Direct Marketing Magazine February 2017

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vol. 30 • No. 2 • February 2017

The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations


MARKETING The art of the click ❱ 18

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Customer Centricity


The age of the ethical consumer Vol. 30 | No. 2 | February 2017 EDITOR Sarah O’Connor - PRESIDENT Steve Lloyd - DESIGN / PRODUCTION Jennifer O’Neill - Advertising Sales Mark Henry - CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Robert Szyngiel Jennifer Campbell John Thies Josephine Coombe Dave Ward Jason Dunkel Olga Zakharenkava Dan Hanrahan Asif Khan

Location-based marketing


Getting beyond “good enough”


Does catching Pokémon get the deal done? Sector report:



All aboard! Travel agency and tour operator collaborate on winning email campaign


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Fax: 905.201.6601 Toll-free: 800.668.1838 EDITORIAL CONTACT: Direct Marketing is published monthly by Lloydmedia Inc. plus the annual DM Industry Guide. Direct Marketing may be obtained through paid subscription. Rates: Canada 1 year (12 issues $48) 2 years (24 issues $70) U.S. 1 year (12 issues $60) 2 years (24 issues $100) Direct Marketing is an independently-produced publication not affiliated in any way with any association or organized group nor with any publication produced either in Canada or the United States. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome. However unused manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by sufficient postage. Occasionally Direct Marketing provides its subscriber mailing list to other companies whose product or service may be of value to readers. If you do not want to receive information this way simply send your subscriber mailing label with this notice to: Lloydmedia Inc. 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Canada.


The art of the click


Fundraising In the Mail


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Customer Centricity

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The age of the ethical consumer By Josephine Coombe

I Josephine Coombe joined Bullfrog Power in 2005 and helped launch the company, build the brand and grow its presence coast to coast. As senior vice president, sales and marketing, she leads the company’s commercial sales, working with global and Canadian business leaders on developing optimal sustainability strategies for their organizations.

t’s been over 10 years since Bullfrog Power was founded and I joined the team working to transform the electricity landscape in Canada. At that time, ethical consumerism was still in its infancy, written off by some as a niche market for environmental extremists. Our critics told us that getting businesses to pay to support renewable energy was impossible. But today, we have more than 1,500 corporate partners—ranging from big to small—that have committed to making a difference in the future of renewables in Canada. Over the years, we have seen more businesses align their brand with “being green.” But what was once a loose definition has changed. It is no longer acceptable to claim environmental responsibility without proof to back it up—today, we live in the age of the ethical consumer. The good news: real opportunities exist for brands to leverage this rise of ethical consumerism. According to a poll conducted by Environics Research, 85% of Canadians are more likely to buy products from a company reducing its environmental impact through purchasing green energy. And another poll indicates that 79% of Canadians say they are likely to make more environmentally responsible choices in 2017. However, there are risks. Ethical consumers have high expectations and are looking for brands to be leaders in the environmental space. Consumers in this segment will not accept minimum effort and are more likely to openly criticize brands who are not meeting their standards. This is especially the case for valuesdriven Millennials who use technology to engage the public and impact brands. Integrating sustainability measures requires strategic planning in order to appeal to this growing consumer base and mitigate potentially negative reactions. Here are my tips for marketers to keep in mind when working to successfully engage the ethical consumer: Be authentic Authenticity is the foundation of ethical consumerism. It’s no secret that authenticity is essential for building trust and contributing to consumer retention and acquisition; however, according to GlobeScan’s latest research, trust in corporations is the lowest it’s been in years. To stay true to a brand, a business has to stretch beyond marketing claims and actually incorporate environmental efforts in the overall business strategy. A great example is Alto Rentals, a unique Toronto rental apartment property, completed last year and tailored for residents seeking a healthier lifestyle. Translation: Toronto’s first non-smoking rental apartment building pending LEED certification, with complimentary on-site bike sharing and car sharing available for residents, as well as a one-year


complimentary membership to Bullfrog Power provided to all initial residents. You can leverage marketing materials to share your environmental efforts with your customers. You can authentically connect with their interests by creating assets for sub-sets of customers. Make your communications relevant by identifying the topics that interest them or focusing on the communities they live in. Here are a few of the ways we have tailored our communications: ❯❯ Direct mail campaigns (residential and commercial) targeting key areas, primarily in Toronto, with messaging driving to online landing pages; ❯❯ Localized email communications that invite customers to local events and share updates about local projects; ❯❯ Targeted social posts depending on location and interests; and ❯❯ Customized marketing resources for businesses. Be transparent Gone are the days when companies could simply state what they are doing. Now, walking the talk is an expectation, not an option. Companies need to provide context and proof about their commitments. When applicable, third-party validation is also a useful tool. For example, Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver carries Bullfrog Power logos on their packaging to demonstrate that they have chosen 100% green electricity and 100% green natural gas for their operations. Unilever is the gold standard in this regard and their Unilever Sustainable Living Plan clearly identifies goals and ambitious stretch targets such as: ❯❯ Improving health and well-being: By 2020, help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and hygiene; ❯❯ Reducing environmental impact: By 2030, halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as their business grows; and ❯❯ Enhancing livelihoods: By 2020, enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as the business grows. Strong communications materials, including direct marketing collateral, provide the opportunity to share successes. Unilever issues an annual report that tracks their journey towards these goals. Bullfrog communicates with our customers in many ways including our social media accounts, email newsletter (eBuzz) and print newsletter (The Bullfrog Buzz). Transparency also requires honesty. Sharing milestones is important but so is recognizing and Continued on page 7 February 2017



Ph Da Physicality


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Location-based marketing

Getting beyond “good enough” Igniting the power of location for marketing relevance By Robert Szyngiel


or several years, Big Data has been touted for its potential to transform nearly every function within the enterprise, including marketing; however, for that transformation to take place the potential of data must be converted into data intelligence—i.e. actionable insights that propel the business forward. For marketers, location data is one area of data intelligence that deserves serious consideration because of its tremendous potential to enhance marketing activities. Until now, many marketing organizations have used a “good enough” approach with regard to location data. Like playing horseshoes or throwing hand grenades, getting close was deemed sufficient. Marketers relied on generic map information, three-digit Forward Sortation Area (FSA) codes and open source data (including street addresses) to get a general sense of where customers were located. Unfortunately, the level of precision possible with a “good enough” method is significantly limited. For example, it is not possible to segment an FSA geographic region to understand which locations reflect businesses and which are residential. As companies seek to leverage their data sets even further, they face challenges when attempting to match their data internally. One common problem is that streets may have two equally valid names, such as Main Street and a highway designation. As ❱

a result, companies seeking to move to an “enrichment” phase with their data may begin to introduce basic geo-coding for more precise analysis. Geo-coding at this level is generally interpolated (or estimated)—meaning a particular street is mathematically segmented into 10 or 12 locations, even though those locations may not relate precisely to physical addresses. At this stage, third party and other open source data may also be associated with the geo-locations, such as differentiating between business and residential locations. While beneficial for marketing intelligence, the “good enough” and “enrichment” phases of location data intelligence can only take an organization so far. Gaining precision requires more intense data cleansing and moving beyond interpolated geo-coding to designating unique identifiers to exact geo-locations. This “premium” level of location data opens the way for a tremendous amount of insight. For example, a retailer can determine the geographic areas that are actually relevant to a particular store’s traffic. Obstacles to store access that would not be accounted for with a “good enough” or “enrichment” approach, such as a river with limited bridge access, can now enter into the analysis, making it possible to target customers more precisely. Similarly, drive times from various locations to a store can be plotted and used to gain insights on the right targets for direct mail campaigns. At the next level, the aggregation

stage, organizations begin to realize benefits by partnering with other organizations using the same unique location identifiers. This enables powerful data sharing and the overlay of data relevant to a precise location. For example, inferences can be drawn through comparative analysis of prior buying habits, demographic and psychographic data and more. Additionally, once coded with unique location identifiers, data sets become marketable to other companies looking to append an organization’s collected information to their own data sets for the same locations. Finally, at the highest level of location intelligence, uniquely identified location data can be used to enhance real-time decision making. Marketers may track real-time locations of mobile phone users to send push notifications with advertisements or coupons to potential customers when they are near a retail store. These are just a few of the many ways that location data has the potential to drive context and relevance for marketers and business organizations today and in the future. Now is the time to ask: What location data does my organization have and how are we using it to our advantage? Robert Szyngiel is the director of product

management at DMTI Spatial. Szyngiel has 15 years of experience in the architecture, design and development of enterprise datasets for Canada. For more information, visit

February 2017

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Location-based marketing

The age of the ethical consumer Continued from page 4

communicating where there is still room for progress. Being transparent about your company’s successes and shortcomings is the best way to ensure that your goals remain understood over time. Anticipating critics through transparent acknowledgement of the work your organization still needs to accomplish builds trust with your consumers and stakeholders. And with regular reports on your progress against goals, you can ensure that your messaging is consistent but evolving positively toward a defined destination over the long term. Be consistent As marketers, we understand the importance of consistent messaging; however, for ethical consumers, it goes beyond words and takes aim at consistent commitments. This savvy segment looks for businesses who address the long-term nature of sustainability with lasting investments and legacy programs. In fact, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is much more than its name suggests, actually representing an overall longterm corporate strategy. Plus, ethical consumers are looking for whether your environmental commitments align with other areas of your business. For instance, if your business relies heavily on transportation, this should be addressed with commitments in this area. Lastly, a tip that can be easily overlooked: Be realistic It’s important to remember that sustainability isn’t a one-size fits all proposition. Leadership in this arena can be interpreted in many ways. Focus on what makes the most sense for your business; this can mean being a trailblazer in your industry or leading your community. For instance, in an effort to provide a model for other businesses to reduce the full impact of their energy use and play an active role in building sustainable cities, TD Bank Group recently addressed 100% of their energy footprint for its Vancouver branches and a portion of its business-related travel in Vancouver with a first-of-akind green energy solution through Bullfrog Power. The hope is that other businesses, regardless of size or scope, can look to this model to inspire their own actions in support of the transition to a low-carbon economy. With the mainstreaming of climate change and environmental concerns, the ethical consumer is here to stay. According to Havas Worldwide’s Project Superbrand study, 75% of consumers believe that it is important for a company to express a vision of a better world. Transparency, sustainability and a purpose beyond profit are now default expectations for how businesses and brands are presumed to operate. Businesses have an integral role to play in the transition to this new economy. I encourage you to embrace the sustainability challenge and identify ways to integrate commitments into your business strategy. As marketers, we know that evolving with the needs of our customers is critical to long-term success.

February 2017 ❰

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Location-based marketing

Does catching Pokémon get the deal done? By Asif Khan


etailers everywhere have been trying to figure how to leverage augmented reality (AR) gaming since the explosive release of Pokémon Go last July. If you’re not familiar with AR, it’s a technology that lets virtual objects appear as though they’re in the real world, in this case visualized through the camera lens of a smartphone. Within its first week 65 million people had downloaded Pokémon Go and by the end of 2016 Nintendo, the company behind the game, had generated some $950 million in revenues. But revenues for the gaming company don’t necessarily translate to revenues for retailers. The game’s capacity to bring people into physical locations seeking in-game rewards resulted in several retail partnerships all across the globe. Simply driving traffic, however, is not enough. At the Location Based Marketing Association, we like to talk about these platforms in the context of a three-layer location cake. Essentially, Pokémon Go falls into layer one at the bottom of the cake. These are location-based solutions that retailers can use to drive traffic to their stores. Other strategies include geo-fencing, push notifications and social platforms like Snapchat (geofilters) or Facebook (check-ins). Once you have the traffic at the store, however, you need to “capture them.” While the consumer might be there to catch a Pokémon, this alone does not equate to sales for you. This is where the second layer of our cake kicks in. It’s about increasing basket size, dwell time, customer service and customer engagement. From a location-based marketing point of view, technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth beacons and RFID are becoming the norm here. ❱

LBMA’s three-layer location cake

Source: LBMA

The final layer of the cake is about closing the deal. You need to go from “capture” to “convert.” Here proximity based technologies like Apple Pay need to mesh with your existing loyalty, CRM and POS systems to create a transactional picture of the customer. You want to leverage data to drive personalized, hyper-local content and messaging both at the time of purchase and afterwards. Leveraging location-based augmented reality games like Pokémon Go can work if you have a strategy in place to engage these customers once they are in your store. Several merchants are seeing success with this. In South Africa, Burger King is launching its own branded augmented reality game called “Defend the King.” The game requires players to scan an in-restaurant game marker to begin playing. The chain is positioning the augmented reality game as a “green” initiative that replaces wasteful plastic kids meal toys. Starbucks has also recently partnered with Pokémon creator

Niantic to turn all of its locations into in-game “PokeStops” to draw players into the stores. Others already benefiting from AR and VR solutions include Northface, Sephora, Tommy Hilfiger and more. And as we approach the Chinese New Year, Asian technology giants are redefining this tradition of the “red envelopes” for the digital age by adding a special feature to their smartphone games in hopes of attracting more users to their platforms. Last week, Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba and its rival Tencent unveiled their respective locationbased augmented reality (AR) games that let users collect virtual red envelopes as they move around in their daily lives. In both games, players can scan physical objects with their smartphone cameras to hide the digital red packets, and then send clues to their friends to help them find those packets. These adaptations bring returns far more lucrative than Pikachus, as players get to keep all the hidden money inside, which are paid out through each firm’s mobile payment apps (Alipay and QQ,

respectively). According to Business Insider, 70% of U.S. Millennials and 62% of Millennials in the UK say they would appreciate a brand or retailer using AI technology to show more interesting products. Pokémon Go has already lost over 30% of the user base it initially generated in the six months since it has been available and thus may not be the exact right solution for your business, but augmented reality technology is here to stay. Merchants should consider using AR and other location-based platforms to drive traffic to their stores, but don’t forget to couple this with other strategies for converting that traffic into sales. Asif Khan is a renowned global speaker, author and serial entrepreneur. He is currently focused on working as a consultant and venture capitalist to the mobile and locationbased marketing services community. In support of this, Asif formed the Location Based Marketing Association—an international group dedicated to research and education in the space. @AsifRKhan

February 2017

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20% have done so.

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Sector Report

Fundraising By Sarah O’Connor


t isn’t hard to argue that 2016 was a very difficult year for humanitarians and charitable people of every ilk, with the Syrian war and the refugee crisis serving as a horrific constant in a year punctuated by natural disasters and terrorist attacks. We have all seen reports of the toll this is taking on people’s psyches and Direct Marketing spoke to experts across the fundraising industry to better understand how the past year has impacted when and how people give, as well as the larger trends shaping the industry.


February 2017

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Sector Report

“Disruption” was the word of the year When asked about the key trends she is noticing in the Canadian fundraising industry, Nicole Nakoneshny, vice president at KCI Ketchum Canada Inc. and editor of their Philanthropic Trends publication, doesn’t hesitate: “I think it’s a continuation of what has been the key trend in the last couple of years and the word I would use to fully encapsulate it is ‘disruption.’ “Just like so many other parts of our lives, so Nicole Nakoneshny many other sectors, so many other industries, we’re being disrupted. In large part by technology but also by generations, by the changing demographics of Canada. The rules are changing, the ground under our feet is really shifting and some of the old ways we did things, some of our old and traditional rules and norms just aren’t applying.” Nakoneshny notes that while there was a time when Canadians needed to engage with charities in order to be charitable, that is no longer the case.

“There’s a fundamental redefinition that’s happening for Canadians around how they think about being charitable, how they engage with charity, how they make donations to charity,” she notes. Engaging with well informed, empowered donors requires evolving strategies. “What I think that means for charities is that there are two key works that are important for them at this point in time: relationships and relevance,” says Nakoneshny. “Relevance, at the most macro level, is the need for us to continue to demonstrate relevance. And we always say that we are in a relationship business—but the reality is that at that massmarket level we tended to be pretty transactional out of necessity, because it was really hard for any organization to build relationships with hundreds or thousands of people. “Charities that are able to demonstrate relevance and crack the nut on building closer relationships with people at all giving levels will be the ones that are able to really succeed over the next period of time.”

Embracing a new definition of loyalty There is never any shortage of good causes for charitable people to support, a fact highlighted the tumultuous political, economic and environmental climate of 2016. Ryan Garnett, head of integrated marketing at Harvey McKinnon Associates, believes that charities and fundraisers will continue to be challenged by increasing competition and changing donor behavior. “One of the things that we are seeing increasingly Ryan Garnett is donors who have their pool of money and they’ll pick some charities for one year,” notes Garnett, “ and the next year they may pick totally different charities because they have limited resources so they want to try to stretch those resources as far as they can, which sometimes means they might skip donating to one of their favourite charities for a year because they have so many others that they want to support as well.”

This trend is likely to lead to less consistent fundraising results from year to year, but Garnett believes that there will be rewards for charities who respond to changing customer behavior by focusing on the long term. By leveraging digital channels to engage younger donors fundraisers can maintain or even increase lifetime giving by staying connected. “You’re not going to get those large donations from 25-, 30-, 35-yearolds,” Garnett acknowledges. “They’re trying to buy their first house, start a family—they just don’t have a lot of money. But if you can find ways to engage them, get them excited about your cause, get them talking to their friends about their cause, maybe setting up a fundraising page or participating in an event where they ask their friends to support them—the more of that you can do to keep them closely connected, when they turn 40, 50, 60 and they start to have more money, they are going to think back to all that great history they have with you and you’ll be one of the first charities they go to.”

Scalable solutions make analytics accessible for charities of all sizes “I’ve seen a very significant movement in the last two years in the sophistication in the kinds of questions we are being asked,” says Rupen Seoni, a senior vice president at Environics Analytics who leads its government, health care and not-for-profit practice. He notes that “the big charities are doing some really interesting, smart things in terms of their targeting and their strategies” but small- and medium-size charities are increasingly finding Rupen Seoni affordable ways to better understand their donors. “We have very small charities coming in and just needing a little bit of basic information and that helps them move the marble forward a little bit,” says Seoni. “I’m not a big believer that budgets are an issue because there are different levels of what can be done—and I don’t just mean this from Environics Analytics’ perspective, I’m talking generally. Using February 2017

information appropriately to make better decisions about who you’re going to target and how you’re going to target them—there’s different strokes for different folks.” Seoni credits this trend to the growing appreciation within the fundraising industry and beyond of the importance of data-driven insights that lead to better business decision. “So when I hear budgets are a problem I actually believe that’s a symptom of a bigger problem—that there are still a significant number of practitioners out there who don’t understand the impact of good insight and targeting. “I really think it’s important for charities to not only understand the profile but really understand the decision-making process. How does somebody come to donate to whatever the cause is? What are the motivators that are there? Some charities really do this well and others don’t do it as much. In our fragmented, splintered world, really understanding your audience becomes more and more important.” ❰

Sector Report

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Fundraising Pros and cons of text-to-give “The technology is changing to adapt to the circumstances, which is social media,” says Steve Milcik, national sales manager, Donor Perfect Canada Inc. “So we’ve got things like mobile apps and mobile-responsive donation forms so that folks can give a donation on their iPhone without missing a beat. Everything is in cloud technology, so now you’ve got volunteers that can walk up to you at an event or, heck, at a Starbucks and take your credit card and swipe it through their iPhone

Steve Milcik and take a donation.” Milcik notes that while having more direct means of connecting with donors is a great thing, every channel has its own nuances and there are costs and payoffs to each.

Stop making it harder for donors to give John Lepp, partner at Agents of Good, believes that the urge to be charitable is a natural component of the human condition. “Human beings want to be part of something,” Lepp notes. “We want to be part of the tribe. I think giving is a way to be part of the tribe. “I always say it’s easy to complicate things, but it’s very difficult to simplify things. Our sector and our world have become so complicated, there are so many difficult processes to get through. We’ve John Lepp not made it easier for donors to give, we’ve actually made it harder—to give, to take the action we want them to take.” Lepp gives the example of a typical fundraising direct mail piece, where there are a number of decisions a recipient needs to make, even before they decide whether or not they want to give or not. He notes that even on the reply form alone, donors must decide whether they want to give a single gift and how much, whether they are interested in legacy giving or monthly giving, and whether they are interested in receiving the organization’s newsletter. If giving monthly, do they want to do it on the 1st or the 15th of the month? Do they want to use their Visa or provide a blank cheque? “There’s all these things, and basic marketing is—the simpler you make it for someone to make a decision, the more apt they are to make that decision the way you want them to make it. And so we always tell our clients to ask for one thing.” So if you are asking for $250, only ask for $250. “It’s all in the pursuit of more data, more information on our donors. Why? What’s the goal here? If you want to ask them for a monthly gift then do an appeal about monthly giving in a separate piece.”


“The ways to give have expanded to meeting the needs of what social media has done to the world-wide giving psyche, so we have expanded to meet those needs,” says Milcik. “Text-to-give is wonderful for responsive causes, meaning there’s an earthquake and we need to do something now. We need to help people now. In those circumstances text-to-give is wonderful. “But organizations such as the Humane Society or the Red Cross, these types of organizations are looking to develop a long-term relationships as much as possible and with text-to-give you really can’t do that because all you’re getting at the end of the day is the money. You’re not getting much information about the person who gave you the money. So you can’t develop a relationship for more long-term development of increased fundraising with this one person. But you got the money! So it’s great for immediate response.”

Millennials are now force versus merely a source “Donor behavior was driven by one word in 2016, and that was uncertainty—economic uncertainty, political uncertainty, global uncertainty, personal uncertainty,” says Vincent Duckworth, partner at ViTrēo, “and that always impacts giving. People who have the ability to make significant gifts, in those times most of them will pause. They didn’t go broke, but they’ll pause. And everyone else is just struggling to get by.” Vincent Duckworth Duckworth notes that responsive charities who managed to effectively convey the urgency of their cause did well in 2016 and he believes there was a correlation between those who are less adverse to uncertainly giving more generously in the climate of the past year. Millennials also stepped up to the plate in significant ways. “I would say that we will look back on 2016 as one of the watersheds of Millennial giving,” says Duckworth. “I remember five years ago, even three years ago the common phrase was that Millennials don’t give because they don’t have any money. That’s not really true anymore. And they feel differently about uncertainty than previous generations. “One of the things we’ve noticed and one of the things we talk about is that intersection between technology and Millennials in 2016 and philanthropy. They are actually starting to become a force in philanthropy as opposed to just a source in philanthropy. As opposed to just a demographic they are considered to be now very quickly rising up into a category of a donor population that you would look at in terms of major gifts.”

February 2017

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Sector Report

Fundraising Charities are no longer the voice of authority “When I started it wasn’t uncommon that a fundraising program would be: a charity would send us all of their donors and we would phone all their donors and then we would send them all the money,” laughs Dan Abraham, senior director of fundraising at Stratcom. “Now, there’s a lot more strategy, there’s a lot more slicing and dicing and a lot more attention paid to budget and return on investment. There’s a much higher level of Dan Abraham sophistication and its more business-like, I think.” Abraham observes that while there was a time when people running charities were likely to be activists with personal ties to the cause, now it is more likely to be someone with an MBA. Charities have become more sophisticated while at the same time donors are much more empowered. “Donors want to have more of a conversation rather than just having us

inform them about what the charity is doing,” says Abraham, noting that donors have become more responsive to efforts to engage them in order to understand why they care about a cause and their wider interests. “The internet just makes it possible to be a lot better informed now,” says Abraham. “Fifteen years ago if we were calling on behalf of a charity, let’s say there was a research breakthrough, there was a very high probability that what we were telling them was something they had never heard before. Charities used to be a voice of authority in that way.” Abraham acknowledges that dealing with an empowered donor means that charities have less control over the message, but overall he sees this as a positive change. “You want people to be really passionate about your cause—they are the ones who are most likely to give. All the other factors kind of fall by the wayside if you can really connect with somebody on an emotional or intellectual level.”

Heroes and villains on the global stage “Nationally, for a lot of social justice causes and environmental groups and so on, [2016] was not a good year because Harper was a fantastic villain and you need a villain to raise money,” observes Steve Thomas, chairman and owner of Stephen Thomas Ltd. “It’s something we’ve been teaching for a long time—you need a hero, you need a villain, you need a vision and you need a recipient. Then you create a proposition.” Steve Thomas Thomas observes that while increasingly close ties to the mainstream marketing industry have benefitted his clients (Stephen Thomas Ltd.’s President and CEO Neil Gallaiford and Director, Brand and Integrated Marketing Jennifer Meriano

both bring strong agency backgrounds) the industry does not appear to be progressing evenly. “There’s a lot of shoddy fundraising,” says Thomas. “We all work so hard to educate people with things like the Toronto Congress and the one in the Netherlands and so many people don’t listen. Everybody thinks direct mail is dead and it isn’t. It’s doing quite well, thank you very much. “By and large, direct mail isn’t nearly as good now as it was in the late 90s and early 2000s. It tends to be done by junior-level people who don’t know even some of the basics and their betters are asking, ‘why can’t we be making a fortune through digital?’ and so on. But even digital—there’s so many emails sent out, the channels are so different and with so many emails that I see people clearly don’t understand the channel, because in digital it has to be immediate.”

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Tried and true:

Direct mail leads to higher response rates Fitness company World Gym tests various marketing channels to increase membership and direct mail outperforms them all By Jennifer Campbell


es Hodgson runs World Gym Canada, which has 30 facilities in Ontario and Quebec. He frequently advertises simple and easy-toafford membership options to acquire new clients. A man of his time, he uses email, web advertising, Facebook, radio and billboards. While social media forms of advertising can act as effective door openers, it’s Canada Post’s Unaddressed Admail (now Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail) that gives him the biggest response rates, coming in at more than 4.5%. The next most successful channels were radio at nearly 2.5% followed by Facebook and billboards at less than two per cent.

Results of World Gym’s January 2015 acquisition campaign ❯❯




1,000,000 UA pieces mailed 40,000 new members registered 4.5% response rate using DM alone

Direct mail impacts consumers’ braintriggering action. Added to digital marketing channels, it shapes a campaign for the better. “Of all the marketing initiatives we tried, direct mail was number on when you look at cost and the number of people brought in,” Hodgson says. “It is such an effective tool. Internet is great but it’s not the long-

term solution because it’s so saturated. We have to go back to old-school forms. Putting something directly in the customer’s hands makes a difference.” An offer they couldn’t ignore Printed on an oversized card, World Gym’s offer waives the enrolment fee, which can vary from $49 to $99, and offers long-term memberships for just $10 a month. The mailing helps the brand stand out as consumers are more likely to read direct mail than other forms of advertising. A recent study conducted by Canada Post in partnership with neuromarketing consultancy True Impact Marketing shows that direct mail is 21% easier to understand and elicits a much higher brand recall. Further, it gets the message across faster because it’s visually processed more quickly. The proof is in the numbers Hodgson’s attractive offer clearly grabs attention. The January 2015 campaign attracted 40,000 new members to the 30 facilities. That lasting effect of direct mail—because people keep it, display it in visible parts of their home and even share it—influenced consumers’ behaviour. “We do about 10 million pieces of direct mail a year and I would do it again and again,” Hodgson said. “I am a huge believer in the service. I tell people about it all the time.” To learn more about the power of direct mail, please visit Jennifer Campbell is a freelance writer based in Ottawa. February 2017


January Issue theme: Direct mail prospecting Engaging lapsed customers Data storage options


Supplement: Sector report: The list business Editorial deadline: December 23, 2016

February Issue theme: Location-based marketing Email marketing Supplement: Sector report: Fundraisers Editorial deadline: January 16, 2017

March Issue theme: Mobile direct marketing Marketing automation Supplement: Contact Management Editorial deadline: February 15



Issue theme: Disruptive technology Applied artificial intelligence Supplement: Regional report: Montreal Editorial deadline: April 14

October Issue theme: Demographic segmentation Data-driven, customercentric organizations Supplement: Sector report: Printers Editorial deadline: September 15

Issue theme: Mass mail Flyers Catalogues Supplement: Contact Management Editorial deadline: May 15

November Issue theme: Fundraising Payment processing Supplement: Regional report: Halifax Editorial deadline: October 13

July/August Issue theme: Holiday marketing CRM

April Issue theme: DRTV Customer personas Fulfillment Supplement: Sector report: Lettershops Editorial deadline: March 15

September Issue theme: Dimensional/high-value direct mail

Supplement: Regional report: Vancouver

Supplement: Contact Management

Editorial deadline: June 15

Editorial deadline: August 14



Issue theme: Segmentation based on spending patterns Loyalty Supplement: Contact Management Editorial deadline: November 15

Canada’s supplier guide to vendors and partners for Marketers Material deadline: June 30

Direct Marketing is your partner in leveraging editorial opportunities. We can facilitate your advertising needs, as well as developing online campaigns, editorial roundtables and more. For advertising opportunities contact

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Sarah O’Connor,

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Email marketing

This email piece was sent to over 25,000 targeted recipients through the Bell Insider mailing list.

All aboard! Travel agency and tour operator collaborate on winning email campaign By Jason Dunkel


hen it comes to travel, it helps to have a common language. And that’s also true for travel industry partners: agencies and tour operators need a shared understanding of their customers to deliver on the promise of dream vacations. Recently, two leading names in the travel industry—Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and Rocky Mountaineer—discovered the power of a common language when they collaborated on a targeted digital campaign. CWT operates 150 travel agencies across Canada as part of a global network and Rocky Mountaineer is the largest privately owned luxury tourist ❱

train in the world, offering 65 vacation packages across Western Canada. For both companies, one key to their success has been data-based marketing. Both CWT and Rocky Mountaineer have been using the PRIZM5 lifestyle segmentation system from Environics Analytics (EA) for several years to help them identify, understand and connect with their best customers. Early last year, they joined forces on an innovative email campaign, using EA as an intermediary so that neither organization had direct access to the other’s customer data, in accordance with Canada’s privacy regulations.

“Developing strong partnerships with travel agencies is very important for our business,” says Rocky Mountaineer’s Manager of Analytics David Spira. “So if we’re using the same PRIZM segments as a partner, it is much easier to work closely, compare notes and understand the segments we have in common. It’s a win-win situation: better understanding leads to closer strategic alignment and stronger business outcomes for both our partners and ourselves.” “We spoke the same language,” adds CWT’s Director of Marketing, North American Leisure Christine Ufniak. “And we both saw the value in targeting a customer segment

with a great offer in the travel world.” Both companies also recognized similarities in the upscale profile of their respective customers. Because a train trip on the Rocky Mountaineer is a premium experience, a partnership with CWT could help its travel advisors identify wealthy prospects living near its 150 locations. But the prospect of developing an email marketing campaign also appealed to Rocky Mountaineer. The company already used a number of different marketing channels, including partnerships with auto clubs and TV and newspaper advertising in major U.S. and Canadian cities. February 2017

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Email marketing

“We wanted to see if there was some beneficial effect to linking segmentation and a digital campaign.” —Rocky Mountaineer’s

Check us out online

Manager of Analytics David Spira But Spira was eager to test the digital channel. “We wanted to see if there was some beneficial effect to linking segmentation and a digital campaign,” he explains. “Using segmentation on an email address list offered the perfect opportunity for this assessment.” To better understand the customers of both organizations, EA analyzed each customer database using PRIZM5, which classifies Canadians into 68 distinct lifestyle types. Analysts identified three target groups of segments that were strong performers for both organizations. They then used CWT sales data to add geography to the analysis, giving priority to targeted residents living near select CWT outlets in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia for emailing. Last spring, analysts purchased a list of 25,000 to 30,000 privacycompliant email addresses from Bell Media’s Insider distribution list to reach PRIZM-segmented prospects in the targeted geographies who were likely to respond to an offering from Rocky Mountaineer. Marketers tested two different subject lines for the email piece, ultimately choosing “Adventure Meets Luxury Onboard Rocky Mountaineer.” According to CWT’s Ufniak, the phrase “hit the right audience with the right message.” As for the messaging, the email copy highlighted the train excursion as a luxurious, must-do experience: “A life-changing journey, the moment you step on board.” The email strategy proved to be well designed. During the Spring campaign, inquiries to CWT agencies jumped 50% and Rocky Mountaineer ridership from the CWT account increased 77% compared to the same period in 2015. Meanwhile, Bell Media February 2017

reported that the open rate for the email piece was 90% higher than the industry average in English Canada and 310% higher in French Canada. And the impact was also felt on CWT’s website, says Ufniak, noting “a high increase in sessions from click-throughs.” The PRIZM collaboration also included a social media component. As Ufniak describes it, “CWT leveraged EA data for a Facebook initiative, with a staff member using lookalike surrogate segments for that platform.” Segments in Facebook’s Ad Manager were constructed to mirror the target groups created for CWT and analysts selected markets for promotion based on the presence of target groups. The result surpassed expectations: “The Facebook initiative recorded an engagement rate 47% over our benchmark,” she says. Given the success of the collaboration, Rocky Mountaineer and CWT are planning more joint email campaigns in 2017. Officials at both companies observe that PRIZM provided the common language that allowed their organizations to work together for mutual benefit and to the delight of their customers. That’s a message that resonates beyond the travel industry. Spira observes that PRIZM segments can serve as the common denominator for a variety of marketing initiatives involving multiple organizations. “Even if you’re a telco and thinking about a sponsorship or contest, a lot of people don’t ask if their potential partner uses PRIZM segments,” he says, “and they should. It would make their lives easier.” Jason Dunkel is a sales consultant at Environics Analytics, with a focus in the travel and tourism industry.

For online advertising opportunities contact

Mark Henry, For online editorial opportunities contact

Sarah O’Connor, ❰

// 18

Email marketing



The art of the click By John Thies


mail has become one of the primary methods of communication in today’s society. Each day our inboxes are inundated with emails from friends, family and brands. In fact, according to a recent report by Adobe, The Art of the Click: Actionable Insight for EmailMarketing Success, the average person spends almost six and a half hours a day checking and responding to email. The report was compiled as a partnership between Adobe and Email on Acid, utilizing data from thousands of users testing email marketing campaigns. Adobe is a premier client of Email on Acid and uses the platform to test hundreds of emails for improved deliverability and readability for consumers globally. Despite that level of audience, the report also showed that twothirds of marketers are less than satisfied with email marketing efforts. With the amount of time audiences spend looking at email, as well as the investment brands make in email marketing, it is certainly worth spending some time highlighting the findings of


Adobe’s report and looking at ways we can implement its takeaways. List growth One of the most surprising findings of this report was regarding list growth. List growth has declined 100% in two years. Consumers today are blasted with marketing noise from every direction. We found that there is a 52% increase year over year in email volume. That is 61% more emails in your inbox than in 2014. This type of volume can lead to a lack of customer desire to sign up for more emails or subscribe to additional websites. So if a customer does sign up, you had better make sure your emails are designed to stand out. Holiday hotspot As most email marketers are aware, the holidays can be a hot spot for email growth. As expected, the holiday season was one of the biggest money makers for both brick and mortar and e-retailers. But many retailers are seeing the need—thanks to their customers’ growing expectations—for an email marketing campaign. Last

The mystery of unique opens Most marketers chase the idea of the unique open. That’s a valiant pursuit, but retailers need to know that just 14.2% of emails result in a unique open, while only half are read more than once. Knowing precisely how your email looks within each platform can be just the thing to keep customers coming back to your message. Email development software can help you get the right message in front of the right audience.

Data confirms that open rates are higher and delete rates are lower in the evening. The report indicated that marketers should “consider A/B testing to determine the ideal timing for your email marketing campaigns. Of course, the value of your message should be clear and concise because average read time on email is only 12.3 seconds.” Email developers should consider continuous testing on current templates to ensure maximum deliverability and readability. Email marketing is one of the strongest tools for marketers to meet and engage with customers all over the world. It’s time to learn how best to use it and create flawless, user-focused campaigns.

Timing Emails sent later in the day are more likely to be read. This is particularly noteworthy for retailers, as most online shoppers are checking emails after normal work hours. While the majority of companies send their emails prior to 9:00 a.m., assuming consumers are reading during commutes or otherwise it is a better idea to focus on the later hours of the day.

John Thies is CEO of Email on Acid. Every email client displays email differently. Email on Acid provides an email testing platform that will show you how your email looks in each client and mobile device. Not only do they have email previews, they also offer the most advanced email analytic platform in the market. Founded in 2009, Email on Acid has helped more than 100,000 companies worldwide, including Version and LinkedIn, to test and track their emails. For more information, visit

year, holiday-themed list sizes grew 34%. That is a significant amount of sales, so marketers need to be ready to capitalize on the opportunity.

February 2017

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Capitalizing on US Shoppers’ Eagerness for Unique Canadian Goods By Susan Wall, Vice President of Marketing, Bronto Software One of the pillars of ecommerce is the ability to extend your sales beyond geographical restrictions. Of course, standard business principles still apply, such as market segmentation and market opportunity. Canadian retailers should keep those concepts in mind as they consider the numbers 72 and 20.

Cost fears can be overcome with clear shipping costs and strategic pricing. Making shoppers comfortable with other issues requires transparency, good messaging and proof points to alleviate the fears.

72: 20:

One advantage Canadian retailers have over brands in China and Britain (two other top shopping destinations for US consumers) is proximity, which can help with shipping and support concerns. In fact, Canadian stalwarts Big Al’s and Silver Jeans have not only created a US revenue stream, they have built a loyal US customer base and become sizeable players in the US market.

The percentage of American consumers who say they would be comfortable shopping online from Canadian sites. The percentage of American consumers who have actually made a purchase from a Canadian company.

Whether you look at the opportunity created by the difference between these numbers as a multiplier (possible 3 – 4x expansion) or in terms of raw numbers (52% of American consumers), it’s clear that there’s ecommerce gold south of the border. But while all that extra market is available, it isn’t necessarilyThe easy Internet to get. All the challenges of ecommerce hasregular removed the barriers to still exist, and you must also deal with the specific challenges of cross-border commerce.across borders. The data is clear shopping Why Shoppers Cross Borders – the US is fertile ground for Canadian First, consider what drives shoppers to cross international borders formerchants purchases. The biggest to reason that they’re looking looking findisnew customers. for unique items that are unavailable domestically. A close second reason is to find better pricing.

How can you get your share of this pie?

If you’re selling your own line of merchandise, you’ve got USopportunity consumers are uniquenessFocus built in, on but the that’sreasons not the only for unique offerings. Golda’s Kitchen carries lower-volume items that larger interested in Canada’s unique sites (both US and Canadian) don’t carry.products: When one of those items showed up on a popular cooking show, Golda’s Kitchen merchandise better prices. was the only North Americanand option. Pricing is a more complicated question – taking costs and For more information, visit business returns into account. Don’t just at price in a vacuum. Consider total costs in your pricing decisions. And to look at costs, you should consider why consumers avoid crossborder shopping. Why Shoppers Don’t Cross Borders To put yourself in the best position to succeed, be aware of what drives consumers away from international purchases. While there are a number of different reasons, there is one common factor – FEAR: fear of shipping costs and problems; fear of payment risk; fear of support issues.

February 2017

Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC) Delivering great service and providing cost-effective shipping is a good start. But you must get potential buyers over their concerns (whether imagined or real). Independent voices work better. User-generated content (reviews and ratings) is an easy way to develop that independent authority shoppers crave.


of US consumers are open to

It’s critical to get user feedback to build thatCanada. UGC at each step purchasing from of the buying process: checkout, payment processing, shipping costs, timeliness, customer service, support and returns. It’s also important that you use the ratings and UGC in your email communications. Communication Strategies Borders create an implied distance, and the US-Canada border is no exception. But US consumers aren’t bothered by distance. They buy from large and small retailers across the continent and across oceans. The key is to use email to create a sense of familiarity, loyalty and service. Everything should be part of your plan: Welcome Series, Postpurchase follow-up, newsletters, Loyalty programs, Browse and Cart Recovery – all personalized to create familiarity. Use your UGC whenever possible. Finally, don’t be afraid to tout those Only They are your unique items that drive cross-border shopping. secret weapons.


Global Commerce: Selling Across Borders have south done of so.the As you build and execute your plans for selling border, download the Bronto report Where We Buy: Consumer Attitudes on Global Ecommerce that details the specifics of cross-border shopping. It’s a great reference as you build your plans and expand to that vast untapped market. ❰

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Email marketing

Boost your email marketing ROI with call and text tracking By Olga Zakharenkava


t’s no secret that marketers now need to account for how each tactic and channel contribute to business growth. If they aren’t, they are selling themselves short. Email marketing is no exception—time and budgets invested into email acquisition and retention programs must deliver measurable results. The good news is that by doing just one thing, adding call and text message tracking to email campaigns, marketers can generate more leads with their existing tactics and also, increase the measurable ROI. If, as an email marketer, you think you have already tried every optimization strategy to lift your conversion rates, read on and you may discover something you have not yet tested. Start by measuring more and reporting higher ROI To report ROI and influence on business growth, marketers use all means possible to accurately ❱

measure their campaign performance and count every lead they deliver. Or do they? A survey released by CMO Council and Deloitte in December 2016 makes clear that measuring campaign lead generation and ROI are significant challenges for CMOs. More than 73% of survey respondents use revenue growth as a key measure of success. Yet, only three per cent claim that they are extremely effective at communicating and quantifying marketing’s impact on the business. The majority of respondents (46% are getting better while 22% are working on it) are on the path to tying business growth back to their own efforts but are not quite there yet. This means that most marketers, including email marketers, are not happy with how they measure their campaign performance, which results in not getting the full credit for all the leads they bring in. Even with the abundance of email marketing automation tools, gaps in attribution still exist

and many marketers find they are not equipped with the necessary technology to track every lead and optimize their marketing based on a holistic, complete picture. What can you do about it? First, understand how your email marketing is currently being measured and then see if there is anything you are missing when reporting on performance. Calls and text messages are two responses to emails that are often ignored yet boost both the measurable ROI and consumer engagement. To go deeper into how email call and text tracking delivers an immediate positive impact, visit our website for a detailed guide (link in bio) and try measuring more than the traditional opens, clicks and form fill conversions. Improve further by adding more ways to respond that speak to the growing mobile audience Currently, email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing channels with an

estimated $38 return for every one dollar spent, according to a 2015 report by DMM. Despite the rise in influencer marketing, display ads and paid SEO, email has not been rendered obsolete and ineffective. Instead, it’s a healthy avenue for growth, but it’s not being used to its full potential to generate more engagement and has not been fully quantified with the most accurate attribution, a phone call or a text— two potential ways to respond to emails that are being ignored by marketers and not attributed to the email campaign that drove them. These response types are especially relevant and natural for today’s mobile consumers. Why is a phone call or a text two of the most meaningful responses to an email campaign? When customers call or text a business, they are showing a level of engagement and intent to purchase that is significantly stronger than if they were to simply click through to a website. If Google’s change to call extensions wasn’t enough proof February 2017

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Email marketing

Email is a healthy avenue for growth, but it’s not being used to its full potential to generate more engagement and has not been fully quantified with the most accurate attribution. (they will now automatically add call extensions to ads that don’t have them running when a phone number is prominently displayed on a website) their research on the path to purchase tells the rest of the story: 61% of mobile searchers state that click-to-call is most important in the purchase phase of the shopping process. When consumers pick up the phone, they are already past the inspiration phase and ready to make a purchase. Offering texting to consumers is just as critical as a phone call for capturing those leads, once again validated by Google, which added text extensions on ads in Fall 2016. Google recognizes that texting is set to completely transform consumer engagement in the coming years and the results are already astounding. One early adopter of Google’s message extension, Auto & General, saw an 80% higher conversion rate when they added it to ads. Imagine the potential effect on emails and landing pages when texting becomes an option for mobile consumers. As anything in email marketing, it is worth testing! Capturing those qualified leads, the ones who make a call or send a text message, becomes important for measuring email campaign performance when gaining full attribution is on the line. The traditional key ways to measure the success of email marketing programs can significantly benefit from making calls and texts a part of your reporting: Conversions: How you define conversions needs to be consumer-centric. Consumers are increasingly on mobile devices and offering natural ways to respond such as texting and calling the business can attract even more responses. Adding ‘text us’ and ‘call us’ CTAs and reporting on them as conversions along with the ‘traditional’ purchases, form fills or landing page visits increases the February 2017

number of meaningful data points, giving email marketers a full picture of their performance. Overall ROI: Research shows that marketers are not happy with how they report on this gold standard of quantifying a campaign’s success. The impact of tracking calls and texts driven by email campaigns is two-fold: first, it increases your measured ROI and, second, it can boost the actual number of responses. If you offer more ways to connect with the business, you are more likely to get more leads from today’s educated mobile consumer who expects convenience, immediacy and control. With the same amount of budget allocated to your email campaigns, you can immediately see an improvement in performance. Optimize with more tools and more data The next step is to actively optimize campaigns through testing email formats and copy and analyzing the results. For testing a few variables, all that is needed are text-enabled call tracking numbers. But for large multivariant tests or if you want to direct consumers to your landing pages, dynamic number insertion (or DNI), a technology that inserts a unique phone number for each page view, will provide the most flexibility and the most accurate data. Consider a few scenarios a marketer may face when testing call and text tracking from email campaigns. Scenario 1: Text-enabled call tracking numbers for mobilefriendly consumer engagement The most mobile-friendly option allows consumers to call directly from an email. Within the copy, they see a clickable phone number or a ‘call us’ button that directs them to their native voice call app. Instead of clicking through to a

landing page, which can decrease engagement for mobile consumers, this option allows for a seamless switch between channels—email to call. If you wish to offer a texting option as well, use a text-enabled call tracking number and your ‘text us’ button will open a native text app for consumer to reach out to the business. If marketers want to test two emails, all they need are two text-enabled call tracking numbers to begin. In the reporting on a dashboard or through an integration in the preferred email automation software, you will immediately see how many consumers called your business from each email and can see which version attracted more responses. Scenario 2: Dynamic number insertion for boosting omnichannel engagement If the campaign goal is to direct a consumer to a landing page or to test large multi-variant campaigns, dynamic number insertion will provide the most accurate and scalable results. Instead of including a clickable call tracking number that begins a call, a unique call tracking number appears on the landing page through dynamic number insertion for each clickthrough. DNI draws numbers from a pool matched to the expected traffic to the landing page, so no two simultaneous visitors see the same phone number. DNI minimizes the number of tracking lines needed for a campaign while providing a high level of accuracy in the data. In the reporting, marketers can see the number of calls or texts that came from an email campaign and they will also be able to link back the impressions and other pageviews on the site. If the visitor calls, marketers can see the call duration, the time and date of the call, caller ID and whether the call was answered or went to voicemail. For text responses, marketers

will also be able to link the text back to the email, see why those consumers contacted the business and pass the hot lead on to sales to continue the conversation immediately. What does this all mean for you? Marketers who are not considering including and tracking phone calls and text messages across multiple marketing tactics, including email campaigns, are not optimizing their mobile marketing strategy for all possible channels to engage consumers. Email marketers should test everything at their disposal to stay relevant and to drive the ROI and call tracking numbers and texting are prime candidates for the new wave of email marketing innovation. If you test or take away anything from this article, remember these four key points: ❯❯ Engage consumers by giving them the option to easily call a business from emails to accelerate their journey from ad to purchase. ❯❯ Increase engagement with textenabled numbers by allowing consumers to connect with a business on their terms. ❯❯ Know which emails are driving calls or texts to landing pages through dynamic number insertion technology. ❯❯ Offer more channels to engage consumers and to gain a competitive edge. Olga Zakharenkava is passionate about marketing and excels at helping businesses choose the right technology to solve their challenges. She spent the past 15 years immersed in marketing, tech and leadership, building great products and teams in startups and established enterprises. At Telmetrics, Olga helps marketers interpret rich data from consumer phone interactions and optimize their advertising campaigns to convert more callers into satisfied customers. http://info. ❰

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Email marketing

Six habits to revamp your email strategy By Dan Hanrahan


mail opens the door to effective marketing. Over 205 billion emails are sent out every day. Some 72% of U.S. adults say they prefer companies communicate with them through email, while 91% say they’d like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. And nearly threequarters of companies agree email is a core part of their marketing efforts, while 25% of those rate it as their top channel in terms of return on investment. Email is thriving for marketers, but too many otherwise savvy professionals are misusing this channel, turning to tactics that frustrate their customers. Here are six ways to rethink your email strategy: 1. Break it down It’s become overwhelmingly clear that, in a rapidly splintering communications ecosystem, contacts have been trained to expect segmentation. Segmentation makes it easier to send content people care about and only the content they care about. If you’re not breaking down your list by gender, location, age group and the like, it’s really no wonder your strategy can use a facelift. But that’s only the start of what you can do with segmentation. According to MailChimp, when stats were measured across all segmented campaigns, open rates were 14.13% higher than non-segmented lists. Clicks were 63.03% higher and abuse reports were 6.36% lower. Group your audience by buying behaviors, use dynamic content and allow subscribers a chance to let you know which topics pique their interest. Know your ❱

buyer personas and identify your ideal consumers as they stand as specific individuals. Then, break down your groups to drive a more relevant message. Relevance ramps revenue. 2. Get to the point (and stop rambling about nothing) Let’s cut to the chase. It’s hard to be engaged in a conversation about “client user group A” or “customer advocacy programs” when there’s no obvious point. The best way to get and sustain a customer’s attention is to get right down to business—and get there fast. Brevity and clarity matter now more than ever. Take as long as you need to get to the point in your messaging, but take no longer. Cut the fat out of your content and be respectful of your reader’s time. Tell your story with a clear point but sans the fluff. Keep it tight. 3. Let’s get personal(ized) Netflix knows the kind of shows you like and Pandora automatically plays songs you never knew you loved, based on your previous playlists. Facebook also fills your news feed with relevant content, custom-tailored just for you. Personalized content creates relatability for a consumer and allows them to create their own journey toward purchase. We live in an era of low trust in society as a whole. A mere 18% of consumers say they trust business leaders today. At its core, though, business is human. It’s a person, talking to another person, about a product or service. No business actually sells to another business. We sell to a person, who happens to work for another business. And people—consumers—want to buy from those who’ve been in their shoes and found the key to success.

4. Make them feel special Emails should serve your customer, not the product you’re offering. Solid growth comes through simple, repeatable service that’s so good it’s sharable. Serving customers comes by meeting them in their email with simple tasks and giving them more than they expect—offering up real value. Tell interesting, compelling stories that your customers are able to relate to. Provide them with content resources, like a blog post or case study, that they could find helpful. 5. Nix email add-ons If you saw a two-paragraph text block spelling out company background, mission and vision in a one-to-one email, where would your attention go? What would you engage with in that add-on fluff? Nothing. You’d send the message to the trash faster than Usain Bolt hit the pavement in Rio. Cut back on the frivolous definitions and unneeded text for maximum value. Add in a couple hyperlinks that take customers to your social pages or website to highlight your vision and mission. But skip irrelevant or excessive social sites. Avoid including a fax number, inspirational quotes and, of course, your email address. 6. Key-in on key timing You’ve honed into the mind of your potential buyer, you’ve honed your message and you’re ready to hit send. But when you deliver your message is just as important as what you’re saying. So optimize it. Add a Welcome Program through triggered or scheduled one-to-one email exchanges to help find out the preferences of your clientele and their email etiquette. Triggered emails, based on

the information you already have on your buyer—think birthdays, purchase habits, cart abandonment—makes your timing more relevant and engaging. And the numbers back it up. The Epsilon Email Marketing Research Center said triggered emails have an open rate of 46–53% and click-through rates that range between nine and 11%. People listen if they hear the right message at the right time. 7. Stay connected Include your contact information in the email signature to keep your recipient engaged with your brand. The signature not only tells your contact who the email is from, but it can help re-establish your relationship with your customers and promote your brand and messaging to your clients. The only thing worse than adding every piece of contact information you have is going sans. It’s small, it’s humble but your email signature has the power to beef up your marketing plan by enhancing your brand and dishing out relevant content. Include the basics like your name, phone number and title. Use two or three social media handles (but no more), and small, but bold, graphics for a personal touch. Dan Hanrahan, founder & CEO of Sigstr, has spent over a decade starting, leading and growing technology businesses. His experience spans across technology recruiting, e-commerce and marketing technology and he’s played key roles at companies like Brooksource, iGoDigital and ExactTarget. His latest business, Sigstr, makes it simple for marketers to take control of branding and marketing in the employee email signature.

February 2017

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“I wish I’d known that before!” By Dave Ward

T Dave Ward is president of Highland Marketing, a direct marketing company that offers a broad range of mail preparation, email and integrated web services, as well as design, data and consulting services. Email: Website:

hose of us that work with Canada Post products on a daily basis are acutely aware of how some people spend far more on postage than they need to and/or do not take advantage of opportunities that could boost sales. As most mail service providers can tell you, it is quite common to hear, “Gee, I wish I had known that before.” When it comes to direct mail or integrated options, it is always wise to consult your mail service provider, as they usually have a wealth of information they can share with you. This brief article will look more at savings and highlight examples where we have seen customers save considerably or unfortunately, get stung. Publications Mail reduces postage costs by 73% Before looking at the specific example, I would like to note that with Publications Mail you can sometimes mail bigger and heavier pieces at much lower postage rates compared to Personalized Mail and, certainly, Lettermail. Of course, an item must qualify as Publications Mail to take advantage of these great rates. When we first chatted with a customer (in the latter part of 2016), we learned that they had been mailing an “oversize” association newsletter weighing a little over 100 grams as Lettermail, at a cost of $2.77 per piece. As volume was a mere 137 pieces, the quantity appeared too low to enjoy much in the way of postage savings with other Canada Post products. However, once we explained that the minimum deposit volume under the Publications Mail Delivery Facility Presort option was only 50 pieces, that’s right, only 50 pieces, the customer opted to use Publications Mail. Although the volume was low, the postage savings on the first mailing alone were around $275. Not bad, especially given that they mail several times per year. Can you qualify for Publications Mail? It is beyond the scope of this article to address all of the requirements for Publications Mail; however, if you publish a publication two times per year with primarily objective content, you might just qualify. That said, before you restructure your smaller “salesy” newsletter into a highly objective work of art, remember that Publications Mail rates tend to be better for larger, heavier items and not necessarily smaller, lighter items. Before you thank your printer… Whether we are mailing postcards or catalogues, we all want our direct marketing pieces to look as good as possible; however, sometimes a little bit of extra sizzle


can dramatically increase our postage costs and we have seen this happen on several occasions. When organizing a print job, the normal practice is to get quotations based on the preferred stock but sometimes printers offer a “better” stock at the same price. This might be an upgrade from a plain stock to a heavier and/or glossy stock and could be motivated by a printer trying to use up old stock rather than ordering in new stock. Regardless, it can sound like a good deal and be very tempting; however, it can also dramatically increase postage costs, depending on key thresholds. Suppose that you have been printing a 144-page catalogue on a 70 lb. matte text stock and your printer suggests using an attractive 80 lb. glossy text stock at the same price as the lighter stock. To demonstrate how different stocks can affect the weight of the catalogue, we weighed 8.5” X 11” sheets of both a 70 lb matte stock (6.3 grams) and an 80 lb glossy text stock (seven grams). With sheets printed both front and back, we would require 72 sheets for a 144-page catalogue. Therefore, the respective weights would be 454 grams for the catalogue printed on the 70 lb stock and 504 grams on the 80 lb stock. Most postal systems have different thresholds for weights and sizes. Checking one in particular, the postage at 454 grams would be $2.02, but at 504 grams the postage would increase to $2.61. In the example above, the favour of upgrading the stock would actually cost an extra $0.59 per piece in postage. Unfortunately, transcending weight thresholds is not an uncommon problem and it is something that can easily slip by people. I do not believe that any printer would consciously push a heavier stock if they knew that it would cost the customer significantly more in postage. Moreover, I believe that, when offered, it is simply a harmless gesture that can have damaging consequences for the unsuspecting. The foregoing are but two examples of many things that can cost mailers. I also recall how a couple of simple tweaks saved one mailer over $160,000 on two mailings in one week, as well as how a simple trim saved $35,000 on another mailing. But, those are other stories for another day and perhaps another column. Lastly, it doesn’t cost much to partake from the trough of postal knowledge and I am sure that your mail service provider can advise you at all levels. In the end, the best advice might simply be to drink and be merry—as you save money and take advantage of opportunities. February 2017

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