Insights

  • Direct Response Marketers can toss the Law of Diminishing Returns

    by Jim Auer | Apr 11, 2012

    In direct response marketing, traditional logic dictates the more you can customize a message to reflect what you know about that customer, the better the results.

    In 1994, Don Peppers and Martha Rodgers promised that the concept of “one-to-one” marketing was the way. However, the pursuit of this theoretical segmentation ideal has never been practical or effectively achieved. Still today, the practical number of executions (or cells) in most direct marketing programs is limited by the law of diminishing returns for all the wrong reasons… except at Trellist.

    Many marketing executives accept the idea that as they pursue more precise segmentation, their total costs will increase due to added creative & production time, increased coordination and production hours, and additional QA time (or its converse, the likelihood of costly errors). To this thinking, as incremental production costs increase, there comes a point where incremental yield from more precise customer segmentation is no longer profitable.

    Trellist, however, has demonstrated that as you control the creative and production costs by leveraging production technology and deploying a disciplined creative approach, the incremental costs of customer segmentation are significantly lowered (changing the slope of the incremental cost curve). With a very different approach to email development, print and direct mail creative methodology, marketing executives have much greater freedom to personalize offers, creative treatments, and marketing messages, all while reinventing their marketing program strategy with greater personalization. 

    By dramatically moving the point in which the incremental costs for customizing direct marketing are equal to the incremental return, Trellist has demonstrated the capability to increase the marketing team’s ability to customize marketing content. As a result, our clients are able to deploy more precise messaging, increase the effectiveness of each campaign and produce higher ROI for their organizations.

    At Trellist, we are proving that through integrating marketing and technology, we can toss out the “Law of Diminishing Returns.” This approach offers direct marketers new options that dramatically change traditional assumptions and produce a very different kind of business results.

  • Gamification & The Brussels Sprouts Dynamic

    by Chris Wallace | Nov 22, 2011

    Did you hate brussels sprouts as a kid? I sure did. How did my parent’s get me to eat them? That’s right, we played Here Comes the Airplane.

    It’s a time tested solution to an age old problem: Make it fun and people are more likely to participate.

    Now, let’s fast forward to the age of social media and pervasive mobile connectivity. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon hear digital marketing enthusiasts using the term Gamification to describe this phenomena.

    Gamification (a term borrowed from behavioral economics) is the practice of utilizing gameplay mechanics in non-game scenarios to change behaviors or incentivize users perform otherwise mundane tasks.

    While there is some merit to the adage that “there is nothing new under the sun”, social and mobile technologies have certainly given this concept fresh legs and new possibilities for engaging customers to participate with your brand. Whether your goal is to get customers to use their loyalty cards more often, to visit your bricks and mortar locations, or simply to participate in your survey, applying the principles of gamification to your marketing programs may be a great way to generate lift.

    So what are some simple ways to make a marketing program more game-like?

    Let’s look at that program to incentivize loyalty card usage:

    • Make the incentives simple and attainable: Use your loyalty card 4 times this month and get 20% off your next order
    • Let participants track their progress and encourage them to keep playing: Mobile App with a progress bar with SMS reminders
    • Give it legs via social media: Let users share their progress to social media friends and followers, make it easy for those friends to get involved as well.
    • Make rewards easy to redeem: Send your 20% Discount coupon via SMS to their mobile device

    While this is a simplified scenario, there are endless gamification techniques that could be applicable to this case including:

    • Location based check-ins: Check in (via foursquare or other location based service) at any of our bricks and mortar location and receive points, badges, discounts or other benefit.
    • Badges for achievement: Rewarding brand interaction with small tokens of appreciation is a strong motivator considering the game-like engagement channel. i.e. Reward users for using the loyalty card 4x, 8x, 12x in a month.
    • Virtual currency: Points programs that can be “spent” as rewards. This could be on real world or virtual merchandise depending on your brand and your goals. Providing clear point totals and easy redemption of those points is key. Farmville dollars is a great example.
    • Head-to-head challenges: Allow users to engage their friends by issuing challenges or other competitions, i.e. Who can check into the most locations in a month?
    • Leaderboards: Who has the most points? Where do I rank? People play games to win, capitalize on this.

    Employing some of these concepts may just help you bring that plane in for a landing.
    Interested in chatting about how social media, mobile, or gamification might help you reach your business and marketing goals?

    Feel free to drop us a line.

  • Merchant Funded Rewards Programs Still Require Direct Response Fundamentals

    by Josh Kelso | Nov 15, 2011

    The purpose of a loyalty program is to…well, build customer loyalty. In today’s financial services marketplace, however, traditional bank-funded loyalty programs are rapidly losing their perceived benefit among participants.  As the value assigned to the points decreases, participants are looking elsewhere for better deals.  This defeats the purpose of the program.  As a result, more and more Financial Institutions (FIs) are moving away from self (bank) funded loyalty programs and toward merchant funded loyalty programs to offer more to participants. But the initial success of these programs will be difficult to repeat unless marketing managers return to the fundamentals of direct response marketing.

    Merchant funded loyalty programs are a growing loyalty strategy, enabling FIs to share the financial burden of loyalty program costs with merchants.  In essence, the merchant agrees to fund the points, cash back or discounts in exchange for marketing exposure to the loyalty program’s participants.  As a result, the FI is able to provide a highly attractive loyalty-building program, offering greater value to participants, while the merchant gains valuable marketing opportunities.

    These new programs are being adopted rapidly throughout the financial industry, and soon the impact of greater rewards will be lost as consumers are overwhelmed with competing offers from multiple vendors leveraging this new tactic. Merchant funded loyalty programs help cultivate mutually beneficial relationships between FIs and merchants.  However, to preserve their value with consumers, the programs need to be executed with emphasis on the fundamentals.

    Merchant funded rewards programs must be implemented with strong messaging tied to the brands and the consumer’s interests. Precise targeting and relentless A/B testing will ensure that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. This creates the greatest value for FIs and merchants – as well as consumers who appreciate and are most likely to respond to offers with maximum relevance and personalization.

    Before consumer fatigue sets in, this powerful marketing tactic needs strong execution to see immediate results. At Trellist Marketing and Technology, we have been working with merchant funded rewards programs for years. Our experience has shown that the application of direct response fundamentals, strong creative execution, and relentless testing still have the greatest impact on program success.

  • Brevity Remains Best

    by Gavin Garrison | May 12, 2011
    If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter blog post. That’s my twist on a famous quote credited to everyone from Mark Twain to Voltaire (replace “blog post” with “letter” for the original version). Regardless of who actually said it, the idea is sublimely important. It does require more effort to write fewer words. Although this may be counter-intuitive to most,  it’s well understood by wordsmiths. Word economy takes skill and extra effort for the writer, but equates to less work for the audience. A succinct message tends to be more effective – especially if the selected words still make the point. This has been our observation after years of creating and analyzing multi-channel direct response campaigns. Distilling your message to the essence and avoiding redundancy works best. Moreover, the results from our campaigns continually prove it. So take the extra time to optimize your message. It’s worth it. Make sure every word has meaning and value. This is critical if you’re targeting the highly-coveted mass affluent market as we do for financial clients. Skip the filler unless it’s key to tone. In doing so, your audience is more likely to consider your point. Plus, you might even persuade your target to take action!

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