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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!

What's Trending 13

What's Trending 13

I'm always excited to see what I find when I jump on Yahoo and see what's going on out there. This just might be the end of the trend of beautiful superstars! Check it out...what's trending right now according to Yahoo!

1. Brian Wilson. Looks like the "Good Vibrations" are over for Mr. Wilson! Fired from the Beach Boys after 112 years. I wonder if the music industry will survive?

2. Sophie Simmons. Now we're on to something! I must confess, I did watch Family Jewels so I actually know who she is. 2-for-2 so far! I guess Gene's daughter auditioned for the X-Factor. I've never tuned in, but there you go!

3. Ed Hochuli. Well, there you have it! A first. 3-for-3. If you've watched any NFL games so far this year and have experienced the debacle first-hand, you actually might know who Ed is. All I can say is "welcome back"!

As I always say, if you're in the world of new business development and constantly searching for lead generation methods that will get results, it really helps to know what's going on in the world around us. Effective marketing communication strategies are rooted in an intimate knowledge of our culture and, obviously, the prospects you're trying to reach. And the bottom line is that the professional/personal lines have really been blurred over the years with social media and the constant media exposure that has become part of life for all of us.

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Lessons from Flo and the Gecko – Part Two

In “Lessons from Flo and the Gecko – Part One” we saw how GEICO and Progressive  use amusing characters to keep consumers watching their commercials. The enjoyable nature of this constantly changing series of ads transforms them into 30 second comedy skits, a tactic particularly favored b2ap3_thumbnail_Flo-Progressive-Car-Insurance-Girl.jpgby Progressive. These repeat the direct writers’ key message points until they are embedded in consumers’ minds – and no one but the competition gets tired of it.

The power of marketing and advertising

These ads reveal other important facts to insurance executives. One is the importance of marketing and advertising. While marketing departments often have to fight to maintain their budgets, high-quality research shows that advertising really does promote sales. A 10-year study done by Information Resources’ BehaviorScan looked at advertising budgets, media schedules and sales figures in 10 different markets. The results demonstrated, according to marketing professors George and Michael Belch, that “advertising can produce sales growth as long as two years after a campaign ends.” Steady sales increases helped both GEICO and Progressive weather some otherwise stormy times. Flo and the Gecko have certainly done their job in supporting their companies continued growth in a challenging environment.

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Response Rates are Down – Is Search Worth the Expense?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Student20letters.jpgA number of enrollment managers report that response rates to Student Search campaigns are continuing their downward trend. With the considerable expense involved, some may wonder: Is Search still worth the cost? 

The answer is a qualified “Yes.” Search that is done well without being ridiculously expensive is certainly a good investment. Strauss and Howe’s research found that Millennials are highly brand oriented – they look for “name brands.” Thus, Ivy League and other well-known institutions are deluged with applications. But even they should not discontinue Search. Otherwise, worthy students they would welcome may view them as unattainable and look elsewhere.

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Who Else Wants New Lead Generation Methods?

Who Else Wants New Lead Generation Methods?

Do you remember when marketing & advertising was all about reach, frequency, awareness, distribution, the 4p's etc...? Interestingly, you learned them in your marketing classes and could find them in textbooks AND they were actually used and applied when you finally got in to the "real world". But what ever happened to them?

 

Well, surprisingly, they're still very much alive. A lot of the names have changed (impressions, actions, open rates, click-thru rates, social reach etc...) but the overall theory really hasn't. The bottom line is you need to reach out and touch your audience as frequently as possible with opportunisitic information that's relevant to them. Enter social media.

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The Importance of a Good List.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Direct20Mail.jpgWhen it comes to effective lead generation methods, the mailing list is often looked at as a last minute, oh-by-the-way nuisance. Whether we are sending out direct mailers or personalized direct mail to prospects in the hopes of stirring them to movement, we tend to go right to the magical, clever, never-seen-before “mailer”. If I’m being honest with myself, and this is a true confession, I can say I’ve been there before. A designer at heart, I was most concerned with creating that unique, award-winning piece and didn’t think much about to whom it would go. After all, that’s the fun part, right?

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Print is DEAD!

Yeah that's what I said! Or is it? Well don't believe everything you read (except now). In the last 10 years, direct mail has gone from a $40 billion dollar advertising spend in 1998, to a $56.7 billion dollar advertising spend in 2008… an increase of just over 41%.[1] And while direct mail spending has begun to decline in this recession (the first such decline in over 60 years…along with declines in TV, newspaper, cable, radio and internet ad revenue), print fulfillment mail continues to generate one of the highest response rates amongst other major media. Telephone generates the highest response rate (8.55%), followed by Direct Response Television (8.14%) followed by mail (3.4%). And in most cases, telephone response rates reflect follow-up to direct mail campaigns.[2]

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3 Recession-Proof Marketing Tips

3 Recession-Proof Marketing Tips

While it’s true that this economic downturn has caused more than a few businesses to tighten their belts, it has also brought to light the importance of some real direct marketing and lead generation basics that, in many cases, could foster something that resembles an opportunity. Is it possible?

Here are 3 recession-proof marketing tips to consider that, when times are tough, will truly solidify your position in the marketplace and help you weather the storm:

 

#1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
When things are going well, it feels like we can do no wrong. Strategic marketing goes out the window, everything we do seems to work in some way, mistakes are easily overcome and overlooked and we simply fall into bad habits. Opportunistic companies have one thing in common—they have a strong, collaborative relationship with their customers. They take the time to ask, listen, understand and use this information to drive strategy and be proactive. Remember, product-centric thinking is out the window. If your customer is not the hub of your wheel...it doesn't turn!

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What's Trending 12

What's Trending 12

I got off track for a little bit, but trying to get back on and give everyone a little splash of what's going on in the world RIGHT NOW!

Jesse J. That's what's going on! Who? This little series is starting to prove more about what I don't know than anything else. I guess Jesse, an English singer/songwriter, helped close the curtain on the 2012 Games. What will I do now?

Lindsay Lohan. Ok, well getting a litte more familiar. With all the problems and the drama and the press... looks like Ms. Lohan has still earned herself a cool $2 million so far this year! Not bad. 

Sean Hayes. I didn't know the name, but as soon as I saw his picture, well, I guess I'm socially aware! And, if you're interested in adding something new to your music collection, looks like you can pick up Jack McFarland's new CD on September 11th!

Whether your incorporating direct marketing and direct mail in your business development mix or not, you've got to start with a "hook" or a campaign that will get people's attention. And love it, hate it, indifferent about it, this is a slice of what's going on in the world around all of us. In reading about Jesse J just now, I saw a lot of information on how she is available for appearances and book signings etc... Maybe she'd be perfect for your next trade show! Can you say lead generation?

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Top 5 Biz Dev Tips!

Top 5 Biz Dev Tips!

1. The proper mindset
Effective business development has as much to do with a mindset than it does any specific tactic. Essentially, if you view it as a one-time, single event, the likelihood of being successful and meeting your goals is slim. Effective business development and demand generation is achieved when embraced as an ongoing program or business process as part of an integrated direct marketing program. Most of us have effective business process tools in place to run our businesses, but ignore the fundamental (and probably most important) act of driving new business.

2. Frequency
Regardless of your message or value proposition or all the great things you do, if you tell someone once and expect them to take action, you’re mistaken. On average, it takes 9 “touches” for a prospect to respond in some way. And that response may be something very small—like simply opening an email, or visiting a microsite, purl or website. Once a prospect officially becomes an inquiry, the formal nurture process can begin.

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SELL! The New 4-Letter Word.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Salesman.jpgI'll tell you where this all started. In my post I'm Talkin' About a Revolution you can view the Social Media Revolution video. In the video, amongst all the other rather riveting facts, figures and editorial, is one statement that continues to stick with me—the concept that, more or less, successful professional business development services and top marketing communication strategies are more likely to be molded after Dale Carnegie than David Ogilvy.

The video is really fast and it's easy to miss, but, for some reason, it keeps popping into my head. Have we really come to the point where we just can't admit we've been "sold" to? I'm guilty of it too. It makes you feel dirty. It makes you feel ignorant, uneducated and like you've been taken advantage of. Most people, including me, won't even admit it. I'm struggling to remember, did it always feel that way? As a matter of fact, the entire concept of "exchanging goods or services" has moved from the question of "how well do you sell", to "how do people buy". Can good sales people even find work any more? Or are they slowly being exiled to a remote island somewhere?

The best lead generation methods are now really about educating, informing and "offering" than they are about selling anything. In some ways, it seems that no one really wants to sell anything because they don't want to be accountable. The integrated direct marketing campaigns that I build are centered around "how people buy" because, for the most part, that's what's important. We now create marketing and sales support materials to aid the sales process. In other words, provide the literature to validate or legitimize a claim. What did old sales support materials look like? A bad sport coat, coffee breath and threats?

It seems to me that salesmanship has become somewhat of a lost art. And now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to take it upon myself to incorporate the expression "What do I have to do to get you to drive this off the lot TODAY" as a new business development tactic!

The Allied Group is a New England marketing communication and full service fulfillment company.

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