make sure it isn’t just direct mail. What do we mean? Weave digital touches into your direct mail – like your social media, digital ads, and website – and make sure everything is connected. With the right direct mail partner or resource, you can take mailing addresses and match them with social accounts, IP addresses, and more to really understand who your audience is and what actions they’re taking. Weaving in digital information can help you share your message before, during, and after your direct mail is sent out – making the chosen brand message consistent and more impactful to your audience.

Not convinced this is all necessary? We are, because combining offline and online tactics is proven to really work. In a recent study, a whapping 68% of marketing respondents saw that combining digital and direct mail increased visits to their websites. Considering the multichannel experience and the customer journey while creating your direct mail will not just increase website visits, but many areas of ROI.

Track

When it comes to getting the most from your direct mail, it’s important to ABT – Always Be Tracking. Not only tracking information and results from your direct mail campaign like you would your digital ones, but tracking the delivery of your mailers – just like you would a package. This will help you know when to prepare the recipient with other messaging before delivery, and when to follow up with them to make the greatest impact. Take it a step further by working with your direct mail partner or resource to send the recipient an “informed delivery” message by USPS to make them aware of their mailer’s arrival, and send them direct links to ROI-rich landing pages. If you haven’t noticed already, every step we’re highlighting truly combines the traditional and digital worlds of marketing.

Attribute Results

If you’re still with us, you’ll see that we’ve created an experience for the recipient along many steps of their customer journey, tracked their direct mail’s physical journey, and have notified them that there’s a special something waiting in their mailbox. So, what’s next? Reporting, recording, and attributing. Without these, you won’t know how to improve upon your direct mail and increase your ROI for next time. Your recipients may respond or perform an action by phone, BRC, personalized landing page (PURL), or in another way, so it’s important that the information is correctly recorded in real-time. The best way to record and store this information is on a platform’s dashboard specifically made for tracking. There are many out there – so find whatever works for you and make sure you use it to your advantage. The chosen platform can help you store names, addresses, ages, and other helpful demographics to assist you in understanding and targeting your true target audience.

You may have some recipients who will visit your website but will not directly respond to your mail. That’s why it’s important to use identifiable URLs that you can easily track, like UTMs, PURLS, or specified QR codes. If these recipients aren’t quite ready to reach back out to you or make a move, you’ll still have a gauge on their interest, and will be able to send them digital ads or e-mails reminding them of your product or service until their ready to take the next step.

Stop Wondering

Instead of continuing to throw mail like paper planes to your audience, track and know if your mailers make an impact. Make sure you’re always examining your data and attributing it. You’ll quickly realize it’s easier than you expected to see what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve on your direct mail campaigns.

As one of our specialties at Strata, we know that direct mail can be uber effective when using the right processes and tools. The key is always combining traditional and digital to catch your audience’s attention before, during, and after direct mail is in their hands. And, like we said before, never stop tracking and modifying.

To learn more about how to create successful direct mail, check out our direct-mail-focused blogs, “Dimensional Mail: Four Criteria for the Perfect Promotional Item” and “7 Ways to Make Your Postcard Stand Out”, or simply contact Strata. We’ve been doing this for years and would be happy to help you get an ROI rich direct mail campaign started.

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 Adjust from Marketing to the Masses to the Individuals that Make Up the Masses

Over the last several decades, we have made great shifts in the way we market to our customers.

One of the most prominent of these shifts is the way in which we’ve adjusted from marketing to the masses to marketing to the individuals that make up the masses. That fundamental adjustment is what separates many successful companies — and their competition — today.

Perhaps the best way this shift manifests itself is in some of our strategic tools, and of these, one strategy stands out — using personas to map the buyer journey. Put simply, mapping the buyer journey with personas is about plotting out each stage of an eventual purchase, from recognizing a need to securing whatever service or good fulfills it from the perspective of the personas.

Let’s take a look at how we can use personas to map and enhance a buyer journey.

Create Personas

We’ve touched on personas frequently in our StrataBytes blog series, and there’s a good reason for that — personas are a valuable resource. As a refresher (or for those of us who are not familiar), personas are lifelike, highly specific representations of customers. For instance, a basic persona may look something like this:

Jillian is 32 and assists in buying MarTech systems for her company. She values being able to do her research independently. Being tech-savvy, Jillian appreciates high-level content detailing the functions of the MarTech she’s looking into. Although she’s a thoughtful and independent buyer, she likes open lines of communication should she have questions, particularly when that comes in the form of a consistent sales representative.

Of course, this is just a basic example — most companies create significantly more specific personas by using their own data and research while also making personas representing different subsets of target demographics.

Plan Outreach

Now that we’ve created our personas, we can begin using them to map our buyer’s journey, and one of the first things we’ll do is plan our outreach.

Knowing that Jillian is tech-savvy, wants to do her own research, yet still values the ability to interface with a sales representative, we might choose to send her something that is both personally inviting and incorporates digital elements.

This could be a dimensional mailer from a sales representative with a short video displayed on a touch screen. After the video ends, Jillian can explore the pre-loaded content to get a better idea of what capabilities the MarTech system has to offer, including a QR code to download a more technical eBook outlining the finer points of the MarTech.

Identify Obstacles, Friction and Bias

We can also use personas to familiarize ourselves with the obstacle customers regularly face. It’s crucial to use personas in this way to gain a better understanding of our customers by putting ourselves in their shoes. 

Identify the pain points they may encounter in their buyer’s journey. For our Jillian persona, that would include things like limited availability of information surrounding the product, difficulty conducting independent research, or trouble contacting a representative with questions.

Our job becomes about removing these pain points and ensuring our fictional company has sufficient information available for those looking to research our products independently, providing varying depth of available content ranging from introductory to technical, and creating an environment where sales representatives are easily accessible through phone, email or online chat.

Update and Maintain Your Personas

People and companies change and this change necessitates the updating of personas to match. Constantly going back to your data and research — figuring out what works and what doesn’t — will fine tune your personas into more potent tools as you continue to use them.

Remember, it’s crucial to make unique personas representing different people going through different buyer journeys.

These tactics — using personas to enhance buyer journeys — can make a huge difference in how small and large companies approach marketing. A better understanding of your customer leads to better marketing, and an enhanced experience for them means enhanced sales for you.

Interested in learning how our services can improve you buyer journey? Contact us to learn more about what Strata can do for you.

How to increase the effectiveness of your next dimensional mail campaign

In the world of direct mail marketing, dimensional mail has become the unrivaled king.

A well strategized and executed dimensional mail campaign has the ability to yield consistently high ROI and for your money — figuratively and literally — there’s almost nothing better.

Almost.

There’s one exception — dimensional mail including a promotional item.

Sure, including a promotional item in your next dimensional mail campaign will be an additional investment, but it’s an investment worthy of your careful consideration.

If you’re like many, you may be having trouble choosing the right promotional item for your next dimensional mail campaign.

Where plenty of marketing is purely data-driven, selecting a promotional item is as much an art as it is a science. The best promotional items not only demonstrate your thoughtfulness, but also showcase your ability to understand your recipients.

We’ve got you covered. Here are our four criteria for picking the perfect promotional Item.

1. Is it Useful?

Make sure your promotional item is genuinely useful.

You have an intimate knowledge of your audience, and when it comes to selecting a promotional item, that’s an invaluable asset. Use it to choose an item that won’t just become clutter.

Remember: A frequently used promotional item will make your business an equally frequent thought.

2. Is it Personal?

Many direct marketing efforts are based on a macro approach — cast a wide net and see what hits. Dimensional mail typically takes a micro approach to marketing, and its primary strength comes from intense personalization.

Skip the generic and use your market research. Don’t be afraid to go niche when choosing promotional items for a highly segmented audience.

3. Is it Shareable?

When people hear “sharable” we immediately jump to other words like “viral”, but in this case, we’re not talking about social media — we’re talking on a significantly smaller, but perhaps more meaningful scale.

A good promotional item may make its rounds within the office, as well as between friends and family. This not only gives you the chance to make an impression on your recipients, but their circles as well.

Given the types of people generally targeted in high-value dimensional mail campaigns — think B2B buyers and executive teams — this word of mouth marketing could manifest itself in surprisingly big ways.

4. Can it be Shipped Easily?

This is perhaps the most obvious point on our checklist, so we’ll spare you most of the details, just make sure whatever promotional item you choose is light, not oversized, and isn’t a perishable food item. That said, if you’re willing to invest in extra shipping costs, have at it.

The good news is this: Choosing the right promotional item isn’t that difficult. If you’ve made it this far into a dimensional mail campaign, chances are your audience is already highly segmented. Couple that with our four-point checklist and choosing the perfect promotional item couldn’t be easier.

Want to know more about dimensional mail campaigns and other direct mail best practices? Contact us to learn more.