Thursday, March 4, 2021

Diversifying with Direct Mail


Diversifying with Direct Mail

Direct mail is the steady hand every digital marketing campaign needs to boost performance

By Christopher Karpenko

Tera Vector/Getty Images

Marketing has always been about getting the right message to the right people at the right time, no matter the medium.

Digital tactics, such as social media, online search, display ads, and email, have added layers of precision to this tried-and-true mission. They allow marketers to home in on the best message for their target audience and automate delivery timing for optimal exposure.

Rather than putting more resources and energy into the same digital channels and hoping that results will improve, marketers should try sistering digital tactics with physical ones.Some of these digital channels perform well across the customer journey, helping brands build awareness and consideration, influence conversions, and earn loyalty. But many others see drop-offs in effectiveness at various stages. In fact, a 2019 report by London Research and dotdigital shows that social media is highly effective for building brand awareness but less effective for converting leads into customers. While 59 percent of respondents noted social media as most effective at building visibility and awareness, only 32 percent said it was most effective for converting customers.

Direct mail reaches prospective customers in a different space: their physical home.

Its effectiveness is fairly stable — and builds up steadily — across the customer journey. According to the same London Research/dotdigital report, 13 percent of businesses see direct mail as most effective for building awareness, 19 percent for engagement and nurturing, 20 percent for converting, and 25 percent for retention and loyalty.

By combining this steady strength with the most effective digital channels at four stages in the customer journey, marketers can gain a boost for their campaigns that drives more action. Here's how:


Stage 1: Awareness

Introducing a brand or a new product to a fresh slate of prospective users calls for a wide reach. That's why respondents in the London Research/dotdigital report note that social media is most effective for building awareness. But social media posts offer limited space and time to tell a brand story.

To engage consumers, brands can pair introductory posts on social with direct mail. In doing so, marketers can tell the story of a new-to-market brand or exciting new product through an in-depth brochure or catalog that pushes users online with personalized URLs.

According to a case study from Aircards, a company that builds augmented reality (AR) experiences for brands, the private financial- and investing-advice company The Motley Fool wanted to increase awareness with an existing customer base around the launch of a new service. Together, they created a postcard that recipients could scan to connect to an engaging AR experience. The campaign saw a 40.3 percent engagement rate.


Stage 2: Consideration

After gaining some recognition in the market and piquing people's interest, a brand needs to position itself as the right solution to address prospective customers' needs. Regular, noninvasive interactions can help with this positioning and keep consumers engaged. That's why many marketers turn to digital display ads. In fact, research from eMarketer shows that U.S. marketers will spend more than $134 billion on digital ads in 2020, and they are projected to spend about 21 percent more in 2021.

But data from the London Research/dotdigital report shows that these ads aren't necessarily the most effective channels on their own. Only 15 percent of respondents called it the most effective for engagement and lead nurturing.

However, paired with direct mail, which 19 percent of respondents called effective, a brand can turn curiosity into active evaluation and push a prospect further down the funnel toward conversion.


Stage 3: Conversion

Once consumers are considering a brand, it's time for marketers to transform those interested leads into customers. At this stage, many marketers turn to paid search advertising. After all, when customers are nearly ready to buy, many conduct an online search to find the best option.

Marketers can match paid search advertising with targeted direct mail follow-ups. Paid search advertising is a top-ranked channel for converting customers, with 31 percent of respondents in the London Research/dotdigital report marking it as most effective. And direct mail is not far behind, with 20 percent of respondents calling it most effective. Together, these channels can encourage a customer to purchase.

NatureBox, a subscription service offering nutritionist-approved snacks, used direct mail to reengage and convert prospects who had fallen off, according to a case study from direct mail automation firm Inkit. To encourage a purchase, NatureBox targeted customers using a postcard with store credit. Nearly 9 percent of recipients redeemed it. The mail campaign also drove a 35 percent increase in orders for NatureBox and increased revenue per customer by 60 percent.

After a prospect searches and interacts with a paid search ad, brands can use retargeted direct mail tactics to quickly send a direct mail piece. This nudge can be just what they need to become a customer.


Stage 4: Loyalty

By this stage, the prospect is now the customer. But brands know that the first transaction is just the beginning of a longer lifecycle. To retain customers, brands need to earn their loyalty.

Email is far and away the favorite tactic here, with 71 percent of respondents in the London Research/dotdigital report calling it the most effective channel for customer retention and loyalty. Direct mail isn't far behind (it's the fourth most effective channel, per the London Research/dotdigital report), with 25 percent of respondents noting its effectiveness. Together, the two mail formats form a dynamic duo.

As a case study by marketing automation platform Sumo notes, a catering company that focuses on serving businesses sent postcards featuring personalized URLs to people who had not opened recent emails. The result was a long-lasting boost: Orders attributable to the direct mail campaign piece came in throughout the month, creating a steady stream of revenue and a return on investment of more than 113 percent.

In the world of retention, direct mail works because it carries high response rates — around nine times that of digital channels, per a 2018 report by the ANA and DMA. Marketers should use it in lockstep with email to help create a loyalty cycle that delivers repeat customers.


Building Integrated Campaigns that Deliver

When a brand needs a boost, marketers should diversify their delivery channels. Direct mail can be a reliable catchall that bolsters a brand's digital tactics.

To amplify their efforts, marketers should find the digital channels that work best at each stage and then partner each one with a coordinated, complementary mail campaign.

With a well-planned omnichannel strategy that incorporates physical and digital channels, a brand can drive more action from start to finish.

Christopher Karpenko is the executive director of brand marketing at the United States Postal Service, a partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program. You can email Christopher at

Want to make the most out of your next direct mail project?  Reach out to our marketing experts at Duplicates INK and ask them to show you how marketSMART2.0 works  843-248-2574  or

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

5 Ideas for Holiday Marketing Inspiration

 At Duplicates INK - marketSMART we see our clients an partners are all taking new out of the box actions marketing this Holiday Season.  As life evolves as it continues to do, successful businesses adapt and make challenges and barriers and actually embrace them in order to create an opportunity our to the forsaid challenge.

This is where Duplicates INK - marketSMART shines.  We can help you think and see outside of the box.

If you are like many people, you may be wondering about the best way to celebrate the holidays this season.

As the world grapples with COVID-19, everyone will be making adjustments. This includes families, businesses, and even brands.

What will the 2020 holidays look like? And how will you adjust your sales and marketing plans accordingly? Agile marketing requires you to anticipate customer needs now and pivot to the demands of this new season.

Need inspiration? Here are just a few ideas about how to market your business this year.

1. Spread Out the Sales

Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season, is seeing the biggest change this year, with many major retailers like Target Corp., Walmart Inc., Macy’s Inc., and others instead hosting month-long sales and online initiatives to offer their customers safer ways to shop.

In particular, Target’s “Black Friday Now” initiative offers four weeklong sales, starting with a focus on electronics, then kitchen items and floor care, then electronics apparel and beauty, and then ending with deals on toys, kitchen items, floor care and electronics. The deals also qualify for the retailer’s Price Match Guarantee, where shoppers can request a price adjustment on any item between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24.

2. Push Local Pleasures

Since people are traveling less, consider how you can offer a hometown experience that is both safe and special.

In some communities, local businesses are banding together to compile curated boxes tailored to specific buyer personas. For example, a coffee box might feature a mug, a book, a pair of cozy socks, and several specialty roasts from 3-4 local businesses. A foodie gift box might include a few baked goodies with several gift cards for specialized, private dining experiences in your neighborhood.

Whether you offer a retail item or an unforgettable outing, today is a great time to put your community on a pedestal!

3. Offer Early Shopping Incentives

When people want to avoid the rush, offering freebies can tip them toward your business.

Can you build a unique stocking stuffer to go with each purchase? Or offer a fun experience with grab bags or surprise items they can purchase at a discounted rate for unwrapping at home? From BOGO specials to free shipping, make it worth their while to buy early!

4. Make Returns a Snap

With so much uncertainty this year, people will be craving extra assurance.

How do you publicize your return policy? Make things as simple as possible and spread the word far and wide. If you have a retail space, post it on your wall, your front counter, your cash register, or on customer receipts or purchase inserts. On your website, spell it out on a page and make sure that links to that page are visible on the home page. Add it to your flyers, social media pages, or anywhere you can assure clients you’ve got their back. 

5. Add Custom Packaging to Brighten the Mood

Whether it’s getting the mail each day or unwrapping a customer appreciation gift, the ”unboxing” process has become a critical part of the customer experience.

Around 45% of surveyed people say they were more excited about receiving their order when it included customized wrapping. Be creative and colorful to make this season merry and bright!

Tis the Season to Set Yourself Apart

Want to increase the emotional attachment customers have to your business?

From a dash of color on your envelope to a custom print piece, holiday pizazz can be a part of any business budget. If you'd like to chat about options, give us a call!

Duplicates INK - marketSMART

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

How to Restart the Conversation When a Lead Has Gone Cold

I've been working Business Development, Sales, Account Management or whatever you want to call it for almost 30 years.  One of the most powerful ways to rekindle or reignite a conversation that has gone dead is send a Handwritten Note!  At Duplicates INK - marketSMART this has been a great tool to re engage prospects. 

Adding new customers to your sales funnel is essential for growth, and lead generation is vital.

For many industries, generating a lead can cost anywhere from $25 to $300. So, after you’ve made an initial contact or pushed for a commitment, what should you do when prospects disengage?

Don’t give up! When leads stop responding, hope is not lost. Smart entrepreneurs can use many strategies to rekindle interest. Here are a few options to consider:

Prime the Pump

Leads go cold for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon them.

According to Jim Obermayer, author of Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, 56% of people who indicated they might like to buy a product are still in play six months later, and 35% percent are still in the market after one year.

“Leads do not go cold as much as it is not yet their time to buy in the one-year cycle,” Obermayer said. “A rep may approach them before they are ready.”

Though it’s challenging to follow up after a long window of time, Obermayer suggests priming the pump, using an email first, followed by a personal call.

Ask One Key Question

Don’t start a conversation without a strategy or direction.

When you reconnect, remind the prospect of the last time you spoke, the level of interest they expressed, and any questions you discussed.

If they weren’t initially ready to buy, tell them you’re following up to gauge interest or update them on what’s changed since the last interaction (like a revamped product or updated subscription options). If they still seem non-committal, don’t be afraid to ask this question:

“Should I close your file?”

Differentiate Your Approach

If leads have been ignoring your outreach attempts, try adding value, or shifting your approach.

Consider a direct text message campaign, an email with a link to a freebie, or a direct mail invitation to a special event. Custom videos can also provide a non-threatening way to break the ice. Call prospects by name, refer to your previous conversation, and send an encouraging message to show you care about them personally.

You may be surprised by what a kind word can do!

Send a Break-Up Email

If you’ve followed up with someone multiple times and your prospects seem bleak, it’s ok to send a farewell message.

In fact, a last chance email can elicit a 76% response rate. Used in a friendly, conversational way, giving final notice can jolt someone out of complacency and get them moving.

Here’s one example:

Hi Tina,

After several attempts to reconnect, it seems your interest in _____ may have waned. That’s totally fine, but I’m just wondering if we should keep trying or find a better time?

To keep things simple, I’d appreciate if you could respond with a simple keystroke (reply with either A, B, C, D, or E) to indicate your level of interest:

  • A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send event invitations.

  • B. Please remove me from your list.

  • C. I may need your help, but the timing isn’t right. Please keep trying!

  • D. I want to schedule a time to talk – could you please send your availability?

  • E. I forgot who you are. Can you refresh my memory?

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Think of Reconnecting as an Opportunity

One of the best ways to revive a cold lead is to stay positive.

Don’t worry about annoying a prospect; the only way you’ll know if someone’s interested is by asking! While you don’t want to be pushy, it’s better to error on the side of optimism. In reality, only 10% to 25% of all leads are followed up on. By following up, you stand a chance of standing out.

Give us a Call at Duplicates INK - marketSMART and we can get you set up with some personalized Branded Note Cards.  843-248-2574 or


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Connect with Younger Customers: How to Build Connections with Generation Z

My 2 daughters are Generation Z'rs (lol)  It is intriguing observing how they make purchasing decisions.  Actually when they get a direct mail piece they get excited.  In this quick read I will share a few ways to connect with Generation Z since they are over 40% of consumers....Enjoy.

With the oldest of Generation Z graduating and entering the workforce, it’s time to set your sights on this powerful consumer demographic.

Who are these Gen Z individuals, and what is the most effective way to reach them? While many media companies have written them off as “screen addicts,” Gen Z is actually very nimble, engaged, and unique.

Here are a few facts to consider:

  • As of 2020, Gen Z makes up more than 40% of U.S. consumers.

  • Born after 1996, most members of this generation are not yet old enough to vote.

  • Generation Z represents the leading edge of the country’s changing racial and ethnic makeup. 52% are non-Hispanic white, 25% are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian.

  • Gen Z logs on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day. This is almost an hour longer than the average millennial.

Want to engage younger prospects? Here are five tips to consider:

1. Diverse images are extremely impactful

Gen Z has a natural awareness of how diversity is depicted (or overlooked) in your media.

Whether it’s custom photography or variety in your testimonials, it will seem strange (or even offensive) if your media is too homogenized.

2. Gen Z loves a good deal

Estimated at having $4 billion in discretionary spending, the buying power of Gen Z is significant.

But having grown up during the 2008 recession, Gen Z has an innate appreciation for a bargain. Gen Z will hunt for value in two ways: buying from inexpensive brands or purchasing expensive items with durability guarantees. Generous warranties and engaging in-store experiences are also a way to offer them more bang for their buck.

3. Gen Z was born social

Over 91% of Gen Z kids have a digital footprint, and Gen Z spends more time on mobile devices than Millennials.

Gen’s Z’s favorite sites are YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Because they are so visual, whenever possible you should “show,” not just “tell.” Image-based advertising and short-videos are especially effective!

4. Real is best

Gen Z people seek uniqueness in all walks of life, and particularly through the brands they buy from.

Gen Z-ers prefer brands that are authentic: 82% said they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, and 72% said they're more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive reviews, and customer service are the top three characteristics that fortify their trust in a brand.

5. Give them a voice or a role

Given how socially aware this generation is, remember Gen Z-ers love opportunities to contribute, create, lead, and learn.

Whether you allow them to personalize your product or you prioritize ethical marketing (like partnering with nonprofits or standing for a cause), Gen Z appreciates buying from brands that give them a role in the journey.

Help Them Live in Person

Finally, remember that Gen Z longs to engage, and this doesn’t have to be online. 

A new A.T. Kearney study reports that 81% of Gen Z respondents prefer to purchase in stores, 73% like to discover new products in stores, and 58% browse in-store selections to disconnect from social media and live in the moment.

From gorgeous window banners to sharp point-of-purchase displays, sensory impact plays a principal role in creating the right mood for an impulse purchase.

Our team at Duplicates INK - marketSMART our experts at connecting with the right audience you are trying to connect with. Give us a call or email and lets simply chat about what you would like to accomplish.  Duplicates INK - marketSMART 843-248-2574 or


Happy Marketing
John Cassidy

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Shout Your News with Stylish Printed Announcements

Over the years Duplicates INK - marketSMART has been extreemly successful in getting our name out in the news.  Sharing our story of overcoming obstacles like floods and recessions.  Thriving in times when it seems impossible actually provides inspiration and motivation to others. So here is a quick read for you.  I hope you enjoy.


Have you recently won an award, reached a milestone, or done something pretty incredible?

Whether you’re launching a product or expanding to a new market, your business or organization can share the news far and wide with printed announcement cards. In a world of digital noise, the medium is just as important as the message, so why not opt for something more personal and pristine with gorgeous custom announcements?

Share Something Special and Significant

Announcement cards offer a wonderful way to market your events, products, achievements, or stay in touch with your clients. These stylish notes are more than just fluff; they denote something of significance that boosts your brand and business.

Want to put your news at their fingertips? Here are just a few catchy headers:

  • Launching SOON

  • Coming to a neighborhood near you

  • We’re Hiring

  • The Future is HERE

  • You asked, we answered . . .

  • Save 20% more time with _____!

  • We’re growing. Find us at our new location __________

  • The best in the business: presenting our award winning ___________

  • Your new investment expert: welcoming MBA Edwin Harris to our endowment team

Want to have some fun with your announcements? Try one of these energetic theme ideas:

Take a photo of your team holding a sign announcing the news. Add colored party hats, streamers, or sparkling confetti.

Try peel-to-win cards or scratch-off tickets. Everyone loves a surprise, so include peel-to-win promotions (for example: 20-50-75 percent off or an exclusive 10 grand prize winners) as part of your announcement card.

Post a picture of a new location or featured team member using eye-catching props (like pulling a $100 bill from a magician’s hat or posing with a llama that is wearing a birthday hat).

Print a customized puzzle and send it in an envelope, so recipients have to put together the pieces to learn about your exciting news.

Do a mailing to your key referral contacts (or top clients) with a note and gift relating to the announcement. You may use a simple postcard for the majority of customers but add an incentive for others. For example, when announcing your new GOLD status, send bags of gold chocolate coins or gold-dusted chocolate strawberries to your VIP clients.

Keep Readers Curious

Remember, while announcements involve your news, readers will enjoy them more when you make it about THEM.

In all your messaging, focus on how your news translates into value for your friends and customers. Reiterate a special offer, a time-bound coupon, or a free sample for clients who attend your event. Use powerful action calls or “you” statements that convey benefits for the user. Whether you are a political candidate or a neighborhood business, reader-focused messaging gets the best results.

For example:

Measure Strain Without Stress

Make the Most Out of Your ________

Advancing our Community Together

Save $100 on Your Subscription When You Bundle _________ and __________

Something to Write Home About

Printable announcement cards make it easy to send exciting news to your friends and associates without breaking the bank.

From elegantly embossed envelopes to oversized foil-stamped postcards, ensure your message shines strong as you share events, grand openings, sales announcements, and more.


If you would like to discuss some options on creative marketing solutions for your company or brand give us a call.  We have a team of EXPERTS that would love to help - Duplicates INK - marketSMART

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Shout Your Brand Identity with Strategic, Clever Imagery

We take Branding serious at Duplicates INK - marketSMART.  For close to 30 years we have been leaders in creating brands for our partners.  If you're starting a new business, a new division, product or service Branding will help the success.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then brand imagery is one of the most dynamic means for communicating with your customers.

From stained-glass church windows to the world-renowned Nike swoosh, images add immediacy, power, and clarity to your ideas, with a transformative effect on a brand’s overall impact. Colors and graphic metaphors have surprising staying power, so it’s important to consider every element you include in your brand imagery.

Brand Identity vs. Brand Imagery

So, what is the difference between brand identity and brand imagery?

Brand identity is the image or character of your business as people relate to it. For example, the BMW image of elite luxury has grown naturally from customers’ repeated exposure to BMW’s ads, endorsements, and products.

Brand imagery is the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core identity and messaging. This is a result of all the visuals that represent your brand’s identity. These visuals may include anything from billboards to print ads or website banners to product packaging. Great imagery goes beyond simple appearance; the idea is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings that prompt a response.

Choosing brand imagery isn’t rocket science, but it takes some careful planning. Before you start slapping images on the page, think about these foundational elements:

Consistent Photography

How do the best brands convey their identity? They use graphics consistent with their brand character.

Burt’s Bees, an international personal-care company, has focused its products on nature from day one. Whether it’s their infamous lip balms or their newer makeup line, Burt’s always sticks to this mantra: “Providing customers with the best nature has to offer.”

From their “Whoa, Natural” print ads to their “unfiltered” social media posts, every image they use has an element of nature. Sometimes it’s through an eye shadow pencil held against a background of trees, while in others, it’s a little bit of honey accompanying a facial scrub.

On-Brand Colors

While colors offer a great deal of flexibility, it helps to define larger color palettes that encompass your brand.

Since colors carry psychological weight, selecting color patterns in advance can help you convey the right emotions or moods. Start with identifying a base, accent, and neutral blend. Cohesive color schemes should be woven into your logo, store design, advertisements, and even uniforms, so choose carefully and have fun!

Viewer Perspective

The GoPro technology company is all about taking their cameras everywhere you go, no matter the journey.

GoPro photos scream adventure, with deep, natural blues or stunning orange reflections. But beyond the colors, many brand photos are taken from the perspective of the camera operator. For example, perhaps a landscape with bike handlebars in the perimeter or a shot of a pair of feet on the high dive as a viewer gazes down into an Olympic pool.

When you want to generate intense emotions, set your viewers in the driver’s seat as you put them behind the lens of the delightful experience you’re offering.

Authentic Messaging

Finally, it’s essential to ask whether your images are truthful.

Can you deliver on the experience you promise in your advertising? Aesthetic is important, but it’s not enough to win over an audience on its own. Brand loyalists will only arise when they see your brand imagery as authentic to the experience your business can bring.

Compelling Images Create Community

Successful brand imagery can build an internal narrative and external community, prompting customers not just to “buy” your product but to “buy into” to your brand image.

Finding images that perfectly represents your brand is more than a strategy, it’s an essential part of your identity. Spark consumer confidence and generational loyalty as you mobilize fantastic images to shout your identity in unique, inspiring ways.

Call or email one of our Branding Experts today at Duplicates INK - marketSMART


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Unique Fold Options for Your Marketing Masterpiece

At Duplicates INK - marketSMART we have folded literally millions sheets of paper over the past 30 years.  When designing your marketing pieces taking in consideration the fold and implementing it to be a dynamic part of the piece is "marketSMART"

So if you're looking to add some finishing flair to your next marketing piece.....

Unique, eye-catching folds offer so much room to flex your creativity! When creating your next masterpiece, here are some fun print folds to consider:

Sliding Message Sleeve Mailers

To fuel engagement with your prospects, try a die-cut envelope that peaks through to a sleeve mailer inside.

Upon first glance, readers see one message or image. But when they slip the inner card out of the envelope, a brilliant reveal appears from the back panel.  

Accordion Folds

Accordion folds are great because they fold down small but hold a great deal of information.

Accordion folds resemble the letter “Z” and zig-zag back and forth, dividing a page into thirds (or even sixths!). Use them for brochures, mini-booklets, or sticker-sealed mailers. The average accordion-folded sheet includes two folds and six panels of design space (front and back). Make the most of your real estate with this flexible, engaging design.

Poster Folds with a Zip Strip

Looking to send something large in a pocket-sized package?

Try a zip strip opener with an inner package that unfolds to a unique shape or size. Whether the folded section is wide and narrow or opens as an iron-cross brochure, this small package blooms bright for a big, memorable impact.

Roll Folds

Rolls folds consist of four or more panels that roll into each other.

Also known as a barrel fold, this option is perfect when you have a considerable amount of content but you need to keep the finished product as compact as possible. Roll folds also spark curiosity and depth as you reveal a new message or theme with each opening panel.

Exotic Folds

Like intricate origami, exotic folds are non-standard, completely unique folds created to a designer’s specifications.

Though they can be expensive, exotic folds allow you to stretch the limits in unforgettable ways. From a flower-petaled postcard to a custom-printed folding box, these highly tailored pieces will give your media a fancy, luxurious edge.

Pop-up Folds

When you want to add extra dimension to your booklet or brochure, go 3D with a die-cut and fold technique that creates a pop-up feature from within.

Pop-up pieces should instantly pique customer interest with a direct focus on the product or service you are promoting. Examples might include:

  • A performing arts invitation that reveals a pop-out “stage” once the card is unfolded

  • A fold-over mailer or brochure designed to look like a briefcase, which springs open to deliver your unforgettable offer

  • An architect’s brochure that brings to life a 3D city skyline, with revitalized storefronts in the center

A Shape That Tells Your Story

No matter what fold or design you choose, remember your story should play the starring role.

Choose a focused narrative and weave it through your imagery, tabs, pullouts, pop-up text, or brochure copy. From fun folds to creative exterior packaging, great designs will blend all these elements to share your clever, cohesive story. 

Want to go a cut above the competition? Leverage your printed piece’s shape to add character or dimension people just won’t forget!

If you would like to speak with one of our team members about your current marketing efforts or upcoming marketing campaigns feel free to give us a call at 843-248-2574 or email us at