Friday, March 26, 2010

Comparison of Direct Mail Marketing and Email Marketing

Comparison of Direct Mail Marketing and Email Marketing

For direct marketers, the print-to-online transition is an ongoing one. Consider the following facts comparing direct mail to e-mail for marketing purposes.

Paper costs

The 20 percent increase in the cost of paper over the past two to three years is being caused in part by higher labor costs as well as higher fuel costs to get wood to the mill, run the papermaking machines and transport the finished product to warehouses and on to printers.

Moreover, many paper mills are making investments to become more eco-friendly, incurring costs to train employees in new processes and procedures. Printing and postage costs are also rising, and additional paper price increases are likely.

E-mail costs

For companies whose customers are largely online, e-mail is a cost-effective replacement to direct mail. For organizations that have a blend of online and non-online customers, it can be a welcomed alternative for e-mail-equipped recipients that also lowers the cost of marketing for the company.

Direct mail efficiency

A direct mail campaign can take weeks to design, lay out, print and mail. Moreover, while deliverability and response are trackable with direct mail, they take time. Undeliverable mail can take weeks to be returned and addresses must be manually removed from a list. In addition,response can take days by postage paid reply.

E-mail efficiency

An e-mail campaign can take as little as a few hours to a few days from concept to receipt, enabling companies to respond rapidly to market dynamics and competitive pressures. In addition, with e-mail sent by an advanced e-mail delivery system, bad addresses are discovered within minutes and culled from a list. Then, marketers know exactly how many recipients opened the message.

With links back to a Web site, purchases can be made immediately and tracking systems can show which pages or items were viewed, providing invaluable customer data for future campaigns.

Green marketing -- direct mail

While many direct marketing firms are instituting green standards in their companies, the direct mail business is under environmental pressure because of the huge amount of paper it consumes and the waste that paper generates.

Green marketing -- e-mail

While e-mail servers require electricity, no trees are destroyed, no pollutants are sent into the air, and no gasoline or other petroleum-based products are used to get a marketing message across with e-mail.

Source: by Berry Abel

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tips for Preparing Effective Marketing Plan

In starting a business, you’re going to find that there are many different plans that you’ll have to put together. While it may seem tedious, having a well-formed plan is crucial towards helping guide the direction of the company. The most obvious is a business plan, but you should also develop a marketing plan that will be a guide on how you reach out to your audience – what’s your selling point? Communication strategy? Budget?

A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or service, a brand, or a product line. Marketing plans cover between one and five years. A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. Solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan. While a marketing plan contains a list of actions, a marketing plan without a sound strategic foundation is of little use.

Now let’s look at what goes into a marketing plan:

First you’re going to need to research the market. This goes into your situational analysis, which is basically research of your competitors, any trends in the industry, sentiment, market forecast, segmentation, customer information/demographics and a market needs analysis. Perhaps the biggest part of this section of your plan is the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. By doing a SWOT analysis, you’re going to be able to assess what advantages and disadvantages you bring to the table and look at what opportunities & threats await you in the industry.

It should be noted that at this point, you should be looking at the 8 P’s of marketing:

  1. Price – The amount of money needed to buy products
  2. Product – The actual product
  3. Promotion (advertising)- Getting the product known
  4. Placement – Where the product is located
  5. People – Represent the business
  6. Physical environment – The ambiance, mood, or tone of the environment
  7. Process – How do people obtain your product
  8. Packaging – How the product will be protected

After the situational analysis, make sure you cover the marketing strategy. This section of your marketing plan focuses on your mission statement, objective and focused strategy, including market segment and product positioning. While this may be similar to the situational analysis, one thing to keep in mind is that this area centers on the company internally. The situational analysis will examine your industry and external factors. The marketing strategy should be focused on what YOU can control and bring to the table. It’s all about your company and brand here.

Your sales forecast will be the next section in your marketing plan. Perhaps more mathematical in nature, this area will be devoted to track sales month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis, specific sales by product, by region or market segment, by channels, by manager responsibilities, and other elements.

Lastly, you’re going to have to include an expense budget, which will be a gauge on your total marketing spend to promote your product. It includes a plan-vs.-actual analysis which looks at what you think you’ll spend versus the actual amount spent after a project/product is completed. It also includes specific sales tactics, programs, management responsibilities, promotion, and other elements.

While this may seem rather tedious to include in a single document, rest assured that if you have this, you’ll be fully prepared for what lies ahead and that you won’t be surprised about anything that comes up. Being prepared is a great strategic goal and you’ll be able to account for any issue over the long-term.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marketing Mix Four P's

Although marketing is commonly thought of as only consisting of promoting a product or service through advertising and publicity, there is actually much more to it. Marketing is the process of establishing a product, pricing it, promoting the product and placing it for sale, as a way to make profits for the company. These items are called the Four-Ps or the marketing mix. it is an easy way to remember the parts of marketing.

Questions you may have include:

  • Why is promotion often emphasized?
  • What are the Four-Ps?
  • What is the advantage of using the Four-Ps?

Most think only of promotion

The general public normally thinks of marketing as promotion, advertising, branding and publicity of products or services. They often lump those items together as promotion.

What they do not realize is that there are other factors that a business must consider as part of delivering their products or services to the market and selling them.


Marketing can be classified into four categories, called the Four-Ps:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

These activities are also called the marketing mix. They are the variables that marketing managers can control in order to satisfy customers in the target market.

Using four words starting in "P" is an easy way to remember the items.

Product marketing

The product part of the marketing mix concerns determining what products or services customers want and establishing specifications for those items.

Considerations include functionality, appearance and quality of the product, as well as packaging, warranty and support.

Pricing marketing

Setting a competitive price for a product or service is an important part of marketing. That price may be based on the marketing strategy of whether to give the impression of quality or to appeal to the price-conscious buyers. Supply and demand also affects pricing.

Pricing includes not only the list price, but also discounts, financing and leasing options.

Promotion marketing

The promotion part of the marketing mix concerns communicating and selling to potential customers. This includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity and personal selling. It refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand or company, as well as the message and media to be used.

Advertising and promotion costs can be a large part of the product price. Analysis should be performed to determine the actual value of the promotion in getting new customers.

Place marketing

Place is the location or channel where the sale can be made. This may include geographic location and market segment. Sometimes this "P" stands for placement or distribution, which refers to how the product or service gets to the customer.

Distribution includes market coverage, channel member selection, logistics and levels of service.

Advantage of Four-P system

The advantage of using this marketing mix of products, pricing, promotion and place is that it is easy to remember and provides a good organization of marketing.

There are other combinations of the factors in marketing, but the Four-P classification has been the most useful is sticking in the minds of marketing students. In other words, the expression has become a "brand" for marketing.


Marketing is commonly thought of as only consisting of promoting a product or service through advertising and publicity. Actually, marketing consists of the process of establishing a product, pricing it, promoting the product, and placing it for sale, as a way to make profits for the business. These items are called the Four-Ps, and they are an easy way to remember the factors of marketing.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Marketing Tips for your Blog

How many times have you visited one of the many “professional” blog advice sites, and left with little more advice than the ubiquitous (and unhelpful) “build great content?”

If building a great blog was as simple as writing quality posts, we’d all be tied for number one on the Technorati Top 100 blog list. I’m not about to start my own web site, but I did want to start sharing tips that I’ve personally found valuable when building the traffic to Marketing Pilgrim.

It’s possible that these tips have been shared before–perhaps they were lost among all of the “great content” on the web–but I’m pretty sure these will be fresh ideas. I initially thought I could fit half a dozen tips in a single blog post, but as I started writing, I realized that each tip easily fills a single post. So instead, I’ll start with Tip #1 and see what you think. Leave a comment if you’d like to see more tips in the future.

Tip 1: Your Blog Post Titles Have Two Audiences
You’ve no doubt read that you need to make your blog post titles “search engine friendly,” but doing so often kills the creativity and initial appeal of your writing. Instead of trying to appeal to your loyal readers and Google at the outset, approach the two difference audiences in separate stages.

Stage One – Your initial blog readers
Your initial audience is likely going to be those that have already subscribed to your blog’s RSS feed–or happen to check your blog every day. They want to be thrilled, excited, and given a reason to not only read your post, but also share and link to it.

When you first publish your blog post, follow this advice:
Make your post title interesting – it could be that you ask a question, share a scoop, or offer a cryptic title that peeks your reader’s curiosity. I’ll often use a blog title that sounds like a scandal/scoop, but is really just a question. For example, “Microsoft Buying Yahoo?” I ran that headline last year–before Microsoft made its bid. It generated a lot of traffic then and even more so now.

Keep it short and sweet – if you make your initial post title too long, you run the risk that you’ll either confuse a reader or give them so much information, tthere’s no need to read the post itself. Back to my example, “Microsoft Buying Yahoo?” leaves a lot of unanswered questions that just beg the reader to click through to view the entire post. If I had used “Rumors that Microsoft May Buy Yahoo, but No Confirmation Yet,” how many of you would have clicked through to read the entire post? Not many.

Appeal to keyword scanners – When you read posts in your RSS reader, do you sometimes scan the titles looking for keywords that you know will interest you? Apple, Google, Wii, and Blue-Ray are all examples of keywords that might appeal to your specific audience. This is not the same as keywords for SEO–that comes later–at this stage, you’re simply looking to include words that will make your post stand out to your readers. Use popular keywords in your post titles and your post will have a greater chance of standing out among all of the other posts in your reader’s RSS aggregator.

In stage one, your goal is to appeal to the initial readers that will likely view the post on the day that you publish it. But what happens after your post is relegated to the archives? It’s unlikely someone will spend hours just wondering through your archived posts. Instead, they’ll likely discover your “great content” via one of the search engines. OK, only one search engine: Google.
With this in mind, you need to massage your post’s title so that it can go to work for you in Google’s search results.

Stage Two – Your Google readers
That cryptic, enticing post title you used to attract your initial readers isn’t going to cut-it when it comes to attracting Google search engine users. Sure, you want your post title to entice a click from the SERP (search engine results page) but if your post is sitting on page 10–and not page 1–it doesn’t matter how engaging your post title. In stage two, you need to give your post title the Google-juice it needs to make the first SERP.

Add keywords to your title – you should have already included a relevant keyword that appeals to the human “keyword scanners.” Now that it’s Googleblot scanning your post title, it’s time to pump-up your keyword count. Now, don’t go overboard and add half a dozen keywords to your post titles–you want the title to remain targeted and enticing–but you should look for opportunities to include additional keywords. Compare this before, and after post title. Before: “Ten Ways to Avoid a Google Reputation Management Nightmare.” After: “Ten Ways to Fix Your Google Reputation & Remove Negative Results.” Both are engaging, both convey the same meaning. Yet, the revised title removes keywords that are not likely to be Googled such as “avoid” and “nightmare,” while adding keywords that are searched often, such as “fix” and “remove negative results.”

Change the word order – I always try to take into consideration my potential Google ranking, when writing my post titles. However, there are many times when I see my post sitting at #11 on Google, because the word order I used–while appealing to my initial audience–isn’t doing me any favors in the SERPs. So, like a good optimizer, I go back and change the word order so that the beneficial keywords are closer to the beginning of the title (which is where Google prefers to see them). Here’s a before: “26 Free Tools for Buzz Monitoring.” And after: “Buzz Monitoring: 26 Free Buzz Tracking Tools.” (Notice I also added the keyword “buzz tracking” to the title).
Optimize your TITLE – When you first publish your blog posts, you’ll likely want your TITLE (aka title tag) to match your actual post title. Once you start focusing on your Google audience, it might make sense to tweak your page TITLE so that it’s even more optimized than your post title (side note: most blog software will simply match your page TITLE to your post title). If you’re using WordPress, consider installing the SEO Title Tag plugin to do just that! I don’t use it on Marketing Pilgrim, but on other blogs, I’ve found it a great way to further optimize my TITLE–which is what is displayed in Google’s SERP.

Don’t play with slugs – I’ll write more on the topic of page “slugs” (aka permalinks) but I’d be negligent if I didn’t warn here that, while you should change your post title, changing the actual page slug is to be avoided.

I hope you’ll find the above tactics to be fruitful in your quest to increase both initial, and Google-referred, visitors to your blog. I’ve got plenty more tips I can share, so let me know what you think and if you’d like to read more blog promotion tips.

Thanks to:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Buzz Marketing Explained

Put the Buzz in Viral Marketing

Buzz marketing is just a twenty first century spin on the family or friend endorsement of a product. The good old "tell two friends, who tell two friends and so on” is now the buzz marketing campaign that can reach millions at the click of a mouse button.

The buzz technique is not new, it just is magnified and sped up with the intervention of the internet. Social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, MySpace, have changed the pace of the buzz marketing.

Web blogs originally were a place to up date current events with family and friends. Now marketing campaigns are steadfastly ingrained in blogs and twitter feeds are used to drive traffic to the blog so that product can be sold.

Previously, endorsement of items was done for products that people liked. Now people get paid to endorse products and have them mentioned in twitter feeds and Facebook.

Keep the Mentions Buzzing

Developing and maintaining a marketing campaign is big business. It is important to have an advertising campaign that brings attention to the product and doesn’t get hidden in the myriad of other competitors. Buzz marketing brings awareness in an off hand and friendly way.

What is thought of as a friendly impromptu endorsement may be well rehearsed sales pitch by a trained customer service representative. These people study and follow a specific personal profile that will like the product. By selecting the correct people the blanket of buzz will continue to influence others.

A sample of this is how an unknown brand could rise to become a trend setter when paid agents would frequent trendy fashionable bars and order an unfamiliar brand all the while soothingly up-selling the brand to the barkeeper and other groovy locals. As a result, and the desire to be the trend setter, the unknown brands would grow into the mainstream.

How to Find the Buzzers

A correct stable of buzzers to draw from is the foundation of a successful buzz campaign. These people have skills to lead and influence others without them ever really knowing. They are trendy, hip and are one step ahead of their peers.

Each exchange is hoped to bring a new spin, a new user and more buzz to the product. From the outside it appears to be a serendipitous exchange of two people interested in the same things but the buzzers are really the purveyors of a well designed marketing campaign aimed for purpose of selling more products.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Small Business Trends in 2010

Small businesses need to make the most of every advertising dollar. Understanding what marketing trends will be most successful in 2010 can help your business soar above the competition, while ignoring those trends could leave you floundering.

Search engine optimization (SEO) continues to head the list of online marketing strategies. New aspects in 2010 include personalization and greater relevanceAs you develop your SEO strategy this year, dedicate some of your resources to developing content that targets niche audiences. You’ll also want to keep your web content up to date since search engines will begin factoring publication dates, geo-locations, and social media content into their relevancy algorithms.

Social network marketing will continue to rise in popularity in 2010, but you’ll need to fine tune your strategy in order to use it to best advantage. It will no longer be sufficient to maintain a Facebook or Twitter page. You’ll need to take the next step and use it as a vibrant forum in which to engage current and potential customers in meaningful conversations.

Mobile marketing has exploded and continues to rise in popularity. More people now have access to cell phones than to cable TV or home computersSmall businesses need to take advantage of this burgeoning market by creating mobile apps and by instituting location-based marketing techniques

Video blogs are the blogging method of choice in 2010. Millions of web users view online videos each day, and while video blogging may not replace the text version, still, companies can expect an increase in the number of viewers who want more than pages of text about their products.

Videos are highly shareable, and are more interactive than text; consequently, they have the potential to attract more loyal groups of followers than the more traditional written blogs.
Building your web presence should be a key leg of your online marketing platform in 2010. It’s no longer sufficient to maintain your website, Facebook page, and Twitter page. You’ll want to make your website visible in as many venues as possible including blogs, Youtube, Yelp profiles, and email newsletters.

For instance, videos that appear on your website but nowhere else online will fail to reach a large portion of your target audience due to the web user’s tendency to search one centralized site such as Youtube for any videos on a given topic. If your video doesn’t appear on Youtube, then for that viewer it may as well not exist.

Online marketing trends in 2010 will expand on the succession of new marketing outlets that appeared in 2009. Using your advertising dollars effectively means putting them towards the venues that will produce the most return on your investment rather than continuing to invest in trends that may be dying out.