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Direct mail, previously declining in retail use, is finding greater favor with 2016 retailers, according to a Direct Marketing News magazine report on a new AgilOne study. Although 33% of 150 surveyed bricks-and-clicks retailers still said they would cut direct mail spending this year, that's lower than the 39% who were backing off direct mail in 2015. AgilOne cited better targeting and personalization for reversal of mail's downward retail trend, reports DM News. In contrast, print and TV advertising spends, which fell last year, will keep sliding in 2016 per retailing respondents. Digital--websites and e-mail--continue as priority channels. However, effective "omnichannel" marketing still eludes many merchants, with the 34% claiming a unified customer view across channels offset by the 37% reporting no unified customer view, and more than half admitting lack of a cohesive omnichannel strategy. For the whole story, go to http://www.dmnews.com/direct-mail/survey-retailers-will-stick-with-direct-mail-in-2016/article/467674/
Retail mail declines will cease as the channel becomes more personalized print and TV ads will continue to drop.
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The U.S. Postal Service is luring direct mailers toward creative and technology innovations that promise to punch up response this year. It's a siren song hard to resist in an election year of intensified mailbox competition. Target Marketing magazine recently outlined five key USPS promotional programs incentivizing 2016 mailers, especially those embracing print technology. For example, from March 1 to Aug. 31, an "Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion" gives a 2% postage discount on First Class, Standard and Nonprofit letters, cards or flats using interactive technology: standard NFC, Video in print (ViP), beacon technology or "enhanced" augmented reality. During the same period, the "Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion" offers a 2% postage discount on Standard and Nonprofit letters or flats offering special visual, sound, scent, or texture/tactile effects, as well as interactive dimensional features such as pop-ups. Another 2% postage discount can be earned for First Class Mail with the "Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion," starting July 1, just by adding a color sales message to a statement or invoice. Also starting in July, the "Mobile Shopping Promotion" gives a 2% postage discount to Standard and Nonprofit letters or flats using a mobile bar code or other print-to-mobile technology. Plus, the spring "Earned Value Promotion" rewards each piece of returned First Class Business Reply and First Class Courtesy Reply mail with a $0.02-$0.03 credit. For links to details, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/5-usps-direct-mail-promotion-programs-2016/
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Boosting e-mail click-through rate is a constant struggle, so we recommend to frustrated e-mail marketers a recent MarketingProfs article by Stephen Hovnanian, advising four basic areas to optimize for more quality clicks. His initial tip is to focus on optimizing user experience first--via seamless mobile and desktop designs and experiences that flow from e-mail open to final action. If your e-mail is mobile-optimized but your landing page or registration form is not mobile-friendly, you're wasting clicks, for example. Also target the audience by device usage and timing to optimize experience, and use "friction-mitigating" copy or visuals to guide recipients, advises Hovnanian. The second area of focus is varying call to action (CTA) by audience segment. For example, the CTA for the segment of top engagers (or brand champions) can go beyond clicks to urge valuable social sharing and brand advocacy. Segmenting for participation by type of content also delivers better CTA response, such as a webinar invite to past webinar attendees but a webinar recap to site visitors with interest in similar content. Third, leverage your online community and customer base for user-generated content (such as testimonials). It delivers social proof and brand advocacy building and can be paired with a strong, related CTA to boost click-through. Fourth, simply write better call-to-action copy! How? Hovnanian suggests completing the sentence "I want you to..." for active verbs and specific direction. For example, I want you to "Register for the Webinar." Of course, also test CTA design placement as well as buttons versus clickable text. For the full article, read http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29194/four-email-optimizations-that-will-increase-your-click-through-rates
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We've read many marketing trend predictions for 2016, but a recent Entrepreneur magazine article best emphasizes the new "customer-centric" focus of many shared predictions. Jay Arnold, vice president of marketing at FullContact, cites 10 marketing trends that he believes will make 2016 the "year of the customer." Here are just his first five forecasts. He foresees a proliferation of "marketing apps" this year, not just mobile apps but web apps, desktop apps and even TV apps, as marketers take advantage of the many free or low-cost apps that can now aid with tasks such as e-mail, social media, online ads, contact management, analytics and more. He also sees a shift to "insight-driven marketing," using analysis of the heaps of available data for more relevant targeting and messaging. Of course, this assumes a centralized database of multichannel customer info, so that is a priority task if not already under way. Content marketing got a lot of buzz last year, but Arnold now sees a greater shift from static content (such as social posts and white papers) to "interactive content," such as interactive assessments, calculators, training and games to keep people clicking and sharing useful information for sales. Everyone agrees that "personalization" will continue and grow as a proven response driver, but Arnold warns that 2016 will demand greater adaptation by channel and customer expectations. Consumers now expect relevant content tailored to them, but they will also be less tolerant of online and mobile advertising that is overly personal to the point of intrusive and creepy. Finally, Arnold predicts that 2016 will see a leap in "advocate marketing," as marketers realize that using customers to advocate for brands and generate referrals can be more effective than incentives and affiliate programs for referral generation--especially now that identifying influencers and advocates is easier than ever before. For five more customer-centric marketing predictions, see...
Start your new year with these trends to stay customer-focused and ahead of the competition.
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AccuList USA is dedicated to providing clean, up-to-date, targeted data for business-to-business direct marketing, and we urge any B2B marketer who still hesitates to invest in higher quality data and segmentation to read the recent CMO.com post by Ed King, founder and CEO of the Openprise data automation firm. King lists five ways high-quality data will make the B2B marketer's job easier and more effective. First, better data allows the addition of demographic scoring to the usual activity-based scoring for better targeting; for example, marketers won't prioritize a lead from online activity when demographic factors on the company or individual show it does not really meet buyer targeting. Second, with more accurate data about prospects and customers in terms of individual and company profiles, marketers can personalize communications and engagement for better conversion and reduced attrition throughout the sales funnel. Third, B2B marketers can better use account-based targeting as opposed to individual lead targeting, including improved use of automation platforms. Fourth, since all leads are not created equal, better data allows for optimized, speedier lead qualification and conversion--providing different treatment of net new leads versus leads from existing accounts, for example. Fifth, marketers can simplify their marketing technology investments, such as predictive, web or social bolt-ons with data cleansing mechanisms because of poor quality data from CRM or automation platforms. By improving source data, existing technology is more efficient and new technology investments can focus on other key needs, such as analytics or workflow. For detailed explanations and examples, read the full article at http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/12/18/how-would-perfect-data-change-your-job.html
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U.S. advertising rates are set to rise for almost all channels in 2016, according to a MarketingProfs report of forecasting by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and Havas Media. The ad cost bump is partly driven by higher ad demand from presidential elections and the Summer Olympics, per the forecast. So it's not surprising that the biggest jumps are forecast for television ad rates: a 3.8% increase for national broadcast TV, a 5.5% rise for cable TV and a whopping 13% leap for spot TV. The good news is that digital channels, where supply is expected to offset demand, are mostly set for very modest increases in average CPMs: mobile, online video and Internet/display advertising all up just 1%, although paid search rates is expected to show a 3.3% jump. For traditional print, average CPM increases are moderate, with a 2.5% climb for newspaper ad rates and a 3% bump in magazine rates. Network radio is the only channel forecast to drop in cost, down 1%. For a comparison of ad rate trends by channel from 2010 through 2016, see the MarketingProfs article: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2016/29142/2016-advertising-rate-increases-forecast-for-nearly-all-channels
Advertising - Advertising rates in the United States are expected to increase across almost all channels in 2016, driven in part by the Summer Olympics and Presidential elections, according to a recent ...
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AccuList USA

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This presidential election cycle has grabbed the public's attention, whether via TV or social media, in an unprecedented way. The most recent Pew Research Center survey finds that 91% of Americans have already tuned into election information-a higher level of learning about presidential candidates than at the same point in the past two presidential elections. Yet, while united in overall interest, the electorate differs widely on which media are the most helpful sources of information, with no one source gaining more than a quarter of adult favor- so campaigns definitely can't put all their eggs in one media basket. Overall, voters rate cable TV news as the most helpful (24%), followed by social media (14%) and local TV (14%). At the bottom (1%) is candidate or campaign digital outreach via website/app/e-mail. Unsurprisingly, preferences are affected by age, education level and political party, Pew reports. Cable television is most popular with those 65 and older and Republicans, while soical media is the favorite information source of 18- to 29-year-olds. Just as important for campaign planners is the fact that the majority of voters learn about the presidential election from multiple sources ( 45% from five or more and 35% from three or four), compared with only 9% who get information from just one source. TV still tops the media mix, with 78% of Americans saying they learned about the presidential reace from at least one of the four TV-based sources (cable news, local news, national network news, late-night comedy). Another 65% list a digital platform as one of their information sources (news website, social site, issue-based site/app/e-mail or campaign group site/app/e-mail). But before investing in a broad social media push, campaigns also should note that Facebook far outranks other sites as a political source (37% of the public). In contrast, Trump's go-to Twitter is sourced by just 9%. For more detail, read...
About nine-in-ten Americans learn about the election in a given week. But they are divided on what type of news source – from television to digital to radio to print – they find most helpful.
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E-mail marketers are surprisingly sloppy when it comes to optimizing subject lines, a key element in e-mail response, especially open rates, per a recent study. A minority of surveyed e-mail marketers report consistent use of subject line split-testing prior to campaign launch, according to a study by Phrasee cited in a recent KoMarketing Associates post. Phrasee's "State of Split Testing" report shows that an average 22% of respondents said they had done no split testing of subject lines in their last month's campaigns, and 49% admitted to split testing for only a few campaigns. About a third said they split-tested subject lines for most (about 21%) or all (about 7%) of their campaigns. The low investment in subject line success was also shown by the brief time spent on developing test-worthy subject lines, with nearly 46% saying they spent only a few minutes on the task! Plus, many e-mail marketers who do test then fail to leverage results data for further testing; 44% told Phrasee they "don't really do much" to analyze results for design of future split tests. For the whole post, go to http://www.komarketingassociates.com/industry-news/report-split-testing-is-still-uncommon-in-email-marketing-2912/
The “State of Split Testing” report from Phrasee has discovered that only about half of marketers test subject lines on emails.
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Ad blocking by digital and mobile viewers is a growing challenge for political campaigns and causes in the 2016 election cycle, and video ads are especially vulnerable, warns a recent AdExchanger.com post. There are already 45 million monthly active ad-blocking users in the U.S., and ad-blocker usage is growing rapidly. Ad-blocking rates vary by region, from a low of 8% in Washington, D.C. to over 14% in a swing state like New Hampshire. Besides ad blocking, voters--especially millennials--are engaging in ad skipping thanks to skippable digital ads and ad-skipping DVRs. And with ad-free digital video subscriptions, more voters are able to avoid political videos. What can campaigns do? The article suggests several strategies to dodge ad blockers and maximize the viewing run of online display, mobile and video ads. Start by asking digital content providers how they handle anti-ad blocking, such as withholding content if ads are blocked or employing a tech solution to defend agaist ad blockers. Since ad blocking rates vary by site vertical and environment, take that into account in media buys--for example, ad blockers are less effective with mobile native apps than with mobile web browsers. When it comes to video ads, go for premium viewing, such as major media and broadcast sites, to combat viewer drop off due to poor ad stream quality, overall low viewability and even fraudulent impressions. Of course, personalized targeting decreases ad avoidance, and programmatic and other precise viewer targeting can help. For the full article, go to http://adexchanger.com/politics/how-will-political-campaigns-reach-voters-who-are-avoiding-ads/
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Mobile devices will play a key role for candidates and causes wooing Hispanic and African-American voters in 2016, per a new Interactive Advertising Bureau study reported by Adweek magazine. The study found that 67% of Hispanic voters and 60% of black voters say they visit digital political sites on their smartphones. That minority mobile preference compares with 49% of voters overall who say they access political sites via mobile. And just in case campaigners discount the importance of digital communications overall, the same IAB study found that 35% of all voters said digital media will be their most important method of learning about presidential candidates, and 61% said digital combined with television will be "primary information sources" in 2016 political races. Anna Bager, senior vice president and general manager of mobile and video at IAB, concluded to Adweek: "U.S. Hispanic and African-American voters are crucial to candidates, and this research shows that mobile is the best way to reach them." For more findings from the study, see http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/mobile-ads-will-be-key-targeting-2016s-hispanic-and-black-voters-169191
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Marketers are missing out on key opportunities to use social media data for multichannel personalization, reports Adweek magazine's SocialTimes blog, citing the "2016 Yesmail Channel Report." This is despite the fact that personalization has proven its value in response and conversion across channels. For example, marketers often fail to gather e-mail addresses, one of the most basic contact points, through social media. According to the report, 45% of marketers don't collect e-mail addresses on social media, and 70% don't collect e-mail from their own mobile apps. (Of course, an amazing 17% don't even collect e-mail via their own websites!) Even companies who build e-mail databases fail to then use freely collected social data points, such as demographic and location information, to effectively personalize e-mail communications. In fact, only 42% say they customize e-mail campaigns with the recipient's name, so it's no surprise that only 36% modify copy and just 34% alter images to personalize e-mail content. The problem stretches across channels: Only 50% say they modify any marketing materials based on easily collected demographic data from social channels, and just 36% use social media data, such as brand page likes, for personalized targeting. See the full article at http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/report-retailers-missing-cross-channel-personalization-opportunity/632710
Despite the wealth of data available through social media, marketers still aren't using the information to create more personalized email campaigns.
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The TV ad battles in the 2016 political race are heating up, reports The New York Times, and we haven't even reached the primaries. At the same time, candidates and their super PACs are still struggling to find a formula that will translate ad dollars into votes. In 2015, candidates and their allies already spent nearly $100 million on political advertising, including $72 million in Iowa and New Hampshire alone, Kantar Media/CMAG estimated for the NYT story. Now campaigns are feverishly grabbing for TV ad space ahead of the primaries, and negative attack ads are on the rise. “We’re getting down to the firing-squad part of the campaign,” Larry McCarthy, the strategist making ads for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, told the NYT. Yet the biggest spenders, such as the Bush PACs, have reaped only scant improvement in the polls for their efforts. Factors include a changed TV ad landscape thanks to media-master Donald Trump, who has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of free TV time from news coverage and debates, and a failure to break through with distinct content to the target audiences, say analysts. When Right to Rise (Bush PAC), New Day for America (Kasich PAC) and America Leads (Christie PAC), which spent an estimated $26.4 million combined in New Hampshire in 2015, all air an ad focused on Islamic terrorism, no one candidate stands out for voters. As candidates start to recast tactics and budgets (and Trump launches his first paid TV ads), 2015 TV spending is likely to be dwarfed, opined Ken Goldstein, a University of San Francisco professor of politics tracking advertising: “It seems like that was a bunch of money this fall, but that was just the sorbet before the main course. That wasn’t even the appetizer.” To see a current sampling of political TV ad messages, go to the NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/us/politics/ad-wars-of-2016-campaign-erupt-in-a-changing-tv-arena.html
Candidates and the outside groups supporting them are betting that television ads will remain a crucial political battlefield when signs increasingly suggest otherwise.
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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.