Franchises Using Integrated Marketing Achieve Higher ROI

February 13, 2013

by Doug Traxler

Integrated marketing is complex—but so is running a franchise. Combining the two? Sounds like a potential nightmare. However, iWebbMason Integrated Marketingntegrated marketing can play an essential role in every business, as companies that implement and execute integrated marketing have been shown to achieve a 50% higher ROI. (Source: Gartner)

Last year, a popular franchise reached out to WebbMason for marketing assistance. After some research, WebbMason suggested an integrated marketing approach that blended both print and non-print marketing methods, including  (in simplest terms) personalized QR codes on all direct mail pieces, personalized landing pages, automated reminders and follow-up notices, customized registration and opt-in for newsletters, social media pages, an analytics dashboard and email marketing. This approach enabled the franchise to organize and quickly respond to leads, while also increasing attendance in the organization’s long-term programs.

The results were a dream come true for both the franchise and WebbMason, as the campaign generated a 39.2% conversion rate, 65% higher than the year before, along with a 28% spike in the franchise’s Facebook fans. The good news does not stop there. This November, WebbMason won an award for this campaign during the EventTech conference in New York City.

From New York to Las Vegas, WebbMason’s interactive services are appearing all over the US. On February 18-19, they will be showcased at the IFA Conference at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. On display at booth #271, WebbMason will present popular tools for many franchise owners, including the new user interface capabilities for its MarketingBench™ distributed marketing management platform.

According to Jeff Elgin’s article, “5 Franchise Marketing Essentials,” on entrepreneur.com, a franchise marketing plan must: drive consumers, involve the franchisees, get the splits right (marketing funding dollars), be well-documented and validate well. To summarize, marketing must bring people through the door—whether it is from a direct mail piece, a landing page, a personalized coupon or a promotional product. Since they work closely with customers, the opinions from the franchisees must always be taken into account. Elgin, CEO of FranChoice, notes that a marketing plan “is no small matter, since your livelihood will rely on the success of the marketing program in driving customers to your business.”

Sure, integrated marketing is complex—but it doesn’t have to be frightening. By integrating print, web, digital, social and other applications, your franchise can create powerful campaigns while reaching, engaging and growing customer relationships and achieving a ROI. From website strategies to email marketing, you can deliver timely, relevant, and compelling integrated marketing programs that resonate with customers across any channel they touch. All of your campaigns and programs will point in the same direction and will work in harmony to reach your goals. An effective interactive plan designed specifically for your franchise can not only meet your needs… it could be a great way to build support for your franchisees as well.

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United States Postal Service Gives Stamp of Approval to Integrated Marketing

November 12, 2012

Since Benjamin Franklin appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775, the United States Postal Service has grown to better serve a growing population through new technologies. In 1918, scheduled airmail service began to provide faster mailing across the entire country. In 1994, the Postal Service launched its public Internet site to create an online presence during the rise of Internet use. In 2013, the United States Postal Service will take its first steps towards integrated marketing. Image

Fiscal Year 2012 was challenging for the USPS and Fiscal Year 2013 will be just as difficult. The use of email and online services has provided more efficient communication. Today’s market needs require on-demand service, which is a setback to what has become known as “snail-mail”. But with every challenge there is a solution. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahue emphasizes that, “Our industry is fundamentally strong and has a bright future. Mail remains an incredibly effective and important part of marketing America’s products and service.” The USPS’ focus remains on delivering mail. But in order to sustain a strong market presence, the industry must adapt with innovation.

On October 29, 2012 the USPS released its full calendar of promotions for 2013. The promotions offer discounts by integrating mail with mobile and innovative technologies.

The new offers indicate a clear drive to make print an integral component of a direct marketing mix by making it interactive. The Postal Service’s integration is a validation of the ongoing transition and value of integrated marketing. The marketing world is constantly evolving, forcing companies to adapt accordingly. The interactive approach is an adaptation to an increasingly sophisticated population. Allowing people to store coupons via mobile is a direct response to the rise of the mobile platform. Integrated marketing channels offer more positive results that not even a centuries-old direct mail provider could avoid.

The integrated marketing examples below from the Postal Service’s 2013 Promotional Calendar validate everything we do at WebbMason. Our customers are experiencing this integrated approach because we understand that the addition of new marketing channels serves up the right communication for the right audience. Today, the American audience thrives on mobile and interactive communication. The United States Postal Service was strictly involved with direct mail but people’s needs have changed. In order to regain their status, they had to realize print is not enough. Today is a digital age, but a print and technologic mix will provide the greatest results. WebbMason’s success has been dependent on our ability to recognize this need for integration. The Postal Service’s direction is validation of a solution near and dear to the heart of WebbMason. We have taken the right steps in moving toward an interactive and integrated marketing approach for our customers and ourselves.

Sample Offers from the Postal Service’s 2013 Promotional Calendar:

Mobile Coupon and Click-to-Call | Dates: March 1 – April 30

Discount: 2% of eligible postage

Mobile Coupon: The physical mailpiece must be a coupon using print-to-mobile technologies (such as QR codes) that allow the recipient to store the coupon on a mobile device. The discount must be offered only to mailpiece recipients, and the coupon must be redeemable as either a physical document or from a mobile device.

Click-to-Call:The physical mailpiece must use print-to-mobile technologies (such as QR codes) that links directly to a mobile optimized website with a “click-to-call” link or brings up a phone number automatically in the users’ phone.

Emerging Technology | Dates: August 1 – September 30

Discount: 2% of eligible postage

Augmented Reality: The mailpiece must support an augmented reality experience that is facilitated by a mobile device or computer. The augmented reality experience must combine real and virtual, be interactive in real time, and register in 3-D.

Authentication: The mailpiece must integrate the attributes of physical mail, including delivery to a physical address, with mobile technology that allows a user to complete authentication for customers, prospects, or mail recipients. Prior approval from the USPS program office is required for this option.


PSDA Rankings Affirm WebbMason’s Continuing Market Leadership

October 1, 2012

WebbMason once again topped the charts of Print Solutions magazine annual rankings in several categories based on 2011 revenue. The magazine is published by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), an industry group whose members comprise a broad network of supply chain partners representing nearly 1,000 companies with combined annual revenue of more than $5 billion in combined annual sales.

Among PSDA nearly 1,000 members nationwide, WebbMason is:

  • The #1 Seller of Commercial Printing
  • The #2 Distributor across all categories with $92.5M in sales
  • The #2 Seller of Labels and Tags
  • The #3 Seller of Promotional Products
  • The #3 Seller of Paper-Based Forms

While we’re thrilled to be among the best of the best, what’s truly important are the reasons that underlie WebbMason’s success: customer-centricity, innovation, and value.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason is a perfect example of market leadership and the company’s investment in people, processes and technology to bring to market top-quality products and services that are surpassed only by the value they deliver.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason

As an integrated marketing solutions and services company, WebbMason understands that today’s marketing channels have their own set of rules. Each one demands special technology and expertise. Those discrepancies make it harder for marketers to develop solutions across disciplines. The Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason defies this trend. It breaks down barriers between marketing silos to facilitate understanding and synchronicity across them. The employees who workin the Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason drive our integrated marketing and web strategies effort, as we continually aim to become an extension of our clients’ marketing teams. The business cards found in this space say “WebbMason,” but these employees really wear the same color jerseys as our clients.

Another proof point of our innovation is MarketingBench™, WebbMason’s on-demand digital marketing management system, allows sales and marketing teams, local and remote employees, channel partners, franchisees and business partners to have fast and easy access to an entire brand library – or only appropriate portions. MarketingBench streamlines the acquisition, customization, and delivery of promo, print, and other materials and is used by 1.5 million users at more than 800 companies to streamline ordering, centralize procurement, track marketing and print materials in real time, and create documents online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Perhaps the most important number of all is 315. That’s the number of dedicated WebbMason employees working in offices across the country. At the end of the day, it’s their expertise and commitment that WebbMason a success by ensuring that our clients are successful. Yay Team, WebbMason!

 

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Is it Time to Rename Direct Marketing?

September 19, 2012

Ginger Conlon, editor-in-chief of Direct Marketing News and a respected journalist who has been at the helm of venerable customer relationship and marketing publications such as CRM magazine, 1to1, and Sales & Marketing Management, recently asked me to spar with Tim Suther, the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Acxiom, a marketing data company. She wasn’t asking me to get into the boxing ring with him, though I’m a tough Polish girl from Reading, PA who rarely backs down from a fight. Instead, she presented the opportunity to contribute to one of my favorite DM News columns, “Gloves Off,” a regular feature where two marketing professionals provide very different responses to the same question. The question Tim and I debated was whether it is time to do away with the term “direct marketing.”

I encourage you to read Tim’s complete response, but it came down to him seeing “direct marketing” as a channel: direct mail. And he suggested replacing “direct” with “data-driven” to acknowledge the supremacy of data in effective marketing. I don’t disagree with the importance of data to planning, managing and measuring marketing success, but I see direct marketing as much more than direct mail.

I recently read a Target Marketing interview with Larry Kimmel, the former CEO of the Direct Marketing Association. Something he said rang true: “There are three components that are revered in contemporary marketing: data, customer-centricity, and accountability. That’s what direct marketing has always been.” The interview with Kimmel is an excellent read, and I encourage you to do so.

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Marketing has become highly targeted.

Marketing is perceived as strategies and activities designed to gain penetration in a “market.” Those are broad and general terms, just like when mass marketing was broad and general. Marketers and consumers have become more sophisticated they have become increasingly segmented. Add to this the narrowing of media consumption and the wide adoption of social media – admit it, even your mother is on Facebook – and the art and science of marketing had to adapt. And it has.  Marketing has become highly targeted. “Direct” was marketing’s first nod to data. The ability to deliver addressable marketing materials (or activities, such as in a call center interaction) have expanded with both upgrades to “hard” technologies (variable print and address code labeling, for example) and “soft” (the Internet paved the way for mass email and got regulated into more personalized email).

I think few people today would argue that direct marketing isn’t just direct mail and that its scope crosses many channels—so many that it’s hard to keep up sometimes for those of us in the field. What seems equally important is to recognize that it’s essential to integrate our marketing efforts for best result, and to ensure that we have the cross-channel analytics in place to evaluate what parts of our strategies are working and which aren’t. It’s a bigger challenge today to do direct marketing—however you (re)define it—than ever before.

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Cross-channel analytics allows you to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Direct isn’t a bad word. It was direct mail marketers who really understood the value of segmentation. And to this day, they are the ones who really get the power of “one,” whether it’s through email or some other direct means. So maybe we should respect the direct marketing legacy for having been a catalyst for where the power of the Internet, marketing automation, and mobile communications is taking us. I say we keep the old standard in homage, if nothing else.

Ginger seems to have decided in my favor (yaay!), writing that direct marketing is “the same as it’s always been, when it’s at its best: targeted, relevant, and engaging—and supported by data. It’s a practice; not a channel. So, whether marketers are focused on email or search or digital, or their work is primarily on integrated programs, if they’re using data to inform their decisions, to segment their customers, and to make continuous improvements, they’re applying the principles of direct marketing. So we say embrace it, proudly.”

 

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Shiny and New vs. Tried and True

August 8, 2012

I’m getting married!!! 

And I have never been on the receiving end of more highly-targeted marketing messages in my life.  I don’t mean the everyday advertisements and come-ons that we’ve all learned to tune out; I’m talking about the banner ads and emails that are directed at me – a newly-engaged 29-year-old female – at a time when I am very vulnerable, with all of the excitement and emotion that comes with wedding planning.  It seemed that from the moment I changed my Facebook profile from “Single” to “Engaged,” I had more enticements and inclinations to click, respond, and sign-up than I ever thought possible.

One particular company stands out above the rest.  I was no match for their marketing genius.  They hit me early and often with appealing ads and an exciting value proposition.  When it came time to choose the department store where my fiancé and I would create our registry, the decision had already been made.  With a few key strokes, I opened a wedding registry, and when that was done, I was informed that if I applied for a store credit card, I could receive rewards points on not only my purchases, but on gifts that others purchased for my fiancé and me.  Talk about a match made in heaven – I was almost eager to open a charge account – something I NEVER do.  I was still dreaming of fancy gadgets and elegant linens as I started to update my weddingwire.com page with my registry info when I spotted a posting for an event happening at a store about 30 miles away.  At the event, my fiancé and I could learn about the items we should consider adding to our registry, mingle with other newly engaged couples, and enjoy a glass of champagne.  Determined to take advantage of every opportunity to be pampered as bride-to-be, I decided to delay making any selections until the event.  I emailed the event coordinator as instructed to sign up for the event, even though it was two months in the future.

And this is where my story takes a turn.  I never received a response to my email or confirmation of my registration.  Admitting to myself that I was probably being over-eager, I decided to be patient.  A month went by… crickets.  Finally, I picked up the phone and left a voice mail for the event coordinator.  Two more weeks went by.  At last, I received a voice mail in return stating that the event had been cancelled.  “Well,” I thought, “People probably didn’t think it was happening because you never got back to them!”  As disappointed as I was, I consoled myself, understanding that these things happen.

I rebounded quickly, and my fiancé agreed to accompany me to a shopping mall nearby to begin the joyful task.  Sure, I could have gone browsing on the store’s online website and spared him the trip, but there is something about perusing the aisles together and inspecting the merchandise that you can’t get from a URL.  Hand in hand, we marched to the wedding and gift registry counter, full of hope.  When there was no one there, we waited a few minutes.  When no one came, we wandered over to another section of the store and inquired whether someone could help us with our registry.  With some difficulty, an associate was finally produced who fumbled through the process of finding the registry I created online (as if I had done something wrong) and handed over the scan gun.  We were also told that normally, we would receive a tote bag as a gift, but that the person responsible for the department was no longer employed with the company and no one knew how to order more totes.  Gee… thanks.  After that, my heart was really not in it.  Even the shiny KitchenAid stand mixer had lost its appeal because this company had let me down… twice.  Whether it was due to lack of training, inability to retain employees with competitive pay, or just a corporate culture of apathy, my expectations were shattered.  Eventually, I put my unused store credit card in my wallet and opened another registry at the department store I grew up with.  They had the same brands, comparable prices and selection, but the middle-aged man who helped me actually made me feel good about it, telling me about some of the lasting gifts he and his wife had received 18 years prior.

I’ve seen this happen in my industry.  Giant Printing Company has lots of marketing dollars to draw customers in with strategic messages, promises of huge cost savings, and exciting technology.  They may even throw a parade.  But when it comes right down to it – no matter how fine-tuned their marketing mix – what matters is good old-fashioned customer service.  The ability to meet and exceed expectations – to make a commitment and see it through – is the key to success in any industry. Delivering extreme customer service requires a human touch and it is rewarded with extremely loyal customers.  In my experience, even those that fall for “shiny and new” eventually come to appreciate the value of “tried and true.”  And they live happily ever after…


DocBuilder Tips & Tricks: Double the Ease

May 28, 2012

Sara’s Tips and Tricks for WebbMason DocBuilder, fourth of five entries.

This one is perhaps my favorite.  When rearranging your print files, the Move Last function does not get enough credit.  I recommend using this technique when you have five or more print files in your document.  Instead of moving each file up or down until you get them all lined up, start with the file that you want to appear first in your document.  Click the double-down arrow to move it to the last position.  Then find the one you want to appear second, and tell that one to Move Last.  Keep going until you end up with very first document in the first position.  Voila!

I hope you find the information I’ve shared useful.  If you have any questions related to WebbMason DocBuilder, I’m here to help!  Please email them to DocBuilder@webbmason.com

Sara E. Post
Product Marketing Manager


And We Call Ourselves Marketers?

October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger: Carol Wolicki VP of Marketing @ WebbMason

A few weeks ago I attended the DMA 2011 Conference in Boston, MA, at the city’s new convention center. As a marketer in that city for more than 20 years, it was a special pleasure for two reasons: (1) It was – and I’m embarrassed to admit this – my first opportunity to explore the city’s new conference facility in the revived Seaport area…and, lucky for me, the rain stayed behind in Baltimore. So, it was a sunny and breezy New England day when I arrived. (2) The day I attended was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Ten years earlier this same conference in Chicago had turned appropriately to the doom, gloom, and empty aisles that day represented. So, the bustle of the show and the crowds of marketing professionals and vendors I saw at the conference and in the exhibit hall was a real spirit lift and a 180 degrees from ten years back.

I spent the day walking the aisles, talking to vendors, listening to pitches, and massaging my feet (Note to self: Leave the high heels behind next time.)  But I learned a lot and reached out to quite a number of vendors about products or services of potential interest to WebbMason.

All these vendors promised to follow up. And one or two did. And so I waited. And waited. And…what the heck?  I’m still waiting to hear from the majority of vendors.

It should have been a clue when some of the booths I walked into were staffed with personnel that didn’t know how to operate the badge scanners.  And some didn’t even have them. So, I did run out of business cards to leave behind, and signed my contact info to the backs of their cards. And we all know what happens to ‘those’ prospects: they get dropped into some booth staff member’s pocket, possibly never to emerge. But what happened to the others?

It’s one thing when you don’t want vendors at your literal or virtual door.  It’s quite another when you ask for someone to call, and then you’re ignored.

Hey DMA Exhibitors:  I INVITED some of you to call. Are you not listening?  Are you playing hard to get? Have you lost the ‘delicate art’ of follow-up?  Has all the noise in the industry about not reaching out to customers and waiting for them to approach you totally confused you? Really?  You’re supposed to be cream of the crop… but I’m embarrassed for you…

And you call yourselves marketers?

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


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