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Interactive Direct Mail: Tapping our inner human through Decoder Technology

Human beings are social by nature. We crave interaction, looking for ways to stimulate our natural sense of curiosity. We also love being entertained. Advertising has seen a progression from the simple hand-printed sign to interactive advertising using the full power of today’s technology.

The goal of advertising has always been to alter behavior and to create a forum for interaction with a brand or product. Direct mail has been a stalwart and proven tactic for marketers for decades. With all the emphasis on sexier social outreach, direct mail has been relegated by some as an outmoded technique for promoting products and securing customer engagement.

Enter Decoder Marketing. It is the use of a proprietary print technology to deliver a hidden message that can be decoded using on-site verifiers. How effective is this at changing consumer behavior? As it turns out…very effective .

IMC recently sent out a campaign to important clients we wanted to connect with at an event. The direct mail piece was imprinted with a hidden message that could be revealed at our booth location. Clients simply had to bring the card with them to the show. The results speak for themselves. Traditional direct mail has an industry standard response rate of around 1%. The addition of Decoder Marketing technology resulted in a response rate of 38%. Yes, you read that correctly – 38%. Results vary but decoder technology response rates hover around 30%.

The moral of this story: Dust off your direct mail program, have faith in human nature, and give yourself a lift.

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Top five ways to use promotional products as incentives

The Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) has published their most recent study analyzing channel belief versus customer needs. In a world of massive changes in communications technology and how brands go to market, the promotional product is still an effective way to motivate and influence behavior in end-users.

In a previous post (about a year ago), I centered on the number of products and how long people hold on to thier advertising specialties. I challenged you to look in your purse, desk, closets to underscore the point. Today, I am happy to report that promotional products are alive and doing well in the marketplace. People will take action to acquire them. People covet them. People steal them (yep, that data is included in the study too!) End-users still love them.

The following is a list of the top five ways promotional products can, and do, influence the way end-users behave:

1. 82% will take a survey to gain a promotional product.

2. 70.6% of end-users will go to a booth at a tradeshow

3. 41.8% will “LIKE” a company on Facebook or post a Tweet on Twitter

4. 33.2% will buy the “gift” with purchase

5. 27.7% will make a positive post about the company on a social networking site

As a marketer in a sea of new technologies for engagement, it is comforting to know that some things never change.

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Create a more engaging promotional experience with QR Codes

Recently, we received a nice nod from ASI Advantages Magazine in regard to our business card design. Our card features two QR codes that direct people to either our website or to the LinkedIn profile of the card holder.

The business card is probably one of the oldest, most popular promotional products on the planet. Richly enscribed calling cards were the hallmark of the elite for centuries, each specifically designed to convey the personality of the owner. While they are now a mainstream item, their basic purpose has not really changed over time – but communications technology has.

Taking advantage of these changes can be the difference between good and great response. QR codes can be an integral part of a well-designed promotional program.

When you design your promotional campaigns, are you thinking about how to:

Drive recipients to an online destination to get more information?

Create a greater level of engagement with your brand?

Encourage someone to purchase your product or service?

Extend the reach of your original campaign?

Here are a couple of great resources and one shameless self-promotion that I have come across/written that talk about how best to integrate QR into your promotional endeavors. They also include cautionary advice of how a good idea can go bad.

MarketingProfs:
Five Tips for Implementing a Successful QR Code Campaign

ASI Advantages Magazine:
Build a Better Business Card

IMC Promotional Products Blog:
Three Tips on Integrating QR Codes and Promotional Products

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Where did you get that? Promotional Products for Unique Contest Delivery

Where did you get that?” Those five words are music to the ears of anyone involved with promotional products or advertising specialties. Especially when the response leads interested consumers to YOUR booth or display so they can check out the eye catching promotional item for themselves.

What’s the only thing better than being able to reach consumers? Getting them to come to you. And stick around. And get excited about your brand.

We’ve learned that contests are a great way to attract, delight and engage consumers, but you should never underestimate the power of the delivery mechanism. How you deliver the contest should be as engaging as the contest itself. Why not create buzz and draw them in with a snazzy, attention grabbing promotional product?

The possibilities are endless. Customize a device that’s just right for your contest and your brand. Consider the following options:

Instant Win Contests
Peel & Win, Scratch & Win, or Peel-to-Reveal type contests can be part of direct mail campaigns to drive traffic to a particular location, or used on-site to facilitate prize allocation. The excitement surrounding instant gratification and the ability to create buzz when administered on site, are tried and true, evergreen promotions.

 

 

New Technology Contest Delivery
QR Codes are the newest delivery method out there and are changing the way we explore our world. Drive customers to customized contest landing pages via smart phone technology. Customers must have the reader app downloaded on their phone. Codes can be delivered in printed format on paper items, apparel, mugs – virtually on any kind of promotional product.

Contest Delivery via Unique Products
Blinking pins are a great way to draw attention and create excitement around contests. When they blink you either win, or with multi-timer units you go the next stage of the contest. Used to keep people on premise (like in a casino or bar.)

Magic 8 Balls are another unique way of using a retro-toy to deliver your contest results. They also provide the end user with a fun momento of your event.

Edible Contest Items
YUM! Delivery methods like food afford a great way to administer your contest AND provide a sweet treat. Fortune cookies, chocolate bars, or prize inside carmel coated popcorn are fun AND tasty ways to engage your audience!

Excited consumers are valuable assets. When promotional products generate excitement, your consumers just amplify the buzz. They might do this by crowding around to see the results of the contest, or simply by carrying the promotional product around the event.

After all, it’s that kind of visibility that generates that magic question: “Where did you get that?”

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The Art of Competition: Are we hard-wired for engagement?

There’s a plate of cookies on your kitchen table. Your son and daughter notice the cookies, and they both ask for one.

Your response . . . only one of them can have a cookie, and there will be a contest to determine who gets it.

Wait — you would never do that, right? Because you know what will happen. By turning the cookie into a potentially unattainable prize instead of a simple giveaway, you’ve created a dramatically increased demand for the cookie. Suddenly, that cookie is the hottest thing since molded silicone bandz.

In the world of sibling rivalry, this scenario is a nightmare. In the world of branding, advertising specialties, or promotional products, it’s a gold mine.

The desire to win and be rewarded with a prize: it’s part of human nature. We’re hard-wired for competition.

Contests don’t just create buzz; they facilitate engagement. Branded promotional products can make your logo and your brand part of that engagement.

According to a 2010 study by the Advertising Specialties Institute
– People in the U.S. own nearly 10 promotional products on average
– Promotional products are kept for an average of 5.6 months.
– 41% of those who have received a promotional product indicate their opinion of the advertiser was more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

Just think what happens to that favorable impression when there’s all the lasting buzz of a contest involved. The fun and spirit of competition combined with focused, engaged attention on your brand: now that’s even sweeter than a plate of cookies.