Category Archives: Blog With BEB

Creating Your Marketing Strategy Plan

Map Out The Basics
Last week determined our goal. We wanted to increase online gift certificate sales by 5% compared to last 4th quarter. Now it’s time to map the strategy, meaning how are we going to do it?

We need to get the word out that we have gift certificates available, we need to ask ourselves; How?

  1. Set your timeframe: October 1 through December 31
  2. Add an image to the website home page carousel
  3. Set/up the ability to buy gift certificates online
  4. Create an incentive (get 5% off your next purchase when  you buy a $100 Gift Certificate)
  5. Create an event/sale to draw new customers into the store
  6. Get involved in a toy drive for a local charity
  7. Budget and create social media ads
  8. Budget and create a direct mail marketing campaign
  9. Create special Thank You messages
  10. Determine how to track our progress

Before you know it, you’ll have your 4th quarter marketing strategy completed and ready to implement!

Create Your Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps

A strategy of any kind involves four things:

  1. Define Your Mission
  2. Create A Plan
  3. Create Steps To Implement The Plan
  4. Once Executed, Determine If It Worked

Many people get ‘stuck’ when creating a marketing strategy because they often confuse tactics with strategy. Unlike a strategy, a tactic is a step within a plan. A strategy, however, is the plan.

Define Your Mission-Establish Your Goals
Set specific, clearly defined goals.  Not, “I want to sell more merchandise this year”.  Making goals that are obscure or unrealistic is the equivalent to not making any goals at all, and will be impossible to track or to achieve.

Instead, set specific goals that are reasonable. A good example is I want to increase gift certificate sales by 5% over last fourth quarter. A specific goal like this allows you to track progress and determine what is working and what isn’t.

Join us next week for how to create “The Plan”.

 

Another USPS Holiday Heist

For the third year in a row, the United States Postal Service is raising the prices throughout the holidays.

They requested a temporary price increase on mail services used during the peak holiday season. In a statement, the USPS said the temporary rate adjustments are similar to ones in past years aimed at  helping them cover extra handling costs and to ensure a successful peak season.

Price increases range from 25 cents to upwards of $6 per package, are planned to go into effect on October 2, 2022 and last through January 22, 2023 for mailings that include Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and First-Class Package Service.

The Postal Regulatory Commission still has to approve the higher rates.

Last month, the cost of a US postage stamp increased by 2 cents, raising the cost of mailing a first-class letter by 3.4%, to 60 cents. Parcels and packages are where the Postal Service is really making its money today. The USPS handles final delivery of many packages shipped by online retailers such as Amazon, with items delivered in bulk to the post office nearest to the buyer’s home.

Facebook Losing Teens

The social media landscape has shifted
The Pew Institute asked whether U.S. teens use 10 specific online platforms: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, WhatsApp, Reddit and Tumblr.

YouTube stands out as the most common online platform teens use out of the platforms measured, with 95% saying they use the site/app. Majorities also say they use TikTok (67%), Instagram (62%) and Snapchat (59%). Instagram and Snapchat use has grown since asked about in 2014-15, when roughly half of teens said they used Instagram (52%) and about four-in-ten said they used Snapchat (41%).

Today, 32% of teens report using Facebook, down 39 points since 2014-15, when 71% said they used the platform. Although today’s teens do not use Facebook as extensively as teens in previous years, the platform still enjoys widespread usage among adults, as seen in other recent Center studies.

Other social media platforms have also seen decreases in usage among teens since 2014-15. Some 23% of teens now say they use Twitter, compared with 33% in 2014-15. Tumblr has seen a similar decline. While 14% of teens in 2014-15 reported using Tumblr, just 5% of teens today say they use this platform.

The online platforms teens flock to differ slightly based on gender. Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to say they ever use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, while boys are more likely to use Twitch and Reddit. Boys also report using YouTube at higher rates than girls, although the vast majority of teens use this platform regardless of gender.

The Holidays Are Now!

The current paper shortage is changing mailing schedules for the upcoming mailing season. Everyone is affected:
Political
Retail
Health Insurance/Open Enrollment
Nonprofits
Seasonal Events
Nobody is immune

For mailings 50,000 or more, you will need to order paper early!
Paper mills are asking for 6-8 week lead times to provide paper. Envelope manufacturers are taking a little longer. That means our already hectic holiday schedules have been pushed forward by almost two months.

The Time To Plan Your Holiday Mailings is NOW!

Click here to download four (4) mailing calendars to give you a quick reference on when to order based on your targeted in home dates.

 

The Punch for Paper

Nobody is certain how to best manage the current commercial paper shortage. With the open enrollment, holiday, and political mailing season only a couple of months away, we are encouraging our clients to to order paper now. Prices continue to climb (faster than gasoline), and delivery times continue to extend! Worse yet, there is no guarantee that the paper we order today and expect delivery by August will actually arrive!

The problem started a while ago. Even before the pandemic, restrictive environmental regulations, aging/expensive equipment, and skyrocketing labor costs contributed to many mills closing because they were unable to compete. Also, many mills quit producing commercial printing paper and began manufacturing board stock as the packaging industry flourished. That’s when the U.S. paper shortage began. We weren’t too worried because mills from overseas were able to fill the void.

Companies adopted the “Just In Time” operative to allow for decreased amounts of inventory saving valuable space and reducing costs. JIT works great when the supply chain is whole. Thanks to the pandemic, the supply chain today is broken and on many levels.

U.S. Ports are still scrambling to catch up and are a primary source of disruption. There is also a container problem in on the other side of the ocean. Lou Caron, President of The Printing Industries Association of Southern California (PIASC) blogged that he was told that the Korean paper mills are producing at max capacity but couldn’t find enough containers to ship their inventory. Most likely because there are so many here waiting to be unloaded. Remember, the paper mills are competing for the same container space that giants like Amazon and Walmart need.

Another hurdle is that it takes a long period of time for a paper mill to come back online.  It can take up to six-months. As the pandemic cycles in waves, mills have shutdown, re-opened, shutdown, and re-opened causing significant delays and reducing available inventory nationwide.

In short, we are all vying for paper and trying to prepare for the upcoming mailing season. We strongly recommend that you order paper early. If you are planning to mail in the fall, order your paper now. Unfortunately, costs are higher than we have ever seen before, and as mentioned earlier, the mills aren’t guaranteeing complete delivery.

We need to be flexible and adapt to the current situation. Be open to using different types of paper or trying a different type of mailer. The paper shortage has dramatically affected the envelope industry as well. You may want to consider self-mailers or postcards in lieu of envelope mailings this fall.  Most importantly, start your plan and paper as soon as possible.

 

 

New Postage Rates Effective July 9, 2022

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved the recent request for price changes to take effect on July 10, 2022.

Price increases on First-Class Mail range from 3.4% up to 9.7%.  Forever stamps go up to .60/ea, metered mail increased .04 to .57/ea , and postcards on average increased by 9.7%.

Nonprofit mailers were hit “hard” with increases averaging between 6.4% – 8.5% on letter sized mail, and up to 11.9% on flats. Marketing Mail will deal with increases between 6.6% and 8.8%.

Why is the USPS raising rates again? They say that the increase is generally based on the consumer price index and will help to maintain competitiveness in the market. As inflation and operating expenses continue to rise, the price adjustments will help with the implementation of “Delivering for America”, a plan that includes a $40 billion investment in their infrastructure over the next ten years.

It’s important to remember that direct mail is effective. The Data & Marketing Association reports that up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails. It’s a refreshing change from on-screen advertising, and has a lot less competition than digital. According to the United States Postal Service, the average American household receives only 454 marketing mail pieces per year compared to 3.6 million digital ads delivered (on average) per person, per year! Even more, reasons to use direct mail. Epsilon reported that 73% of U.S. consumers prefer direct mail because they can read it whenever they want. Direct mail delivers and offers powerful punch with amazing ROI.

Click here to download the new BEB Postal Rate Card taking effect July 9, 2022.