Marketing: Basics of Dataset Management - Removing Duplicate Records
March 25th, 2011
The first rule of effective direct mail marketing is to have a clean dataset - a record of names, addresses and other contact information that is accurate. Often, we find datasets that have been compiled from multiple sources and have duplicate entries throughout the file. If the data is in a spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel, simple sorting is sometimes enough to identify duplicate entries and remove them. But other times, like when the dataset is very large or the duplicates aren't obvious, it requires some advanced filtering techniques to clean up the dataset.
In this video from Tech Republic, Bill Detwiler shows you three advanced techniques for sorting through your spreadsheet data to identify and remove duplicates. If you have questions about how to compile your dataset for direct mail marketing, or if you need help sorting through the data you have, contact us and we'll help you "sort it out."
Graphic Design: Maintaining Brand Consistency with Graphic Standards
March 23rd, 2011
Your brand and visual identity is how people recognize you in the marketplace. Maintaining a consistent look and feel of your brand is critical to making sure customers recognize your product or service and feel comfortable doing business with you. To ensure your visual brand or logo is always consistent, develop-and adhere to-a written policy of graphic standards.
Printing: Print Grows Trees
November 24th, 2010
With the renewed emphasis on environmental stewardship many have assumed, incorrectly, that printing has a negative impact on the sustainability of forests. A new educational campaign, however, is spreading the word that "Print Grows Trees" by illustrating how a vibrant print industry is the critical link to making sure private woodland owners continue to use their land for the development of forests, instead of selling the land to industries that may negatively impact our fragile ecosystem.
"In a world bombarded by electronic images and media, many forget the value of print to our society. It contributes in economic, social and environmental ways that have not been clearly represented to the public. ’Print Grows Trees’ concentrates on the environmental, because the misconception that if we stop using print we’ll save trees, has had a critical impact on not only the print industry, but also on the private landowners who are the keepers of America’s trees. We just want people to make their communications’ decisions based on facts."Learn more about how the printing industry is making a significant contribution to the sustainability of forests and protecting woodlands from clear-cutting and conversion to environmentally irresponsible uses at the Print Grows Trees website.
- J. Albert Maddox, Chairman, Print Grows Trees.
Marketing: Preparing Your Website for QR Code Marketing
November 17th, 2010
QR Codes are quickly becoming an important part of a digital marketing toolkit. But where are those QR codes taking your customers? The information you provide a mobile user is important, but so is the way you deliver the information. Traditional websites are not the optimum choice, but with some tweaks to your web design or a QR Code-specific landing page, your QR Code marketing can be very effective.
QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that are frequently used in print advertising or product packaging to provide mobile users with more information about a product or service. A consumer scans the code with their smartphone using QR code reader software (included on most smart phones and available for free via download) and is able to view videos, a mobile website or special offers and/or coupons on their phone.
By now most American consumers have seen a QR code. You may already be familiar with QR codes and how to use them. You may be one of the estimated 70 million American smartphone owners who regularly scan these codes with your phone to get product details or special offers on the go.
Whether you are putting QR codes on brochures, business cards or product manuals, its important provide users a source of information that is optimized for a mobile device. Here are some tips to prepare your website or other content for QR Code marketing:
Microsites or Landing Pages
Manufacturers of mobile devices market their ability to display full websites in a mobile browser. But with small screens and touch screen interfaces, these devices are better suited for optimized, mobile websites. Your microsite or landing page can be as simple as formatting the text and images on the page so that they are easily viewed on a mobile device. For example, use a larger font, bigger form fields for use with a touch interface and include email addresses and phone numbers so users can contact you directly from the phone. Optimize images so they load quickly over a 3G data connection.
Video is a great way to communicate information to mobile users. While Flash is the defacto standard for web video, most mobile devices cannot view video encoded in Flash. One exception is videos that are uploaded to YouTube. YouTube saves videos in multiple formats so that mobile users can view them as well. If you are not using YouTube to share videos, make sure the video you share via QR Code is formatted in mobile-friendly way. Here are some technical encoding details to give your video provider:
If you are going to share documents, presentations or other information for customers to download, make sure it's formatted for mobile devices. Not every mobile device can view Word or Powerpoint files, but they can all view PDF files. Convert your documents to PDF format and use the optimization tools in Acrobat, Preview or other PDF viewer to reduce the file size for online delivery. If you really want to make mobile users happy, reformat your documents so they are easily viewed on a small screen without having to zoom and scroll around the document.
No matter what you want to share as part of your QR code marketing, a little planning can ensure mobile users utilize, and appreciate, the information you provide. Contact us to learn more about QR code marketing and how to prepare your website for a QR Code campaign.
Marketing: The One Question Survey
October 30th, 2010
Surveys are a great marketing tool. They enable you to gather key marketing information from your customers or prospects, learn the channels by which your customers wish to communicate and help you provide better service. I have blogged about the benefits of using a website to conduct surveys in the past, but how you conduct the survey is not nearly as important as the questions you ask.
Many organizations make the mistake of asking too many questions, thinking they have one chance to gather as much data as possible. No one wants to answer a hundred questions on a survey. Most people don't even want to answer 10. So what is the right number of questions to ask on a marketing survey?
That's right. One question is all you really need to ask. In the book, The Ultimate Question, Fred Reichheld presents the concept of a Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is quickly being adopted by organizations around the world to determine the quality of customer service and brand loyalty. The first step in determining your NPS is to ask a single survey question:
"How likely are you to refer our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?"
That really is the ultimate question, isn't it? For marketers, it succinctly captures all the other data you could possibly need to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and the quality of your customer service.
Consider asking this question in a simple online survey posted on your website. Mail a postcard to your customers with this question or include it on your next e-mail newsletter. Whatever communication channel your customers prefer, make sure to ask them this question.
To learn more about NPS and how to determine your Net Promoter Score based on the answers you get to the one question marketing survey, I highly recommend Fred Reichheld's book. Not much of a reader? Email me and I will walk you through it.