Tag Archives: effective marketing

Marketing, employing certain behavior drivers

Market Like A Pro, Think Like A Scientist

Some might say marketing is a science of its own. During a direct marketing presentation at a recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conference, one expert claimed we can go a step further by taking a behavioral scientific approach when crafting a direct mail piece, ad, or any form of marketing collateral.

The thought is that studying human behavior and employing certain behavior drivers into your message can help produce a more effective marketing piece to achieve better results. While design is extremely important, the messages we craft — headlines, supporting copy and calls to action — tell the story.

So when creating your next marketing message, think about how you might incorporate these behavior drivers to help entice, encourage and inspire your audience:

  • Use eye magnet words.

Studies show there are words that capture readers’ attention. Here’s a sampling: New, Now, Soon, Free, Easy, Quick, Improved, Sale.

  • Employ the principle of scarcity.

To initiate the desired action, use phrases like: Limited time; Limit 2; Hurry, Offer ends soon; Just 5 days left.

  • Get personal.

Use the person’s name in the copy. Include personal information like the recipient’s past purchases, recognition of children, birthdays, authors they like, or restaurants they frequent.

  • Use social proof.

Social proof is the idea that if they like it, you’ll like it. This can be conveyed effectively through testimonials; and for a more powerful connection, use a testimonial by someone like your target audience. Phrases like: “Professional women across the country use,” “More mothers agree,” “Great for single fathers on the go,” are examples of using social proof.

  • Engage the road sign theory.

Icons and symbols can often make a more lasting impression than words. It works for traffic engineers, so why not marketers?

  • Add a dash of color.

Adding a dash of color has proven to increase the three important R’s: readership, recall and response. In one test, a utility company added a color block to its invoices, which resulted in customers paying 14 days earlier.

  • Provide a reason why.

When you add the word “because” and give readers a reason to believe, they are more likely to respond.

  • There’s power in the little things.

Easy to read fonts are more persuasive. Too much reverse type can cut your response by 50%. Handwritten sticky notes can increase response.

  • Consider the fear factor.

Avoidance of pain or missing out on something beneficial can be a great motivator. Using phrases like “say goodbye to creditors” or “no more pricking your finger” are examples of infusing fear in the message.

  • Use the principle of reciprocity.

Make it easy for your audience to take action. Provide a business reply envelope (BRE), website address, or map showing the location of your nearest store, for example.

The goal is to get consumers to pay attention, to create a relationship with your company or brand, and to ultimately purchase your product or service. As you consider which behavior drivers to use, think about what works best for your industry, your target audience and test it.

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What word gets a better response?

Get
Earn

Answer: Get. Earn makes it sound like work and will inhibit response.

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Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

5 Tips For Creating Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

Don’t work harder: Market smarter

It’s time for that marketing brochure to be updated or to create a direct mail campaign to generate new business, but you are questioning the expense. Before you even begin, there are key considerations that will help control your costs and create a greater impact.

It is no surprise that the most expensive factor in creating new marketing materials can be the cost of production. But, buyers beware: Reducing production costs is possible if you plan ahead.

A collaborative effort between the designer and the print vendor is key. Graphic designers will always have a vision when creating a project. Your job is to ensure your designer and print representative are in communication during the development process. A knowledgeable print representative should and will ask questions in order to determine options that can ultimately lead to cost-saving.

The List

Optimal results in a direct mail campaign can be attributed to a combination of things – cool eye catching designs, attention grabbing message, strong calls to action – but it all begins with the list. Are the addresses on your list accurate? Are you reaching the right audience?

All too often the mailing list is a last-minute thought pulled together after materials have gone to print. Supplying and processing mailing lists ahead of the print run will help reduce waste by establishing an accurate count number of your actual needs. Investing in a service to thoroughly cleanse your list can remove old records and improve accuracy. The cleaner the list is, the higher your return on investment.

Flexibility

Most innovative printers today are running various projects in combination to help offset costs.  If you are able to provide flexibility regarding paper stock and printing time you can take advantage of an opportunity to print your marketing materials in combination with others. This helps save you money up front by sharing the set-up costs.

Finish The Job

A large portion of the costs incurred producing marketing materials derive from the set-up costs, the materials and the cost of labor or time it takes to put your project together. The more finishing services you can complete in-line, the lower your overall cost. For example, if you need 20,000, 16-page, 8.5 x 11 catalogs, think about sourcing it to a printer that can fold and glue the spine on a web press, opposed to a vendor that can only print flat sheets and then must separately fold and spine staple your catalog off-line.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In any print project the actual size or dimensions of your piece can have a significant impact on production costs. A larger postcard means less pieces fitting on a page. The more units you are able to fit onto a full-size sheet, the less time your job spends on the press, which results in savings. Additional factors to strongly consider are the postal regulations on each direct mailer.  Reducing a standard 8.5 x 11 catalog to 6 x 10.5 can reduce postage by as much as $0.12 per piece depending on the weight.

The Digital Age

When you are printing a large volume and seeking a high quality finish, more conventional, off-set printing is the method of choice. But, advancements in technology now allow a greater level of customization with digital printing, which is typically best for short runs and quick turnaround times. Digital printing is perfect for a short run, four color, print on demand project, like business cards or postcards.

Managing the production budget of your marketing materials can easily get away from you and significantly increase costs with what appears to be small decisions or choices. Adding things like a fifth color or spot varnishes, choosing an out-of-the-ordinary paper stock, or even adding a small foil stamp can put you over budget.

As a former print production manager, I’ve been tasked with controlling costs on marketing collateral for many years. In looking beyond cost saving practices like size reductions, paper selection and combining production, one particular project comes to mind that is a great example of how planning with your team can save on costs.

The client had a limited budget, but needed 25,000 two-piece pull card window mailers, which traditionally require a great deal of handwork to put together. By involving the bindery supervisor in the design process, we created an automated one-piece mailer, with a zip strip opening and perfed-out windows on both sides. The automation not only saved roughly $3,000, the finished piece was fun and very interactive for the end user.

Whatever the project, it is always best to incorporate unique design elements and strong messaging in order to create effective marketing materials without going overboard on cost.

It all goes back to the importance of planning during the design stage and enlisting the expertise of those involved.

Panel of MPI Students

The Meetings Industry Is On The Offensive To Counter Negative Perceptions

When individuals and organizations meet, solutions are created, ideas are shared, business initiatives are crafted and skills are learned. Such meetings are crucial to North American business success, even more so in a dynamic, faltering, global economy. In an increasingly faceless world, effective human connections are a powerful business weapon.

The EventView 2009 study reveals that for the fourth year in a row senior sales and marketing executives in North America believe meetings and events have the highest ROI of any marketing channel. EventView is produced through a collaboration of the Meeting Professionals International Foundation, the Event Marketing Institute (EMI) and the marketing agency George P. Johnson (GPJ). EventView is the meetings industry’s longest-running global report on event marketing trends.

“This first report of the 2009 series shows that CMOs (chief marketing officers) and senior marketers believe events are the most effective medium to engage customers and move them to purchasing behavior,” says Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. “While we’ve seen event marketing mature as an effective marketing channel for several years, the benefits become heightened in an uncertain economy. Marketing decision makers have clearly taken notice.”

Of the company executives questioned in the 2009 Business Leader Survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), 82 percent say they believe business travel is important to achieving their businessresults.

“It’s a classic trade-off between short-term cost reductions and long-term value,” says Daniel Diermeier, a professor at the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University. “During times like these, many companies will go too far, and actually cut back on the activities that would best position them to compete in the future.”

Another study from USTA shows that 87 percent of Americans who have attended an out-of-town meeting or convention for work say it is important to running a strong business. Meetings are far more than a collection of speeches or talking points. They are an opportunity for people of similar interests to come together and share their stories about how they are coping, as well as what they are doing to increase business, says leadership coach John Baldoni, who writes the Leadership at Work blog for Harvard Business Publishing.

Meetings and events are also strategic tools that deepen employee relationships and contribute to the overall health of companies. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, a 5 percent increase in employee retention can generate a 25 percent to 85 percent increase in profitability. Travel events show employees they are valued. If employees are only committed to the paycheck, their allegiance can be compromised when they are offered a higher salary elsewhere.

Additionally, meetings and events are essential to motivating sales forces, rewarding high performers, communicating new company initiatives and attracting top talent. According to a 2008 study by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, responsible, well-designed and well-executed meetings and training sessions have yielded significant benefits. Such benefits include improved company culture, increased employee retention and more highly engaged and satisfied employees. These companies generate better overall returns in the stock market, with firms on the list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For earning up to five times as much return as their competitors.

According to USTA, business travel in general has become a $240 billion industry due to the real value and measurable benefits derived from the collaboration and cooperation that can only occur when people meet face-to-face.

Phoenix, which covers 517 square miles, is the fifth-largest city in the country with a population of more than 1.57 million people. The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau (GPCVB) has accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program, an international accreditation program developed by the Washington, D.C.-based Destination Marketing Association International.

“We are pleased to be recognized in the destination-marketing community for providing outstanding services in accordance with international standards and benchmarks in this field,” says Steve Moore, president and CEO of the GPCVB.

Unfortunately, adds Brent DeRaad, executive vice president of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, “the positive Arizona attributes we worked so hard to promote as a business destination are being used to portray Arizona in a less positive light. Our meeting planners are telling us they’re hard pressed to ‘sell’ our destination up the chain of command since there is a perception that the Valley is a hotbed of negative media activity, as well as a desirable leisure destination. Regardless of our state-of-the-art meetings facilities, easy air accessibility and the great values our resorts are extending, we’re losing business to destinations facing less scrutiny.”

Since October 2008, four national news stories have featured TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) recipients or federally funded organizations holding meetings at resorts. Three out of the four meetings scrutinized on the national stage were held at Phoenix-Scottsdale properties. As a result, planners charged with staging legitimate, privately funded meetings are fearful to bring them to Arizona and are canceling and downsizing programs. In fact, ArizonaGuide.com reports that some planners are willing to spend more to host their meetings in alternate destinations that are not receiving negative media scrutiny and are not perceived as leisure markets.

In a June letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), asked for assistance to reverse an informal federal policy prohibiting and discouraging government meetings and conferences in cities that are too leisure oriented. Emanuel agreed by saying “federal policy should not dictate the location where such government events are held. Our view on the issue of government travel is not focused on specific destinations, but rather on the justification for and the cost-benefit ratio of the individual exercise.”

The USTA declares that companies receiving taxpayer dollars need to be responsible, transparent and accountable. To that end, the travel community has developed a clear meetings-and-events policy these companies should adopt. Although this policy is intended for companies receiving emergency lending from the federal government, other companies interested in adopting these guidelines may choose to alter metrics based upon industry size, company size and market sector. The general USTA policy statement says “the CEO shall be responsible for implementing adequate controls to assure that meetings, events and incentive/recognition travel organized by the company serve legitimate business purposes and are cost justified.”

USTA President and CEO Roger Dow says “… corporate and government meetings have come under attack in the media and among some members of Congress seeking to portray meetings as excessive and unnecessary. The net effect has been cancellation of thousands of meetings, the termination of tens of thousands of jobs and the loss of billions of dollars of spending for the American economy.”

According to MeetingsMeanBusiness.com, each meeting and event traveler spends an average of $1,000 per trip.

“(Travel for business meetings and events) drives the whole hospitality industry in America, and that industry isn’t fat cats; it’s waiters and dishwashers, maids and cooks, event staff and hotel clerks — blue-collar workers who belong to unions,” writes New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. Investor’s Business Daily columnist Kathy E. Read adds, “Those who get hammered — the reservation clerks, maids, baggage handlers, waiters and tour guides — are the little guys and gals whom (President) Obama’s stimulus package is supposed to put back to work.”

The tourism industry is one of Arizona’s largest revenue generators. The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) reports that in 2008, the state hosted 37.4 million visitors, including 32.4 million domestic and 5 million international travelers. AOT Director Sherry Henry explains that although the combined visitation equates to a net decrease of 3.3 percent, or 1.2 million fewer visitors from 38.6 million in 2007, the travel and tourism industry is resilient and continues to generate billions of dollars for the state’s economy.

Based on Arizona Department of Revenue data, gross sales for four key sectors of the meeting and travel industry are down 13 percent year-to-date as of May 2009, with corresponding state tax collections down almost 14 percent.

“Arizona’s visitor spending brought in $18.5 billion in direct travel expenditures in 2008, underscoring the fact that the travel and tourism industry is a major economic driver for our economy,” Henry says. “In the wake of our current economic situation, our industry brings revenue into the state that supports the quality of life of all Arizona residents.”

Last year, visitor spending generated $2.6 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues. Furthermore, the tourism industry is critical to both job creation and revenue generation for the state, supporting nearly 170,000 jobs and generating $5 billion in direct earnings.

According to Henry, unlike other industries, taxes generated by travel industry spending are paid by visitors rather than residents. These visitors bring new money to Arizona’s economy and generate revenue in all 15 counties, validating the economic importance the travel and tourism industry has across the entire state.

The Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (AzHLA) conducted a poll of select members in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area and determined that canceled or downsized meetings have resulted in lost revenue easily topping $100 million — equating to a minimum of $11 million in tax revenues not funneling to city and state budgets or critical public programs such as education.

“Meetings account for more than 70 percent of most resort revenues,” says Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO, Debbie Johnson. “When we lose those revenues, all Arizona taxpayers suffer; our pools are closing early, we’re losing our precious teachers and we’ll likely face a tax increase on the next ballot election. Many of those issues could have been avoided with the tax revenues from those lost visitors.”

www.eventmarketing.com
www.mpiweb.org
www.tia.org
www.visitphoenix.com
www.experiencescottsdale.com
www.azot.gov
www.azhla.com