August 28, 2015

Doing the Data Hokey-Cokey

Are you Doing the Data Hokey-Cokey?

 

You put your tick box in;

You take your tick box out;

In Out, In Out – Shake it all about;

You do the Data Hokey-Cokey;

And you turn yourself around;

That’s what it’s all about….

OOOOOOoooo The Hokey Cokey  

 

Although you’re now humming what has to be one of the life’s most annoying songs, it does raise a serious question around data; the use and storage of data and how to use data successfully to improve your business.

At every point of customer interaction there are questions asked of clients and data to capture: Opt-in  Opt-Out, Cookies On – Cookies Off, Contact me via email, telephone, mail, text, ALL or none of the above. How far and how much should you push it when seeking to obtain client information to avoid a backlash – it is a legal and moral minefield – but one that when managed correctly is a route to wealth and income generation for any organisation and a way to actually engage your clients with a positive brand experience.

What is the answer? Well how long is a piece of string, it depends on the organisation, the product and service of course, but here are a few pointers:

  • Slowly – Slowly A little bit at a time. There is nothing more off-putting for a new client particularly in a Retail/Consumer environment to have to complete metaphorical ‘reams’ of forms in order to buy a basic product or gift. Payment details and an autofilled delivery address (using a PAF based product)  is quick, easy and less likely to frustrate approach. Leave it there – get the product out get it delivered then send a thank you. Certainly, do NOT start bombarding the client with daily emails. Let them get to know you first before you start phase 2 of customer engagement. Accurate and
  • Accessible Data: The accurate collation of data in a cross- organisational, structured manner allows for readily accessible data which allows for easy analysis. All too often organisations run multiple databases, managed departmentally under a bunker mentality. Remember, the organisation owns the data, not sales, or marketing or membership, or operations, or finance. Successful organisations have one goal in mind and understanding your data is the key to achieving it. A truly
  • client focused approach to the data management includes all of the touch points from marketing, sales interaction, delivery and returns and accounts as well as product feedback and client services. Allowing your client a clear flexible, easily accessible method of interacting with you, but above all provides them the media of their choice, to contact you. Your outbound marketing should follow that same media as a general rule. If I want email communication – send it to me. If I want a letter or statement – send it to me – don’t penalise me for it by charging me more, where’s the customer choice in that?
  • Keep it Fresh – Data Mining and Cleansing Be bold  – Your data is the profit creator as well not a drain on finance if not managed correctly. You invest in new products, new services, new equipment, upgrades to premises, but what investment do you make in your database, it is the critical tool which must be fully maintained cleaned and remain current.

 

At any one point your data is like an apple, the central core of data is solid it contains the seeds of growth for the next generation of business. The outer fruit is the current cash generator, but this largest mass of the fruit is the bit that is more fickle, they have tasted your product but have not fully bought into the core ideology and brand with total allegiance. This section of your client base can easily be bitten away by a competitor leaving a chunk missing. The skin of your apple is the shop front, a shiny fresh, polished and attractive exterior is the attraction for new business – “Come Take a Bite” taste the crisp, fresh and juicy brand; Ignore the other battered, bruised, dull and dated brands on the shelf. Refreshing your appeal is the challenge and managing your data and targeting the right message to the appropriate segment of your data at the right time is the key.

Of course, marketing above the line is driven from knowledge of your data too. Who are they, where are they, what are their patterns. Understanding this means you understand where future customers will come from. There’s that database again! Marketing is a science that drives art – Not art that drives science.

We love creative, we love the image, great content and copy, but messages must be sent to the appropriate audience based on analysis of the likes and patterns of those segmented groups. Creative that has the ability to provide one underlying message across a varied audience is a skill that pulls on data first, that drives the message that creates the copy. Otherwise, your dancing the hokey-cokey in the dark – and that’s risky!

So doing the data hokey-Cokey and managing your data can feel like a constant dance, and can often feel as tiresome as joining in the Hokey-Cokey at ‘that’ party – it requires massive effort but once you’re in it you have a good time. Don’t be an onlooker join in, it’s the cool crowd that don’t take part mocking but who will end up with egg on their face?

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 23, 2015

How to Expand Your Business Overseas

What to consider when looking to expand overseas

 

The UK is the Stepping Stone into Europe for the English speaking world. Being within the European Union, the United Kingdom acts as not only a test site for businesses looking to expand overseas but also a stepping stone into a much larger global market. Despite some local limitations, once you are operating within the UK you are operating within the European Union. Therefore using the UK to trial your overseas expansion removes language barriers and ensures a smoother (because nothing worthwhile is ever completely issue free!) transition from local to global market expansion.

 

The UK has a population of over 64 Million and the EU has a population of over 500 Million – a very large and very affluent market making the opportunities for success much higher. See More Information Market Statistics UK and Europe

 

How to expand your business overseas. 10 Questions to ask before expanding overseas:

  • Have I built a solid foundation at home?
  • Do I have the bench strength for international expansion?
  • Will I find the talent I need in another country?
  • How will I need to adapt to the local culture?
  • Do I understand the cultural implications of the sales process?
  • Have I sized up the local competition?
  • Do I need an international partner?
  • Am I financially able to sustain an overseas expansion?
  • Where’s the potential for red tape?
  • Should I simply expand my online presence?

For a detailed answer to each of the above questions Click Here

Ask the Experts: Those that have walked that path before us.

See a few tips and advice from Entrepreneurs that have made the successful leap to a global market:

Seek First to Understand

“It all starts with understanding the culture. People do business with people they like, trust, and respect. Working in other countries requires even more careful planning and a sensitivity to cultural norms and relationship building. In Europe alone, their 28 countries have 24 official languages. Some countries like Austria, Germany, and Switzerland speak the same language, but differently. Don’t assume your style is universal.”

–Michael Ross, EO Orange County, Founder and Managing Partner, Altitude 7 Group.

For more advice read on.

The Why’s and Why Not

Why Not? To some these may be excuses, to others, legitimate reasons to evade a risky venture:

  • Language barriers.
  • You may be unfamiliar with cultural practices and etiquette.
  • You may be unfamiliar with local law and politics.
  • Limitations of foreign labour laws.
  • Time-consuming and complex.
  • Difficult to find a partner you can trust.

Why? A list of reasons to overlook the risks in order to help your business grow:

  • 95% of the worlds’ consumers reside outside the U.S. (according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative) – those are all potential new customers!
  • Possible untapped market.
  • Because if you don’t, your competition will.
  • You don’t have to actually move overseas to do business there – the internet is your gateway to expansion.
  • The risk, reward and challenge are appealing.

Read On

Romax – An overseas partner with the local UK and European market experience.

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 20, 2015

Is it Time to Refresh your Membership?

Is it Time to Refresh Your Membership and Re-evaluate Your Approach?

Members of an organisation are its lifeblood. But what is the perfect member?

How many members do you want? Or need? Or can the organisation cope with?

Who is your target member(s)? Which members bring the best to the organisation?

The list goes on and on. What is the best way to not only recruit but to retain members, and how do you increase the length of an average membership?

Membership of an organisation revolves around the positive outcomes that the member receives by being a member of that organisation, so how do you improve on that, and continue to make the benefits of membership to the member far outweigh the cost or commitment of membership?

Firstly, value, the cost of membership must be ‘worth it’. Exclusive clubs give the perception of worth through limited membership and high cost, the perceived value of membership being that of exclusivity. The majority of members, however, must feel that there is a greater fiscal return or emotional value (usually both) compared to the cost of membership.

Best assets: Highest Critics – Not listening, Not responding and fundamentally not ‘representing the needs’ of your members is the quickest way to reduce membership. Any organisation offering membership, should, rather than stipulating rules and dictating terms, services etc, be open to feedback that moves the organisation forward AND therefore is seen as a thought leader and proactive organisation. Often organisations react too slowly, (They do say if you want something done don’t involve a committee) but there must be a way for organisations to streamline and think more radically to meet the ever increasing and diverse needs of a broad membership.

Appropriate, timely and proactive communication for your membership is critical. But not every section of your membership is going to either need or want to hear about every aspect. How then do you define who gets what information and how do you manage that? Of course, this is down to what data is held and the storage of that data in a way that allows for ease of access and defines sections and subsections of a membership accurately. It must also allow for real-time interaction between the member and the data so that the experience is genuine and accurate. This brings us onto the software used for membership data storage. I am certainly not qualified to make any suggestions for this as the range of options and your needs are massive, but the following site provides a good software comparison across a multitude of sectors: Capterra

You are not alone! Remember, there are various forums and networks for membership organisations. Peer to peer communication makes for a stronger sector. Discussions within an industry around industry-related issues or concerns that effect the organisation or more importantly the members of that organisation, mean that resolutions can be found and common problems resolved to everyone’s benefit. One such network is the Membership Management Forum

Timely and Relevant Communication. Membership is not something that happens at annual renewal time. It is a strategic process, a process that needs to be implemented daily. Implementation happens through participation. Touchpoints that are relevant to the period of membership involve that member adding value to their experience and creating a further ambassador for your organisation. Be it a quarterly magazine, regular email with interesting articles, request for voluntary help, a survey, a call or something FREE that only members will benefit from. If when eating out, the only time the waiter paid any attention to you was when they placed a smiley face on the printed bill won’t make you want to come back or make a recommendation in a hurray! An article by Carol Dunitz Ph.D provides invaluable insight and a great reminder on how to approach communication.

There is no one size fits all solution to membership, but I believe that membership organisations need to work a little smarter to improve the experience their members experience and the first place to do that is to around the information that is shared and the two-way communication between the member and the organisation. The more involved the more data is known, the more valued the member feels as a result.

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 18, 2015

How to Increase Retail Sales

How to Increase Retail Sales – On and Off Line.

Whether it’s due to forces beyond our control, seasonal sales or a decline in foot traffic, many retailers will experience a slump in sales at some point. The following are a few simple ways you and your staff can improve your retail sales. Here are a few tips to help:

Advertise More – Just when you may think it’s time to cut back the marketing budget, you should probably be advertising more. It is wise to increase marketing efforts during slower sales periods because there is more competition and fewer consumer pounds.

Generate a Buzz – Whenever anything noteworthy happens within your business, send a press release to the media. The idea is to grab any free coverage possible. Get involved with community events. Consider hosting classes, meetings or other networking events in your retail store. Use a unique promotional event to generate a buzz about your business.

Examine Your Pricing Strategy – When purchasing and pricing products, be sure you’ve considered the cost of goods and that your retail shop is able to make a profit at that price point. Your product price should be competitive, but still profitable. Ultimately, the right price is the price the customer is willing to pay for the product.

Design Store for Sales – Take advantage of cross-merchandising strategies and impulse sale opportunities. Use lighting techniques and creative displays to attract customers. Play videos for product education, customer entertainment and any other upsell or promotional tie-in.

Connect With the Customer – Excellent customer service is the key to increasing sales. Listen to your customer to understand their needs and wants. Then educate him/her about the products. Finally, let the customer know you appreciate their business. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer and capture this on software that allows for true ‘two-way and relevant marketing communication pertinent to the individual needs of the customer rather than a broad-based and narrowly targeted marketing approach. Access to accurate and relevant data allows for better decision-making and improved response from clients.

Source:  About Money

For retailers that that are not manufacturing their own product, but are resellers, the fact that advertisers are leaving $14 billion in ‘free advertising’ on the table should be taken very seriously. Co-Op advertising  (Advertisements by retailers that include the specific mention of manufacturers, who—in turn—repay the retailers for all or part of the cost of the advertisement) has seen a downturn in recent years – worryingly as budgets have been reduced and alternative funds for advertising spend are not easy to come by.

New research from Netsertive and Borrell Associates shows that brands are missing out on billions in annual revenue due to inefficient and outdated co-op marketing programs. In fact, up to 40% of co-op marketing funds earmarked by brand managers for local advertising remain unused each year.

We all know that a good strategy around customer communication is vital to understand the spending cycle as well as market to the consumer using the appropriate message and the appropriate channel. What will your next step be?

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 14, 2015

Social Media Marketing

Social Media MarketingMy View…. Written by Charlene Plows

 

”Every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do for the rest of the day.

‘I give them pictures of my wife, my daughter, my dog and me gardening and on holiday, spending time by the pool.

‘I also listen to their conversations, tell them I “like” them and give them my opinion on every subject that interests me… whether it interests them or not.

‘And it works. I already have four people following me: two police officers, a social worker and a psychiatrist.’”

Above courtesy of ‘The Oldie’ via Daily Mail

SO my friends:

  • Do you really have a million friends?
  • Does everyone really need to see pictures of you in your bikini?
  • Do I care if you are enjoying a cup of tea?
  • Do I need to see pictures of your pets?

The answer to all of the above is categorically NO!!!

 BUT Does Social Media Work for business ……      

 

As we all know, there are so many pros and cons for Social Media but if used responsibly I do believe Social Media is a remarkable tool which can help promote businesses.

Through Linked In, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter you can engage with your clients on a regular basis at very little costs.

There are many potential benefits of Social Media Marketing and just a few are:

  • reduced marketing costs
  • increased traffic to your website
  • improved ranking on search engines
  • greater customer engagement
  • greater access to international markets
  • opportunity for customer feedback
  • opportunity to conduct market research about your customers
  • improved networking opportunities with customers and other businesses

On the flip side, however, Social Media Marketing ROI is Hard to Define.

A recent study highlighted that up to 89% of digital marketers really want to know the ROI of their social media efforts. But:

  • Only 37% can measure the results of their SMM
  • while another 35% say they are really not sure if they are measuring ROI properly
  • and 28% say they really don’t know how to measure ROI at all.

Social Media attracts all sorts of people, sometimes providing an easy platform to hide behind to allow for occasionally malicious comments.  Negative comments can often be turned around to positive experiences for clients but this requires a high level of management to prevent this medium producing a detrimental effect on your business. Such elements include spammers, scammers, trolls and other individuals intent on doing harm to your online reputation.

I personally wouldn’t recommend simply relying on Social Media alone and do believe you need to mix it up to work, so why not throw in a little Direct Mail for true client engagement?

Well anyway, that’s my view and I’m sure this will open up a can of worms but there you have it.

Charlene Plows is Head of Client Services at Romax. cplows@romax.co.uk

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 10, 2015

7 Reasons Not To Update Your Marketing Data

OK – we had you going there for a minute. Of course we don’t agree with the title of this blog, but here are 7 tongue-in-cheek reasons why some poor fool might choose not to keep their database as the source of their business profit and growth strategy.

 

1. You have way too many customers already

Too many customers? We should all be so lucky! Unless you’re operating in a very niche market, this is not something you’re likely to hear from many Marketing Managers or Managing Directors.

Even when things are going well, all businesses should be looking to find new customers, generate more sales, increase ROI, boost response rates and improve brand visibility in their sectors. Clean, fresh and targeted data is the key.

2. Business Growth is Boring – You like to keep things small

Your database might contain 1,000 existing customers and highly-targeted prospects. And you’re getting some great results out of it.

That’s great! But imagine the results you could get if you analysed the common traits of these customers, and added brand new prospects which match the same criteria…

A good data specialist can analyse your database and supply new sales leads with profiles similar to those of your best customers. There are undoubtedly a lot of untapped markets you’re currently missing.

3. A leaky bucket is part of business – Right?

If you’re not actively seeking new customers, you’re actually moving backwards. Retaining existing customers is a huge part of your business, but you can’t grow without new ones. You cannot stop some attrition, but you can put the brakes on it and extend the client lifecyle through great engaging marketing.

And that means seeking ways to improve your operations, from cleaning and extending your CRM database to improving sales techniques.

 

4. You think ignorance is bliss

You may know your database is in great shape. Alternatively you may accept that it’s a little unhealthy. But in most cases, the true quality of your existing database is often unknown.

Many clients are shocked when we show them what’s right under their noses. You can reveal the untapped potential within your own database and perform procedures that can increase return on investment; you might just need a little help.

5. You’re happy marketing to every man and his dog

“Get a list of 5,000,000 B2B email addresses for £50!” Not only will this risk your business authenticity and brand, but it will also most likely come from at best a dubious source. Data protection is a paramount concern in the direct marketing industry – risk of data loss or use of unauthorised data is simply not an option

6. You think data management and update costs are too high.

All to often the management and control of databases falls to the intern or marketing officer in your organisation. inexperience in data management will not only lead to error but will not allow for correct analysis. The true cost of NOT keeping on top of your database is the loss of business, attrition of clients and increased spend on recruiting new clients.

 7. You like spending lots of your marketing budget on unqualified leads or lapsed clients

Not having a true handle on your data and the message to send to each segment of data means that you are printing, emailing, contacting and posting to clients that are either not there, or have moved on. Gone-Aways, Movers, Deceased, non recent spenders. If you don’t update your data, then you are communicating in absentia. What a waste!

If you do want to review your data strategy and update your marketing data, please get in touch. romax.co.uk

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 6, 2015

Big Data and Data Quality in Direct Marketing

Big Data and Data Quality in Direct Marketing

A survey conducted by TEK systems (as subsidiary of Alegis Group, a talent management firm) found that over 60% of IT leaders lacked good data quality and had issues with data governance.

With the increasing production, storage and aggregation of data, the challenges of creating workable and maintainable data are increasing exponentially. Vendors surveyed claimed that customers routinely use sub-optimal data for analytics and marketing campaigns.

Some of the primary issues involve

  • Incomplete data
  • Governance of data quality on population
  • Lack of data validation & corrupted data
  • Incompatible characters sets & formatting

 

The concept of garbage in – garbage out still holds true. The true value of data, as a business asset that can be optimised and grown in value with time, is constrained and even jeopardised by poor data design and governance. The impact on customer outreach and direct marketing can really affect our customers at both a sales and earnings line level as they increase customer acquisition costs and limit the effectiveness of their marketing.

The UK-based direct marketing sector has extensive knowledge and experience of data management. As an industry we can help any company seeking to get on top of their data management requirements, to maximise return on their marketing investment through targeted personalised data-driven communication across any medium.

By using sophisticated software and a logical approach to data quality, mining and governance many mailing houses and data providers are able to ensure that marketing professionals can access the rich information and big data analytics that deliver effective messaging to audiences at the right time. Our industry’s data governance consistently demonstrates high security for data, a need demanded by cross-channel advertisers.

Data for marketing campaigns has been the mainstay of the direct mail industry long before ‘big data’ was heard of as a term, helping customers, to develop smarter and more effective marketing campaigns. Understanding your data shows how best to get started profiting from your data.

Customer data augmentation and enhancement services can further enrich key details to your customer database. This service allows you to identify key characteristics of your target audience; those most likely to drive customer acquisition.  Customer data enhancement services are provided by many suppliers and lead to costs being saved, a more powerful campaign and as an added bonus – compliance with the data protection act.

If you understand and use your data properly, then building a business case for data governance, cleansing and targeted direct marketing can help you increase ROI in your marketing spend.

romax.co.uk

 

August 3, 2015

Report summarises the unique benefit to advertisers of print advertising.

Two sides report summarises the unique benefit to advertisers of print advertising.

While on-screen reading occupies an increasing amount of consumer time, people’s preferences are still for a paper reading which they believe to be a ‘safe’ medium which is more informative, less distracting and less harmful to their eyes.”

With more and more time shifted to the web it is natural that advertising budgets will follow. However, what this report illustrates is the more engaging characteristics of reading physical material – especially where the subject matter is a long article, brochure or specific technical details that require detailed concentration.

These observations plus the deeply competitive nature of online and high capital costs of TV advertising have seen a trend back towards traditional paper advertising as a differentiator. On the back of this trend, Royal Mail have reported increasing amount of business for paper campaigns across multiple campaign types from brochures, mini-catalogues, flyers and discount coupons to support wider cross-channel campaigns.

Understanding your consumers, their purchasing behaviour and purchase journey across multiple channels help you as an advertiser to better understand when you can deploy print targeting to help drive conversions. For example, some of the car manufacturers in the UK are using a combination of marketing automation systems, big data and print to target consumers and book test drives. For example, by monitoring online behaviour, interactions and downloads, consumers further in the sales pipeline will often trigger an event to send print literature, which is more detailed and engaging with specific vehicle details, imagery and other aspirational messaging which is better consumed in print or in consumers hands.

The Two side’s survey illustrates that for all age groups the preference is for paper for understanding, retaining and using information. Advertisers may be particularly interested in the following highlights from the Two side’s survey.

  • 54% pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines in print compared to 19% who pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines online
  • 52% pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers in print compared to 21% who pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers online
  • 67% of 18 – 25’s and 65% of 25 -34’s pay more attention to adverts when reading magazines in print, higher than other age groups.
  • 50% of 25 – 34’s and 43% of 35 – 44’s pay more attention to advertising using mail or door drop

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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