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2 posts categorized "Mail"

March 14, 2014

The Devil, the Details and You.

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by Ron Daly

I was cruising through LinkedIn and saw this post from CU Grow, posted with the intriguing snippet: 

"Let’s be honest, a CEO most likely does not care about the details of the creative as they are more interested in the outcome and value the results of the creative provide."

As a CEO myself, I had to chew that over. Yes, I care about the creative details - I'd like to know they're on-brand and well-done and useful. No, I don't care about every detail - I have to differ creative choices to the creatives I pay to...well, create.

The article is all about KPI's - Key Performance Indicators. What makes a campaign successful? Is it the number of people that click? Is it view/play counts? Is it downloads? 

Chances are, none of these metrics tell you much on their own. Click-throughs matter, but only in the interest of finding how many people bought something on the other end. Views and play counts are nice, but how many of those views can you trace back to a loan offered or a problem solved?  How many downloads of your white paper got you another conversation?  "The Devil's in the Details," they say, and while I don't think you have to be the devil to see how your virtual branch is managing visitors, I think it is important to keep the big picture in focus.

I like the article I read. I like knowing that our online initiatives reduce acquisition costs, boost profitability, and improve operational efficiencies. And I really love seeing all of that happen, start to finish, through the analytics. That's why I like to look at the following pieces of information for any campaign done online: 

1. Campaign Sources - This is an obvious one. I like both a macro- and micro-view of the campaigns because I want to know more about what's working. Are banner ads outperforming email for a certain campaign? What target audience responds best to webinars? In a given email campaign, how far did clickthrough-visitors go in pursuit of information? Which leads me to info-point two:

2. Time Spent and Visit Depth - Of the people that came in from any given campaign source, how long did they stick around and how much reading did they do? Did they download anything? Did they sign up for a webinar? 

3. Where's This Going? - I want to be able to compare the products we're promoting against the page visits for those products. As much as possible, I want to know what brought users to those pages and how much each clickthrough cost.

4. Drawing the Line - For each lead we get, I'd like to be able to draw a line from one point to the next in the road to their admission as a lead. Is this a client? Is this a prospect? Is this a potential partner? What brought them in, what did it cost us, and what's our next step in bringing them on board?

Hopefully these are good guidelines for you as well. All of this information is pretty easy to ascertain if your analytics are correctly set up and you have a good grasp on your costs. As you dig in on your reports and results, ask yourself an even bigger question: "what might change?" As Brent Dixon discussed in his most recent CU Water Cooler post, there are many things to consider when you're looking at one end result. In most cases, you can't point to a single root cause of any effect. Consider everything and try to think of your marketing campaigns (and your department) as a system. How does one piece affect another? Can something be changed to improve overall performance?

The devil's in the details but finding out how each arm of your marketing plan is working with the others is heavenly.

October 09, 2013

Stamps for $1? Sure, I'm In.

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by Ron Daly

What can you really buy for a dollar these days?

I did an informal survey (which is to say, I looked at the prices of a few things I buy from day to day), and you'd be surprised how far a dollar goes...or doesn't go.

I can buy: 

  • A can of soda, or
  • A trip down the express lanes from my home to my office, or
  • A copy of the paper, or
  • An older song on iTunes (the newer ones are more than a buck), or
  • Something from the dollar menu at McDonald's, assuming I can scrounge up a dime for the taxes.

There aren't a lot of things that cost one thin dollar. There are even fewer things that cost under a dollar. Everything's "99¢", the biggest double-whammy ever pulled in advertising. "Hey, it's pennies a day!" Yes, 99 of them.

I rarely suggest that things that are cheaper than a dollar should cost a dollar, but do you want to know one thing I think is worth a buck? A postage stamp.

Think about it. What should it cost to send a letter or a card or even a small package all the way across the country, or around the corner? If you wanted to send that stuff privately (via UPS or FedEx), it would cost more than a dollar. The Post Office does a good job of moving thousands of millions of letters and bills and papers and packages all over the country. But they're hurting and they've lost quite a bit of money in the past few years (all well documented here). They want to increase stamp prices again, to $0.49, a move that has some businesses and "concerned citizens" up in arms. "Outrageous!" they cry. "Stamps need to be affordable!" 

Don't argue that to Rick Newman. He says stamps should cost $1 each. His reasoning:

So hiking the price of a stamp to $1 seems like a straightforward way to align the agency’s costs with its expenses and save Congress the trouble of turning out a few members every now and then to listen to the Postal Service’s familiar tale of woe. The Postal Service says a mere three-cent hike in the cost of a stamp will raise $2 billion per year, so going all the way up to a buck ought to raise many billions more, even accounting for the decline in mail volume that's been occurring, plus the dropoff in sales that usually comes with higher prices. All told, those extra billions ought to more than cover the huge annual losses now expected.

If there’s concern about fixed-income seniors or other customers who might not be able to afford a dollar for every letter they mail, Congress could make postage costs tax deductible for heavy mailers below a certain income threshold, which would let the USPS off the hook and make the whole thing Congress's problem.

Postage increases fixing income troubles? Less mail? Blaming Congress? I'm in!

A dollar's not a lot of money, sadly. It doesn't buy a lot. But going back to my original question: how much would you pay for a person to hand-deliver a letter to your home? A dollar's a great value, honestly. And when it comes to serious mailers, one of two things will happen: 

  1. People who relied on the mail will start to move toward electronic payment and delivery methods, which is good for the environment and for business.
  2. The people who insist on sending paper mail (and especially those pesky junk mailers) will pay through the nose to keep it going.

What do you think? Would you pay $1 to mail a letter? Let us know about it in the comment section.