Integrated Marketing Successes: Crossing the ChannelMarch 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior editor
The real beauty of digital enhancements such as QR codes and Augmented Reality is that they catapult the printed piece into another stratosphere, incorporating a dynamic dimension that enhances its value from a cross-channel marketing perspective. It allows marketers to be even more creative and analytical with their campaigns, while making it easier for the end user to interact and experience the full gamut of a product or service.
We've assembled a small cadre of case studies that drive home the point that the printed piece need not be viewed as a one-dimensional tool, but as a jumping-off point that stirs the creative juices and engages the end user in new and exciting ways. While we're at it, we'll illustrate the role that printers and marketing services providers (MSPs) are playing in the integrated marketing solutions heirarchy.
Story Time for Child Care Chain
Marketing Services Provider: WebbMason, Hunt Valley, MD
Client: Kiddie Academy
Background: Kiddie Academy has been a leader in educationally-focused child care for more than 30 years. The growing organization now operates 100-plus independent franchises nationwide. One of Kiddie Academy's popular programs is Storytime LIVE!, a series of events it holds to promote literacy and increase enrollment in its learning centers.
Campaign Objective: Event marketing is an important part of Kiddie Academy's corporate marketing strategy, particularly during its fall and spring enrollment periods. In the past, Kiddie Academy had provided franchisees with direct mail campaigns to attract event attendees, but the organization had no way to automate or track event marketing ROI. Also, franchisees wanted to better gauge the interest level of targeted prospects, and follow up with "warm leads" in a faster, customized way.
The organization turned to WebbMason, which suggested an integrated marketing approach that could automate the collection and segmentation of registration information for StorytimeLIVE! events, blend print and non-print marketing methods for improved targeting and messaging, enable Kiddie Academy's event organizers to track and respond to leads, and increase attendance in the organization's long-term programs.
"Today's organizations use many different channels to communicate about their brands. The challenge is to integrate this communication in a forward-thinking, cohesive way that maximizes the impact of each message," explains Carol Wolicki, vice president of marketing for WebbMason. "Our Interactive unit helps clients find targets and gain their interest, convert targets and gain their business, and prove value and gain their loyalty."
Target Audience: The event marketing campaign targeted prospective Storytime LIVE! attendees located near Kiddie Academy's learning centers.
Structure and Components: WebbMason worked with Kiddie Academy to create a customized outreach, tracking and lead distribution application that automated many processes the child care organization had been handling manually. The integrated, multi-touch campaign included the following components:
- Personalized QR codes printed on all direct mail pieces, enabling each recipient to access his or her customized registration microsite using a smart phone or other mobile device;
- Personalized landing pages that enabled visitors to search for StorytimeLIVE! events by ZIP code;
- Automated reminders and follow-up notices based on recipient action (or inaction);
- Customized registration and opt-in for Kiddie Academy newsletters;
- Social media page that enabled registrants to send event information to friends by e-mail or post to Facebook;
- Analytics dashboard that acted as the nerve center for all facets of the campaign—activity could be monitored in real time, 24/7, and campaign effectiveness could be measured and refined;
- E-mail marketing that effectively engaged registrants with updates and outreach communications;
- Additional e-mail marketing that delivered timely communications to individual franchise locations on the status of campaign initiatives and lead generation results.
Results: With 83 percent of Kiddie Academy's educational child care centers participating, the integrated marketing campaign developed by WebbMason generated a 39.21 percent conversion rate for Kiddie Academy—65 percent higher than a manual, conventional event marketing campaign Kiddie Academy held the previous year. The program also generated 1,784 program registrations, as well as a 28 percent increase in Kiddie Academy's Facebook fans.
The campaign enabled Kiddie Academy to centrally attract and register event attendees, and to decentralize administrative tasks for corporate marketers. It also enabled corporate marketers to execute, track and report on campaign activities and results using interactive analytics. At the franchisee level, automating the lead distribution processes ensured timely responses and continued conversations with new leads.
WebbMason's solution won second place in the "Best Use of a Custom Application" category at the second annual Event Technology Awards ceremony, held last November during the EventTech conference in New York.
One Return Not So Taxing for CPAs
Marketing Services Provider: Prompt Direct, Staten Island, NY
Client: American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)
Background: When Charlie McClamroch got his first taste of a direct mail piece that contained a personalized URL (PURL) and followed that link to a landing page, the marketing manager of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) was hooked. He envisioned reaching out to members of the Durham, NC-based trade association using these tools.
Campaign Objective: McClamroch sought to raise awareness and grow membership in the association's Tax Section, a group of CPAs who specialize in taxation issues. The Tax Section is one of several specialized AICPA groups that provide added value to members.
Historically, an AICPA direct mail campaign that targeted specialized community members might not generate a return on investment for at least three years. "I wanted to take a completely new approach that reached members in new ways," McClamroch notes. In order to do this, he turned to Prompt Direct, a full-service integrated marketing solutions specialist founded in 1978 as a direct mail provider. Phil Catalano, Prompt Direct's director of integrated marketing, quarterbacked the production end, utilizing MindFireInc's LookWho'sClicking.
Target Audience: The AICPA had its sights set on a prospect list of 41,000 AICPA members who were not Tax Section members.
Structure and Components: The multi-touch campaign included direct mail, e-mails, QR codes and a personalized URL that reached out to targeted members as much as six times. The campaign offered prospective Tax Section members the chance to gain free access to valuable checklists that dealt with the tax code (ordinarily reserved for existing Tax Section members) or allowed them to enter into a drawing for a netbook computer.
"A multi-touch approach makes a big difference," Catalano remarks. "People are busy. They forget or don't always respond to the first parts of a campaign. The extra touch points are reminders and always help drive response higher."
The checklists covered individual and business returns, highlighting some of the practical and educational benefits of Tax Section membership (touted on the PURL's landing page). Included with multiple links to join was a member testimonial video, along with an endorsement quote from Sid Kess, a noted and popular CPA industry guru. A lead capture page provided click-through results.
"The free checklist downloads were the Number One choice," McClamroch notes. "To further encourage membership, they were watermarked with the message, 'To receive all checklists, become a Tax Section member today,' but other than that, they were the full and final versions of those checklists. We did this to help raise awareness about the value of the benefits provided. But the popularity of the checklists also gave us some insights into the educational interests of members."
The direct mail offer was supplemented with five e-mails—the first arriving around the same time as the direct mail piece; the others following during several weeks. A link to the personalized landing page was included in each e-mail. The e-mail list was also cleansed before each distribution to ensure that members who had already responded were not included.
Results: The trade association was able to convert 484 members to the Tax Section. With a total cost of about $40,000, including postage, the ROI for the campaign was a stellar 260 percent. However, the return promises to be even greater: Because the Tax Section requires a renewal membership, the campaign will generate additional revenues for the AICPA going forward.
"I'm all about analytics and I believe in data-driven campaigns that build off one another based on the intelligence that we gather from these statistics," Catalano notes. "Throughout the campaign, I continually studied the data on the Marketing Dashboard that's part of LookWho'sClicking. I used this to monitor the behavior of people visiting their landing pages, as well as which media drove them there."
Test Nets More Than a Passing Grade
Marketing Services Provider: the e.f. group, San Antonio
Client: University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)
Background: The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), with more than 30,000 students, is the eighth-largest university in the Lone Star State. It offers more than 130 undergraduate, 50 graduate and 24 doctoral programs.
Campaign Objective: The UTSA Alumni Association sought to bolster its retention program. Only 5 percent of its membership, non-lifetime, were renewing their association membership annually. So, the association reached out to local cross-media marketing campaign specialist the e.f. group.
Its objectives were twofold: increase membership renewals with a focus on increasing new graduate renewals, while retaining current membership and increasing the commitment to the association via higher level renewal options.
Target Audience: The university has 80,000 alumni. The campaign featured a personalized, targeted "test" promotion created by the e.f. group and a new, personalized postcard approach initiated by UTSA's Alumni Association. The purpose of using a test module was to gather relevant data for future marketing efforts.
Structure and Components: The Alumni Association abandoned its static retention program method in favor of a highly personalized, targeted approach. The campaign used various offers appealing to different alumni segments to motivate renewal prior to membership expiration dates. Alumni were segmented into three subgroups—new graduates, new graduate renewals and regular renewals—for the purpose of variable messaging.
New graduates and new graduate renewals received a special promotion with a chance to win a $500 Apple gift card. Regular renewals could select a free UTSA inaugural football season t-shirt with their payment of membership fees.
UTSA mailed postcards with name and message swap outs based on the renewal segment. It provided two options for renewal, by phone or Website. The e.f. group deployed a highly personalized direct mail campaign that included 36 variable swapouts to target each renewal segment by age, ethnicity and gender categories, with image and message personalization. This created about 150 different possible versions that were being sent to alumni.
The direct mail piece included custom-designed return cards placed in #10 envelopes, with name and offer personalization visible through the window. The mailer offered three options for renewal: return card with payment, log on to a target audience-specific Website, or call the Alumni Association. Mailing cycles were coordinated with current membership expiration dates.
Both UTSA and the e.f. group sent followup e-mail notices to alumni groups—e.f. group sent an e-mail one week after the mailer, followed by a final reminder a few days before the renewal period ended. UTSA's e-mails had the same messaging as the postcards and offered a renewal link. The e.f. group's e-mail also mirrored the mailer, with a renewal link.
UTSA built microsites for each alumni audience group, which showed renewal options and offers, and also provided an easy online dues payment option.
Results: The Alumni Association's personalized postcard campaign generated a 6 percent response rate, while the e.f. group's personalized test campaign netted a 19 percent response. New graduate renewal rates were highest in the e.f. group's test module. The campaign also resulted in more members increasing their regular membership level to the lifetime level.
The Alumni Association felt that the personalized direct mail approach cut through the clutter in recipients' mailboxes and grabbed their attention. Offering multiple response mechanisms also allowed alumni to choose how they wanted to respond. UTSA's Alumni Association concluded that providing personalized microsites with targeted messaging to each of the various market segments helped to strengthen relationships and allow for easy renewal options.
Donation Is a Vet's Best Friend
Marketing Services Provider: EasyCrossMedia, Kenner, LA
Client: LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
Background: The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), located in Baton Rogue, LA, has turned out veterinary professionals since the early 1970s.
Campaign Objective: The school sought to bolster its fundraising campaign; invite alumni to their milestone reunions; update contact information and secure e-mail addresses; determine interest in reunion attendance; and create an opportunity to donate to the Alumni Association. According to Bob Morgan, sales representative for EasyCrossMedia, the school turned to his Kenner, LA-based firm because it had been spending a considerable amount of money doing self-mailers and was in search of a fresh approach.
In the past, the Alumni Association used direct mail to contact members with several mailings per year.
Target Audience: Mail pieces were sent to 466 current and former Alumni Association members celebrating a milestone class reunion (5 years, 10, 15, etc.).
Structure and Components: One postcard containing a personalized URL was mailed to each alumnus. The landing page included the year of the recipient's graduation, as well as a class picture. A survey page followed the landing page, which sought the following information: How much is the recipient willing to donate ($100, $500, $1,000 or other); method of donation (via Web or mail); and will the recipient be attending?
The back of the postcard featured an explanation of the contest, emphasizing the importance of giving back to the school and a special offer for the winning class making the biggest combined donation. The PURL was featured in two places, with a call to action.
The messaging for the campaign sought to leverage the affinity members have for their School of Veterinary Medicine graduating class and to stoke their competitiveness in pitting them against other classes. The alumni class that contributed the most money prior to the reunion would see its members placed into a drawing for two Continental Airlines tickets to anywhere in the United States that the airline flies.
Results: Of the 466 alumni members who were queried, there were 73 unique visits to the landing pages. The campaign generated 29 completed surveys (a clickthrough rate of 40 percent) and 29 donations. The SVM Alumni Association more than doubled its pre-reunion donation amounts.
It enabled the alumni veterinarians to donate directly online and simplified the process by setting up a page that pre-populated the donor's name and other information acquired at the update profile page on the PURL.
'Zipping' Up New College Admissions
Marketing Services Provider: CustomXM, North Little Rock, AR. Client: Lyon College
Background: Lyon College is a small, liberal arts school located in Batesville, AR. After several years of incorporating a static student recruitment campaign, the admissions department sought to implement a cross-media campaign aimed at its target market of high school seniors.
Campaign Objective: For the first quarter of the campaign, Lyon College budgeted an 11 percent increase in responses over the previous year. The overall goal was to secure 655 applications. The campaign began in August 2012 and the results are noted as of November 2012.
Target Audience: The sweet spot for Lyon College is current high school seniors who scored a 24 or above on their ACT tests. The message in all of the touch points was crafted to highlight the key differentiators for the school, including a small student-to-faculty ratio, close proximity to the Ozark Mountains and the availability of financial aid, among other things.
Structure and Components: The college worked with CustomXM to develop a cross-media campaign that incorporated direct mail, PURLs, e-mail and Augmented Reality. A personalized direct mail postcard kicked off the campaign, encouraging recipients to log their field of study and extracurricular interests via a PURL. As an added enticement to those who filled out their profiles, the school offered recipients a chance to win a new Apple iPad. Reminder e-mails were sent to non-respondents.
Lyon College then used the information to tailor a followup, customized direct mail piece. This piece included an Augmented Reality trigger that launched a video of the school's president screaming as he took a ride on the campus' zip-line.
The direct mail creative stressed the iPad offer and the interactivity of the campaign; in fact, the front of the initial postcard mailing was even designed to resemble an iPad. The followup mailer still incorporated the iPad theme, but also contained variable fields in addition to the Augmented Reality clip and text/images that spoke to the prospects' information provided on the prior PURL call to action, delivered in texting-variety format.
Results: In less than four months, the college already blew past its goal with 1,116 applications received—a 76 percent increase compared to the same period in 2011. It also exceeded the 655 applications goal by 70 percent. Of the recipients who visited their landing page, 70 percent completed the online survey/entry form.
In fact, as of November 2012, Lyon College had already exceeded the total number of applications received during the entire benchmark year of 2009, which had stood as one of the best recruitment years in school history. As a result, there has been a 50 percent increase in acceptances compared to the same period in 2011.
As an aside, of the 750 followup mailers sent out with the Augmented Reality enhancement, about 135 recipients have watched the video. In addition, the reduction of more frequent mailings in favor of fewer and more personalized pieces enabled Lyon College to realize a roughly 30 percent decrease in marketing spend over 2011. PI