Mayan Calendar

According to the cartoon above, 2012 is the end. No Dick Clark – no New Year’s Eve. For those of you believing this, your work is almost done. No more worrying about developing the 2013 Marketing Plan, sales goals or revenue projections.

For those of you not buying into the end-of-world prediction, it’s time to start thinking about your future marketing initiatives. Yes, we have a shaky economy and the upcoming U.S. elections will make marketing decisions a little less easy to make. We’re all going to be fighting to capture business from the recession-dazed public.

Deliver Magazine recently spoke with a wide range of marketing veterans, consultants and other experts to discuss their thoughts on the immediate future of direct mail. According to their findings, many of those contacted believe that direct mail will see some stiff challenges, but they were passionate in their belief that direct mail is an essential component in the multi-channel mix. Many believe that mail is uniquely positioned to play a major role in the national economic resurgence that all are hopeful we will see in the last half of 2012 and into 2013.

With the high stakes national election, it’s predicted that politicians will wage war at the mailbox from June through the election. Credit card companies, insurance agencies and telecom, who were big direct mail spenders last year, are predicted to continue those direct mail spending levels. Experts on the retail side believe direct mail marketing within the automotive industry will grow, as well as growth in apparel company catalogs. Zappo’s Michael Fellner, states, “The catalog is a good vehicle to reach customers who might not be completely comfortable with ordering online”.

With research showing that the 100,000,000+ Millennials are very receptive to direct mail, you can expect marketers to be targeting them at the mailbox, as well as through social media. Millennials purchase at rates 500% more than their parents’ generation (in adjusted dollars) and 53% of them had visited a website after receiving a promotional direct mail piece. This makes them a worthy target for marketers.

A study conducted by Brand Science found that combining direct mail with other marketing activities increases campaign payback by up to 20 percent. Alex Feldman, manager of Global Forecasting for MagnaGlobal states, “If you think about conversions, direct mail is much more successful than social media ads. It has a dual function. There’s that performance aspect, but there’s also brand building”.

Instead of dumping more marketing dollars into over-saturated digital channels, Dave Scott, CEO of online lead list generator Marketfish, believes that savvier marketers will opt to use more direct mail blended with technological innovations such as QR codes. He also feels that overcrowded email queues only add to the appeal of direct mail.

So, if you’re not believing the world is going to end this year, consider direct mail as one of your channels to maximize brand awareness and drive targets to your online sites. But, use your creativity to find ways to personalize that direct mail. Research by Hunter-Miller Group shows that participants are more likely to open, or read, mail that is specifically addressed to them. So, eliminate “To occupant” or “Our friends at . . .”. People are more likely to read your direct mail piece when their name, or other personal information, is incorporated.

Postcards continue to be a very cost-effective way to attract the attention of your targets and personalization will increase that effectiveness. And, it’s not just direct mail that needs to be personalized. All of your marketing communications should be moving toward being more targeted, more personalized and tailored to building relationships.

Cincinnati Marketing Support Services Company Launches New Website

Multi-Craft reveals new user-friendly website

Cincinnati, OH – April 11, 2012 – Multi-Craft, Inc., Newport-based marketing services and support company, has unveiled their new, user-friendly website with updates that Multi-Craft hopes will spark ideas for their customers and marketing professionals.

The brand new website features an updated resource center complete with informational articles, videos, templates and die-cuts. Other added resources include, the Multi-Craft quarterly idea book, which features real Multi-Craft client case studies, expert tips and more. Multi-Craft president, Deborah Simpson’s blog is available via RSS feed from the site for access to constantly updated marketing expertise.

The new website is the latest addition to Multi-Craft’s mission to provide everything their customers might need to spark new and fresh ideas for their businesses and marketing initiatives.

“We wanted to design this site with the customer in mind,” Simpson said. “It is not only user-friendly, but crammed with many different resources customers can really use.”

Stay up-to-date on all of Multi-Craft’s helpful marketing tools, including events. The second Thursday of every month, Multi-Craft holds a free ideas in motion seminar.

On May 10, 2012, Multi-Craft’s seminar will address “What’s New in Technology, Trends, & Marketing Channels.” For more information visit the new www.Multi-Craft.com.

About Multi-Craft

Multi-Craft is a privately-held marketing services and support company founded in 1955, providing strategic marketing support, creative and print services, mailing, fulfillment and database management for businesses seeking opportunity and growth in their market. Its focus is to develop solutions with measurable results and ROI for a long-term business partnership. For more information visit: www.Multi-Craft.com.

Polls, Surveys and Questionnaires

If you are in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky area, we are holding a seminar this Thursday at 12 noon on  “Successful Polls, Surveys and Questionnaires”. Registration is required and seating is limited. If you’re interested email dsimpson@multi-craft.com.

The first known straw poll was conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824 and showed Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 166 votes. That began the process of polling.

The first national survey was conducted in 1916 by the Literary Digest and it correctly predicted Woodrow Wilson’s election as President. Then along came George Gallup, who developed a more scientifically based survey that predicted Roosevelt’s landslide victory.

By the 1950’s  various types of polling had become commonplace, but had also begun to be looked at as biased and unscientific due to the selection process. However, finding out your target’s thoughts, ideas and opinions is still relevant today and can provide valuable information.  Many organizations regularly conduct polls and surveys to elicit that information. It’s just important to make sure that the information you receive is valid.

A poll is a one-question quick survey usually conducted with a larger audience. The response category is typically pre-defined (closed-ended) and results in quantitative data.

A survey is the most commonly used tool in sociological, psychological and market research and can contain as few as 1-2 questions or as many as 100 questions. A survey asks specific questions, but then sophisticated analysis can be used to find patterns and relationships among the variables. The questions are usually open-ended.

A questionnaire typically contains closed-ended questions. Due to the closed-ended questions, the standardized answers make it easy to compile results without sophisticated analysis.

Polls, surveys and questionnaires are not the only way to gather information. You can also conduct focus groups and panels, as they are also a great way to gain valuable insight and data.

Of course, the questions that  you ask are extremely important. They need to be simple, direct and easily understood. You want to avoid nuances and be sure to offer a reasonable and consistent number of rankings. Avoid negative phrasing, stereotyping, emotionally loaded language, technical terms, jargons and acronyms.

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the types of questions to ask, bias, sampling, random selection, expected response rates and methods you can use to increase those response rates. But, hopefully you will find it a starting point for your own research on how to conduct successful polls, surveys and questionnaires for your organization. www.multi-craft.com.