Art Calamari
Vice President - Strategic Accounts
309-287-5388
Art.Calamari@whateverittakes.com

Hello,

In case you hadn’t noticed, tomorrow has already come and gone. Tomorrow, in fact, is so yesterday — at least when it comes to new technology and consumer engagement techniques. Staying one step ahead is no longer enough; you have to stay several steps ahead or risk losing ground to your competitors every day.

In this issue of issentials you’ll learn how Progressive Impressions International (Pii) is already using big data to gather, analyze and interpret information about consumer behaviors. The takeaways can have a profound influence on how you position yourself in the marketplace and how customers perceive your ability to respond immediately to their individual needs and preferences.

Personalized marketing is more important than ever with the Millennials, that vast cohort of individuals who have grown up to become a highly sophisticated and sought-after class of consumers. As you’ll see in the article below, many of the old tricks don’t work with this group.

While today’s marketing responsibilities may leave you feeling challenged and overwhelmed, I hope this issue of issentials will excite and energize you. I welcome the opportunity to tell you how Pii can help you take advantage of our full suite of marketing solutions for tomorrow and beyond.

Sincerely,

Pii - Progressive Progressions International

 
 

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Ripples become waves. Pups grow up. And sooner rather than later, the Millennial Generation will be the prime focus of your marketing efforts.

Generational cohorts have come and gone before. But Millennials are not only the next big thing in marketing, they are also intrinsically different from previous generations.

Who are the Millennials?

There is no firm consensus about defining Millennials by age, but the Pew Research Center identifies them as being 20 to 31 years old. Already, the oldest of them are entering their prime earning years, and their influence is only going to grow. They are buying homes and cars, as well as health coverage, life insurance and financial services.

Characteristics of a Millennial

  • Suspicious of traditional marketing tactics
  • Extremely tech savvy
  • More likely to rely on recommendations of friends and peers
  • Gravitate toward brands that allow them to express themselves uniquely
  • Avid users of social media

Read More …

 
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Go where the Millennials are

75 percent of Millennials have a profile on a social networking site, according to the Pew Research Center, making social media a primary communication tool for this generation. So if you’re dragging your feet about establishing a presence on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks, it’s time to get over your hesitation!

  • They care as much about what a brand stands for as how it can help them.
  • They were disproportionately affected by the financial recession that began in 2008.
  • They have been shaped by the political environment, parenting styles, globalization, popular culture and greater population diversity.

Marketing to Millennials

Social networking will continue to be a primary avenue to reach out to Millennials. Social media opens the door to easy two-way communication, which is what Millennials expect. Yes, that gives unhappy customers a venue for airing grievances. But providing a tool for discourse will let you manage the conversation and customer experiences.

With so many channels of information, few Millennials (or anyone else) are going to pay attention to a run-of-the-mill press release or boring YouTube video. Spark your creativity and make your information worth sharing.

At its most basic, marketing to Millennials follows the same elementary rule as marketing to any other demographic: Give them what they want. It’s just that Millennials want something different.

 
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Not familiar with big data? You’re probably missing out big time.

Big data is the information you collect from your customers. With the growth of multichannel marketing, big data has become increasingly sophisticated, detailed and valuable.

Big data can include information about the products or services your customers use:

Using big data wisely is as important as capturing it in the first place. It can give you a significant edge over your competition.

  • The frequency with which they “touch” you
  • The time of day they usually visit your store or website
  • The effect of special offers on their buying habits
  • Their lifetime value to your business
  • Their comments to other people about your company

… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How can you take that data and turn it into action that enhances each customer relationship? Quest, our new data analytic tool, utilizes well-known technology to put big data to work for you. To learn more, contact us today.

Read More …

 
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Big data can be gathered from Web searches, purchase histories, price-scanning apps, surveys, tweets, texts and so on. Even visits to brick-and-mortar locations and customer service interactions can be mined for actionable intelligence.

The more you know about an individual customer, the more precisely you can respond to the individual’s habits, tastes and preferences in real time.

Pii’s Quest tool can scale and rapidly handle nearly any volume of data. It also captures the context around the data, helping to convert it into usable information. For example, Quest can:

The market for big data will grow at an annual rate of nearly 40 percent — to a total value of $16.9 billion — by 2015.

Source: International Data Corporation

 
  • Identify wait times for customer service so you can adjust staffing levels accordingly.
  • Determine the ROI of marketing campaigns to find which were most successful.
  • Enhance programs and services in response to customer feedback.
  • Distribute resources to areas most likely to need them.
  • Identify individuals less likely to comply with recommended care or services.

Quest uses the leading search engine interface so you can optimize market analysis, better achieve regulatory compliance, and take proactive steps to protect and nurture your most valuable customer relationships.

 
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What do Paul McCartney, poetry and chivalry have in common? All have been wrongly declared dead. Print is the latest recipient of this dubious distinction — and it, too, is far from dead.

Print matters more than ever. In a world accustomed to reading on laptops and cellphones, paper has renewed force and freshness. And personalized print has virtually unlimited power to resonate with targeted audiences.

Fact:

Marketers spent more than $50 billion on direct mail in 2011, an increase of 4.6 percent from 2010, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Why? Because print works!

In the results of a study in June 2012, the DMA determined that direct mail “boasts a 4.4 percent rate,” compared to email’s 0.12 percent.

Consider these advantages of print:

Emotional response Flexibility Speed and quality Durability Trustworthiness Safety

Put the power of personalized print to work for you. Pii’s expertise in both print and digital materials position us as uniquely qualified to be your partner in your integrated marketing efforts. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.

Read More …

 
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Emotional response

60 percent of people enjoy checking their mailbox, highlighting the “emotional connection” to postal mail, according to a Consumer Channel Preference Study.

Relevance

As Ballantine Corporation’s “Direct Marketing Trends for 2012” says, “It’s not just that people are receiving less physical direct mail, it’s also that marketers are being smart about what they send and to whom they send it.”

Flexibility

Imagine a calendar with the recipient’s name incorporated into the images, or an insurance welcome kit containing only benefit information that applies to the member’s plan. It’s already happening.

Speed and quality

New technology has made it possible to print materials faster and with higher quality than ever. For example, Pii’s Xerox 490/980 Color Continuous Feed Printer offers astonishing print quality and speed.

Safety

Electronic communications seem risky. Click on the wrong link, and you’ll be saturated by spam, peppered with pop-ups — or watch a virus wipe out your hard drive. What’s the worst that can happen with print materials? Even paper cuts are rare.

Compatibility

Print is essential to an integrated campaign. How about a direct mail promotion that drives traffic to your website? Or a social media alert about a special offer arriving in the mail?

 
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Today, three out of four Americans are actively online. That’s about 240 million potential prospects and future customers who are looking for information or help. So perhaps a better question to ask is … Why isn’t your company blogging or blogging more often and more effectively?

Percentage of respondents who said they acquired a customer through their company blog, according to the State of Inbound Marketing report by Hubspot in March 2012.

A corporate blog is much more than random thoughts and public relations for your company. If done consistently and with a focused purpose, your blog can establish your company as an industry expert, providing valuable, relevant and compelling information to your readers.

Blogging offers the following benefits to your company:

Increased number of online visitors. Most blog traffic comes from first-time visits via search engines. A well optimized blog with strategic keywords can move up your content links in search engine results over time and will ultimately bring more visitors to your site.

Closer relationships with customers/prospects that can lead to new sales opportunities. Your visitors are looking for content that addresses their informational needs. A corporate blog gives you expanded reach to explain who you are, what you do and the value proposition you offer.

Create content that can be used for other purposes. Any marketer knows that creating new content is time-consuming. A regular blog can generate fresh ideas, which can be repurposed for sales letters, advertisements, white papers and other marketing communications.

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Your blog should have focus and purpose. Here are some strategic steps to follow:

  1. Have a clear voice and focus. Identify your target audience and talk about current issues that are relevant to them.
  2. Don’t sound like you’re selling something. Your blog should create value for your readers by positioning your company as a reliable source of information.
  3. Keep your blogs brief. It should be no more than 500 words, and use bulleted highlights for easy reading and links to other sites to find more information.
  4. Post your blogs regularly. Loyal readers will expect to see your blog on a consistent basis — at least once a week at a minimum.
  5. Include keywords for better optimized search results. Use the Google Keyword Tool to choose highly searched, reasonably competitive keyword phrases that are relevant to your business.
  6. Include photos and videos in your blogs. A 2012 study by ROI Research found that 44 percent of social media users are more likely to engage with brands if a picture is posted.
  7. Provide a forum so readers can respond to your blogs. Not only will they provide valuable feedback to improve your blog, but also it may start a one-to-one conversation that could lead to future sales.
  8. Market and promote your blog. Always mention your blog in other advertising and promotional efforts, and encourage readers to share your blogs with others. Invite guest bloggers who may link your blog to their readers.
 
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Industry Insights

Marketers bullish on growth of digital and direct marketing

Marketers bullish on growth of digital and direct marketing

Here is another indication that marketing is on the rebound: 75 percent of marketers were upbeat about the growth prospects for digital and direct marketing, according to a recent Quarterly Business Review by the Direct Marketing Association. This figure is up slightly from the previous quarter when 72 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about growth prospects.

Spice up your email marketing with videos

Spice up your email marketing with videos

Want to boost the effectiveness of your marketing emails? Add a video to the email. Industry researcher Marketing Sherpa reported that a video in an email can lift conversion rates by 50 percent. A video adds a personal, powerful dimension to marketing emails, engaging prospects by showing them benefits rather than just telling them.

However, make sure your videos are presented in the most compelling and easily accessible way. Remember that you are trying to convince and please your prospects or customers — and not just yourself. Also, your recipients should be able to view the video directly from the email rather than leaving the email to follow a link where it will play. That way, you don’t risk losing them when they leave your email.

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More Industry Insights

The quality of your website may make or break a sale

Spice up your email marketing with videos

A good customer website experience can lead to increased sales and recommendations, but a poor website experience can drive them away. That was one of the findings of the 2012 Insurance Website Evaluation Study released by J. D. Power and Associates. According to the study, of consumers who said they were “delighted” with their website experience, 63 percent say they are more likely to shop with that insurer and 50 percent say they would definitely recommend the insurer to someone else.

Considering that a growing number of consumers prefer to shop online, it is important to make sure your website is easy to navigate, clearly presents your products and services in understandable language, and allow shoppers to get a quote online in a timely fashion.

Multichannel marketing drives higher ROI

Spice up your email marketing with videos

A recent Forrester study of global marketing decision-makers collaborates the importance of multichannel marketing. An overwhelming majority (86 percent) believe successful integration of multiple channels under a single integrated strategy is critical to long-term success; while 66 percent believe a multichannel customer is worth substantially more than a single-channel customer.

To help improve your return on investment, develop a coordinated multichannel strategy that includes a thorough understanding of each customer and prospect and how they like to be communicated with during the entire sales and relationship cycle.

 
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