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With advances in data technology and systems offered by the U.S. Postal Service, such as National Change of Address, direct mailers should have seen a decline in "return to sender" address glitches in recent years. Not so, points out Direct Marketing News magazine Senior Editor Al Urbanski in a recent article. In fact, according to USPS figures, 3.7% of first-class mail was returned to senders in 2014, up from the 3.4% in 2004. That small percentage adds up to big costs for direct mailers. Urbanski cites estimates by Novitex, a mail management company, that each piece of returned mail costs marketers between $3 and $50 a piece, with the higher hit on transactional mailers receiving payments for insurance premiums, merchandise purchases, credit card payments, and loan payments. But all mailers are burdened by wasted printing, prep, postage and data processing spends, as well as customer churn and lost opportunities. What to do? The fundamental problem is bad mailing-list data, despite all the systems available to keep lists clean and updated. So Novitex urges using automated services for address updating, including NCOA; centralized returned mail operations to improve reaction and cut risk of postal service audits and lost discounts; and implementation of data technology to track mail behavior to the root causes of returns. For the complete article: http://www.dmnews.com/direct-line-blog/return-to-sender-is-still-high-on-mailers-playlists/article/421022/
Despite ad decline in First Class Mail and an increase in data solutions, undeliverable as addressed mail is on the rise.
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Direct marketers have finally left behind recession-inspired cautionary spending, with many in a "full-steam growth mode," per Target Marketing magazine's "2015 Media Usage Survey." And the good news for direct mail data professionals like AccuList USA is that direct mail retains a key role in media budgets. Per the survey, about 44% of business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers reported that their media budgets are staying the same as in 2014, with 32% increasing spending and only 12% planning a budget decrease. Where are they spending? Most respondents (65%) are increasing e-mail spending, and most respondents (61%) plan to increase social media engagement investments in 2015. Search engine marketing (SEM) and optimization (SEO) also both continue as high priorities, especially for acquisition, so that content marketing, video and mobile optimization—each offering strong search benefits—were cited as high priorities, too. However, snail mail is still a critically important channel for most direct marketers. Overall, 30% plan to increase mail budgets and 37% will keep spending the same compared with last year. More than half are still using direct mail for both acquisition and retention. Yes, 11% of respondents reported decreasing direct mail budgets, but, as Target Marketing sums up in its report, that doesn't mean direct mail is withering away but that "newer strategies are factoring into the direct marketing equation, and its share is being spread around to other corners of the media landscape." For more detail, read http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/target-marketings-media-usage-survey-2015/
Direct marketing media budgets increased markedly last year, and they show no signs of backsliding in 2015, according to Target Marketing's "2015 Media Usage Survey." Respondents appear to be embracing opportunities in search and display advertising to introduce their brands to new customers in a way we haven't seen in years.
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Barack Obama rode his hip, single-letter "O" logo into the White House, and some 2016 presidential hopefuls may hope that emulating the one-letter logo idea will lead to the same political brand success. For example, as a recent Washington Post newspaper story reports, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's campaign committee is playing with a "J" logo, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has launched an active, rightward-pointing "H," former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is using "O'M" instead of spelling his name out on signs, and Republican Rick Perry has unveiled a "P" logo. Why the popularity of single-letter logos? Blame the rise of digital politicking, suggests the Post. Single letters are optimized for smartphones, whether for a call-to-action button or a social media avatar. Single letters just fit better into the square icons of social media compared with long names. It's no accident that Facebook's logo is a lowercase "f," Pinterest uses a "P," and Tumblr has a lowercase "t." But the fad for bold letter logos also may reflect the pressure to stand out in a crowded field of presidential hopefuls, adds the Post story. A strong campaign logo, like a strong corporate brand logo, can set a candidate apart from the competition and quickly help voters recall a candidate's message and brand attributes. For logo examples, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/04/the-rise-of-the-single-letter-political-logos/
FWIW, POTUS campaigns R using as few letters as possible 4 their logos.
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The U.S. Postal Service announced a new product to further marry digital and direct mail channels by allowing mail recipients to see what mail is arriving in real time on their mobile devices, reports Target Marketing magazine. Called “Real Mail Notification,” the soon-to-come product was unveiled to direct mailers by USPS Postmaster General Megan Brennan at the recent National Postal Forum in Anaheim, Calif. Nine out of 10 consumers participating in a Northern Virginia product pilot are checking daily on their mobile devices to see what’s arriving in their physical mailboxes, she told PostalNews.com, which also reports that a New York City pilot of the RMN program will launch later this year. Brennan touted RMN mobile notification to EcommerceBytes.com in the Target Marketing story: “If you see that you’re receiving a mailpiece from a favorite retailer, you can click on that piece for an additional offer that drives you to open that mail when you get home. Or, you might jump directly to a transaction. In either event, the physical mail piece draws you into the interactive experience.” In her speech to the National Postal Forum, Brennan claimed, “We saw a 10-fold jump in response rate for the pieces we tested.” For more detail and a link to Brennan's speech transcript: http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/usps-goes-digital-with-daily-real-mail-notification/
Snail mail is about to pick up the pace and enter real time, says USPS Postmaster General Megan Brennan. Speaking Monday during the National Postal Forum, an industry trade show held this year in Anaheim, Calif., she told direct mailers about a soon-to-come product called "Real Mail Notification," according to EcommerceBytes.com and PostalNews.com.
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What's the best day to send e-mail to get a response? Well, if you pick Tuesday, you are joining the e-mail marketing crowd. Using the exclusive e-mail campaign database from Who’s Mailing What (WMW!) for 2013 and 2014, Target Marketing magazine recently assessed e-mail volume by day of the week. The data ranks Tuesday as the most popular day for sending e-mails, with Thursday a close second, for both 2014 and 2013. A review of e-mails received by WMW! also shows that both days dipped slightly in 2014 — Tuesday from 17.8% of weekly e-mails in 2013 to 17.4%, and Thursday from 17.6% in 2013 to 17.1% in 2014 — but both days continued to hold the top overall spots. Those dips may have been due to more weekend sends for the 2014 elections, however. Meanwhile, the third most popular day was Wednesday, which took up 16.7% of weekly e-mails in 2014, up from 16.5% in 2013. Which industry categories are filling up digital mailboxes? Retailers send the most e-mails daily, followed by publishers (magazines and newsletters) and then nonprofits/fundraisers for politics and social action (causes), per WMW! data. Read the article at http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/day-week-send-email/
What time should I send my email? What day of the week should I send on? What's the perfect subject line length? These are just a handful of questions bouncing around in the heads of marketers who are trying to make sure their email campaigns are efficient and successful.
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With e-mail a proven political campaign tool, and subject lines a key to open rates, the crowded field of 2016 presidential hopefuls is already providing interesting subject line lessons, notes a recent Target Marketing magazine article by Kevin Kelleher of Return Path, an e-mail marketing solutions provider. Consider Ted Cruz's subject line "Exciting news this week!" It aims to generate interest/curiosity (what's so exciting?), urgency and even fear of missing out (this week), Kelleher points out. In contrast, Rand Paul's welcome e-mail subject line rambles on with "Thank you so much for signing up to learn about Rand Paul's campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States." Its 134 characters--which is almost too long for a tweet and will be cut short by e-mail inboxes and mobile screens--put it in the minority 3% of subject lines over 100 characters, which also have a lower open rate average of just 9%, per Kelleher. Hillary Clinton takes the opposite tack with a minimalist, one-word "Welcome" e-mail subject line, which may have an eye on mobile users since those devices are constrained to just 25-30 characters. But it certainly seems to miss the more personal, inclusive inspiration added by just three more words with Marco Rubio's "Welcome to the Team." Kelleher adds that Bernie Sanders is the only one to use a question and a soft call to action with his "Are you with me?" subject line. The answer to that question for all candidates is pending, but to give your 2 cents now on the current crop of political subject lines, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/presidential-subject-lines-can-learn-early-candidates/
A lot has changed since 2012 (let alone 2008), and those running for president have many options for reaching various constituencies. One thing that hasn't changed is the importance of email, which remains the primary means of communication for those seeking the White House.
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AccuList USA

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Political campaigns spend big dollars on voter-targeted direct and digital marketing campaigns, so the opinions of direct marketing pros, like well-known and outspoken consultant and author Denny Hatch, are worth noting. Hatch recently wrote an article for Target Marketing magazine, advising the crowded field of 2016 presidential candidates on how they can ease the decision-making nightmare for voters. First, he urges them to avoid BOMFOG, a term gleaned from a former candidate-client's own speech content description: Brotherhood of Man Under the Fatherhood of God. Hatch cites BOMFOG as an illustration of the general political tendency to "bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie" while avoiding specifics. But when you have over 20 primary candidates, Republican and Democrat, that kind of tactic will leave voters either grabbing at televised one-liners and gaffes, or confused and turned-off. Instead, Hatch suggests that, as in the business world, each candidate should create a pithy, personal resume for voters. That political resume would consist of a CV (99 words maximum about family, net worth, education and career); a Preamble about basic philosophy of governance (249 words maximum); and a series of Issue Stances (99 words each). Hatch provides his own examples of issue opinions, which readers won't necessarily accept, but the idea is to offer a manifesto that is specific, punchy and printed (no BOMFOG evaporating at the end of the speech or media sound bite). Issues include hot topics such as energy, foreign policy, climate change, health care, immigration, jobs, national security, taxes, and more. Hatch taps into marketing basics with his ideas. "Specifics sell. Generalities do not," he notes, quoting marketing freelancer Andrew J. Byrne. By creating a punchy resume, each candidate can focus on his or her USP (Unique Selling Proposition), Hatch suggests. See: http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/selling-president-2016-bomfog/
On the campaign trail, politicians — the men and women who govern and control our lives — bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie.
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The best way to boost your e-mail click-through rate (CTR) is a meaningful call to action (CTA). That's the verdict of 65% of the marketing, sales and business professionals surveyed worldwide by Ascend2, as reported recently by MarketingProfs. Second place went to list segmentation for targeting (47%), followed by message personalization (42%). Tactics garnering frequent online discussion gathered the fewest votes by the way: social sharing (6%) and video e-mail (10%). There isn't a big surprise in those findings from marketers, who were weighted more heavily toward B2B (68% of surveyed). But before you rush off to spruce up your call-to-action effort, note that those same marketers also rated list segmentation and call to action as the most difficult tactics to implement for improved CTR, by 41% and 35% respectively. Clearly, knowing what to do isn't the same as knowing how to do it well. Maybe that's why the surveyed marketing pros saw e-mail CTR trends as relatively stagnant, either not changing (34%) or increasing only modestly (33%). For more details of the survey, go to http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2015/27811/the-best-tactics-for-improving-email-ctrs
Email Marketing - Marketers say creating meaningful call-to-action offers is the best way to increasing email click-through rates (CTRs), according to a recent report from Ascend2.
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SMS has become an essential communications tool for retailers as online and mobile shopping grow. In fact, 85% of consumers in a new survey said they would prioritize unopened text messages over e-mails and push notifications from apps. Direct Marketing News magazine recently reported on a survey of 1,000 UK consumers by eDigitalResearch, which showed texting as the most effective way to reach consumers in real time with time-sensitive information. The survey results are especially pertinent for retailers, suggesting they need to implement a comprehensive communications strategy that includes multiple channels to engage with consumers across the entire life cycle, said Steve Brockway, director of research (UK) at eDigitalResearch, in a news release about the study. The research not only showed that SMS is preferred (by 85%) for the delivery of priority information, such as order status alerts, but that 53% of respondents cited SMS as the preferred method of communication when on the go, and half said they'd choose SMS for day-of notifications. It's not an entirely text-happy world for marketers: 59% of respondents prefer to receive promotional information via e-mail, and 54% said they always or mostly always open offers received via e-mail. E-mail also had the highest open rate for marketing information, although closely followed by text messages. However, trust remains an obstacle for retailers when it comes to mobile technology. Only 43% of respondents said they were willing to share their mobile phone numbers with retailers out of fear they would be bombarded with irrelevant communications. For more detailed survey results, read http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-strategy/dont-text-and-drive-do-text-and-market/article/416397/
85 of respondents say they would prioritize unopened text messages over emails and push notifications.
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If they want to get on the Millennial generation's political radar, campaigns need to go to Facebook. A recent Mashable article cites the evidence of social media's grip on Millennial politics with the latest Pew Research Center study, which found that 61% of Millennials, those born between 1981 to 1996, said they get political news from Facebook at least once a week. That social media preference easily outpaced the 37% of political input from local TV, the preferred medium of Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 to 1964. In fact, Millennials and Baby Boomers are mirror opposites in terms of preferred political news sources, with Boomers getting 60% of their political news from local TV and only 39% from Facebook. The study, in which Pew surveyed 3,000 people, also found that the Millennial age cohort tends to recognize fewer news outlets, with less awareness of half of the 36 sources that Pew asked about when compared to the Boomers and Generation X group (those born between 1965 and 1980). The report also polled Millennials on how much they trust different news outlets. Among the most recognized and trusted, CNN led (trusted by 60%, distrusted by 16%, with 19% in the middle). Next in trust were the news divisions of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Lowest trust went to digital sources like BuzzFeed and conservative media like the Rush Limbaugh Show. Among the top social media players, Facebook outdistanced Twitter, with just 14% of Millennials saying they got political news via tweets. For more, read http://mashable.com/2015/06/01/millennials-facebook-politics-pew/
Millennials go to Facebook for political news more than any other resource.
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E-mail marketers can get lost in "big data" analytics and lose sight of the "little data" basics of e-mail delivery that reveal faster response improvements, advises Scott Roth of consumer intelligence company Return Path in a recent ClickZ post. Roth's "little data" fundamentals go beyond engagement rates to inbox placement rates, authentication policies and domain security, and Roth provides a number of real-life examples of how analyzing these basics improved e-mail results. For example, large U.S. retailer Dillard reversed a trend of declining open and click-through rates by checking inbox placement rates across all major mailbox providers. Dillard found that 20% of promotional e-mails failed to reach subscribers, with many e-mail addresses no longer existent. Plus, subscribers who did get e-mail marked it as junk at an above-average rate. The retailer focused corrective actions to pump engagement rates 100% and push open rates above pre-decline levels. Similarly, when another brand saw inbox placement rates drop 50%, they checked their sending basics and discovered that an improperly configured authentication policy for their sending domain had caused most mailbox providers to treat e-mails as spam. With corrective action, the brand saw inbox placement rise 46% to 92%. Financial firms especially need to track basic data for signs of security problems, as Roth points out. For example, he notes how a financial services firm tracking a rise in suspicious domains and call center traffic was able to correlate its e-mail data with phishing outbreaks and then implemented e-mail security protocols. For the whole article, read http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2410356/sweat-the-small-stuff-big-results-through-email-marketing-fundamentals
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Although A/B testing is a marketing given, marketers often unknowingly limit their potential response results with preconceived notions about what audiences prefer. Approaching A/B testing with an open mind can yield the surprise wins that create market leaders. A recent DirectMarketingIQ article by Rohan Ayyar, of the E2M digital marketing agency, cited some telling A/B testing results for marketing efforts as diverse as mobile landing pages, e-mail subject lines and even product design. One example of a surprise test win comes from health insurer Anthem. For a mobile PPC campaign, Anthem A/B tested a landing page with no images and three different calls to action in a text-only format against a landing page with the image of a smiling woman, a single call to action and descriptive copy. Based on common assumptions about the digital conversion power of images, Anthem expected the version with the image to win--but they were wrong. On a mobile platform, the all-text version increased leads by 166% at a 95% confidence level. It turned out that mobile users scrolling small screens preferred multiple calls to action, including an easy call to customer care, to reading small soft-sell text. Another famous example of thinking out of the A/B testing box comes from President Obama's 2012 re-election e-mail fundraising. Politics is serious business, so the assumption was that e-mail appeals with formal subject lines would deliver more dollars. In reality, casual subject lines that even contained mild profanity ("Hell yeah, I Like Obama") or just the recipient's name did better, and the big winner was the famous "Hey" subject line series. The President's name as the sender combined with a friendly personal approach in the subject line to push winning e-mails $2.2 million ahead in revenue compared with the worst performing e-mail. For more on surprise A/B testing wins, see http://www.directmarketingiq.com/article/3-unexpected-wins-that-emerged-from-a-b-testing/1
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In their circles
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Have them in circles
39 people
Jesse Wu's profile photo
Ruben Leon's profile photo
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eastman charlie's profile photo
Brad Rowe's profile photo
Cedar Communications Inc's profile photo
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Since 1988, list brokerage, direct marketing and digital marketing services
Introduction
AccuList USA is a leading provider of list and insert media brokerage and management to domestic and international companies and nonprofit organizations. Since 1988, AccuList USA has delivered an array of quality direct-marketing services to thousands of clients. Its selections of proven, targeted postal, e-mail and telemarketing lists are based on in-depth competitive analysis and market-tested experience. AccuList USA also excels at data processing services such as merge-purge, list hygiene, list appending and list geocoding. Tapping into digital marketing options, AccuList USA has expanded its services to include online display advertising, co-registration lead generation, mobile marketing and social media. Via partners, AccuList USA offers predictive modeling and printing and mailing services. To tap into the latest direct and digital marketing news and opinion, see President and CEO David Kanter's blog. We welcome you to start a dialog with AccuList USA by following our blog, signing up for our quarterly e-newsletter or joining our fans on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.