Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Direct Mail Still Works

We've spent a great deal of time over the last year talking about mobile marketing, social media, and various kind of online campaigns, but one thing we haven't spent much time on here is direct mail.

Guess what? It still works! Very well, in fact.

Over the last year, I've been able to observe direct marketing from the agency perspective as well as from the standpoint of the consumer. From an agency perspective, in recent years, many in the industry have wanted to abandon all traditional media for the perceived, less expensive electronic media (social) channels. However, despite the perception of direct mail vs. electronic channels, we continue to see ROI on direct mail – especially personalized direct mail campaigns – that exceeds goals and delivers results. Consider this auto loan campaign that launched in May for Central Star Credit Union in Wichita, KS and was supported primarily by direct mail:

Auto Loan Promo
Total promo-related loans
for month
(goal $500K)
$ 524,000
$ 532,000
$ 750,000

From a consumer perspective, my household was heavily marketed TO over the last year. My son graduated from high school this last May with a plan to go to college. Starting his Junior year, there began a sea of direct mail from various colleges and universities looking to recruit him as an incoming Freshman. 

The really interesting thing to me was the number of front-back postcards we received that looked somewhat canned versus the personalized mail we received that was more dynamic. My son was excited to receive mail solicitations, but particularly excited to see his name on the various pieces that were personalized. For a kid who rarely received things via USPS, this was a big deal to him. Ultimately, the university that had both personalized direct mail and a real, live contact person for us to work with through the process won out. Coincidence? Perhaps. It's also a university that has a strong program in his area of interest. However, I feel like there is something strong in the personalized marketing that works hand-in-hand with a real person to follow-up on the other side of the initiative. Something to think about as you ponder direct marketing campaigns in the future. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

You Can Take It With You: Mobile Advertising

So these cell phone things seem like they're going to stick around, huh? 

The movement towards digital marketing has been happening so quickly that it seems perfectly reasonable that your company or brand may have missed the boat on a few things. Mobile typically falls to the bottom of people's priority list which is strange considering it's quickly becoming one of the most effective forms of marketing. 

Smartphones have accounted for 10% of website traffic in 2013 which may not seem like a lot, but considering that they account for around 5% in 2012, we can deduce that we're seeing a fast and substantial growth in mobile usage to interact with brands. 

Adjusting to this movement doesn't have to be intimidating. There are basic steps you can take to optimizing your online presence for mobile. 

1. Responsive Design

You ever go to a website on your phone and have to pinch and zoom around to click the tab you want and then you hit the wrong button because your fingers are normal sized and these buttons are too close together? 

That's because that site isn't set up with responsive design which takes a website and makes it so that it will have a design that accommodates mobile viewing and surfing. What's listed above may seem like a superficial complaint, but it also severely affects a user's experience with your website. 

2. Mobile Ads

Take a look at the graph below. Once again the most notable thing here is growth. Mobile is growing in its use and in user favorability towards the ads on their devices. 

3. Mobile App

Not necessarily developing your own, but making sure that you're working with the ones that relate to your business. For example, if you're a credit union and have a listing on Yelp, are you responding to any of the reviews being written? 

As far as developing a mobile app, it's not something you should necessarily hurry into considering that it is a bit more complicated than what we've talked about so far, but if it seems like something that will legitimately enhance your brand experience, definitely look into it.

A study conducted by Flurry revealed that people are using mobile apps more than they're utilizing regular web browsing. It's certainly exciting, but make sure you do your research. Your brand may not fall into the most popular of mobile app usage categories

I could fill the rest of this blog up with mobile stats that would shatter your smartphone screen, but it really all boils down to this: have a presence on mobile. Yes. The digital world moves a little too quickly sometimes, but it's not going to wait for you to catch up.