Personalization

How to Attract Your Audience

Video ads aren’t anything new, but keeping up with the rise of their increasing online presence is. Most of us don’t even realize how often we come across video ads. With so many different apps and sites, it’s important to get your company’s video ads out there, in the right places, and noticed. The key is to look beyond traditional practices and dig deeper into the variety of different ways and places you can utilize them. Follow along as we take you through best practices for video ads.

Rise of Video

With the rise of social media and its many marketing uses; video advertisements have been more popular than ever before. So popular that, in the past 30 days, more video content has been uploaded than video created by major U.S. television networks in the past 30 years. Moreover, it’s estimated that the average person currently spends 100 minutes every day watching online videos. This is a 19% increase compared to daily viewing minutes in 2019, which stood at 84. What all of this means is that it’s not just that people are watching more video than ever before, but that competition for this space is on the rise. Stay on top of new trends and ways to engage your audience over your competitors with our five tips and tricks, below.

1. Choose the Right Video & Placement

The right video placement can be the determining factor for your video advertising success. Before anything else, make sure your company has a clear idea of where you want these ads to be – and where they’ll best meet your potential customers. Here are four highly successful video ad placements to keep in mind as you’re getting started.

Skippable in-Stream Ads: Skippable, in-stream ads play before, during, or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad.

Non-Skippable in-Stream Ads: Non-skippable in-stream ads are 15 seconds (or shorter) and play before, during, or after other videos. Viewers don’t have the option to skip the ad. 

Native Video Ads: This video ad format blends in with the website’s layout for a seamless interaction.

In-Banner Video Ads: In-banner video ads are videos built inside a banner ads.

Knowing these four placements can allow for your brand and message to be properly delivered the way you’d like it to be within your diverse video ads.

2. Captivate

When we say captivate, we mean make a good first impression. It’s best to keep your videos around 15-60 seconds, because most of your audience may drop off if your ad drags on too long. The message may begin to get drawn out and blurry, causing the viewer to forget it. Short and sweet is the rule of thumb, and grabbing their attention in those first 3-5 seconds is key. You really don’t have much time before the viewer may click “skip ad” or exit out completely. Keep users engaged by using upbeat music, compelling questions, humor and more, based on your brand voice. Once you have your general ad idea ready, figure out the best place to position the ad. 79% of the people say a video ad has convinced them to buy a product or software – so make sure its length and creative makes it memorable. Not sure where to start? Take a look at one of our personal video ads below for inspiration.

3. Personalize

Online video ads tend to differ heavily from traditional television ads. This is primarily due to the personalization of online ads. Using personalization tactics can give you an impactful advantage over your competitors, so take advantage of this and research and study your customer demographics to better understand their behavior and buying patterns to properly place your ads in the right places. For example, if one of your demographic audiences viewed your services and clicked through the contact us page, but didn’t submit any information, you can infer that they got the chance and had the time to go through your website (showing some interest) and look over your services, but weren’t ready to take any next steps. In this case, a video ad with personalization could be used to help them progress, reading something like, “Learn more and get in contact with xyz to see how x company can help you with…” This way, you’re serving as an outlet and solution to their unanswered questions, and gently pushing them make that next step, instead of placing an ad for them to see that doesn’t apply to their current situation. The same goes for the placement of the video ad. If you find that the majority of your audience is viewing your content on Facebook or Instagram, place an ad within these platforms. Similarly, if you’re communicating a lot through email with potential customers, place a video ad in an email. An initial email with a video ad can receive an increased click-through rate of 96%. And, using the word “video” in your email’s subject line can increase open rates by 19%, click through rates by 65%, and cut the number of unsubscribes by 26%.

4. Make it Relevant

Make sure your ads are relevant. Don’t just interrupt your viewer in the middle of their browsing or shopping – add value to their day. Make them do a double take when scrolling to keep your company top of mind for your high performing audiences. The best way to do this is by empathizing with their needs and pain points, especially right off the bat (like we said, in that first 3-5 second). It’s helpful to create different or slightly different versions of the same video ad to ensure they fit seamlessly into whatever page they are placed on.

5. Represent Your Brand

Be sure, possibly above anything else, that each video is a good representation of your brand. Add a logo into the corner of the ad, or place it strategically within the video on certain frames. 3X more people are engaged with an ad when a brand name and message is presented in the first 10 seconds. Also be sure to include a clear & concise call to action (CTA), and use ad copy space to provide additional information about your product or service that didn’t make it into the video. You can even try adding a short teaser phrase or question to the video that compels people to view longer or check out your website, blog, landing page, or other platforms.

Reach Your Target Audience

Lastly, partner with advertising creatives to get your video ads done efficiently and in a timely manner. Having captivating, personalized, relevant information that’s positioned correctly will ultimately put your company in the best position possible to reach your target audience. If you’re looking to learn more about video ads, feel free to contact our skilled creative marketing team, here.

With the Top 10 (Other) Best Rebrands & Refreshes

We can’t believe we’re already celebrating the one-year anniversary of Strata’s brand refresh. It’s been quite a year (to say the least). But we can honestly say that, with all of the struggles of 2020-2021, our brand refresh wasn’t one of them. If it did anything (and it did a lot), it definitely brought us together, made us more confident, and better showcased our personality, vision, team, and solutions. The brand refresh catapulted Strata into 2020, helping us solidify our style and services, attract new talent, and stay inspired.

When we decided we needed a new look – we had to pick between a full rebrand or a refresh. For us, the answer was easy. A complete rebrand would have required scrapping our identity and starting from scratch, where a refresh allowed us to keep our main identity and strategy intact. Our brand was strong with our current clients and we had a great reputation as problem solvers and solutions experts – so a refresh was perfect for what we needed to do.

With any rebrand or brand refresh – “consistency across all channels is key”. Over the past year, we’ve ensured that all our materials – from website to print, are on-brand.

Since we now have a bit of rebrand and refresh experience under our belts, we wanted to take a look at the top 10 best company rebrands and refreshes (in our eyes) besides Strata’s, of course.

Our Top 10

Dropbox

Dropbox refreshed its brand in 2017, and it was nothing short of successful. The company worked with design studio “Collins” to create a cleaner and simpler logo and lots of illustrative elements to better connect with their primarily creative and collaborative audience.

Airbnb

Airbnb did a full rebrand in 2014 with Design Studio, sending their team of designers to 13 cities to truly immerse themselves in Airbnb’s offerings, community, and mission. It resulted in a beautiful brand that differentiated Airbnb from its similar competitors. The CEO of Airbnb even stated, “When I look at this brand, I suddenly realized everything I’ve been trying to say, now we have a way to express it.”

Walmart

“There are very few companies in the world that managed to change the public perception of their brand as successfully as Walmart did.” In 2008, Walmart made this change to get away from their “always low prices” slogan that often-made customers feel like it was also “always low quality”. They also wanted to steer clear of the questionable corporate practices they were called out for in the early 2000s. So, Walmart did a complete 360 with a whole new brand from redesigned stores to a new look and personality.

Southwest

We love this brand refresh because it reminds us of ours. Without a complete overhaul, Southwest changed its look and logo to showcase their humanity and heart – literally.

Guinness

Good old Guinness. Many love it, others don’t, but it always holds true that Guinness makes us feel like we’re back in the olden days, sipping a brew in the pub. Instead of following the crowd of flat logo designs, Guinness actually added detail to its logo in 2016, working “with real harp makers to breathe new life into the legendary logo” that “could be built into an actual harp that would work properly and be in tune.”

Starbucks

Starbucks is loved by many – and dare we say it – is mainly successful because of its brand (although we do love it a latte). They’ve made slight changes over time to the brand, always increasing their user experience and recognizability with a “distinctive color scheme, typography, and illustrations.”

Taco Bell

You may not have really noticed Taco Bell’s brand refresh until now – but its cleaner, simpler look has helped it stay relevant among its many fast food and taco chain competitors. Along with this well-done refresh, Taco Bell has been named “one of the healthiest fast-food chains in America,” so, they’re doing quite well.

Mastercard

In 2016, Mastercard conducted a refresh with Pentagram to emphasize “simplicity, connectivity and seamlessness.” It’s simple and sleek look of just the famous two overlapping circles is surprising, but logic-based. “The change follows research by Mastercard that found that more than three quarters of people asked were able to identify the brand from the two interlocking circles alone.

Burger King

For the first time in 20 years, Burger King conducted a brand refresh with a new logo, uniforms, and packaging – and we love its nostalgic look. The new logo is actually very close to BK’s logo design from the 70s-90s. The creative agency on the project wanted to “pay homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple and fun.”

Intel

Last but not least, Intel’s 2020 refresh caught our eye because of its subtle hints to past logos. Again, it refers back to their past while being currently relevant. “This new logo includes elements of both (past logos), but in a much more subtle, minimalist way.”

To take a more in-depth look back at our brand refresh, visit our original refresh blog, here. If you’re looking to make your branding and marketing communications more effective and efficient, give Strata a call.

Get to Know These Tracking Treats

Within the world of marketing, there’s a lot of buzz around the topic of cookies and what the future holds for tracking website visitors and generating personalized advertisements. While the topic’s relevant, not many people are completely informed on what cookies are and the impact they have on our ability to create better customer experiences. In this blog, we’re going over what cookies are, the differences between first-party and third-party cookies, and the future of online tracking.

So, What Are “Cookies”?

Although many of us are “foodies” here at Strata, and could talk about a good dessert all day, this blog isn’t about Oreo or Chips Ahoy. We’re talking about web “cookies” – text files put into a user’s browser page while they’re visiting a website. Cookies are known by several names – web cookie, internet cookie, browser cookie, or HTTP cookie, but they’re all the same, and in general, they track and log browsing activity against identification data such as IP addresses. Why is this information useful? Primarily, cookies help save information about a user in order to personalize their website experience and the advertisements they’re shown.

While cookies have enjoyed a childhood free of regulation, their “free-willy” time is coming to an end with recent regulatory initiatives driven by an increase in public concern over internet privacy. The first major change came when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made consent mandatory in order to track visitors on a website. To give you a feel for the impact of GDPR – about 11% of users click to “accept all cookies”, 76% of users ignore the banner completely, 12% close the cookie banner, and 0.5% of users actually open up cookie settings, read through terms and agreements, and sometimes make adjustments. These numbers are misleading, however – what GDPR essentially did was force the user to choose between viewing the desired content and accepting cookies OR (with exceptions) leaving the site entirely. So, while it looked good – almost all of the visitors in the stats above were still being tracked.

At this point, you might be thinking that we need to eradicate the cookie – if so, hold that thought. Cookies almost always make your experience on the web better – they’re your friend, not your enemy. To solve privacy concerns – which is the intent of all privacy-centric regulation – we’ll need to jump down a level. There are two major types of cookies – First-Party and Third-Party. Both contain the same pieces of data and technically can conduct the same actions, but they’re created differently, used differently, and have different benefits for distinctive situations. Let’s get into each one.

First-Party Cookies

Simply put, first party cookie technology is usually installed or authorized by a website’s owner and only tracks that user across that specific website. First-party cookies are set on the publisher’s server or on the JavaScript loaded to the website. Their defining technical feature is that, for the most part, only the domain that created the cookie can access it, thus they are seen as less invasive and are more welcomed by users.

These cookies allow website owners to collect analytical data, remember individual user settings or content (remembering what’s in a user’s shopping cart, their language preferences, or their username and password), and perform useful functions to provide better user experience. That last part is important – first-party cookies primary purpose is to deliver more relevant, user-friendly experiences to individuals. If you’d like to see the difference they make, just clear your browser cache and visit some of your favorite websites.

Third-Party Cookies

Contrasting first-party cookies, third-party cookies are not created by the domain of the website the user’s currently visiting, and therefore, can often seem intrusive and un-welcomed. This type of cookie is placed by another site, such as an advertiser or social media platform like ad.doubleclick.net – and is separate from the home domain. These cookies are usually used for online advertising purposes, and are added through a script, code, or tag to track a user across several websites. Enabling these cookies can help users see relevant discounts and catered advertisements, but can also possibly involve them in a breach of privacy. For this reason, third-party cookies are blocked by many browsers, and are currently being chastised as unethical.

Phase Out of Third-Party Cookies

In February of 2020, Google announced its phase out of third-party cookies by 2022. When this occurs, it will cause 56% of web browsers (the percentage that use Google Chrome) to block their use automatically. As stated by Google, their reasoning for forcing this phase out is to increase security and protect the user. You have to wonder, however – are ethics the driving principle here, or is this a strategic move to further corner the digital advertising market?

All-in-all, this change won’t make as much of a difference as you’d think, as a 2017 study showed that 64% of tracking cookies were already being blocked as users surfed the web. Those at Google seem to think that third-party cookies will not be replaced by another resource due to increasing privacy concerns, but they’ll continue to “support first-party relationships on our ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers.”

What’s Next for Cookies?

No matter what the circumstances with third-party cookies, first-party cookies are definitely here to stay. If configured correctly, they’ll continue to function within most browsers – even if those browsers block third-party cookies. So – fear not – first-party cookies will provide marketers hindsight and insight on your website visitors for the foreseeable future – even if you might now be forced to use Google to reach them.

Now that you know a bit more about cookies, you may be motivated to improve and optimize your next digital marketing campaign. If so, contact us today.

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.

Ready, Set, Go!

The speed of modern technology can’t be stopped, no matter what’s thrown at it (worldwide pandemics included). Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, BAM, a new statistic or technology is released that changes everything. But, keeping up with these changes and staying ahead of the game is what ultimately brings success.

2020 brought us a variety of different trends that were highly utilized throughout the year (whether we liked it or not). However, what really took the cake in 2020 was the influx of virtual and augmented reality trends. They became massively popular and their popularity is growing even more as we enter 2021. In fact, this virtual world has and is continuing to open many doors (windows) to digital marketing opportunities. For instance, we’re able to host events and conferences from our personal living spaces. It’s basically changing the way we interact and broadening the mediums we communicate on.

So, with that being said, let’s see what’s predicted for the long-awaited 2021.

Covid-19 Did What Now? Created Trends?

Yes, yes it did. A global pandemic actually did cause some marketing trends to arise. To start, video calls sky-rocketed, becoming one of the largest and most “convenient” ways of communication in this new norm. But that’s not the craziest part. What is? That these digital pivots have become permanent. Businesses have started to turn roles into indefinite remote positions, making virtual the new, permanent norm. Who would have thought?

Sure, it can be challenging to adapt to these shifts, but if there’s one good thing that came out of this trend, it’s that it’s made companies stronger. It’s made people step outside their comfort zones and change how they work – facilitating growth and unity.

On top of this, we’re expecting to see an increase in online content creation in 2021. Covid-19 showed us that if we’re not online, we might as well not exist. Online marketing is inevitably growing and businesses are investing and budgeting for it. With more people stuck at home, that means technology is one of their only connections to the world. Google claims that more than 90% of their users utilized devices for help and inspiration while in the middle of the task. So, here’s our suggestion – get your content online!

Personalization is Still King

Personalization is always a top priority – but even more so going into the new year. With the emergence of numerous online product design tools and platforms, customization is projected to be at an all-time high in 2021. More and more people are working remotely and that type of environment closes off the outside world and limits opportunities for connection. As a result, now, more than ever, finding ways to connect in a personalized manner is crucial. It’s an easy way to replace the face-to-face interaction we so dearly miss and let’s be honest, personal connections with potential buyers and current clients makes all the difference. But how do you get started? It’s relatively easy.

Start by figuring out what type of communication you want to use based on their preferences, interests and behavior. Since we can’t exactly use body language and other indicators to communicate, we must depend on tone and language. Then, tap into their behaviors and interactions through ads, social platforms, and other analytical tools. Finally, test and track what’s working and what’s not. At the end of the day, it can’t be a one size fits all approach, especially when you’re dealing with new marketing technology.

Micro-Moments are Macro-Important

Noun: An intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need to know, go, do, or buy.  

Micro-moments might be a new concept for you – and that’s OK. To get started, meet your customers where they are in their buying journey, whether that’s in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, or making their final purchasing decision. It’s important to respond quickly and catch them right away, wherever they may be in the process. After all, people lean heavily on instant gratification now that everything is a click away. There’s limited time during these micro-moments, and we don’t want you to miss out.  “When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.”

Omnichannel Marketing is on the Rise

2020 brought customers even more options to communicate with companies – whether that be by website, app, social media, email, text, etc. But true communication success is turning customer acquisition into customer retention – and that’s done by setting up proper and correct communication channels through omnichannel marketing. First and foremost, it’s about your customers, so focus on them when capitalizing on omnichannel marketing. This could be through above-and-beyond customer service, efficient navigation, specials for loyal customers, or simply creating well-rounded user experience that’s consistent in both visuals and messaging. Behavior, on the other hand, is the key to understanding any customer – and that’s the fundamental to creating your channel – knowing how customers will react. Since many people switched to an online presence in 2020 (43% to be exact), an omnichannel approach has basically become mandatory. And, as a result, we’re expected to see a bigger emphasis on multi-channel attributions, community efforts, and video within marketing.

So, What Trends Should You Focus On?

First things first, make sure you understand your company’s pain points, current marketing strategies, and overall goals to ensure you’re fully grasping what changes need to be made and how to implement them. Make, sure you know your target audience, and keep up with the way they shop and research your products and services. Along with this, it’s important to stay relevant – research, research, research – predict what’s to come, and work on fully understanding these upcoming changes in not only the market but in consumer behaviors. Keep track, listen, observe, and absorb.

2021: Be Prepared

As we said before, changes in 2020 happened at rapid speed, and it wasn’t always easy to prepare and keep up. We hope that we’ve provided you with some insight for 2021 that you may not have had going into 2020, because, as they say, hindsight is in fact…20/20. Ready to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 marketing? Contact us, and we’ll help you brainstorm and execute your next campaign.

How to Apply the Latest in eCommerce Functionality and UX Design to Increase Adoption

Digital capabilities and payment technologies have changed the way consumers shop; your colleagues are no different. Yet many businesses struggle to keep current internal marketing portals (also commonly referred to as “marketing stores”) that offer some form of ordering/purchasing features. Legacy marketing store systems were often built without scalability in mind, and thus many remain in a form where orders still have to feed through to purchasing departments or internal marketing teams for approval and fulfillment. Not providing a fully self-serve, user-friendly environment makes it harder for marketers to leverage all of the assets they’ve produced, and low self-sufficiency slows down customer-facing functions.

The lack of investment in these systems is understandable; they don’t directly correlate to the bottom line. But if you take the long view, they’re invaluable when it comes to brand and sales enablement. Customer-facing teams are among your best channels for promoting your brand. And with marketing increasingly being held accountable for justifying every expense, it’s critical that what you produce is visible and accessible to stakeholders.

The good news is that big hitters like Amazon and Zappos continue to update and perfect eCommerce, so companies wishing to upgrade internally-facing purchasing systems can capitalize on what is already in existence.

User Experience Is Top Priority

Research is increasingly confirming that one of the most critical determiners of the success of a web application is the user experience.

User Experience (UX) comprises a site’s look and feel, architecture, overall ease of use, shopping cart experience, and more.

You can leverage these very same principles to optimize efficiencies in your brand merchandise and marketing content ordering and purchasing portals. The superior UX and secure, controlled online purchasing available via your favorite websites can now be safely – and more easily – applied to better serve business stakeholders such as sales teams, distributors, and field marketers.

A UX-optimized marketing portal can accelerate many basic sales and marketing functions:

  • Increasing adoption and transparency: Pricing and inventory are readily visible and can be updated in real time. Purchasers are better informed, reducing the risk of order changes.
  • Improving internal perception of the marketing team: Providing excellent customer service always makes a good impression.
  • Speeding up purchasing, fulfillment, and billing: Put merch within users’ reach with features such as frequently purchased items and smart content: similar to what you see in eCommerce sites that feature product recommendations and related products.
  • Expediting order submissions and processing: Whether you need to change a ship-to on the fly or quick-ship 50 different pieces of merchandise to 50 different clients, those options are easy to access and process.

One aspect of customer experience that seamless eCommerce functionality does well is convenience. Users want to find what they’re looking for quickly, receive it hassle-free, and pay with their preferred method. While many older systems take in static requests that have to be routed to marketing teams for approval and fulfillment, a more streamlined portal enables automation that empowers users to take care of these processes themselves – easily and quickly.

And importantly, today’s best eCommerce-centric online marketing stores let users upload mailing lists to attach to their orders, rather than offering only a few predefined ship-to address options.

The Personalized Shop…

The level of personalization and ease of use that an eCommerce-style corporate marketing portal provides does well for internal brand perception. Consumers still highly value relationship – strong customer relationships boost loyalty, improve net promoter scores, reduce acquisition costs, and increase the likelihood of conversion, upsells, and expansion. Again, your colleagues are no different. When your tech can support them in every step of their tasks, you are building internal loyalty and teamwork.

Further, because eCommerce is primed to handle large amounts of data with minimal risk, it’s the ideal space to deliver personalized content and services and test new strategies.

…Integrated

If you integrate your internal corporate marketing portal with a robust content management system, you can take your online ordering and purchasing well beyond a more dated inventory library. You can deliver engaging content based on user activity and other data points.

You can also use personalization to move the relationship across channels conversational (chatbot-based) ordering and other purchase-based trigger communications. Such technologies make processes seamless, hassle-free, and scalable into the future.

Ready to talk about taking the best in UX and eCommerce to your online marketing store? Contact us to learn more.


Get the Right Analytics at the Right Time for More Dynamic, Successful Campaigns

When is it time to measure your new mover campaign’s performance – when it’s over? With a multichannel campaign, of course it’s essential to keep track of the many moving parts. But what if you could do even more? A campaign dashboard should give you a detailed, up-to-the-minute view of your campaign’s performance – so you can course correct as necessary, improve cost effectiveness, and leverage successes immediately.

Feedback – Now

New residents make decisions quickly, and you’re delivering a lot of information in a brief period. Give your direct marketing campaign the best chances of achieving optimal response. A campaign dashboard worthy of your marketing strategy should give you feedback in real time. This offers two enormous advantages:

  1. Course Correction
    If something isn’t working, you can recover quickly rather than learning only from hindsight. If you initially ran four or five different digital ads, but your dashboard is showing that engagement is coming mainly from just one or two of those, there’s your opportunity to pull the ones that aren’t working and double down on those that are.
  2. See What’s Working and Do More of That
    If your campaign is getting response from segments you didn’t anticipate, you can adjust to focus more attention on them. Let’s say you expected to receive responses from an even demographic distribution seeking a primary care physician, but your dashboard shows a surge in responses from women ages 24 to 34 looking for pediatrics. You can adjust your campaign to home in on those people and start building affinity even sooner.

Details, Please

A robust campaign dashboard will give you more than an overview – more than clickthrough rates or total of BRCs received. We now have the technology to quickly parse data to break down responses by age bracket, gender, income screen, neighborhood, and other demographic segments. You can also look at responses according to their interest in your products and services, whether you’re offering office supplies or ongoing healthcare.

In addition, you can learn a lot about which aspects of your campaign are working well. For instance, compare traditional business reply cards with electronic response. (Side note: Traditional BRCs are still highly effective in healthcare, where 69 percent of new-mover responses come through this medium.) Did Jane Smith access your website with the personalized URL on your direct mailer? Is your banner ad getting more clickthroughs than your display ad? All of this should be at your fingertips so that it informs not only your current campaign but future campaigns as well.

Consumers expect personalized service and relevant communications. To offer that you have to know, as soon as possible and in as much detail as possible, who’s engaging with your campaign and how. The sooner you get to know your market, the sooner you can convert prospective buyers into loyal customers.

SmartMove’s personalized campaign dashboard gives you a window into your new mover campaign. Contact us to learn more.

How PURLs Can Help You Track Your Customer’s Journey

The use of personalized URLs (PURLs) took root about a decade ago. Despite evidence that they can increase campaign effectiveness, PURLs remain an underutilized tactic in direct marketing.

On the other hand, marketers who use PURLs successfully know they can be an important component of a comprehensive multichannel strategy. PURLs offer both front-end (recipient experience) and back-end (tracking and evaluation) benefits.

So What Exactly Are PURLs, and Why Use Them?

PURLs involve creating unique web addresses – most typically, incorporating a direct marketing target’s name into the URL. They are ideal for any sort of direct mailer, particularly new mover and box mailer campaigns, as well as email campaigns.

From a recipient experience standpoint, personalized URLs can capture attention and serve to build a better personal connection. Because they include the recipient’s name, they instantly stand out and are more memorable, which can lead to increased page visits.

But their value in terms of back-end tracking and as a lead-nurturing tool are what really make PURLs a valuable touch in outbound marketing campaigns.

The Power of PURLs, from Tracking to Lead Nurturing

Industry experts agree that you can’t depend on the use of PURLs alone to significantly lift response – that is, marketers should not expect that they can simply include a PURL on a direct mailer and then sit back and wait for sales to stream in.

See Who’s Responding … And Who Isn’t

Rather, using personal URLs can supercharge your ability to conduct highly personalized, one-to-one lead nurturing. Using PURLs gives marketers the power to precisely track responses to each unique URL. The added value is the ability to track hits at an individual level – thus, you gain abandonment metrics at the user level in cases where prospects do not complete the online form.

Achieve Conversion with Tailored Follow-Up

Previously, when PURL technology was in its infancy, lead tracking involved little more than generating an Excel document. Now, online capabilities (e.g., dashboards) give marketers instant views of who is visiting their landing page, and who is not, allowing for execution of strategic follow-up.

For example, prospects who have visited their personalized landing page but have not yet completed the call to action (CTA) can be nurtured with specific outreach (e.g., an email drip campaign; a phone call; even a follow-up direct mail piece) to bring them closer to conversion. Marketing automation can help at this stage – for example, by triggering an email alert when a prospect visits a PURL or completes a CTA.

The Advantages of Working with a Data and Technology-driven Marketing Firm

While incorporating personalized URLs into a campaign isn’t difficult, the process does involve some technical steps that may cause many marketers to hesitate. Working with a specialized direct marketing agency with the in-house technology and expertise to create a PURL campaign not only saves time, but also helps ensure correct execution of these steps so that PURLs will render correctly.

Going this route allows marketers to simply hand over a list, and rely on the agency to build landing pages, generate PURLs using specialized software, and handle tracking and analytics.

Next Steps

Strata Company, a Greater Philadelphia area marketing and technology firm, specializes in creative multichannel approaches, including PURLs, that drive lead generation and conversion. With a focus on relevance and personalization, our data-driven programs consistently return higher-than-average results.

Print On Demand Systems and Variable Printing Software

Printing fulfillment at many companies – particularly large or growing organizations – can be prone to several issues:

  • Waste
  • Redundancy
  • Over-spending
  • Delays to market
  • Quality control

By implementing technology solutions to drive print processes, businesses realize significant cost savings, faster time to market and improved personalization. Higher-quality finished products are an additional benefit.

So how exactly do tech-driven printing approaches such as print-on-demand portals and variable printing software promote cost savings, quality and efficiency? Here’s the “fine print.”

Placing Print Orders in the Digital Age: Print as Ecommerce

A web2print system for print supply and distribution gives users all the ease of online shopping:

  • User-friendly Print Fulfillment
    Web-based portals store print jobs digitally. Users can easily search for and select the collateral needed, and customize according to approved modifications. The portal serves as an online catalog where users can “shop” for what they need in minutes rather than spend hours searching through multiple archives and folders to locate assets. A print-on-demand portal stores all job details: quantities, pricing, vendors, turnaround times, specs, logistics, etc.
  • Reduced Obsolescence and Tighter Inventory Control
    The “ecommerce” approach provides back-end benefits as well in terms of tracking print orders and reporting on usage. On-demand printing eliminates the need for mass-quantity print runs, thus decreasing storage needs and wasted spend on obsolete materials. (This also prevents potential customers from receiving collateral that’s no longer relevant, which happens more frequently than you’d think.)
  • Centralized Approach to Procurement
    A web-based print management system cuts down on the number of vendors a company needs to manage. This centralized approach opens up the opportunity to obtain lower price points by moving from individual transaction-based pricing to longer-term contract pricing.

Better Quality and Flexibility Means More Effective Print Marketing

  • Maintain Brand Consistency
    Compromising brand integrity can be a headache when it comes to customizing marketing materials. However, customization becomes much simpler – and controllable – with dynamic templates. Templates allow, for example, a local sales rep to incorporate regional information on a product brochure. It eliminates the dilemma of supplying local marketers with approved branding assets and crossing your fingers that they’ll use them properly. And corporate staff will thank you for the hours they gain back when they don’t need to constantly fulfill requests for customization.
  • Automate the Proof and Approval Process
    You have greater control over the finished product, with real-time editing capabilities and instant, interactive proofs. Goodbye human error and backlogs, hello accuracy and streamlined approval processes. Project tracking features can eliminate the back and forth and days-long waiting periods involved in traditional print processes.
  • Variable Data Print Capabilities
    Personalization is no longer the future of marketing – it’s arrived. Today’s leading marketers know that personalization is imperative to connect with targets and capture market share. Software that supports variable data printing can immediately pull in data to populate output, so you can fully leverage your customer data to create segmented mailings that support higher response rates and qualified leads. Beyond reducing costs, this aspect can actually contribute to the bottom line by driving higher response rates and sales.

How Can Technology Make Your Print Processes Smarter?

For more than 20 years, Greater Philadelphia-based Strata Company has helped clients leverage technology to save time and money. Our off-the-shelf software platforms and custom cloud-based solutions enable faster, more accurate print communications. We put the control over branding, workflows and ordering at your fingertips – and take the manual processes off your hands. Contact us to see how we can help.