Personalization

From QR Codes to Concise Copy

Direct mail trends can be difficult to forecast, and even harder to use correctly and efficiently. However, you’re in luck, because as direct mail experts, we’re providing you with the top 10 direct mail trends – from QR Codes to concise copy – that have and continue to dominate 2021.

1. QR Codes

In the last few years, QR codes have really built a name for themselves. Not only because of their quick, digital nature, and the 2% postage cost break that comes with them, but because of their data-backed effectiveness. When a QR code is included in a way that makes sense- it provides a time-saving benefit to the customer while letting the company lead their customer exactly where they’d like them to go.

Although the year 2020 was detrimental for most industries and marketing tools, the QR code flourished. During a time where we didn’t want to physically touch anything, QR codes made up for physical marketing pieces like menus, signage, print ads, and flyers, leading customers from physical to digital – and quickly. The more QRs were seen, the more used to them we became (similar to our newfound familiarity with masks and hand sanitizer). And they’re still going strong in 2021.

Like we said, QRs lead customers to wherever a company would like them to go. They can provide helpful information, send the customer to a website, or even lead them to purchase.

2. Postcards on the Rise

Envelopes – they’re great and all, but let’s be honest, they add a few seconds (at least) to the time it takes to open (and read) direct mail. These days, it’s often better to send a postcard due to its more creative, eye-catching nature and faster access to information. Making it easier to read your call-to-action can often make customers more likely to respond to an offer or even visit a website or landing page for more information. Plus, they’re lower in cost – which means a better chance of higher ROI for your campaigns. As you can see below, postcards pushed past self-mailers and envelopes this year by quite a bit.

3. B2B Dimensional Mailers

These fun, three-dimensional, interactive mailers are the perfect way to stand out and cut through the clutter of everyday mail. “On the B2B side, dimensional mail is working well; because we all receive so many packages today, prospects want to open it and see what’s inside,” says Grant Johnson, Owner and CEO of Responsory. Although more costly and demanding in terms of postal handling, dimensional mail has the best B2B response rate at 8.51%. Check out our blog on the best secrets to a successful dimensional mailer campaign to get started on your own.

4. Better Segmentation with Data

“Accessing 1st and 3rd party data to further segment an audience will continue to play a huge role in a DM campaign’s success. If you’re able to align targeted messaging and great creative with those different segments, then that’s a recipe for increased response rates. Furthermore, surrounding that DM send with a similar message/offer through various digital channels will only add to that campaign’s success. Being able to hone in on delivery dates and putting an emphasis on speed to market are big contributors to making a direct mail/digital integration program thrive.”

– Mike Efstathios, Business Development at ICS Corporation

Data, data, data. It’s all everyone can talk about these days – and for good reason. Enriching your data qualifies your audience, and in turn, increases your ROI. And, if your marketing strategy is multi- or omnichannel, the customer experience becomes even more successful. While better segmenting your data may cause your audience to shrink, it will definitely cause your engagement to grow. Like we always say – it’s better to target the right people than all the people.

5. Increased Personalization

88% of marketers recently reported seeing better campaign metrics after using personalization in their advertising. More than ever before, the need for marketers to make human connections is extremely relevant, and some may even say necessary. The majority of our population feels they’ve lost personal connections and relationships due to the pandemic. Because of this, 2020-2021 has been the time to make up for lost connections by personalizing materials to bond with your audience and make them feel seen, heard, and human. Check out our blog on the best ways to get personal, here.

6. Higher Response Rates

Since the beginning of 2021, we’ve seen a rise in direct mail response rates. Why? More time at home means more time to go through – and even pay attention to, mail. And as the trend of working from home and staying at home has continued and even increased, response rates don’t seem to be dwindling anytime soon.

However, high response rates don’t just come from people staying put. They come from quality tracking, targeting, design, and audience awareness. For more tactics to increase response rates, visit this blog.

7. Interactive Direct Mail

In today’s world, we’re surrounded by technology. And with all of this technology, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be incorporating it into our direct mail efforts. 2021 brought new technology and an abundance of data that empowers companies when targeting audiences and crafting content. Next time you’re sending direct mail – think about how far you can go with it. Can it include a scratch-off? A game? A free kit or item? A contest? It’s pretty limitless.

8. Digital Prompts

Direct mail isn’t only a way to reach customers, but an excellent way to reinforce online efforts. Simply use social icons, QR codes, or other prompts to send customers to social platforms, websites, menus, forms, landing pages – you name it! Marketers are definitely catching on to this direct mail tactic, as usage of digital prompts has doubled in the last four years. Take a look at the chart below to see how the use of digital interactions has increased.

9. Concise Copy

It’s one thing to know what you want to say, but knowing how to say it is the real key to direct mail effectiveness. Throughout 2021, we’re seeing shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, fewer bullet points, and obvious CTAs. Your audience’s attention span is only so long, so catching the ears and eyes right away is crucial.

Below is a great example of how Amazon has practiced this and changed their copy to be more concise and clearer. Even at just a quick glance, the message is less overwhelming and more approachable.

Need some help with your direct mail copy? We’ve got a blog for you on ways to write action-inspiring content.

10. Investing in Direct Mail Tools

Although it’s not always top of mind, the right tools are one of the most important components of great direct mail. If you haven’t looked into or invested in marketing and data tools, you should be, because they can take your direct mail from general and stale to effective and exciting, and in turn, save you time and money. Instead of targeting the wrong contacts or using the wrong design elements, the right tools will ensure your mailer looks great and is sent to people who will actually open and engage with it.

Consider changing your format, ink, paper, or finish. Update your branding, content, or calls to action. Or, try technology like USPS Informed Delivery to reach consumers in a modern way.

So, there you have it! 10 effective direct mail trends that took off this year. If you’re interested in learning more about enhancing your direct mail, feel free to contact the experts at Strata. We’re happy to get you started with some great direct marketing materials.

A Look at Some of Our Favorite Customer-Focused Campaigns

Although we could write several blogs about all the great marketing campaigns that inspire and motivate us to be the best marketers possible and make the most effective material – in this blog, we’re looking at a few that we really admire because of how relatable and real they are. We’ll be breaking them down, thinking through what made them so successful, and in turn – helping you brainstorm your next campaign. Follow along as we dive into these customer-centric campaign leaders.

Apple’s #ShotoniPhone Campaign

No matter where you’re located – you’ve likely seen this one around town. On billboards, buses, signs, or online. iPhone and Apple’s popularity is pretty known, but what we didn’t know when the iPhone first became popular was that it would eventually completely replace the digital camera. And that’s what this campaign shows; that you can take photos with your iPhone that are as beautiful as a camera that would cost you thousands. That’s great and all, but that alone would not convince people of today. So, why’s this campaign so successful? It gets real people involved. It’s relatable. The photos are not only from real Apple customers – but include their names. If someone wanted to, they could look up the name of the person in the bottom corner associated with taking the photo and learn more about who that person is. The best part? Not all of these people are photographers, showing that anyone could use the iPhone to take great photos. This tactic is pretty genius and builds trust – as no one would really care if it was simply a generic photo that easily could have been taken on a Canon. “According to various studies, over half (51%) of Americans trust user-generated content more than other information on a company website and claim that it influences what they buy and where they buy it from.”

Coors Light’s #CouldUseABeer Campaign

Another campaign that spoke to the general public and got them involved during a difficult time? Coors Light’s #CouldUseABeer. After a photo of a quarantined, 93-year-old woman asking for a beer went viral, Coors Light engaged with its audience by offering free six packs to anyone who was tweeted about (who – you guessed it, could use a beer). This tactic of giving away free items may seem pretty crazy, but it can go a long way. Although Coors Light gave away over 500,000 beers, their name was tweeted about again and again, which led them to trend, and boosted their reputation in a time of need.

American Apparel’s Direct Email Marketing

Known for being trendy and modern, American Apparel is no stranger to effective, up-to-date, customer-centric marketing. We’re specifically impressed with their to-the-point email marketing. No frills, no fluff – just what the customer wants (sales, discounts, and freebies). American Apparel always ensures that there’s no guesswork for their customers. Simple and sleek, their emails are call-to-action forward without being in-your-face.

Mercedes’ “Like You” Campaign

How do you relate a high-end brand to a broader audience of customers? Relate it to them, literally. Mercedes’ “Like You” campaign did just that. Called to several different types of audiences with phrases like, “Detail-obsessed, like you”, “Groundbreaking, like you”, “Original, like you” and “Curious, like you”. And not only was this phrasing compelling, but consistent. For the span of the campaign, potential customers could find the phrasing on billboards, signs, online ads, and on tv. The consistency was key, in that potential customers began to associate themselves with the brand and possibly even buy a Mercedes.

Airbnb’s Use of User Generated Content

Similar to Apple’s tactic, Airbnb uses the photos, videos, and feedback of its customers in its campaigns to promote beautifully classic or uniquely interesting places to stay. “Millennials spend 30% of their media time (5 hours/day) engaged with user-generated content (UGC). Coincidently, this is the same generation that drives Airbnb’s success in the sharing economy.” Airbnb keeps things personal and personalized by including its audience, which facilitates a happy and loyal community of customers.

Coca Cola’s Share a Coke Multichannel Campaign

We all know this one. There’s nothing more personal than having your own name on a Coke bottle – which is exactly what Coca Cola did for its ongoing “Share a Coke” campaign. Whether you customize your bottle or simply find your name in store, you’re likely to share it with the world through text, email, on social, you name it (no pun intended)! And its rollout in 2011 sure worked in building brand awareness, boosting sales, and creating positive brand recognition, as “Young adult consumption increased significantly during the campaign, up by 7%, making 2011 the most successful summer ever. The campaign earned a total of 18,300,000-plus media impressions.”

Spotify’s #2020Wrapped Campaign

If you have any form of social media, you’ll likely remember this campaign flooding your feed, and maybe you even took part in it. At the end of 2020, Spotify allowed its customers to see their year of music with “2020 Wrapped”, which compiled their listening into a lovely array of photos and stats. Viewers loved seeing their personal data compiled into a nicely packaged marketing piece – and loved sharing their interests with others. Smart on Spotify’s end, because it not only gave them free marketing, but boosted their recognition.

So, What Have We Learned?

If you haven’t noticed, most of these campaigns share one key factor; relatability. How can you use relatability to create effective campaigns, too? Know your audience. Before even starting to brainstorm a campaign, make sure you’re fully aware of who, where, and when you’re targeting. And when you do start your campaign based off your findings, use that data and understanding to carefully craft consistent messaging that includes clear call-to-actions and personalized, catered content. Use hashtags, giveaways, QR codes, PURLs, BRCs, and more to engage with your audience and include them in your campaign. And, when and if appropriate, sprinkle in some humor.

Interested in making an impactful, relatable campaign that can help boost your company’s marketing efforts? Not sure exactly where to start? Look no further. Strata’s here to help. Contact us today to get the brainstorming started.

All Your Questions Answered

There’s a lot of buzz around new mover marketing and the best ways to target potential new customers. And with all the attention and noise around it, the topic can get confusing and leave a lot of essential questions unanswered. Today, we’re going to answer all your questions about new mover marketing – and give you some insight into how to start a successful and smart new mover campaign.

Why should I target new movers in the first place?

Easy answer. With over 13% of Americans moving ever year, a ton of new movers are not only new to your area, but are looking for your business. They’re in a stage where they’re starting to develop what will become habitual shopping/buying habits and not looking for a reason to spend, but where to spend. Recent surveys show that 80% of new movers are willing to try new products since they’re in a new market and searching for new businesses and services. Also, how else are you going to replace those long-term, current clients that are moving out of your market area?

In what industries is new mover marketing effective?

Movers moving into a new house spend on average, $9,400 post-move, and that’s split into several different industries depending on the individual. When people move to new areas, they have several new (and already existing) needs that can only be met by several different industries. This means a new grocer, new healthcare provider, new dentist, new restaurants, a new gym… list goes on and on (and on).

Is it possible to segment who I target?

Yes, you can segment who you’re targeting based off age, demographic, and even by household income, to identify your ideal customer profile. The level of available segmentation depends on your new mover marketing partner and the technology that’s provided, but it can (and has been) done.

Can I have more than one touch point across several channels?

Absolutely! We recommend implementing multiple touch points that come from different angles. This means reaching your customers through several different channels, such as digital, direct mail, and email. All of these channels of communication, used together and correctly, are proven to show effective ROI. 

How can I grow my new mover market through direct mail?

With around 61% of customers finding direct mail influential in making purchasing decisions, it’s important to make it one of the cornerstones of your new mover marketing campaigns. Direct mail can be personalized for the consumer, be authentic to your brand, and provides opportunity to be creative with how you market products and services to your consumers. Mailers that typically work best for new movers are dimensional mail, postcards, and bi-folds with incentive items.

How can I grow my new mover customer base with digital ads?

Hand in hand with direct mail, digital ads are excellent in getting your company’s name across your potential customer’s device. Creating display and banner advertisements is an effective way to send customers to your website or to a specific landing page. The power of digital marketing often speaks for itself, so it’s important to have elements of it involved in your new mover marketing campaign to reach all potential customers – not just some.

What kinds of responses should I expect throughout my campaign?

This all depends on the structure of your campaign and what kind of responses you’re aiming for. For instance, if you include a business reply card (BRC) within your direct mailer, your response rate will be based off how many potential customers fill them out and return them. Furthermore, the more aggressive your offer is for a direct response, the greater the response will be. Responses typically vary between industry and how many different touch points are built into your campaign. Response rates can also be determined by digital ads based off the number of consumers that interact with your landing page by clicks or submitted forms.

What’s the best way to track responses from my campaign?

When executing a new mover marketing campaign, make sure the program you’re using can easily track all progress, responses, and data that comes with the campaign. Find a partner with access to technology that allows you to see real time responses for your campaign and gain intelligence from those responses to make adjustments as it’s executed.

How do I effectively set up a new mover marketing campaign?

Picking the right partner is everything when it comes to successfully setting up a new mover marketing campaign. The right partner will provide the right data, the right technology, and a partnership with strong content creators who will represent your brand correctly. Work with a company that understands your markets and has several years of experience.

Looking for ways to incorporate a new mover marketing strategy into your next campaign? Here at Strata, we have years and years (and years) of experience under our belts. We’re here to assist you with all your new mover marketing questions and needs. Contact us today.

How to Take Advantage of These
Tiny Lapses of Time

In today’s digital world, whether we realize it or not, we’re surrounded by buzzwords. As we evolve and try to keep up with the newest technology and trends, these buzzwords continue to evolve as well. These terms can be intimidating if you’re new to the digital marketing realm. However, they’re usually simply better ways to understand digital strategies, tactics, and optimizations available to your company. The more comfortable you get with buzzwords, the more involved your company can be with this ever-changing digital world, especially over your competitors. In this first blog of the “Buzzword Alert” series, we’ll be breaking down a very popular buzzword – the “micro-moment.”

Micro-Moments – What Are They?

“I want it NOW” is what today’s buyers are saying during their buying journey. They want immediate gratification, and they’re making decisions faster than ever before. This moment of instant need is called a “micro-moment”; the moment of intention when a consumer turns to their device to act on a need or want. Micro-moments are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences are shaped. In these specific moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever. Whether they’re looking to learn something, do something, discover, watch, or buy, they want to act in that exact moment. Since consumers are never too far from their devices and can find just about anything by the click of a button (91% of people use their mobile device to research information in the middle of a task), micro-moments are a game changer for many companies.

Why is it Beneficial to Know About These Moments?

Like we said, it’s so easy for consumers to quickly find something on their phones, giving your company the opportunity to utilize keyword research tools and social listening to help better understand where, when, and how they’re making purchasing decisions. These tactics will allow you to better optimize your products and services in real time based on your customer’s needs. And ultimately, this strategy will put you in a great spot (over your competitors) to offer more personalized content for your customers. If your company’s site pops up at the right moment and offers a buyer what they want, your brand’s performed a successful customer engagement. Maybe they’ll bookmark your page for later, send a link in a text message, watch a video, or – the end goal – buy your product.

How to Effectively Show Up in These Moments

Once you understand when and where your current and potential customers are showing up, make sure you are as well. The best way to show up and present your brand in these moments is to strategize being responsive and supportive. It’s one thing to make yourself available, but another to know how and what works best for your audience. Whether this is through a chat box, pop-up ad, or video, create a strategy that works across multiple channels so you don’t miss any potential customers. Usually, the more places you are, the better. Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, and/or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of that company’s brand. Make sure that when your customers are in these moments, they’re experiencing relevant content that resonates with them. Customers want deeper levels of engagement, so if you’re going to appear within their micro-moments, make your content something worth clicking on. With relevant information comes an effortless process to deliver it. Make your message intriguing yet simple to understand to minimize the chances of customer drop off. And if they do drop off – be sure to retarget. Autopilot found that brands who stay in touch with consumers every two to four weeks generate twice as many leads as brands who don’t. 

See These Moments in Action

Here’s an example of relevant and easy placement. You’re on your computer streaming your favorite show and – in this moment – ads for the brand “Missguided” appears – offering relevant, related content. This clothing company’s advertising the same clothing women are wearing on the show you’re streaming. The brand’s realized that their target audience is often interested in this show, providing them the perfect moment to bring these outfits to your attention.

Another example? L’Oréal’s created a personalized mobile app called “Makeup Genius.” Within this app, when you take a picture of yourself, you receive customized makeup recommendations. These are rendered on the screen, and soon after, the app allows you to purchase the recommended makeup right from your phone. Here, L’Oréal both creates and takes advantage of these micro-moments of need.

In marketing, the name of the game is thinking ahead and being one step in front of your competitors and consumers. Micro-moments are all about showing up at the right time and place, with relevant and easy-to-digest information.

Interested in working micro-moments into your next digital marketing campaign? We are here to help! Contact us.

Bring Your Campaign to the Next Level

With over 40 million people moving every year, there’s a huge market for new customers moving into your target area. That said, many businesses have no idea where to start when it comes to targeting and reaching these new movers. Today, we’ll give you an overview of what new mover marketing is, the customer journey that a new mover takes, and the best channels and campaigns to reach them. Let’s dive in!

From Movers to Buyers

One of the most important things to realize about new movers is that they’re currently nobody’s loyal customer (yet). They’re a key group to target because they’re open to new businesses and products, and on average, develop 72 or more new business relationships within one year of moving. They’re also 5 times more loyal than your regular customer due to being new to the area. Once they find something they like, they’re willing to frequently buy it with ease. Making up 17% of the U.S. population, you can’t afford to miss these walking (and unpacking) opportunities. So, how are their (frequently loyal) buying habits formed? New movers are heavily influenced by timing. Whether you contact them before or after their move decides how they feel about your communication, and what they’ll do about it…

Pre-Move Buying Habits

Data shows that movers begin to stock up on home items right before they move. Products such as kitchen utensils, light fixtures, and everyday household tools are high on their list during this pre-move time.

Post-Move Buying Habits

After their move, new home buyers are likely to spend an average of $9,400, while renters spend around $4,700. Still, this number varies with age, area and demographic. Most of these buying decisions are made within the first few months of moving, which makes it the best time for your company to make contact, introduce yourself, and showcase your product.

A new mover’s first purchases will depend on their personal needs and priorities. For instance, a mover with medical needs may find a doctor immediately, while a mover with a large family may first find a new grocery store. Either way, they’ll have to find both eventually – and it’s likely they will within the first few months. Thankfully, new movers don’t need to be convinced to buy (they’re already more than ready), you’ll just need to convince them to make the right buy (from your company).

Staying in Touch

It’s not only important to get in touch with these potential loyal customers, but to stay in touch. After making a strong first impression, you’ll want to make more points of contact to ensure your company stays top of mind. It’s essential you have a good combination of marketing across several channels that are strategically picked and placed.

New Mover Marketing Tactics

There are several ways to reach these new movers, first, but since we’re experts – we’ll tell you the best ones. First is direct mail. Direct mail ideally arrives at the same time or a few days after new movers enter your neighborhood. Delivering direct mail that welcomes and attracts the new mover while introducing your business is a great way to begin an ongoing relationship. And the stats back this up – as 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail. Direct mail is perfect as a first touch to new movers, as it’s personalized, meets them in their new home, and catches them at the right time.

A great way to ensure this direct mail delivers ROI is through BRCs (business reply cards) or eBRCs with incentives. A BRC is a vehicle that allows a prospective customer to provide information to send back to your business, and if incentivized, can return high response rates and bring you valuable customer data.

What’s the next best channel for reaching new movers? Digital advertising. Hand in hand with direct mail, digital ads can create brand awareness, link to your chosen landing page, and target specific online audiences. Digital advertisement placement and audience targeting are the top optimization tactics used by advertisers today.

Email is next – and combined with both direct mail and digital ads, email can be that final touch that brings your company new customers. Using either the BRC information or engagement with digital ads, emails are easy to obtain, making it almost effortless to add new customers to your automated or personalized promotional email campaigns.

The Visible Influence

New mover marketing allows marketers to influence movers’ buying decisions from the beginning of their move all the way until they walk into your doors. It’s about building immediate and vital relationships – because once a new mover buys from you and your shop, they’re 90% more likely to become a repeat customer.

If you want to dig even deeper, it’s smart to use a program that gives your business insight into your customers – such as live statistics and touchpoint behaviors. These meaningful insights will allow your shop to make enhancements on the fly and improve your campaigns, ultimately increasing ROI.

If you successfully target new movers, create convenient touchpoints that meet their needs, and maintain conversation as they have questions and reach out, the new mover will not only finish their journey as a customer, but as a loyal, repeat one. Looking for ways to incorporate a new mover marketing strategy into your next campaign? With years and years (and years) of experience under our belts, we’re new mover marketing experts. Contact us today.

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.