DM offers one-two punch Target your customers Turn it up! Mobile marketing

Ron Drenning
Vice President, Marketing
(954) 956-3250


Henry Ward Beecher, a 19th-century clergyman and abolitionist, once said, "You never know till you try to reach them how accessible men are; but you must approach each man by the right door." For me, that powerful message sums up this issue of issentials

Inside, you'll read about how direct mail remains a preferred communication method for many consumers in today's high-tech world, and how ripe conditions are for you to benefit from using it. You'll see how list segmentation can help you address the diversities in your target audience to connect more effectively with more customers and prospects. You'll explore how social media and word-of-mouth marketing can combine to create a powerful and very efficient marketing strategy. Also, you'll learn about strategies for effective smartphone marketing, the first article in a new three-part series on mobile marketing.

I hope you find this issue informative and helpful. Please contact me to explore ways to help you reach your target market effectively. Together, we can find the right doors for the results you seek.


Pii - Progressive Progressions International

Say hello with an old friend … the postcard


Looking for a low-cost format with a powerful punch? It’s hard to beat the old-fashioned postcard.

Why postcards:

  • Cost effective — Less paper, production, postage and time creating your message.
  • Immediate impact — In a matter of seconds and without opening an envelope or email, your readers will get a postcard’s message.
  • Long-lasting impression — With colorful, clever designs, postcards are meant to hold on to and get revisited over and over again.
  • Completely customizable — Postcards come in all sizes, shapes, colors and paper stock. Plus, you can personalize the postcard to the market or individual customer.
  • Measurable results — Postcards can double as coupons, gift certificates and special invitations, and can include links to websites that can all be tracked.

Pii is an expert in all formats and facets of personalized marketing. To learn more today, contact:

Ron Drenning
Vice President, Marketing
(954) 956-3250
Pii is a registered ISO 9001 company.

Does direct mail have a place in today’s high-tech world? Absolutely! In fact, now is a great time to bolster your direct mail marketing efforts. Here’s why:


1. People prefer, and pay attention to, direct mail

  • 79 percent of households read or skim direct mail sent to their homes.1
  • 53 percent say they pay closer attention to information received by mail than by email.2
  • Two to three times as many 18-34 year olds — a very highly tech-focused demographic — prefer to receive health, financial and insurance marketing messages by mail or in newspapers rather than online.2
  • Consumers also consider direct mail more trustworthy than most forms of online marketing, including email, social media, blogs and forums.2

Learn more:
Read our special report

Direct mail delivers solid results in a high-tech world, an exclusive special report from Progressive Impressions International, offers an in-depth look at direct mail trends, opportunities and solutions. Contact us today to request your copy.

2. Less competition, greater opportunity

Because the volume of direct mail has declined in recent years while the use of online marketing has surged, direct mail now faces less competition and stands a better chance of:

  • reaching more consumers,
  • getting greater response and
  • generating more sales.

Businesses are using more direct mail … how about you?

While many marketing channels saw declines in spending in 2010, marketers spent $45.2 billion on direct mail marketing in 2010 — a 3.1 percent increase over 2009.3 Further increases in direct mail spending are anticipated for 2011, with some analysts predicting it to grow 5.8 percent.3


1 Source: DMA 2010 Statistical Fact Book: The Definitive Source for Direct Marketing Benchmarks, Direct Marketing Association, February 2010.
2 Source: Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice, ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, August 2010.
3 Source: Outlook 2011: What To Expect In Digital & Direct Marketing, Winterberry Group, January 2011.

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Integrate direct mail with other channels for maximum impact — and ROI


If you want to reach and retain more consumers, gain ground against competitors, increase revenues and grow your business, you should include direct mail as part of an overall multichannel marketing strategy.

Consider also the potential power of using print and electronic marketing together in integrated marketing campaigns for the best of both worlds and greater market penetration. For instance, you could:

  • Use direct mail to invite your audience to sign up for your e-newsletter or to attend a webinar.
  • Use email to alert people to watch their mailboxes for an upcoming newsletter issue, coupon or booklet, or to remind them to respond to a direct mail offer they recently received from you.
  • Send customized direct mail that invites the recipient to visit a personalized URL at your website, where the individual can enjoy a customized online experience while you may potentially gather information to help target your offers and communications more effectively.

Don’t miss out

Contact us at Progressive Impressions International and find out what direct mail can do for you. Our dedicated experts can help you create and implement effective direct mail campaigns as well as develop customized, integrated solutions using various communications channels to help you achieve maximum marketing ROI.

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Segmentation strategies go beyond the basics for more effective targeting

“Right person, right offer, right time” has become the mantra of direct marketers. Yet, only 58 percent of retailers surveyed by Forrester Research were using list segmentation to create timely, relevant offers targeted to those most likely to buy. That means the other 42 percent weren’t even trying to make their direct marketing more relevant. Judging by the amount of direct mail and email that we receive, it’s a good bet that marketers in other industries aren’t doing much better.

Think smaller

Segmentation creates lists of individuals who are as much alike as possible in order to craft messages that make prospects and customers feel that you really know them and understand their needs. If you haven’t used list segmentation before, start breaking down your database by the basics:

  • Customers and prospects. Don’t offend a loyal customer by implying that you don’t know who they are — or that you don’t appreciate their past support.
  • Demographic segmentation (age, gender, income, neighborhood, etc.). Response was three times higher for a North Dakota bank that used segmentation to target its direct mail by age group. Read the case study here.

Make your list even smaller with segmentation by:

  • Previous responses
  • Length of the relationship
  • Purchase history and habits
  • Type of account or level of spending
  • Personal interests and preferences
  • Online behavior, such as open, click-through and conversion rates

Segmentation lets you create messages that speak loud and clear to your audience and are less likely to be relegated to the trash.

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Taking list segmentation to new heights

New data modeling and correlation analysis tools can make segmentation strategies even more precise and effective. Progressive Impressions International (Pii) is currently working with a financial services client to test whether this level of targeted marketing can improve response in a direct mail debt collection campaign.

Using Experian data and analytical tools, Pii created a profile of likely responders and an analysis of effective creative design for those consumers. The new creative is now being tested against a generic letter with preliminary results that indicate higher response and increased revenues.

The Holy Grail — a list of one

Creating a unique message for each person on your list is the ultimate goal — the Holy Grail of segmentation. Fortunately, it isn't nearly as hard to find as that long-sought relic. Create one-of-a-kind messages with blended segmentation using all the different attributes that apply to a particular individual.

For example, a health plan can promote its wellness programs by segmenting members based on age, gender, personal and family health history, health challenges revealed in a health risk assessment or even through claims information. Variable data solutions can then create health and wellness communications for each individual that address the member's unique health status, lifestyle, interests and needs.

You know you should do it — let us help

We can help your company divide and conquer your direct marketing list with segmentation strategies and variable data capabilities that go beyond the basics. List segmentation can help you maximize the relevance of your communications for targeted audiences — even an audience of one. Contact us today.

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Social media pumps up the volume for word-of-mouth marketing

You might say that the principle behind word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing was born when Eve said to Adam, “Hey honey, you’ve got to try this fruit.” Though that first referral didn’t work out so well, the success of WOM marketing has been on the upswing ever since.

People will talk

Wagging tongues are a naturally occurring phenomenon. People enjoy recommending a product, service or brand because doing so makes them feel empowered and reinforces their self-image as a savvy consumer. WOM marketing strategies encourage and facilitate positive comments or recommendations for your brand.

In the past few years, social media has emerged as a way to take the positive chatter up a few thousand decibels. In an instant, one consumer can share an opinion with hundreds of friends and followers. As those people share, the message can be amplified thousands of times.

Happy voices may be louder online

Of course, social media can amplify negative word of mouth as well as positive. However, happy voices may drown out the naysayers. An analysis of Twitter accounts by inbound marketing firm HubSpot showed that people whose posts are positive tend to have more followers than people whose posts are negative. On Facebook, a linguistic analysis showed positive content is shared 40 percent more often than negative.

Dig deeper: Read a recent Wharton School report on emotions and social media virality.

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How to locate your
‘customer evangelists’

According to Meteor Solutions, Inc., just 1 percent of your social media audience generates 20 percent of your site traffic by sharing content or site links. These “customer evangelists” contribute an even greater share of conversions, driving 30 percent of overall end actions on your site.

To find your 1 percent, free social media monitoring tools such as Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Twittercounter or offer tracking and basic analytics.

Find out what will get them talking

After you’ve identified your 1 percent, drill down further to analyze what types of content they share. Do they pass along special discounts, contest entries or videos? Or, do they share links to informational articles or blogs? Provide their preferred content and make sharing as simple as possible. Use share-to-social links and embed some of them within your content.

Fortune, fame or favoritism? What motivates them to to share?

Everyone loves a bargain so financial incentives are always a safe bet. However, social media fans who spend time creating and sharing content online are also likely to be motivated by appreciation and recognition. Reward them with some publicity. Mention their content in your blogs or tweets. Recognize those who’ve given you the most referrals or shared the most content on your Facebook page. Exclusive deals or insider access can also motivate your fans.

Make some noise

With social media, the word about your brand spreads faster and louder. Using social media to identify and engage your brand’s most important fans, you can gain access to thousands of potential customers just by getting a few of them to make some noise.

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Is your smartphone
outsmarting your
marketing strategy?


Just a few years ago, accessing the mobile Web was a privilege that only a very few people enjoyed. That all changed in 2007 with the arrival of the iPhone and other types of smartphones. Today, many of us feel that mobile devices are integral to the fabric of our lives. From making calls to exchanging text messages, checking email to sending photos, getting directions to surfing the Internet — it’s no wonder that some people refer to the “Dark Ages” when talking about the days before mobile devices were always at hand.

Not just desirable but critical

According to the Pew Internet Project, “58 percent of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant to do at least one of 10 mobile non-voice data activities.” A mobile strategy is no longer a desirable addition to a marketing plan; today, it’s a critical component.

Key: customer-centricity

The key to mobile-marketing success is customer-centricity: provide relevant information and engagement that is driven by the requirements of the specific mobile device. The more you engage with customers on their terms and in a trustworthy way, the more loyal they will become and the more effective your campaigns will be.

Read More …

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Tips for effective customer-centric mobile marketing


Here are some tips to better engage your mobile-bound customers with truly customer-centric email messages:

By December 2011, approximately half of all Americans will have a smart phone, according to data generated by pollster Nielson and reported by Asymco.
  • Include a mobile option on your home page. Track how many users check this option.
  • Add a mobile reference to your online-version link in your message copy.
  • "Above the fold" becomes even more crucial on the mobile screen.
  • Always include a plain text version of your email. Try to limit your sentences to 20 to 40 characters in 12 to 15 lines of text. Avoid images, which slow down reading.
  • Try to use a short but sweet URL. Or use a shortened URL with a tool like or tinyurl so your tracking URLs will be shorter.
  • Keep your message brief. Don’t make your readers wade through a sea of text — it’s too easy to click on delete!
  • Get in line. An email subject line has to capture attention quickly and drive the reader to click through. Keep the subject lines for mobile devices to five words or less.
  • Tag your images. If your email marketing message includes images, make sure you include an alternative (alt) tag that describes the image.
  • Make sure your email has a clear call to action. Place it near the beginning and make it stand out.
  • Test and test again. View your message on different mobile phones. What looks terrific on a Blackberry may look jumbled on an iPhone. Want to see how your message will appear on various devices? A Google search for “mobile device simulator” will give you lots of options.
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Industry Insights

What joins the printed page with the digital world?
What joins the printed page with the digital world?

Why it’s QR (quick response) codes. These quirky codes, which basically are a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smartphone's camera, can be used on direct mail pieces, movie posters, business cards, etc. And, based on the type of code it is, it might direct the viewer to a Web site, make a phone call, deliver a vCard or more. Progressive Impressions International now has 2-D barcode and QR barcode capability to generate these codes. Contact us for more information.

All I really want to do is baby be friends with you — Bob Dylan
All I really want to do is baby be friends with you — Bob Dylan

Brands hoping to connect one-on-one with young consumers through social media, listen up: Young people don’t want to be friends with you. According to a new report from Forrester Research, just 6 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds who use the Web desire to be friends with a brand on Facebook. So what should brand marketers do? Instead of attempting to interact with this age group, listen and react to them. Just because they don’t want to be “friends,” 74 percent still use social media to talk about products with friends and make recommendations.

“Z” my last name is Zimmerman

Recent research indicates that people whose last names begin with letters late in the alphabet are more responsive to immediate calls to action. Apparently, a lifetime of being last in line finds these people impatient and more likely to act quickly when they have the opportunity — they’ll be a little more likely to respond to a time sensitive or limited quantity offer. For more, read Tyranny of the Alphabet by Slate’s Timothy Noah.

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