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The Allied Group is New England's leading provider of Printing, Kitting, Mailing and Fulfillment services. Our blog authors have backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, IT, Production and Operations and post useful tips, trends, news and opinions in our industry and beyond. We know you'll find something you enjoy. Most of all, be sure to jump into the conversation!

The 5 Deadly Sins of Presentations

Written By John Brien

 “The film is set in 1933, at the height of the Depression, in Winnipeg…Beer baroness Lady Port-Huntly announces a contest to find the ‘saddest music in the world’ as a way to promote her brew…. The self-styled Beer Queen of the Prairie invites musicians from around the world to compete for the $25,000 prize… She even has a slogan: ‘If you're sad and like beer, I'm your lady.’”

Jonathan Rosenbaum Review of The Saddest Music in the World

Okay, so you have to be something of a movie buff to know about The Saddest Music in the World and its director, Guy Maddin. Musicians representing various countries compete to deliver the “saddest” performance, with the winner(s) of each round sliding into a giant vat of beer (if only the contenders in American Idol had it so lucky).

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10 New Year's Marketing Communication Resolutions

10 New Year's Marketing Communication Resolutions

2013 is here! We made it through 12/21/12 and instead of preparing for basic survival, we're now focused on bathing ourselves in leads in 2013! Here are 10 ideas on how we can make our lead generation methods more successful this year:

10. I RESOLVE TO - START. This is funny to me because it is arguably the most important one on the list. In many ways, we've made this way too complicated. Focusing on perfection and analysis of end results without simly saying "something is better than nothing". Should I try one to one communications, or maybe some promotional imprinted produts, or maybe lead nurturing campaigns? All good ideas. I'm not advocating allocating budget dollars without rhyme or reason, I'm simply saying that in order to get results, you have to get started. So I resolve to "do" more in 2013.

 

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6 Brands That Will Likely Disappear in 2013

6 Brands That Will Likely Disappear in 2013

Written by Farnoosh Torabi | Yahoo Finance  - December 24th, 2012

What do JC Penney, Mitsubishi Motors and Martha Stewart Living magazine all have in common? Each has earned a spot on the list of brands that will likely disappear in 2013.


Financial news site 24/7 Wall St compiled the full list by scrutinizing American companies based on sales, customer base, market relevance and overall fiscal health.
 
Some predictions we made earlier this year have already panned out. Mobile carrier MetroPCS was acquired by Sprint, automaker American Suzuki went bankrup,t and Current TV announced it will be sold or go under, says 24/7 Wall St.’s Editor Doug McIntyre. “We stand by the overall accuracy of the list.”
 
Here are six more brands that the group predicts will likely to go bust in the New Year.

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72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012

72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012

Written by Tom Pick, Published July 23, 2012.

 

Social media and inbound marketing techniques have been a boon for marketers. Not only do leads generated through social and content marketing cost half as much as traditional outbound-generated leads (see below), they also close at higher rate (again, see below).

 

And social media isn’t just about lead generation of course. While prospective buyers are using search and social to research products and services before making purchase decisions, marketers and PR professionals can use those same tools to research buyer wants and needs. And their competition. And…even social media itself.

 

Which brings us to this post. Wondering which social network is most effective at generating b2b leads? What marketing technique generates leads with the highest close ratio? What the best day of the week is for Facebook posting? Which U.S. city produces the largest share of “pins”on Pinterest?

 

Find the answers to those questions and many, many more in this collection of 72 fascinating social media marketing facts and stats for 2012.

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The "Truth" About Branding.

The "Truth" About Branding.

Far from a "buzzword" or even a trend, but I'm not sure how to truly categorize it. Important? Sometimes. Irrelevant? Sometimes. Overblown? Sometimes. Understood? hmm, let's talk about it...

In my opinion, the reason why I would even use "buzzword" in the same sentence as Branding is because it truly has become overused and misunderstood. Probably the prime example of those who have taken marketing classes, read some books, listened to others and have come to simply just "believe" rather than truly understand and develop a practical opinion. How important is branding in the overall scheme of marketing? I hate to disappoint with this simple two-word answer, but the truth is...it depends. (those are the two words)

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Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Direct Mail Response Rates

A Colleague of mine forwarded this on to me just this morning. Instead of saying the same things over and over again, it's nice to hear someone else for a change. This is an article by Nick Nanton, Emmy award-winning director/producer and agent to celebrity experts. Thank you Mr. Nanton...well said: 

Some of you will laugh at the very thought of direct mail, but I can assure you, it’s a great source of connecting with prospects and existing customers allike. Particularly in our overly-junked-up-email world where people tend to pillage their inboxes and delete anything that doesn’t require a personal response. People respond completely differently to direct mail, that arrives on their doorstep, than they do many other forms of media. Direct mail can be as basic as a postcard or a letter on letterhead, or as complex as a full “shock and awe” box that has lots of stuff in it that gets your prospect really engaged like CDs, DVDs, MP3 players books and just about anything you can fit in the box.

I sent out about 18,000 direct mail pieces last month, and I learned a few lessons, just like I always do. Maybe I can save you a few dollars, and a few lessons by sharing some of the most important things I’ve learned over the years about direct mail.

Below is a list of 10 very important things you should look at when sending out direct mail.

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What's Trending 14

What's Trending 14

After some wild weather and serious time to reflect on what's important, let's get back to the good stuff! Here goes according to Yahoo:

Cheryl Burke: Our good old friend Cheryl and Dancing With the Stars. Looks like The Bachelorette may be in her future? Would ABC really poach a star from another reality show? We shall see.

Eva Longoria: 2 for 2 so far...I obviously know who she is. But why is she in tears? I suppose she was so moved by Obama's re-election that she just had to let it out.

Kirsten Gillibrand: Or I should say "Senator" Kirsten Gillibrand. The first campaign in the state of New York where two women were running for U.S. Senate.

Well I didn't really learn a lot this time around. But given the politically charged environment, I suppose it was nice to learn of Senator Gillibrand. 

...
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6 Ways Psychologists Can Help You Sell More Insurance – Part One

6 Ways Psychologists Can Help You Sell More Insurance – Part One

The idea that psychologists could help companies and agents sell more insurance seems strange. After all, everyone knows that good marketing, sales and customer service practices, backed by robust technology are what sell insurance. That is undeniably true. Yet studies, often conducted by psychologists, are what have helped to establish the best practices in marketing, sales and customer service that truly make a difference. These findings even affect IT, informing CIOs and web designers how to use technology in ways that improve customer experience. Research by Global Reviews found that, in online insurance sales, a smooth and enjoyable website experience beat superior brand recognition.

Why would a user-friendly website generate more sales than the opportunity to buy from a better known insurance company? Consumer behavior experts Jerry Olson (University of Wisconsin) and J. Paul Peter (Penn State) sum up the research: “The time necessary to learn about a product or service…as well as the time spent...can be important costs to the consumer.” In an online insurance website, the preference of buying from a company you already know and trust can be offset if it’s not easy to learn about and purchase the coverage you need.

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Marketing Can't Be "Replaced"

“Marketing requires data gathering, analysis, training, testing, and discipline – repeatedly if you want loyal customers and repeat sales.  Sometimes you get lucky.  But it’s risky business to leave something as important as your company’s livelihood to chance”.       -John Hebert

Unless you’ve been on an around the world cruise for a couple of months or perhaps backpacking through the Himalayas, by now you have heard of the utter disaster in the National Football League (NFL) regarding the use of replacement referees.

The NFL decided (which in hindsight proved to be very faulty thinking) to lockout the regular referees when the contract with the union expired.  Thinking that it wouldn’t make any difference to the overall quality of the game, the NFL brought in “replacement referees” to officiate the games.  Instead of using the tried and true professionals that had been with the league for a very long time, the NFL went with referees from Division 3 and High School and expected them to perform at a level close to what the regular refs did.  To say that it did not work would be a Titanic-sized understatement.

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Enrolling More Without Giving Away the Store

Enrolling More Without Giving Away the Store

Colleges and universities across America will soon begin detailed planning for their yield campaigns, if they have not already done so. Since money is still so tight for many families, a number of institutions will look carefully at the discount rate to see if there is any way to give students better financial aid packages. That is a viable and effective way to improve enrollment.

Unfortunately, not every college can afford to significantly increase financial aid. In fact, some institutions may now find that they need to cut the discount rate. What can aid in increasing yield performance without giving away needed revenue? Coming up with attractive new programs or facilities is great, but takes time and money. In the short run, better marketing may be your best option.

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