Posts Tagged ‘dmaw’

Freshly Mentored: One student’s success story in DMAW’s Mentor for a Day Program

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

written by Brittany Barkes

Back in the spring of 2011, I was a generally confused junior at the University of Delaware who was sick and tired of hearing, “Well, what do you want to do with an English degree?” I can’t deny that I often felt insecure about my future when I was constantly bombarded with these types of questions. All I knew was I loved to write and I hated every moment of AP calculus.

By junior year of college I realized just how much I loved advertising and marketing. While the thought of entering the corporate business world frightened me, I couldn’t resist the appeal of combining creative writing with marketing strategy. That’s when I decided to pursue an advertising minor.

So there I was, sitting in my intro to marketing class, surrounded by an overwhelming number of business school students, when my professor mentioned the DMAW/EF Mentor for a Day Program. What did I really have to lose in applying?

By the summer, I had been accepted to participate and I headed off to Schultz & Williams.

The Philadelphia consulting firm was intimidating at first, as I bounced around to different offices learning about direct marketing campaigns and project management.

I spent time sitting down with various employees, from project managers to the VP of the department. It was overwhelming, but in just the right way.

I assumed I would have left my day at Schultz & Williams with new valuable marketing skills or at least an eye for creating the perfect business casual outfit. But my day taught me something more valuable than that—it taught me that I wasn’t defined by my major.

The office was filled with former English, psychology, and history majors who shared a similar passion for business. They made me feel as though they once had similar anxieties about finishing college and entering the dreaded “real world.”

While this lesson doesn’t seem like much, it helped me look at my future in a whole new way. I wasn’t limited by a choice I made before I came to college.

It was this same mentality that led me to search for jobs a little out of my comfort zone. Though I was frequently discouraged, I mastered the post-grad summer of endless cover letters and resumes.

A few months after graduation, I took a job as an intern for a web design and internet marketing company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO). Now a year later, I’m working full time as a copywriter and SEO consultant for the same company.

I don’t know that I would have applied to my internship if I was still in the mindset that I had to be a teacher, or a librarian, or a technical writer. But here I am.

If you are given a unique opportunity, like the chance to participate in DMAW’s Mentor for a Day program, take advantage of it. The lessons you learn from opening your eyes to new experiences are more valuable than anything you learn in a textbook (don’t tell my professors I said that). Your future is for you to define.



UntitledBrittany Barkes is a 2012 University of Delaware graduate who works as an SEO consultant and copywriter for Boom Visibility in Media, PA.


Mobile First Mentality and Testing will move your Organization Forward in Digital Marketing

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

by Danielle Hart

At DMAW’s Digital Day, keynote Greg Kihlstom hit the nail on the head when he opened his presentation by describing how the world is growing more digital, mobile and segmented by niche markets. So what does that mean for the future of the Direct Marketing industry?

Now more than ever, customers and donors are expecting more local, personalized, and immediate interactions with brands and organizations. And they are expecting these experiences to be seamless. Whether the focus is on brand awareness or taking action, digital marketing interactions and digital fundraising efforts are building direct relationships with customers and donors.

In order to acquire and cultivate customers or donors, brands and organizations will have to build direct relationships. In order to build these relationships with customers or donors, in an age where everyone has a mobile phone or tablet, how will brands and organizations move forward with new marketing channels and evolving technology?

1. Putting the mobile mentality first

With consistent growth in mobile and tablet device usage, it’s imperative for brands and organizations to approach future campaigns from the mobile and experiential point of view, above all others. As Amy Gonzalez from Blueprint Interactive pointed out in her presentation “Beyond a Single Screen,” depending on whom your brand or organization is trying to reach and what you’re trying to do, it’s important to study the pros and cons of different mobile strategies before getting started.

For your brand or organization’s website, there are a few options to consider when making it mobile friendly. These options include using a mobile website redirect, designing a responsive website, or creating a mobile application. Every organization has different needs and will have to determine which strategy will be most appropriate and effective for their organization and audience.

  • Mobile Website Redirect – This website technique puts a redirect for all mobile website traffic to a separate mobile website ( or The unique mobile website allows you to completely redesign a website specifically for mobile devices. Don’t want a homepage photo slideshow to play for mobile users? Do want an uncomplicated website for web visitors on a mobile phone? The mobile redirect might be the answer for you. When using this technique, it is important to look into past website traffic analytics and consider traffic trends in your design, menus, and key website functionalities.
  • Responsive Design – Want one version of your website to look great across all devices? If your website needs to be consistent across multiple devices, a responsive website is the way to go. Responsive design allows a website to respond to the device viewing it and adjust itself accordingly to fit the screen. This technique optimizes search engine rankings since it is the same content across all browsers and is usually quicker to load. Responsive design also makes website updates easier since everything is in one place.
  • Mobile App – What’s better than an awesome app that connects with your audience? If your organization wants to engage “super-users” or “super-donors” and you can add value for your audience with a mobile app, then this is the right choice. Keep in mind that there are many extra steps in creating a mobile app — including creating multiple versions for different types of phones, deciding on pricing (paid or free with possible paid advertising/in-app purchases), writing the literature for download agreements, planning for updates, and getting approved by the Apple/Android store. Before jumping into creating an app, make sure you’ve spent quality time researching your audience and whether or not they’d use the app. And remember, a person will have to download this app, so there needs to be be an attractive reason for your audience to download it.

Now that your mobile-friendly website options are on the table, the next topic up for debate is mobile-friendly email. As Dan Caro, from Whereoware explained in his presentation “Making Your Emails Mobile Friendly,” the choices for mobile-friendly email are responsive design or using a mobile optimized, scalable template.

  • Responsive Email – A responsive email has multiple versions of certain pieces of code within one template. The CSS media queries trigger the different versions of code to render differently depending on the device being used to read the email. And while responsive design is better for a mobile and tablet heavy audience, it does require more technical resources and is more expensive. For large organizations that have a mobile-heavy audience, responsive design is the way to go.
  • Mobile-Optimized Email – A mobile optimized email is one version of code that’s scalable and renders well regardless of the device being used to read it. This includes buttons that are at least 44x44px, minimal text, and a clear CTA. For smaller organizations that don’t have the technical resources and budget, or the mobile heavy audience to justify a responsive design email, a mobile optimized email is the best option.

2. Never stop testing

Sure, your brand or organization might have found what seems like the be all end all best practice! But with technology changing constantly, what works one day, might be irrelevant the next. So how do you keep up? How do you evaluate what new trends and technologies can help your cause or brand? One word – testing.

As Sean Powell from The Engage Group and Heather Marsh from ABD Direct described in their presentation “Testing Mayhem – Sustainer Pop Ups + New Responsive Design + Hitting your Budget = WTF?!?!” there are many tests that organizations can run to work towards better results for your cause or brand.

What are some example tests to try in an email campaign?

  • Ascending vs. descending ask strings
  • Dynamic vs. static ask strings
  • Open text box vs. no open text box ask string
  • Short vs. long copy
  • Square vs. horizontal imagery
  • Imagery vs. no imagery
  • Very little copy with large image vs. more copy with small CTA
  • Text vs. graphic CTA
  • Security seal vs. no security seal

But it doesn’t stop there. While A/B testing your control emails will give you insight on how to increase engagement and response rates within an email campaign, there are even more ideas and techniques to test. For example, testing imagery vs. inline forms for a website pop-up, testing mobile versions of forms with less vs. more fields, or maybe even testing different donation form intercept algorithms, are just some more examples of website testing your brand or organization may want to try. Just keep in mind that for a useful test, it’s important to only change one variable from the control in order to be confident that the results are coming from that specific variable.

Moving forward you want to consider your brand or organization’s mobile friendliness, and continue to test everything. Great, that’s enough to make any organization’s head spin! So now what?

While it’s important for brands and organizations to understand the importance of these practices, it’s also very important to know what you don’t know.  And as Greg Kihlstrom noted, with the industry becoming more data driven, real-time, predictive, and semantic, more agencies will have an increased need for specialization. Your brand or organization may not be able to specialize in every new marketing channel, data analytics platform, or technical advancement, so building relationships with agencies that are specialized will help your brand or organization stick to the core of your business or cause.


Danielle HartDanielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. Danielle can be reached at

Can You R.E.L.A.T.E?

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

During the DMAW luncheon on October 17th, we joined the world of “Listen Up Español!” Randall Anderson “delivered awesomeness” with tips and lessons on how to engage the Hispanic market.  According to the Nielsen report, Hispanics account for $1.2 trillion dollars per year in buying power, we better start paying more attention to this fast growing U.S. population. Anderson stated that statistically, 1 out of 6 Americans are Hispanic; meaning, our Future IS Hispanic. From acquiring them, to keeping them coming back, to understanding their lifestyle, we need to… R.E.L.A.T.E.

Easy; right?

RRelationships. In the Hispanic market, as in any market, it’s all about building relationship.  When we share with others, this segment of the population loves to return the favor. Start the conversation around their heritage with dialogue and knowledge about their holidays or family.  You can reach out to them through social media, and then keep the conversation going. Relating your offering to their unique heritage and culture encourages them to include your organization in their community.

EEngagement. Build on those relationships and connect with the Hispanic culture. Make your brand “multicultural friendly”. If you take the time to relate to their culture and directly engage their interests, you will likely find generous and engaged donors who treat your organization like extended family. Focus on bringing people together and make it known that you are a multicultural and friendly organization. Provide direct support for when they have questions. Engage them through social media.  But they won’t donate online.  They want to talk to people.  Your call center needs to be prepared to chat a little longer and engage. Using both English and Spanish will let them know that you are always there for them.  Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project determined that 51% of Hispanics access the internet on their phone while 36% participate in social networking on their phone. This preference changes when they have questions or issues, they want to chat with real people on that same phone.

LLong-term. It takes the same amount of time and resources to acquire a new Hispanic donor. Although Hispanics usually begin the relationship with smaller contributions, they are more loyal than the general population and continue to donate for a longer period of time. Be committed! Remember, it’s a lifetime relationship. The more you commit to understanding their culture, the stronger the relationship will be. And the stronger your relationship is, the more loyal they become.

AAffiliation. Connection is key. Again, this logic applies to the general population as well as the Hispanic population.  Yet, Hispanics tend to maintain very strong connections.  Family is first priority and religion tends to follow closely behind that. Hispanics carry less debt and weather the changes in the economy better than the average American because of their family cohesiveness. Comprehending their family values is crucial to the success of your proposition.  68% of Hispanics in the U.S. are Roman Catholic and they attend church services regularly, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Hispanics also affiliate with their cultural heritage. Focus on key dates like “Las Posadas” and “Dia de los Muertos.” Acknowledging holidays that are unique to the Hispanic culture draws them to your offering. Religion and family underlie the Hispanic way of living.

TTrust. THE most important thing to remember is that Hispanics need to build relationship and trust. If they don’t trust you – they will never come back. They want to talk to people that they trust. They don’t trust the internet.  You won’t see a donation response from the Hispanic market over the internet. They want human contact. Your call center must be ready to answer whatever questions they have.   Don’t assume they speak English. And don’t assume they speak Spanish. The Nielsen Report estimates that 28% of Hispanics in the United States speak only Spanish, while 15% speak only English.  Be prepared for either!  Tests reveal that an event like a telethon is a great way to build this trust. For example, Teleton USA, is an annual fundraiser for child rehabilitation centers. During the two day telethon, the organization raises ALL of their funds for the year. How is this possible? Trust. Their donors have an ongoing relationship with them and know that their money is going to a good cause.

EEnculturate! Don’t just translate. Making sure your translation is correct is a very important aspect of engaging this market, but you have to know how to include their culture in the midst of this translation! Focus on both the tangible and intangible parts of their life, as well as what is important to their family. What have they passed down through the generations? Always have more than one resource review your materials before they go to any media outlet. A bad first impression can eliminate your organization from consideration. Parallel campaigns work better than translated campaigns. Become part of the Hispanic community and they will embrace your cause.

It is time to recognize that the US is no longer a “melting pot” of different cultures blending into one. We need to realize the importance of the Hispanic culture, heritage, and influence in the U.S. After all, they will make up about 1/3 of the U.S. population by 2050. Their buying and spending power is exponentially increasing.  Don’t miss the opportunity to join a growing segment of loyal donors. So, why haven’t you started building your Hispanic market yet? Just remember to R.E.L.A.T.E.!

Natasha Cole, Marketing and Management Double Major at Salisbury University, Graduating May 2014

Kiersten Durst, Marketing Major with a Dance Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating in May 2014

Courtney Mulcahy, Marketing Major with a Psychology Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating in December 2014


6 consejos para interactuar el mercado hispano

Durante el evento DMAW el 17 de octubre, nos unimos al mundo de ” Listen Up Español ! ” Randall Anderson ” genialidad entregado ” con consejos y lecciones sobre la forma de participar en el mercado hispano. Según el informe de Nielsen, los hispanos contribuyen 1,2 billones de dólares al año como consumadores. Entonces, deberíamos empezar a prestar más atención a este rápido crecimiento de la población en los EE.UU. Anderson dijo que según las estadísticas, 1 de cada 6 estadounidenses son hispanos, lo que significa, nuestro futuro será hispano. Desde su entrada en el mercado, para mantener el volverse, a la comprensión de su estilo de vida, tenemos que establecer relaciones.

Fácil, ¿no?

Consejo 1 – En el mercado hispano, como en cualquier mercado, se necesita construir relaciones. Cuando compartimos con otros, este segmento de la población disfruta devolver el favor. Inicie la conversación sobre su cultura con el diálogo y el conocimiento de sus vacaciones o de familia. Se puede crear relaciones a través de las redes sociales, y luego mantener la conversación. De conectar a su ofrenda a su herencia y cultura única incentiva a incluir a su organización en su comunidad.

Consejo 2 – Construir esas relaciones y conectar con la cultura hispana. Haga que su marca “simpático multicultural”. Si se toma el tiempo para conectar con su cultura y participar directamente a sus intereses, es más posible encontrar donaciones generosos y comprometidos que tratan a su organización como la familia extendida. Enfocar en unir a las personas y mostrar que usted es una organización multicultural y acogedor. Dar apoyo directo cuando tienen preguntas. Participar a través de los medios sociales. Tiene que estar preparado para charlar un poco más y participar de su centro de llamadas. El uso de ambos inglés y español les permitirá saber que siempre estás ahí para ellos. Según “Pew’s Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project”, el 51 % de los hispanos acceso a la internet de su teléfono mientras que el 36 % participan en redes sociales en su teléfono. Esta preferencia cambia cuando tienen preguntas o problemas, que quieren charlar con gente real en el teléfono.

Consejo 3 – Se necesita la misma cantidad de tiempo y recursos para adquirir un nuevo donante hispana que un donante norteamericano. Aunque los hispanos suelen comenzar la relación con las contribuciones más pequeñas, son más leales que los de la población general y siguen a donar por un período de tiempo más largo. ¡Este cometido! Recuerde que es una relación es por vida. La más usted se compromete a la comprensión de su cultura,  más fuerte será la relación. Y el más fuerte su relación es, más leales se convierten.

Consejo 4- La conexión es clave. Denuevo, esta lógica se aplica a la población general, igual que la hispana. Sin embargo, los hispanos tienden a mantener conexiones muy fuertes. La familia es la primera prioridad y la religión tiende a seguir muy de cerca en segundo lugar. Los hispanos llevan menos deuda y adaptan los cambios de la economía mucho mejor que el estadounidense promedio; Se debe a su cohesión familiar. Poder entender los valores de la familia es imprescindible para el éxito de su propuesta. 68 % de los hispanos en los EE.UU. son Católicos  Romanos y asisten a servicios religiosos con frecuencia, según a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Los hispanos también tienen mucho patrimonio cultural. Concéntrense en fechas clave, como ” Las Posadas ” y ” Día de los Muertos. ” Reconocer fiestas que son exclusivos de la cultura hispana, atrae los hispanos a lo que ofrezcan. La base de la vida hispana es la religión y la familia.


Consejo 5 – La cosa más importante que se debe recordar es que los Hispanos necesitan crear relaciones  y  confianza entre personas. Si no confían en usted – nunca regresaran. Quieren hablar con personas en cuales confían. No confían en el Internet. Usted no va a ver una donación del mercado hispano a través del Internet. Ellos quieren contacto humano. El centro de llamadas de usted debe estar preparado para responder a cualquier pregunta que tengan. No suponga que hablan inglés. Y no suponga que hablan español. El informe de Nielsen estima que el 28% de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos sólo hablan español, mientras que el 15 % sólo hablan inglés. ¡Esté preparado para ambos! Pruebas revelan que hasta un evento como una tele maratón es una gran manera de construir esta confianza. Por ejemplo, Teleton EE.UU., es un evento a beneficio de los centros de rehabilitación infantil. Durante el tele maratón de dos días, la organización Sacar contribuciones para todos sus fondos el año. ¿Cómo es esto posible? Confianza. Sus donantes tienen una relación permanente con ellos y saben que su dinero va a una buena causa.

Consejo 6 – No se limite a traducir. Asegurarse de que su traducción esta correcta es un aspecto muy importante de la participación en este mercado, pero también hay que saber cómo incluir la cultura en medio de la traducción. Se debe Concentrar en tanto las partes tangibles e intangibles de su vida, así también lo que es importante para su familia. ¿Qué han pasado de generación a generación? Siempre hagan que más de un recurso revise los materiales antes de ir a cualquier medio de comunicación. Una mala primera impresión puede eliminar su organización de la consideración. Campañas paralelas funcionan mejor que las campañas traducidas. Conviertes parte de la comunidad hispana y aceptar con buena gana su causa.

Es hora de reconocer que los EE.UU. ya no es un “crisol” de diferentes culturas que se mezclan a uno solo. Debemos darnos cuenta de la importancia de la cultura hispana, el patrimonio, y su influencia en los EE.UU. Sin embrago, ellos representan alrededor de 1/3 de la población de EE.UU. en 2050. Su poder de compra y gasto está aumentando de forma exponencial. No pierda la oportunidad de unirse a un segmento cada vez mayor de donantes fieles. Así que, ¿por qué no has comenzado a construir su mercado hispano todavía? Sólo recuerde estos seis consejos.

Natasha Cole, Marketing and Management Double Major at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2014.

Kiersten Durst, Marketing Major with a Dance Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating May 2014.

Courtney Mulcahy, Marketing Major with a Psychology Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating December 2014.

Translated by:

Kassandra Reyes, Business Administration with an International Concentration and Environmental Studies Minor at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2014.

Catherine Mucciolo, Corporate Finance and Business Administration with an International Concentration and Spanish and Accounting Minors at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2015.

Are Your Emails “Good Enough” For Mobile?

October 23, 2013 Leave a comment

By Jennifer Newell, Digital Services Manager, Production Solutions/PS Digital

Last week I attended the DMAW’s Digital Day Forum and came away with a lot of great takeaways. But one of the sessions that stood out to me most was Making Your Emails Mobile Friendly, presented by Dan Caro, Director, Online Marketing Operations at Whereoware.

Did you know that 1/3 of marketers don’t know what percentage of prospects access their emails via mobile?

I know I was surprised by that figure, but what’s the big deal? Why should we care?

Caro provided some astounding statistics that really made us sit up and listen:

A Litmus report showed that 47% of email opens are on a mobile device. This is a new record for mobile, increasing 24% since 2012.

And the number of mobile users is continuing to grow. Caro cited Forrester’s study which estimates that 78% of emails will be opened via mobile device by 2017. That’s four short years from now!

Furthermore, Constant Contact found that 75% of people surveyed said they are likely to delete an email if they can’t read it on a smartphone.

So in four years, if over ¾ of emails are opened via mobile device and ¾ of THOSE people are deleting your non-mobile friendly email, that’s a whole lot of people missing your message.

Ok, I get it, mobile’s a big deal. We should be ready though, we’ve been taking care of this, right?

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Email Mktg Benchmark Survey, 58% of marketers are NOT designing their emails to render differently on mobile devices. REALLY?!

In Dan Caro’s words “This is not good enough.” With the variety of devices and screen sizes people are using today, we must be mindful of how our emails will render on each device. And I have to agree.

But never fear! Mobile might be a big deal, but getting started isn’t. Caro breaks it down with easy to follow steps that can get you on the right track sooner rather than later.

First, know your options.

Don’t have the time and resources? Scalable design might be for you: a one-size-fits-all solution where only one version of the email is created to render well on all devices.

Are your email openers primarily mobile users? Do you have a responsive web site? It might be worth it for you to go with responsive design. Multiple versions of the email are created and CSS media queries are used to adjust email size automatically based on the device it is opened on.

Make your message readable and touch friendly.

Whichever type of design you go with; there are a few specifications that all mobile friendly designs should include:

  • Larger font size – 14-16pt preferred
  • Skinnier email design – 320 x 550px wide (it’s best to go with a single column when possible)
  • Touch friendly CTA – 44 x 44px

Make sure your message is streamlined.

It is still important to ensure that your message is cohesive from start to finish, from the subject line, to preview text, to email body, to landing page. It must all work together. We are marketers after all!

Don’t forget to quality control.

Multiple designs + multiple platforms could equal multiple errors. Make sure you’ve tested your email across several platforms before deployment.

Where do you go from here?

It’s never too late to get started! Begin by understanding how many of your subscribers are reading your emails on a mobile device, and testing your current email templates on a variety of phones and tablets.

Once you know where you are, you can make a plan to get where you need to go. Be sure to share your progress with your friends at the DMAW!


Jenn NewellJennifer Newell has been with Production Solutions since 2006 in production management, process improvement and most recently as a manager in Production Solutions’ PS Digital division.

Let’s Geek Out Over Data!

August 19, 2013 1 comment

by Gay Bitter

I am a self-professed data geek, so Angela Struebing’s presentation on Multichannel Attribution at the August DMAW Lunch and Learn was right up my alley.  Calculators were not provided but there was plenty of math during this great presentation!

So, what is multichannel attribution and why does it matter?  This methodology provides a new tool to the campaign analysis process that allows you to more effectively give credit to the correct communications channel and touch point in a multichannel campaign. When used correctly, it enhances the ability to maximize marketing dollars spent.

This colorful infographic, The Mullen Marketing Ecosystem, is a somewhat overwhelming example of all of the communications channels potentially influencing your donors or customers.


Prospects don’t see a single message, so how do you figure out how to use your organization’s marketing dollars wisely?  Each channel has its own metrics, each brings in donors or customers with varying lifetime values, and each has its own rate of response decay.  Using attribution allows you to measure lift by channel and will help you determine which channels to continue to use and which to drop.

Current practices that many marketers use are Confirmed Response and Matchbacks.  Flaws in these analysis tools are that they don’t factor in organic joins, follow-ups are likely given undue credit, and only touches with a reply device can be measured.  Another practice, Fractional Allocation, is used in many iterations, but again, doesn’t provide true insight on the contribution that each marketing channel makes to a donation or response.

Using weighted multichannel attribution (yes, some math is required here!) gets you closer to seeing the value of each channel.  Angela shared an example measuring the effectiveness of mail, email, telemarketing and cookie ads on a campaign.  Using this method, she found that cookie ads were using 9% of the marketing budget, but contributed only 1% to donations, so this channel should be dropped.  Mail used 66% of the budget and contributed 52% to contributions, so reducing mail quantity is a logical step.  Telemarketing, which used 20% of the budget but contributed 33% to donations, should be increased.

So what are the pitfalls?  You need to withhold prospects during testing.  This gives you a baseline to measure against.  That means you are missing potential donors; you can correct this by increasing your prospect universe on your next campaign. The good news?  You only need to test once a year, and results for clients in similar industries can be used for others in the same industry, but be aware that results can differ based on geography as well as industry.

Here are a few best practices to consider before you engage in multichannel attribution for your organization.

  1. Make sure your offer and creative is consistent across channels – use the same imagery and message.
  2. Online interactions should be held to two clicks or engagement will drop.
  3. Contact prospects many times until you see diminishing returns or increased opt-outs.
  4. Plan your analytics and coding before you start.

Attribution is not a magic bullet that replaces all of your tried and true marketing analysis, so don’t throw out your old results.  It’s just another tool in your toolbox.  And, one last bit of advice from Angela, don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.  Know when to stop!


GayBitterGay Bitter is Vice President, Marketing at Relevate, a leading provider of comprehensive data marketing solutions. She can be reached at

Think your marketing efforts are ahead of the curve? Think again.

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

by Danielle Hart

Just as organizations are catching up with content marketing and big data, there’s a new wave of technology being ushered in at an incredibly fast and overwhelming rate. And contrary to popular belief, marketers are not prepared.

“The most exciting thing about the future is that no matter what, history matters, and what makes people loyal to brands stays the same,” explained Geoff Livingston at the July EdVent on contextual marketing. He went on to say that while new technologies and communications tools are developing more rapidly than ever, context and relevance to audiences remain most important to successful marketing.

Today and here on out, our news and the media being produced is so intertwined with big marketing money that it’s hard to say what’s real and what’s a marketing ploy. For example, did the Discovery Channel choose to cover Red Bull Strato’s live? Or do you think Red Bull was ponying up a pretty penny to have this aired? Just like Robin Thicke’s hit new song, there are some “Blurred Lines” when it comes to these situations. And customers are picking up on this.

When Geoff asked the room “who here still trusts CNN?” you could hear the crickets chirping. Where are the news stations getting their stories? They follow what’s trending on Twitter, what’s being shared on Facebook, what YouTube video has skyrocketing views, and what corporations have paid them to cover a story. This is crowd-sourced news in a nutshell.

With all of this readily available information, and the fact that the public no longer fully trusts historically dependable news stations, where are people consuming their media? The answer is: it depends. Some people look to Twitter, Facebook, blogs or other social media, while others still look to TV news stations or the radio to stay up to date. Some people consume media on their mobile phones or tablets, others on a desktops or TVs.

Overall, the way media is produced and consumed today has changed drastically in two ways:

  • Digitization in today’s society creates a media convergence. Paid media such as traditional ads, owned media such as corporate content, and emerged media also known as organic media, have blended together with marketing techniques like sponsored customers, press coverage, and promoted brand content to form converged media.
  • Consumers are using multiple devices to consume media – TVs, desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Shifting from one device to another, sharing screens, synchronizing devices, and using devices simultaneously are all nonlinear usage patterns of today’s consumers.

What does this mean for the future of marketing?

  1. Marketing efforts should no longer be single channeled. Stakeholders’ media consumption patterns should hold the decision-making power for which channels marketing resources should be allocated.
  2. Usage patterns are not linear – therefore marketing shouldn’t be linear. Transmedia experiences, allowing the user to move between media and devices, will result in a better experience and a happier customer.
  3. Content must be relative and contextual to the stakeholders. With an outrageous amount of content that’s constantly growing and growing, marketers will have to stand out from the crowded marketplace and connect to their stakeholders in order to sustain a relationship.
  4. Customer experience marketing is key. Because of content overload, recommendations and word of mouth marketing from stakeholders’ networks will be much more influential than paid advertising.
  5. On demand customer service will have to happen. With the customer’s ability to publicly complain about a brand in real-time for everyone to see, it’s imperative for organizations to handle customer service when an incident happens. If not, customers now have the ability to rally more people and potentially put a dent in the organization’s reputation; a much easier way to spread the word than in the past.

In addition to the future of marketing principles listed above, Geoff provided us with examples of cutting edge technology and how brands can take advantage of them to connect with their stakeholders.

  • Google Glass – a wearable computer that tracks location and uses applications similar to ones found on an iPhone.  Ex. Starbucks using Google Glass – Someone with the Starbucks app who’s wearing Google Glass and walking down the street could be sent a notification right on their screen for a free tall latte at the Starbucks store that is exactly 5 buildings down on the left.
  • Digital Ubiquity – a product being delivered as a service. Ex. Grocery store digital ubiquity – Setting up a virtual kiosk at a subway station so people can order food on the go and have it delivered by the grocery store to their doorstep for when they arrive home.
  • Face recognition – identification of an individual based on their physical attributes. Ex. An electronic advertisement at a bus stop that has a camera behind the screen can identify the gender and age group of the person standing in front of the advertisement and queue content targeted towards that specific market.

 Some other up and coming trends to consider in marketing practices are in-store pickups and voice input replacing typing on mobile phones. How will brands improve the experience for a busy person who wants to order an item online and pick it up immediately in-store? And will only the top positions in search engine results matter with voice input? These are a couple of questions along with many more that will need to be considered as the next waves of technology come crashing on shore.

With all of the new technology and the massive amounts of data being collected by organizations, the next big debate becomes the issue of personal privacy. The Millennials, growing up as kids in today’s society, will have a very different understanding of privacy than a Baby Boomer or a Gen Xer. How will brands leverage big data and not totally invade their stakeholders privacy? How far is too far? How specific is just plain creepy? It’s assumed the privacy opt-in policy will become much more important and relevant to stakeholders in the future success of marketing.

This month’s EdVent was truly an eye-opener for any marketer who thought they had everything under control. The exciting new wave of technology is upon us and it’s up to us marketers to use new technologies to connect with our stakeholders and create the best possible experience for our customers. Thank you Geoff Livingston for a fantastic presentation and for challenging us to think towards the future of marketing!


Danielle HartDanielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. She can be reached at or found on her personal website at

Mail is not dead, but we must innovate and diversify to stay relevant!

July 15, 2013 1 comment

USPS New Products and Innovations Executive Enlightens DMAW Lunch and Learn Attendees about Increasing the Long-term Value of Mail by Leveraging New Technology

Gary Reblin2At the June 20 DMAW Lunch and Learn, Gary Reblin, the United States Postal Service’s Vice President of New Products and Innovations, strongly advised that organizations need to be innovative in order to stay relevant amidst the bombardment of information in this day and age.

According to the 2012 Mail Moment Survey, 80% of people surveyed look at their mail as a valuable news source, 75% like to see what’s in the mail and 63% of mail is kept at least two days. Amongst the youth, 79% sort the mail at the first opportunity, 72% would like to receive more personal mail and 67% scan the mail looking for important/interesting mail.  All statistics that prove mail is still highly valuable, across all age groups.

As a marketing tool, mail is still considered to be extremely beneficial. With mail, you are able to have more targeted advertising to your customers or donor base, it can be a cost-effective platform, mail offers an interactive solution through the use of integrated technology and success and effectiveness of each campaign is easily measured.

In order to stay relevant, organizations must recognize that an online and offline, integrated marketing approach will yield optimum results – the USPS recognizes this and has made a push to encourage mailers to utilize technology within their campaigns. By promoting mail innovations, the USPS is helping organizations enhance their mailpiece thus improving consumer engagement and increasing response rate, customer acquisition and Return on Investment (ROI).

Recent studies show that PC shipments are down and mobile commerce is on the rise with 81% increased sales in 2012, to nearly $25 billion according to eMarketer (Jan 2013). Mail and mobile is an optimum connection as the mailpiece provides a ‘jumping-off point,’ but the mailer must ensure a positive consumer experience by offering a mobile coupon and/or offer, mobile-optimized website and a responsive website that dynamically adapts both its content and layout to fit a multi-screen world (Smartphone, tablet or PC).

Although they are not yet final or approved, Gary was able to share some of the USPS Promotions and Incentives on the horizon for 2014:

  • Branded/Customized Mobile Technology
  • Mail Drives Mobile Commerce
  • Personalization
  • Mobile Application
  • Colorization of Bills and Statements
  • Premium Advertising Product
  • Emerging Technology
  • Earned Value Reply Mail

Through promotions and incentives and by continuing to highlight new technology and best practices, encourage and accelerate industry innovation and increase relevancy and engagement with consumers, the Postal Service’s objective is to increase the long-term value of mail.

During the wrap-up and question and answer session of Gary’s presentation, the hottest topic was the application process. It was clear that those in the room representing the Nonprofit sector of our industry had concerns with the amount of time and energy it took to get approved, and that some of the promotions and/or incentives didn’t apply to their organization, or the ones they represent, based on certain requirements. Gary and his team at the USPS are fully aware of the industry’s concerns and they are working to address them. There are four things that will help this; preparedness and earlier launch of the programs, longer promotional windows, variability in the promotion option and timing and added flexibility for customers.

A special thanks to James “J.R.” Caine and the team at Pitney Bowes Presort Services for sponsoring the June Lunch and Learn. And don’t forget, the DMAW has a great line-up of events headed your way:

  • July EdVent – Thursday, July 18, 6 pm: The Contextual Marketing Revolution – presented by Geoff Livingston, Author and Marketing Specialist, Lady Soleil, Inc.
  • MAXI Awards Ceremony – Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 4:30-6:30 pm
  • August Lunch and Learn – Thursday, August 15: Multi-channel Attribution for Non-profits – presented by Angela Struebing, Agency Director, CDR Fundraising Group


20130620-DSC_3737-14Amie Sharaf is a Senior Account Manager, cross-training as a Client Services Manager, with Production Solutions where she has worked since September 2009. She can be reached at

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