Blog. We share our insights and expertise on effectively marketing your bicycle business.
Archive for May, 2011
Imagine watching a short video in which two teams pass a basketball. One team wears black shirts, the other wears white. Your task is to count how many times the team members in white complete a pass. If you are like most people, chances are you will report the correct number of passes. But there is about an even chance that you will completely miss the moonwalking bear … even though it walks through the game in plain sight.
By means of this challenge and other ingenious tests, a pair of cognitive psychologists demonstrated that, try as they may, people simply cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. And though the psychologists never marched a moonwalking bear past a mailbox — at least, as far as we know — we cannot help but see a possible connection between their research and this tidbit from a recent survey:
About 79 percent of households read or at least skim their advertising mail, whereas only about 19 percent of commercial e-mails are even opened.
The same survey reports that it is e-mail from unknowns, or with too-long or irrelevant subject lines, that tends not to win attention. Seen in light of the gorilla test, this is hardly surprising. When people check their e-mail, they rivet their attention on the “From” field for names they know, and on the “Subject” field for short, relevant items. When minds are engaged in that manner, e-mails from strangers, or with irrelevant or too-long subject lines, may as well be invisible bears. Assuming, that is, that they evade spam filters in the first place.
By contrast, as people retrieve and sort through their mail, they must focus on each piece, one at a time, in order to settle on which ones they will explore further. In its moment, each piece — including advertising mail — commands full attention. And not just so people can avoid inadvertently discarding letters, bank statements or bills, either. Three out of four Americans say they like, trust and read advertising mail. In fact, for new product announcements, the open rate for direct mail is about 1.7 times that of commercial e-mail. That includes Generations X and Y, even though they grew up with the Internet.
Moreover, a visit to the mailbox is a daily, anticipated event. Most people look forward to it. And, conveniently for advertisers, it’s an event that takes place away from the competing clamor of TVs, computers, stereos and video games.
So if you’re looking for a solid way to keep the market’s eye on the ball in an online world, count on direct mail.
Every Door Direct Mail (the method of using the term “Postal Customer” instead of a full name and exact address on mailers) rules have been extended to include mailing to every address in a geographic area.
Every Door Direct Mail relieves marketers of having to constantly refresh lists of exact names and addresses. Furthermore, marketers are able to reach a greater number of potential consumers.
If you want to put your sale message into the hands of everyone who live in neighborhoods that generate a lot of business for you, then this is a great answer. You can simply pick the postal carrier routes that you want to target and follow the USPS guidelines for saturated delivery. No more purchasing mailing lists. This makes geographic prospecting easier and more affordable.
If you want to learn more, or find out what it would cost for Harvest to design and manage an Every Door Direct Mail campaign for you, then contact us right away.
It’s the new conventional wisdom — your direct mail pieces should point customers to your branded website and social media account. But maybe it’s time to flip the script, and try using social sites like Facebook and Twitter to drum up anticipation for your direct mail campaigns.
In her new e-book “Social Media 4 Direct Marketers,” author Debra Ellis views online and offline messaging as different sides of the same coin. Scoffing at the notion that modern marketing is “all about the conversation,”
“Social media allows a wonderful opportunity to talk to customers one-on-one,” Ellis says, “but if we’re only chatting about the weather, how do we move them into the sales cycle? The only thing that motivates the customer is a need or perceived need.”
So instead of squandering those valuable social conversations, Ellis advises businesses to use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to push their direct mail campaigns.
“Throw in a comment about your direct mail pieces,” Ellis says. “Instruct the people in your community to sign up to receive your mailer, then count down the days until that piece is in the mail. You could even go to the point of creating a YouTube video of the products presented in your direct mail piece so people get an interest.”
Ellis says scenarios like this represent the future of marketing. Marketers are starting to realize that multichannel messaging is infinitely more valuable.
I loved the headline on the Huffington Post, “Ray LaHood ‘Concerned’ About Safety Of Urban Bikers, Unsure If He’s A Hipster”. I doubt he is a hipster, but he definitely gets hipster props for carrying the torch for cyclist safety in the District.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signaled on Tuesday that his department would be looking into measures to encourage automobile drivers to observe better safety standards when it came to bicyclists cohabiting the roadways.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the Illinois Republican praised various cities for restructuring transportation policy around cleaner forms of transit, singling out the construction of bike lanes to encourage biking as particularly effective. But with additional bikers on the road come additional risks. And as head of the Department of Transportation, LaHood noted his “concern” over the “way that bikers are treated when they are on streets.”
“I’m concerned that people that are driving cars have a level of respect for bikers, and that’s the reason that we have these bike lanes,” said LaHood. “Bikers have as much right to the streets as anybody driving a car and I am concerned about [their safety].”
Told that his heartfelt defense of bikers came off like the musings of a run-of-the-mill hipster, LaHood professed genuine confusion.
“I don’t even know what that term means,” he said.
LaHood’s encouragement of more urban biking has been echoed — and in some cases, preceded by — even more vocal championing from local lawmakers. In Chicago, incoming mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has pledged to create a “world-class bike network” and has hired Gabe Klein, former head of Washington D.C.’s Department of Transportation, to fill that role in the Windy City. In New York, the Bloomberg administration has pushed back against public angst over the construction of bike lanes in the city’s busy streets by noting that the past four years have seen a 50% increase in people who commute to work via bikes.
“The New York of the future should accommodate all of these options,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson wrote on The Huffington Post.
As for whether or not safety has decreased as biking has increased, the data is not entirely as alarming as LaHood suggested. According to a 2009 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, there were 630 “pedalcyclists” killed due to traffic accidents. That number was well below the 718 killed in 2008, and even further below the 786 killed in 2005. However, the study noted that: “The majority of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2009 occurred in urban areas (70%). In respect to vehicle crash location in relation to an intersection, most pedalcyclist fatalities in 2009 occurred at non-intersections. Compared to 2008 these numbers increased by 5 percent.”