June 18, 2013

Marketing to Baby Boomers

The term “Baby Boomers” when heard is often associated with: Rock and Roll, Woodstock, hippies of the 60’s, the rebels, the rule breakers.  Cheech Marin coined the saying, “Pass the joint, man” when talking about this generation. However, I find as the child of two baby boomers this generation has greatly changed through the decades. Today, they make up 29% of America, being all of America’s children born between 1946 and 1964. Most would agree that the Baby Boomers have taken on a new identification from their classification of “hippies”.  They have become educated, responsible, egocentric, stock investors, holders of savings accounts, 401k builders, and supporters of their parents, children, and grandchildren. With that being said Baby Boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than half of all consumer spending. According to one source regarding their economic impact in today’s world, they buy 77% of all prescription drugs, 61% of over-the-counter drugs, and 80% of all leisure travel.  Currently this generation is in their late forties to mid sixties.  It is said that they on average will not retire until their seventies and may even work after that.

How does this all relate with my job in marketing? There seems to be so much hype today about marketing to the new “millennials”.   Yes it is true that the younger generations spend more than 12 hours a week online and use the internet as a connective social function.  They are the world’s “future spenders”. Therefore, marketing companies new and old are pushing online campaigns in full force. I agree in the new market and in using social networks, e-books, text messaging, and online presence with all marketing campaigns.  However, we also need to remember who has the money right now and how they got it.  Businesses were developed and money was made in a world without online presence.  

It is obvious to me that the Baby Boomers are catching up to the younger generations and are active participants both personally and corporately in these new ideas.  After all, they are clearly self reliant.  They have social media accounts, email, and are actively text messaging. The younger generations need to remember and appreciate the Baby Boomers' strategies in a world of digital revolution. We more importantly need to learn from this generation and how they got to where they are today.  What a great mix it would be in the world of marketing if someone received a good “old fashion” direct mail piece that had a link to a rocking website on it.  Or an email blast followed up by a good “old fashioned” phone call.  Let us bring our strengths together so that one day the current younger “rule breaking” generation can also be known as climbing the ladder to success.

Ashley Jamieson,
Account Manager for Baber Direct Marketing and proud member of Generation X

July 13, 2012

Marketing Clichés You Should Avoid Using

Every single statement you display for the world to see can either make or break your business. The problem is, promises get old. People get sick of unmet expectations. The once catchy and trendy terms from decades ago are now obvious advertising schemes. Consumers already know the games that brands and industries play.

So, why don’t we take a look at the clichés that your marketing campaign is better off without. You may need some shifting in your strategy or a more aggressive approach. Here are four marketing terms you should not be repeating:

Industry leader. It probably hasn’t struck you until now that you’ve been reciting the same lullaby as other competitors in the business. People are not going to pick you just because you say you’re a key player in the industry, and they won’t put any stock in your bold statement if every other company is saying the same thing. Not only does it create confusion, but it can send the message that you are not credible as a service provider. How to position yourself in ads to put your best foot forward without getting it stuck in your mouth instead is one of the most critical issues in branding.

Just what you need. “We have exactly what you need, when you need it.” This sounds promising and too good to be ignored. What customer wouldn’t fall for this when he wants something specific and you boldly state that you have just the thing? The answer, surprisingly, is nobody. In a setting about ten years ago when there were only 2 or 3 other people in your area providing the same service, maybe yes, but this just doesn’t work anymore. People have a see-it-to-believe-it attitude these days, and they do not react positively to claims that are actually too good to be true. Describe what you can give instead and let them come to you.

Exceeding expectations. Rings a bell, doesn’t it? Of all the tag lines mentioned here, this is probably the one that raises the most eyebrows. Sometimes you need to ask yourself the question “Do we really?” Besides, this claim strikes most consumers as either an unconscious wish on your part or plain puffery, and it actually does not make your brand look good. The ability to meet client requirements is one thing to aim for and exceeding expectations is something that no brand should claim anyway because it is too risky a bet. Sometimes marketers misinterpret just getting the job done right the first time as being too weak a pitch to attract customers. The idea here is that when you finish something you’re supposed to finish, it’s the least you can do unless you’re a charitable institution. To the majority of the paying public, however, this is simply being honest and with all the con artists out there, more credible than an exaggerated claim.

Perfection. When you imagine consumers reading this word on a product description or press release, you may think that it inspires confidence in all the time and effort put into research and development. The truth is, however, that people will automatically think that the product is anything but. Realistically, flaws are inevitable and sometimes a necessity to encourage further improvement. Some consumers may get taken in by the word “perfect,” but being careful is the principle behind preserving your name. Not all gutsy moves result in glory.

Basically, people believe what has been tried and tested. It is always safer to have testimonials from previous clients speak for you than for you to come off as trying too hard to toot your own horn. Again, keep it simple and straightforward and people will come to you.

Denise Ellison

July 10, 2012

Advertising a Small Business

The success of a business is always attributed to a smart and effective advertising strategy. With the continual rise in competition these days, it is better to make plans for choosing the right way to promote a product or service to the target audience early on. For small business owners, advertising means promoting the business through a low cost method since the budget for advertising via traditional media is limited, not to mention that it might not be the necessary approach to market your business. Here are some suggestions that can help you in advertising your small business without spending much.

Take advantage of the wonders of online advertising – promoting your business online is becoming very popular as many people browse the web when they want to see what is out there in terms of popular products and services. You can start with creating your own website or blog. Many business owners take advantage of getting promoted via Search Engine Marketing and Optimization (e.g. Google AdWords, pay-per-click and local listings,), and Social Networking (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace). These are all part of what makes business marketing easier, faster, and cheaper.

Distributing flyers is one of the old-school techniques that still works wonderfully – since magazine and newspaper ads can be quite a bit more expensive, it is better to advertise by distributing flyers, especially if there is a particular area where target individuals are concentrated. Flyers are an easy and convenient way for them to get information about your business. The printing of these materials does not cost much, and distributing them is not an issue because there are multiple avenues available from the local newsstand to nieces and nephews looking for ways to spend the summer.

Word of mouth advertising says it all – this is a priceless and most credible way of promoting a business. It is one way of convincing customers to tell others about how great your product or service is. Potential customers tend to trust a business better if there are other customers who can genuinely talk about it with satisfaction. You can start by hiring someone to spread the word about your business or do it for free by simply encouraging a customer to let family and friends know, and ask permission to post the comment on your website.    

Reach out to your target market – you can do this by offering a free trial of your services or giving out product samples. In addition, advertising your service through event sponsorship can generate leads as well.

Get involved with related businesses – this is another form of word of mouth advertising, but without the competition, plus an opportunity to network with other business. This also works through an online platform, as long as communication is clear and your contacts are accessible. The other business will love you for it as well.

Alex Rasmussen

July 6, 2012

Direct Mail: The Package Mission Control

Direct marketing has been a fad long enough for people to stop caring about the content of letters and postcards that they receive inadvertently. The trick is to keep coming up with striking strategies that might not be new to everyone, but that are fresh enough to create enough hype for your direct mail campaign.

You might have already seen and tried all the strategies you think you need and it probably doesn’t make much sense to repeat the same things. So presented here is just one major facet in direct marketing with the most important points compounded together for an effective mission control.

The gist: Find out what’s lacking.

If your campaign isn’t working or results are stagnant over a considerable period of time, something must be missing. So you know your target market and you know every inch of your product. But do you do enough to reach out to the part of the world that needs you? As you go on, you might want ask yourself the following questions to know what your direct mail campaign is lacking:

§  Are my packages providing relevant content? One of the biggest mistakes of direct marketers is executing something that has little or no relevance to what they’re advertising. For example, a fashion business would mail out flyers with a photo of some place on it instead of something more like gowns or headdresses. It could be that the photo shows the fashion capital in the country, but even some Harvard-graduated designers wouldn’t be able to tell. Keep it simple and straightforward with a classy presentation and you won’t lose potential clients due to poor targeting.
§  Are my packages personalized as best they can be? If you know your target market well, you’ll know how to resonate with them. Their needs and interests are what you want to address as a company or independent business owner. Use whatever resources you have on hand to produce custom packages that will best represent your business. To make your messages really relevant, use variable data printing that allows you to change the message to fit your audience better. This way you can say one thing to a frequent shopper and something else to someone who just shops with you twice a year.
§  Am I tracking my marketing channels? In a world where everything is digital, we can’t help but blend in to make marketing campaigns more effective. By using QR codes, personalized URLs, website tools, and the like, marketers can track activities done on the client’s end. This gives businesses valuable data about how the campaign is doing so that adjustments can be made and studied until your advertising is maximized. If you don’t have any of these digital technologies working for you yet, high visibility is not something you will likely achieve, and you may not even know how much better you can do.

Brainstorm with your team and think up other strategies, no matter how strange they may seem at first, and test them out against the criteria above. You may be surprised to find what can be effective to enhance your direct marketing campaigns.

Mike Baber

July 3, 2012

Email Marketing: Effective Ways to Get Email Responses

target_your_emailsMarketers are aware that opened emails are the most vital angle in email metrics. The essence is for people to see what you’re up to and be enticed to comment, inquire or give just about any type of response. See, if they haven’t the slightest idea about the exciting things happening around your brand, they’ll probably ignore you forever. If you find yourself asking the question, “Am I getting across at all?”, it’s a good idea to get back to the basics:

·        Get to know the silent crowd. Of course it helps a lot to know who the non-responders are before acting on anything. If you already know who doesn’t give a rip about your email blasts and updates, you’ll know whom to prioritize getting engagement from. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to disregard any one of your customers just because he hasn’t opened his emails in a long time or has been having trouble viewing your newsletter or brochure.
·        Be enterprising and creative. So now that you know that this person is ignoring your emails on holiday promos, what are you going to do? You might want to consider changing the subject line. Maybe perk it up to something more attractive. Like how about changing “Valentine’s Day Gifts” to “Treats for the Special Couple – Promo Special!”? The subject line is the first thing people see when a notification is sent out, so it needs to grab them before the two seconds it will take them to go for the delete button. Also, most subscribers to other feeds see a lot of messages like yours every day and don’t care about the same old stuff. The repetitive sending of emails is really just a waste of time. It is important to always update the info you send out with fresh tickler files incorporated.
·        Reengage subscribers. Do this for inactive subscribers who may just need a push to get going again. Develop an automated campaign using updated messages. This will encourage people to respond to your emails, and in time you’ll see a change in the responses to your email marketing campaign.

If you feel that you are doing well on this front but still not seeing enough activity, maybe you need to take a look at a few other marketing strategies like social media, print advertising, or maybe your own website and corresponding online marketing campaign.

Denise Ellison

June 29, 2012

Five Superb Social Media Dashboards

With the stunning growth of activity on social media sites from everywhere, business owners can’t possibly control the engagement on their own. Nor is it practical to stall social media activity due to lack of time and resources. Although hiring a dedicated team to do every part of the job frees you up completely, you can actually save a lot of money by having experienced social media marketers initiate the first few steps and letting the internet do the rest, thanks to the creation of social media applications you can trust. Baber Direct Marketing’s social media experts are happy to recommend the top platforms to you!

There are bunches out there, but here are our Top 5 helpers:

1.      1.        HootSuite: Manage multiple social profiles.

It wouldn’t come as a surprise if you had heard of HootSuite long ago. With a name that tops the lists of numerous blog posts here and there, this post manager is no stranger. HootSuite has unique features that come in handy to boost visibility with minimal input. These features include an ample capacity for scheduling messages, monitoring brand mentions, and more. On top of that, you get to do this on multiple social networks, which make the tool useful beyond reasonable doubt. It has a very simple layout which most strategists consider as lacking in creativity, but that’s just one insignificant flaw versus its many unrivaled features. Plus, HootSuite’s owl insignia is just adorable.

2.      Seesmic: Post what you want, when you want.

Apart from the design, Seesmic resembles HootSuite in a number of ways. Also a user-friendly social media tool, Seesmic makes messaging and updating statuses a no-brainer. One of its peerless features is making trending topics (on Twitter especially) readily available when users check their accounts, thus allowing them to easily become part of different conversations of interest. You can choose where and when to post, whichever is most convenient for you and valuable for your business, when you do your online kung fu.

3.      Spredfast: Create. Personalize. Engage.

For social media marketers working with multiple organizations, Spredfast is the name. Aside from what it can do that the first two also offer, Spredfast provides in-depth methods for enhancing social network operations. Major marketing strategies are discussed in detail for users to better understand the tool’s concept. This unique trait is a breakthrough in the coordination of marketing teams, helping them to come up with promising campaigns that deliver results.

4.      MediaFunnel: Present your brand through multiple voices.

Mediafunnel is part of our list due to the fact that no matter what business you are in, quality still reigns above quantity. This application is a filter for social media messages to maintain content relevance whenever users post or tweet about their brand. With MediaFunnel, users can also act as support personnel as well as effective marketers.

5.   TweetDeck: Arrange, schedule and monitor your tweets.

Known to all as the Twitter-based promenade for power users, TweetDeck also creates annexes across Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other social media platforms. But the real bomb is the ability of the tool to bring everything together so that users can see it all in one place – conversations, statuses, schedules, and more. Above all, TweetDeck is undeniably outstanding in design.

Again, there are many other web and desktop applications out there for your social media requirements. Each social media channel tool has its advantages and disadvantages, but all drawbacks are resolved in time as the tools are updated. There are endless paths for improvement and ‘getting social’ sure has a lot to offer!

Alex Rasmussen

March 31, 2011

Writing Copy for Direct Mail Marketing

There are a handful of Must Dos when it comes to writing copy and designing products that go in the mail. There are hundreds of different packages that you can mail…postcards, letters, foldover cards, booklets and self mailers to name a few. Here are few tips for designing and writing copy for postcards. 

  1. Write a compelling headline on the mail panel side. Think of it as a billboard you see driving down the highway at 65 mph. You have about 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention with a great headline. According to studies, people almost always read the side of the postcard that has the mail panel on it. Don’t count on them reading the other side.
  2. Use bullet points. People don’t expect (or want) to read long blocks of copy on a postcard. If your headline draws them in to read more, use bullet points to get the rest of the message across.
  3. Write about benefits, not features. Here’s the difference:
    • Feature:     Our product comes with a user’s guide.
    • Benefit:      Our Free User’s Guide takes you step by step through set up and guarantees your safety when using our product.
  4. Break up copy with meaningful visuals. Pictures, drawings, graphs and charts can tell a story and compliment copy.  Visuals along with copy should motivate the reader to read on and, most importantly, make an inquiry.
  5. Call to action. You have to tell the recipient what you want them to do and the more ways they have, the more likely they'll actually do it. If you want them to make an inquiry, give them phone numbers, web addresses, email addresses, personalized web sites, store locations and anything else available to make that inquiry.
  6. And finally . . . A professional copywriter and designer can get you better results so consider letting a professional design and write copy so you get the most out of your Direct Marketing dollars.

Mike Baber