Archive for November 2009

Partners for Success

November 10, 2009

By Alex Marchetti

President DMA Atlanta

In today’s competitive environment, we all know how difficult it is to achieve success going it alone. Now more than ever businesses are teaming and partnering to expand their service offerings and gain the expertise they need to better serve their customers. Even corporate giants such as AT&T and Apple are embracing the trend to partner.

 We at the DMA Atlanta also believe we can better serve our members through strategic partnerships and are therefore pleased to announce that the DMA Atlanta and the PIAG (Print Imaging Association of Georgia) have formed a collaborative partnership for 2010.

We believe this partnership will benefit our members and create a powerful forum for innovation and practical education of effective cross-channel marketing strategies. This unique partnership will not only benefit our collective membership, but our customers who are pressured to “Defend the Spend”. We are very excited and look forward to working with everyone in the PIAG”.

 Our first collaboration will appear as one day conference called “CONNECT 2010” – Channel Connectivity. It will be held on January 14th at Atlanta’s Waverly Hotel – Cobb Galleria. The morning session will feature channel experts in data, interactive and print. The afternoon will feature a panel discussion of top executives representing the health care, non-profit, financial services, and retail verticals. These experts will discuss their strategies for effectively integrating multi-channel marketing and provide attendees with insight into how they will allocate their 2010 marketing spends. In addition to the educational value, CONNECT 2010 attendees will have a chance to visit with exhibitors of key marketing services, representing all channels, and learn firsthand what is on the horizon for 2010 and beyond.

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How can Social Media and Email Coexist?

November 9, 2009

By Allen Nance, Mansell Group, Inc.

We’ve all heard about the growing emergence of using social media to supplement marketing efforts. It’s impossible to miss it—with 300 million active Facebook users and 26 million US adults predicted to Tweet in 2010, the numbers are staggering. But should we jump on the social media bandwagon and abandon our email marketing campaigns?  And more importantly, is social media going to replace email? Recent studies have asked these questions and overwhelmingly answered no.  Social media will not replace email. But it will, however, change the way that we communicate with our audiences.

As Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn become more popular and gain more users, and as email inboxes become even more overcrowded and difficult to reach, social media and email marketing will become increasingly intertwined. As of now, only about 50% of marketers with social media capabilities choose to combine email and social media in their campaigns, but the marketers that will thrive in the coming months are the ones that can successfully integrate the two mediums.

We’ve already seen many companies successfully combine these two tools and produce powerful practical advice that can work to the advantage of any marketer:

•               Gone are the days of using the Forward to a Friend option which would produce at most 2 to 3 forwards per message.  Now with a Share This function, your customers can instantly share your email message across their social networking sites. With each Facebook member having an average of 120 friends, each message could potentially reach several hundred people and allow your customers to work for you by serving as “brand ambassadors.”

•               Facebook Fan pages are an easy way to grow your email list. 8 million Facebook users become fans of brand pages everyday. With Facebook fan pages, you can integrate your email sign up form directly onto the page to easily capture your fans’ and visitors’ email addresses, without directing them away from your Facebook page.

•               Combine social media and email in a single campaign. If you have a special promotion or event coming up, start tweeting a few days in advance to get the buzz going. By the time your email goes out, many of your followers will be excited and more receptive to your message. The same can hold for Facebook—start talking about promotions and events on your pages to build some awareness.

•               Use social media to improve overall email performance. Open rates are 18% higher than this time last year and some of this increase can be attributed to social media networking. By engaging with your customers on social media sites, you are in a prime position to learn what’s important to them in a timely manner. In turn, you can craft your emails to be relevant and reach your customers at the most opportune time—which will ultimately improve open, click and conversion rates.

There are obviously pros and cons to each vehicle. Some workplaces choose to block social networking sites altogether, leaving marketers to rely solely on email to communicate during business hours. Social media applications are generally free, but do require updates and management from a staff member.

And let’s not forget that social networking and email are already somewhat co-dependent—status updates and notifications are sent via email and email addresses are often required to create social networking profiles. If anything, email and social media usage will correlate with each other and continue to increase.

Bottom line—the most successful marketing plans will arise from combining the strengths and capabilities of both email and social media to reach your audience when and where they want to be reached.

November Volunteer Spotlight

November 9, 2009

DMA Atlanta Volunteer Close Up-

 Written by: Jon Freed-Hub Labels

Name: Tom Jones

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia

Occupation: Vice President of Marketing – School Specialty: The leading school supplier in the U.S.

Education: B.A. University of Georgia; MBA Georgia State University

 What is the most helpful step(s) you took to advance your direct marketing career? Continually accepting projects and responsibilities that stretched me. You find that you are capable of far more than you originally believed. The book that helped me in this area: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Any advice you’d offer a novice who wants to move up in direct marketing? Make opportunities to network with direct marketers who are innovators, and learn to apply their methods in your current role.

Professional Experience:

Strategic, customer-centric marketing driven by insights from all channels regarding our customers’ primary objectives. Team leadership focused on company goals and skill development of the entire team. Budget management through implementation of new tools and procedures.

 Volunteer Experience:

Newsletter Editor: DMA-Atlanta; Teaching Business Communications to recent immigrants in professional roles; Coach Youth Sports – soccer, basketball and tennis; School Board Member – Local private school.

 DM Forecast for 2010: If we continue to evaluate our offerings and methods against changing customer needs, we can grow market share, regardless of conditions. As the economy rebounds in 2010, direct marketers who have re-aligned their organizations and their spending around a fully integrated strategy will do well.

 Toughest Marketing Project: Rolling out new catalogs is always a challenging time. From concept development, market research and staff allocation to results evaluation and refinement, there is continual work to be done. My toughest challenge is now assessing catalogs introduced 4-5 years ago to determine on-going viability and alignment with our other offerings. With the correct analytics, we can accurately measure results against our initial assumptions – very exciting stuff!

Favorite Restaurant: 141 in Duluth for business meetings; Stoney River with my wife to celebrate accomplishments and Red Robin Burgers with the family any time.

 Favorite Websites: DMNews for the latest in industry trends; District Administrator to understand the issues for our school-based customers; Facebook for reuniting with old friends.

 Leisure Interests:  Triathlon, hiking in the North Georgia Mountains, non-fiction reading, and any activity with my wife and kids.