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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Digital “Engagement” Faces New Challenges in 2011

Published: February 22, 2011

A growing number of our clients are mastering the process of successfully integrating digital or online media into their overall direct marketing strategy. Results have been mixed, and there are a number of challenges ahead that may temper expectations about turning Facebook users into customers.

Direct Mail is Kicking ***

Earlier this year, Epsilon Marketing’s ICOM division published results from a survey on consumer preferences as they relate to the growing number of communications channels for the delivery of marketing information, offers, and promotions. Among other things, the survey said that direct mail “…is an increasingly viable and effective channel to reach and engage purchasing decision-makers in North American households.”

E-Mail is More Of The Same

While e-mail message open rates remain virtually unchanged, click rates have shown slight recent improvement, according to a new study of e-mail marketing campaigns by Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association’s E-Mail Experience Council.

E-mail can be a very effective tool for outbound prospecting. As an example, sending an e-mail to a prospect before making a phone call can double the response rate. The same may be said about staging or triggering e-mail, by calling attention to the mail box. Integrated direct marketing does increase response rates across individual channels along with profitability.

Social Media is Making Fans and Raising Eyebrows

It is undeniable that Social Media is gaining traction among marketers. Some are early adopters, others follow the herd. As with any new media channel, there are innumerable opportunities to make friends and lose customers or donors, all with the ease of a mouse click.

Market research company Firefly Millward Brown has reported, “…consumers are wary of corporations participating in social media, and corporations are uncertain how to use social media.. According to Hershell Gordon Lewis, we live in “The Age of Skepticism.” How trusting are you when “friended” by a stranger?

If you are reaching out to prospective customers that you hope to befriend on Facebook, you may have an upward battle endearing strangers to your brand or appeal. Making friends in any social setting is a two-way street. For advertisers, aside from making a good first impression, any talk or promises must match the walk. In other words, if you make an offer, it has better be one that you can live with as a marketer, and is compliant with prevailing law, including testimonials.

Let’s face it, unlike direct mail, online relationships are fleeting, not to mention the blogosphere where misdeeds can become instant news in places like www.thehuffingtonpost.com, Breaking up is very easy to do online, and hell hath no fury like the wrath of an unhappy customer or donor, particularly one who is both web and blog savvy.

According to Exact Target, internet users who unsubscribe, unfan or unfollow brands on social networks do so because of irrelevant, too-frequent or boring marketing messages. So if you are spending big bucks to attract fans who may not be loyal, there are better ways to reallocate your advertising budget in 2011.

Back in the so-called “dot.com” era of the 1990’s, companies spent billions of dollars developing huge customer lists. It is well known that many of these same entities went bankrupt because they failed to monetize their data warehouse investments. Is social media on the same path? That depends upon whether you are successfully converting friends and followers into customers. If that is the case, you deserve kudos because others are on a wild goose chase, along with fellow members of the herd.

According to a widely reported Webtrends study, Facebook ad performance metrics are dismally low, and getting worse. Between 2009 and 2010, worldwide click through rates dropped while costs per click and per thousand increased. What that means is that Facebook users are clicking less, and costing marketers more money to put ads in front of them.

A whitepaper by social marketing and analytics firm Webtrends, which studied 11,000 Facebook ad campaigns in the U.S., found that the cost of advertising on Facebook that encourages a user to become a ‘fan’ on the brand’s Facebook page is $1.07,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Demand for digital media and advertising services appears to be ebbing among some clients of major advertising agencies, according to a recent survey conducted by Strata. Digital advertising demand has decreased for the first time between two consecutive quarters, falling to 21.1% of respondents in the fourth quarter of 2010 from 26.0% of respondents in the 3rd. quarter of 2010. Strata said it also found that demand for mobile media services is “not yet living up to industry hype.” “Agencies expressed the predominant obstacle with digital advertising is the lack of channel effectiveness.”

So what about Mobile Marketing?

Mobile advertising is four-to-five times more effective than online advertising on average, according to an InsightExpress presentation at a Microsoft workshop. Mobile Giving also works when there is an urgent need for funds. However, once SPAM filters become de rigueur on web enabled phones, all bets are off. Relevant and timely messages will get blocked, just like e-mail.

According to Mobile Marketer, if successful, a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple Inc., Pandora Inc., The Weather Channel, Dictionary.com LLC, Gogii Inc. and Backflip Studios Inc. “would set an ominous precedent for the mobile advertising ecosystem.”

Mobile marketing has created a feeding frenzy for trial lawyers. Is third party opt-in e-mail marketing next? It depends whether the courts treat commercial e-mail blasts like SMS. Frankly, a growing number of court cases do not bode well for so-called permission-based e-mail and mobile marketing lists, unless they are hosted and deployed in a certain way.

Clearing the way for a potential class-action lawsuit regarding wireless spam, a judge has rejected two marketing companies’ argument that a federal law banning text message spam is unconstitutional.

In conclusion, as of this writing, direct marketers can rest assured that direct mail still works and is lawful in all 50 states. In light of recent litigation and growing attention by regulators and Congress, one cannot make the same case about either social media or online advertising. When it comes to digital marketing, one could reasonably conclude “may the buyer beware.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Encouraging News and Proven Strategies Await B-to-B Mailers and Fundraisers

Published: June 22, 2011

Whether you are a business-to-business mailer or a fundraising professional, we have some exciting news to share on proven strategies and other authoritative information to help you generate more sales, or in the case of fundraisers, additional gifts this year.

B-TO-B MEDIA SPENDING IS GROWING. EVEN WITH A SLUGGISH ECONOMY, RESPONSE RATES ARE UP THIS YEAR.

Business marketers who rely on direct mail and multi-channel media are smiling like Cheshire cats this year, because response rates are up. Even one of our very high-profile competitors “let the cat out of the bag” last week. If this trend continues, businesses will have greater momentum, renewed optimism, and more profits as they recalibrate their marketing plans for the remainder of 2011 and 2012.

According to the new “PwC Entertainment & Media Outlook 2011-2015” released last Tuesday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. b-to-b media market will increase at a 4.1% compound annual growth rate from 2010-2015, reaching $86.0 billion in 2015.

For those who have a passion for internet marketing, the top online application for senior executives at work is watching webcasts, followed by viewing online videos, according to a new report from Doremus New York and the Financial Times. FREE “webinars” are also very popular and elicit higher open and click rates than conventional prospect e-mail. So, if you have a FREE webinar, be sure to target potential registrants with “co-branded” e-mail along with a timely and relevant offer. You can stream “content” as well, once you have the proverbial “opt-in.”

According to Chief Business Marketer, if you have no historic e-mail response data on a given prospect, “then send your e-mail on a Thursday—which is the best B-to-B day. The best time for B-to-B e-mail marketing is in middle of the day, typically from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.”

Worldata has reported that LinkedIn users with 50+ connections are 29% more likely to open a third-party e-mail offer than non-users. Let’s get real, many of our business associates who enjoy networking in various forms are also bona fide e-mail and social-media junkies. They have a passion that you can tap into as a marketer, particularly as a trusted “friend” with the right offer. For those who are curious, we can identify a growing number of these same individuals with accounts on either LinkedIn or Facebook, who have “self-reported” postal addresses.

A third, often overlooked way to leverage the social element is to incorporate content from social media into your e-mail messages. According to Email Essentials, doing so can improve your brand’s credibility, set your newsletter apart from the competition and, yes, boost response.

FUNDRAISERS ARE ACHIEVING SUCCESS WITH MULTICHANNEL MEDIA. DIRECT MAIL STILL REIGNS SUPREME FOR RETENTION OF SUSTAINING DONORS

Multichannel giving has become popular among fundraisers as a way to build constituent support. But, the large majority of donors on file give through only one channel and use only direct mail as their vehicle for donations. The only donors who do significant multichannel giving are new donors acquired online, who switch in large numbers to direct mail giving in subsequent years. That’s among the findings of the 2011 “Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report for Target Analytics” by donorCentrics.

An annual survey just released showed charitable giving rebounded slightly in 2010 after two years of sharp declines resulting from the recession, the Giving USA Foundation reported. Total contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations were estimated at $290.9 billion, up from $280.3 billion in 2009. You can have a bigger piece of the pie this year, if your organization is willing to consider one of the latest donor-acquisition tactics.

For example, the Capuchin Order of the Province of St Mary received a 3% response rate and raised about $100,000 from its first e-mail and web campaign to benefit victims of the tsunami in Japan. If you have a compelling appeal with a high degree of urgency, aside from direct mail, consider using e-mail to engage your donors across multiple channels.

By the way, mobile-giving initiatives do not cannibalize other fundraising channels such as online and direct mail, according to a panel at Nonprofit Mobile Day.

Cause marketing, when firms share proceeds from the sale of products with a social cause, reduces overall charitable giving by consumers, according to Aradhna Krishna, the Dwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing. Krishna found that charitable giving is lower if consumers buy a cause-related product — even if the consumer planned to buy it anyway, regardless of its link to a cause. For those fundraisers who are co-branding their appeals with sponsors, this is a big wake-up call.

ACCULIST USA CAN ENHANCE YOUR POSTAL AND E-MAIL ADDRESSES, SO YOU CAN EXTEND YOUR REACH INTO NEW CHANNELS.

Marketers of all stripes are appending new information to their house files to enhance their relationships with buyers and donors. As an example, if your web site visitors are providing their e-mail addresses, and you would like to contact these same respondents via direct mail, AccuList USA can append postal addresses to your names. For those seeking to convert postal addresses into permission-based e-mail addresses, look no further than AccuList USA. We can append e-mail addresses to your postal names, and do a special “permission pass” mailing. There is no cost to find out how many names AccuList USA can “match-back” on your list.

AccuList USA can help you increase your level of engagement across all marketing channels. We are just a phone call, e-mail, message, or tweet away. Let us help you prosper in 2011.


About Acculist

AccuList USA® provides a broad spectrum of services to direct marketers and their agencies including consulting, list brokerage, list management, list enhancement, merge-purge, response analysis, campaign planning, graphic design, copywriting, printing, mailing, and predictive modeling services.

AccuList USA is headquartered in Ventura, California. It maintains a list and insert management office in Laguna Woods, California, along with affiliates in La Quinta, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, California.

AccuList USA is an active member of the following professional associations:

Advertising Federation of the Desert (Desert AdFed)
Association of Fundraising Professionals
Direct Marketing Association – (National – List Leaders)
Direct Marketing Association Southern California (Charter member)
International Association Of Exhibitions and Events

Contact:

AccuList USA
1891 Goodyear Ave, Suite 622
Ventura, CA 93003-6431
(805) 644-1966 Phone
(805) 644-1659 FAX
www.acculistusa.com

AccuList USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of AccuList, Inc.

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