Archive for August 2011

Baby Boomers, Ergonomics and Direct Mail

August 12, 2011

by Paul Prisco*, Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design,

Consider the fact that by 2030 Baby Boomers will outnumber those less than 20 years of age. Not so youthful or sexy for the future of America? Right now there almost 80 million Baby Boomers and growing with a huge capacity to drive consumer spending.

Baby Boomers are one of the most loyal and active users of direct mail. It’s been part of their daily routine for quite sometime and that’s not going to change anytime soon — regardless of the Internet, mobile and social media.

When crafting a direct marketing program for Baby Boomers consider the process of ergonomics, which is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities. Great examples of brands that are adapting to this demographic shift are Ford, CVS and HP to name a few. Aging does bring on a unique set of changes to the body and mind, which does affect how you should approach direct mail in a holistic way.

Here are three key ways you can leverage the power of ergonomics to connect with Baby Boomers in a relevant and meaningful way:

1. Mail Package Format

The power of touch and physical ergonomics is one way to connect with Boomers. Physical ergonomics is concerned with human anatomical, and some of the anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. It sounds a bit cliché but arthritis is a real concern for Boomers and handling small items can be a task for some.

• Simple is best when deciding on a direct mail package format. Avoid using complex folds to deliver your offer.

• Go big with your mail package size if you can afford it, which will allow for larger mail package components (OE, Letter, Reply Mechanism, etc.). This will deliver an easier handling experience while providing more real estate and should be most effective.

2. Overall Type Size

This approach would involve the cognizant side of ergonomics and be the most easily to implement. Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. As we age it gets tougher to scan, read and recall type with a small point size.

• Consider headline point sizes of at least 14 point and body copy size of no smaller than 10 points. While offer and copy points are most important if they cannot be read easily you don’t have a shot.

• Avoid serif fonts that will become increasingly difficult to read when reduced. This applies for both print and digital marketing strategies.

• Do remember overall recall is higher with print media in general.

3. Icons

The use of simple and easy to decipher illustrations is another use of the cognizant side of ergonomics. Icons serve as a great platform when trying to communicate key subject areas or benefit points.

• Less is more when making a quick connection.

• Also, icons are a great substitute for costly photography which if not done tastefully will be a complete turn off to Baby Boomers.

The average Baby Boomer now cites the age of 68 as the new retirement age, which is up from 65.5 back in 2003. There’s no doubt the failure of the economy has contributed to Boomers working longer and harder. This means your direct marketing programs will have to do more to connect with this busy, distracted and potentially lucrative demographic to deliver more brand value.

*Paul Prisco is the Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design, A design and direct marketing agency for brands. He has helped leading organizations such as AARP and numerous colleges leverage design in their direct marketing programs to drive ROI. He can be reached at 404.829.2704 or


Boosting “Be-Backs” Through Social Media: How Auto Dealers Can Leverage Social Media to Drive Sales

August 12, 2011

by Rick Ellis*, AIS Media’s Director of Business Development. 

The small town I grew up in had two new car dealerships. My grandfather owned one of them and his brother owned the other. Their mostly-friendly rivalry in our “two horse town” made for interesting family gatherings. The two of them could talk –loudly and passionately– for hours on the subject of cars. Mostly they talked about selling cars.

Each had their own loyal customers and they knew those customers’ intimately such as what cars the customer had driven through the years, their families, personal work histories, etc. Like clockwork, when it came time to trade cars, those customers would return back to “their” dealer, whether it was my grandfather or his brother/competitor.

As an automobile dealer today, you have the opportunity to develop a sense of community through social media marketing. Done right, social media marketing will directly help acquire new customers, transform existing customers into raving fans and create an ongoing stream of referral business. One of the keys to successfully engaging customers through social media marketing is properly integrating it into your dealerships’ other marketing and advertising channels.

It starts with the proper targeting of your message. The center of power for your marketing is no longer the dealership; it’s the customer. It’s not what you say to prospective customers that matters most — it’s what your existing customers are saying about your dealership and to one another.

Proper targeting with the right message and providing a forum for customers to give feedback provides qualitative insight into the thoughts and feelings customers have toward your dealership. Qualitative information often can be a good indicator of a customer’s true interests and intentions.

J.D. Power and Associates in “The Death of Demographics: Why Targeting by Purchase Behavior is Most Effective in Automobile Marketing” said, “auto marketers must embrace those new technologies and methods that better and more effectively allow them to target customers– using old methodologies simply won’t suffice.”

My grandfather and his younger brother could get quite loud when they were each trying to talk over the other and of course, neither could be heard through the noise. Effective social  media isn’t like traditional media, where competitors compete to out-shout each other. Social media marketing is a dialogue where the customer is the central focus.

Integrating social media means the customer should see consistency in all your traditional and digital marketing. Brand messaging should be related through all the channels. Otherwise you risk confusing your customer and we all know that a confused customer makes no decision.

Think of the car’s drivetrain: the engine, transmission, driveshaft and differential may all function independently, but it’s only when they work together in harmony that the wheels move, the car finds traction and moves forward. That’s the power of integrating social media – it’s like adding a turbo charger to an already powerful engine.

Customers should see your social media channels in your advertising and be encouraged to join the conversation. The sheer number of social media users today, when properly drawn to your online presence, provides an opportunity to really stand out in your market and give your customers a voice.

My uncle used to say, “the only “be-backs” (the customer who says they’ll be back tomorrow to buy a car) are the ones you’ve made good friends with”. Social media is creating showrooms  of “be-backs.”

*Rick Ellis, who has an MBA in e-Business, is AIS Media’s Director of Business Development. AIS Media ( is an award winning digital and social meida marketing agency. Rick tweets from Connect with Rick on LinkedIn at:




DMA Atlanta Luncheon August 18th, 2011 | Three panel discussion: How to leverage Multi-Channel Marketing to drive success for your customers and profits to your bottom line!

August 12, 2011


Joe Lobosco | Sr. Director, Business Development
Vertis Communications

As the Sr. Director Business Development at Vertis Communications, Joe leads and manages the Direct Marketing’s business development and sales efforts.

With over 20 + years experience, Joe has held a variety of senior operations and strategic business development leadership positions to successfully drive both strategy and results.

Richard Warner | Founder, CEO
What’s Up Interactive

Richard Warner is founder and CEO of What’s Up Interactive , an Atlanta based web and video marketing firm whose clients include AT&T, the Georgia Lottery, the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Company and Holiday Inn. He is seen frequently as a business commentator on FOX5 WAGA.

He spent 30 years as a host and managing editor interviewing CEOs on “Georgia’s Business” on the state’s PBS network, as well as 20 years as a commentator on Atlanta’s WXIA and FOX5 WAGA TV. His daily radio commentaries were syndicated on more than 200 stations nationwide.

Simms Jenkins | CEO
BrightWave Marketing

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America’s leading email marketing focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in partnering with its clients to strategically develop, manage and optimize all digital targeted messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs and build relationships.

WHEN: Thursday August 18th, 2011  | 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

LOCATION: Maggiano’s Perimeter:  4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346 | Phone: 770-804-3313