Merry_Law~by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC

Another year has passed and it’s time to dust off my crystal ball to make my global mailer predictions for 2017. It’s been quite a year for direct marketers and the marketing landscape is changing rapidly in the age of big data.  You can view my previous predictions for 2016 here, if you’d like to see how those turned out.  Now, lets get down to business for the new year!

Here’s what I see coming in 2017

  1. Postal reform legislation will be delayed again in the U.S.  It won’t pass Congress before the new Congress takes office in January, requiring a new beginning for the process.  Postal reform won’t be high on the priority list for either the new administration or the new Congress.
  2. The future President will carry out his campaign promise to end or renegotiate various trade deals, causing uncertainty in trade relations with other countries.   This will slow trade between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  3. The international economy will remain uneven, with little or no further improvement in most sectors and regions.
  4. In the international postal world, costs for mailers will continue to rise.  USPS has not raised international postage but international fees are increasing.  Other postal operators and delivery services will raise their rates, too.
  5. Mail volumes will continue the trend of 2015 and 2016, with a leveling off in letter volumes and an increase in the volume of packages and parcels.  International package and parcel volumes will not increase tremendously, and may level off
  6. The Universal Postal Union’s Integrated Product Plan (IPP), passed at their Congress in 2016, will be difficult for international mailers and their service vendors when postal operators announce how they will implement the new requirements.  (Mail will be classified by contents—documents or goods—rather than by weight.  Small packages, under 2 kilograms or 4.4 pounds, will be in their own new class of mail.)
  7. Undeliverable international mail and its return, or non-return, will become a greater issue for mailers, as more packages and the marketing and transactional documents that accompany them are sent.
  8. Addresses based on discrete global grids (What3Words, GO Code, etc.) will be a subject of much discussion and publicity, but will not be implemented as part of any national addressing plan.  Some changes will, as always, occur to national addressing plans but will be based on current postal addressing models.
  9. Drones will be used for transport to remote areas but not as “last mile” solutions.  Successful trials of drone delivery for pharmaceutical and emergency supplies have taken place in southern Africa and trials elsewhere are also occurring.  These deliveries will become more common, although the “last mile” delivery will continue to be by current methods.
  10. Concerns about hacking and privacy will not slow the move toward more mobile, Internet and cloud-based services and data storage.  Consumers will continue to be concerned but accept the risk, with companies making apologies and providing credit monitoring when large attacks happen.  Privacy legislation in the U.S. will remain minimal.

We’ll see this time next year whether my crystal ball was too cloudy to see clearly.  Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

NEMOA_2016

NEOMA dinner Thursday evening at the New England Aquarium.

~ by Marty Shaw, Major Account Executive – Global Solutions

I’ve been to a lot of conferences over the years. With what appears to be a never ending, and niche-centric list of conferences to choose from, I believe the National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA) has a very good formula. The March 9-11 conference in Boston was well worth the investment in time and resources.

With a mission of “Networking and Education for Direct Marketers”, which they achieve through two educational conferences each year (Spring in Boston and now Fall in Greater Chicago), I never fail to come away with actionable marketing ideas I can put to use immediately as well as meeting a lot of clients, friends and prospective new clients. I’m a sales professional, so one might think that NEMOA’s code of conduct all members agree to, including “dedication to sharing ideas, experiences and fellowship by creating a helpful, friendly, non-sales oriented atmosphere at NEMOA events” might not be ideal. Well, at least the “non-sales” part (I like to think of myself as helpful and friendly).  In reality, the non-sales environment is refreshing for everyone. I’ve had a client company representative refer to some other conferences as feeling like they are the proverbial “lamb at a wolves’ convention.” This is not so at NEMOA. NEMOA permits everyone to let their guard down and learn new marketing strategies while mixing with a great group of people.

NEMOA Boston 2016 had the tag line of “Learn, share and connect at Direct Xchange”. Some of the learning, sharing and connecting highlights for me included:

  • Pre-conference session; Marketing Analytics:  I opted to attend this session and learned a great deal. Lead by Gina Valentino and Merritt Engel, attendees had hands-on worksheets on everything from how to calculate gross demand, to how a marketing P&L can be calculated efficiently and effectively.
  • Crack the customer mind code in an omni-channel world: Gary Hennerburg lead this session. Gary emphasized the importance of story telling in all of our marketing and its impact on our customers and prospects. He drove home the point with a popular Maya Angelou quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Our challenge as marketers is to inject emotion-inducing content into our unique sales and marketing propositions.
  • Boden insight and strategy: Susan Britton, Head of Customer Insight and Strategy at UK-based Boden (US website: http://www.bodenusa.com/) came up on the stage with “London Calling” by The Clash blasting from the speakers, and as it died down she noted jokingly that the song not a Boden-like message. Susan is expecting a baby in July, so it was kind of her to hop on a transatlantic flight to share her insight and experience with the NEMOA attendees. One of the things that struck me as unique in a marketing context has to do with buyer personas. While this is not new in any way, the fact that Boden has actually named their client persona “Kate” is taking personas to a new level. It’s brings the idea of a persona to a person, albeit a fictional person. I like that concept, especially for a B2C brand.
  • Wilde about marketing: Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer at Wilde Agency, educated and entertained us all with her high-energy expertise. Nancy pointed out that our ability to grab our prospective customer’s attention is getting shorter and shorter. The average attention span of humans is down to 8 seconds; goldfish are 9 seconds. The 7 Brain Science Secrets Nancy shared were all interesting, while a few stood out enough for me to take notes.
    • Write it down and it will be remembered: getting written reviews help sales as a result;
    • Loss aversion: People are twice as likely to act due to fear of loss than due to the possibility of gain;
    • Magnetic middle: three choices presented to a person result in the middle being opted for the most;
    • Cognitive fluency: aka, make it easy;
    • Pricing perception: $120 appears to be less than $120.00. Use decimals when referring to savings; remove them when referring to cost/price.
  • The next US president is…: Alex Vogel from VogelHood Research offered attendees a data-centric, historical view into the current US presidential election cycle. It had a lot of people laughing and nodding their heads (well, some were shaking their heads… it’s politics, after all).  The bottom line, history is being made in this election cycle, so his predictions for a Clinton-Trump general election may well be turned upside down, he conceded.
  • Amy Africa on neuromarketing: Amy, of Eight by Eight, is always entertaining and informative; this keynote was no exception! She detailed how biases affect customers, and why the fear of loss overtakes the possibility of gain. As with any presentation by Amy, you have to see it. No recap in print gives her any justice.

Dinner Thursday evening was at the New England Aquarium. It was a fun venue for a social gathering. The sound level was good for conversations and the penguins and huge assortment of sea creatures made for a great backdrop! Oh, tasty food too.

~ by Marty Shaw, Major Account Executive- Global Solutions

DMA_2015_1 (640x280)The Global-Z team has recently come home from the DMA Boston Conference and Exhibition. While that show is a shadow of its former self as it relates to the number of exhibiting organizations and attendees, I feel that trade shows remain important. Make no mistake, they are relatively costly and organizations must allocate their marketing budget carefully, as much today as ever.

DMA_2015_3 (640x480)As I look back on activity from past conferences it was the DMA San Francisco show in 2010 that cost justifies every DMA show at which we have exhibited since. It was at that show where a prominent database consultant who knows Global-Z well walked over to our booth with a good client of hers in tow. She said “These are the people you need for your international marketing data cleansing!” A great relationship resulted from that introduction and, on top of that, that client has since referred additional business to Global-Z. Business development is all about relationships; forging and cultivating them. Emails, phone calls, Skype video chats and the like, while useful, are no substitute for good old in-person relationship building.

So, we all must surgically spend our marketing dollars, agreed. Let’s not cut out what remains a very key component in relationship building; trade show conferences. On that note, if there are trade shows you believe would be well worth Global-Z’s attention please let us know. The trade show landscape is ever-evolving and your insights would be greatly appreciated!

iStock

~by Dave Donlon, Vermont Native and close friend of Global-Z

The opposite of living in Vermont during tourist season is living on the Canary Islands (The Canaries). While The Canaries may seem similar to Vermont (isolated and removed from massive urban areas), they are mostly everything Vermont isn’t – surrounded entirely by water and blessed with locals who are undaunted by tourists.

You might think Vermonters would be undaunted too but they aren’t. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that Vermonters live near some pretty strong personalities. An incomplete list includes Massachusetts (‘The Spirit of America’), Quebec (‘I remember’) and New York (‘The Empire State’). Of course, we can’t forget Vermont’s archenemy, New Hampshire – ‘Live Free or Die!’

While it isn’t always easy dealing with these borderline personalities (pun intended), Vermonters tend to deal with them calmly and stoically. The essence of our courage lies in willfully choosing not to match strong personality with strong personality. Why? Because we know this rattles them.

Yet, despite the defense mechanism, tensions arise from time to time between locals and tourists due to what social scientists call propinquity – the physical proximity between people. Although Vermont tourism is a significant part of its economy, that doesn’t change the way some Vermonters feel about a constant barrage of tourists in their midst.

In fact, I distinctly remember a challenging evening in a restaurant during tourist season. It started when a pushy New Yorker overheard and butted into a conversation I was having (no, it wasn’t about the Red Sox). This caused a premature exit. While leaving, I couldn’t help but notice a New Hampshirite’s overly frugal behavior, which soured my mood even more. How do I know where these people are from? I hear accents.

In the parking lot, I avoided a near fatal accident with a driver from Quebec. Did I also mention the tourist from Boston, Massachusetts, who accosted me with prop-ah pronunciation in the parking lot and asked me the way to the pike?

The locals on The Canaries I came to know and cherish would know how to put these cast of characters in their place! For them, English tourists cheering loudly for Manchester United on holiday doesn’t faze them. The Germans reserving half the beach chairs with towels in their resorts doesn’t faze them either. Not when you’ve got a secret weapon – la siesta!

During my visit to the Canary Islands, embracing the siesta was my proverbial, matrix-like ‘red pill’ (in a punch-drunk-kind-of-way). It was a dose of reality and a true initiation to the ways of the locals. Not to exaggerate, but it transformed my existence. Although my circadian rhythms never really synced with their sleep culture, I will never forget eating dinner at ten and clubbing until three in the morning.

While I had heard of the siesta in Spain, I had never experienced it first hand and in the context of heavy tourism. Coming from a tourist state like Vermont, I never imagined tourists and locals could co-exist in such harmony – not hard to do, it turns out, when both run on different schedules. That magical three-hour time lapse the locals take kept them mostly apart from the tourists.

The siesta lifestyle went beyond just peaceful meals at home or out on the town. It was also a means of keeping the local customs and heritage in tack and keeping the increased stress level of seasonal overpopulation at bay. As is the unfortunate tendency in heavy tourists areas, the locals tend to adapt to the tourists to keep them coming – oftentimes losing part of their identity in the process.

As a tourist, embracing the local culture and going native on holiday isn’t easy. Taking the ‘red pill’ over the ‘blue pill’, however, can provide insight, a sense of accomplishment, and help spark that next creative idea no one but you could have imagined.

Could Vermonters pull off siesta on a grand scale? Could we learn something from our Hibernian friends here? While Mud season and Deer season can’t be changed, the way Vermonters approach tourist season could. It sounds loco, but cultural synergy can work when a good idea’s time has come – you just have to choose the right pill.

Lock~ by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC

All predictions are based on the experiences and the personal and professional environment of the person predicting. For me, this includes international work with addresses and personal data and with postal operators internationally. Any predictions are no more than guesswork on the most probable trends for the next year. Here are mine for 2015.

1. The economic recovery will continue in the U.S. but remain uneven in the rest of the world. In the U.S., the recovery will be uneven between regions and industries. Government revenues will lag and, hence, infrastructure improvements will be slow or neglected. Uncertainty in international relations will retard growth, particularly in Europe.

2. International growth in e-commerce will continue, with more use of mobile devices for all types of access. There will be a move to m-commerce and m-marketing as separate specialties. The development of systems to support the movement of smaller packages around the world will lag and be a break on the growth of this commerce.

3. “The Cloud” will continue to grow, with more companies moving to Cloud storage, Cloud computing, and Cloud file-sharing. A cautionary note to this is data protection and security. As more access is available the security risks increase.

4. Hacking will become a greater problem with more breaches of secure data kept by large and smaller companies and all levels of government. No system or network that can be accessed remotely is completely safe. If someone can think up a security scheme, someone else can figure out a way to circumvent it.

5. Big Data will continue to become more useful and accessible to a broader range of companies, as software development to analyze large data sets and the techniques to use the results become more widespread.

6. Privacy will become a greater concern for consumer activists, government regulators, and politicians. The reaction of consumers will remain mixed depending on the particulars of each data collection and the age, experience and area of residence of the individual consumer. Hacking and data breaches will generally increase the demand for more privacy protections.

7. More countries will introduce addressing systems with postal codes. Most of these will be in Africa with a smaller number in South America. Unfortunately, these official systems will not be adopted quickly by the residents and post office and descriptive addresses will remain the norm.

8. Shipping and postal costs will continue to increase, even with the extraordinary reduction in the price of gasoline. (Nobody predicted that happening!)

9. Mail volumes will level off. The decrease in volume of letter mail will slow. Parcel volume will increase but the increase will be more moderate than some predictions. Together, they will stabilize over the next few years to a new normal.

10. There will be no relief for the USPS and other financially-strapped Postal Operators. The reasons vary depending on country and region. In the EU, government subsidies have ended and many postal operators have not adjusted to a competitive environment. In other places, governments continue to be reluctant to fund postal operations or are themselves dealing with budget shortages. Or, as in the U.S., political realities prevent action on postal matters. This will lead to the collapse of postal operators in some countries.

Best wishes to you all a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Our friends at GrayHair Software invited Marty Shaw to speak on a panel about global addressing at the 2014 National Postal Forum. We have the video highlights from the “AskGrayHair” forum posted below. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWL_H2b3n4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxkua1Cbp2w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_g1hxQIHdk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6NSxccsiSA

 

 

~By Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Australia Post

Early in December 2013, Global-Z learned from Australia Post that they were soon to begin charging a royalty fee for use of their postal address file (PAF), which became effective on January 1st, 2014.

Global-Z is a long time licensee of Australia Post’s PAF file.  The PAF file helps us provide our clients with the leading address hygiene services for Australian data.  In order to reduce the impact of this change, we will be passing these royalty costs on to our clients without any price markup. These royalties will be in addition to our regular address hygiene service fees.

Our customers who have historically had Global-Z process their Australia data have already been contacted by us in December with details about the royalty-based fees Australia Post has added.  If you have any questions or concerns about this change and how it may impact your business, please Contact Us. We would be happy to help answer your questions.

tfma_2014

It’s that time again! We are getting ready for the 2014 annual Technology for Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A) conference in London. This year’s show will take place at Earls Court and the event will be co-locating with multiple different conferences.

This year the Global-Z team can be found in the Global Marketing Alliance (GMA) lounge. The lounge is located on the right side of the exhibit hall near the Direct Marketing Theater and Data & Marketing Theater (view floor plan here).

As always, we are looking forward to seeing you at the 2014 conference! Please Contact Us to schedule  a meeting during the show. We would love to talk to you about all our Direct Marketing and Data Quality services. We are also providing  live demos of our Real Time data processing capabilities.

See you in the swinging city!

________________________

Want to enjoy yourself before the show? DMI Magazine will once again host the Global-Z co-sponsored networking social the evening preceding the TFM&A, on Monday, February 24th. We’ve got all the details here for you.

survey_results

We want to hear what you think! Please take a moment to tell us how important it is to measure and define  “demand attribution” for your business or organization in the coming year. Our polls allow us to collect aggregated/anonymous results that we will share with our subscribers in follow-up GZ News issues.

Also, remember to follow us on all our Global-Z social media accounts (linked at the bottom of this page) to keep updated on the latest GZ News and industry related topics.

Take Our Poll Here

 

NEMOA2013

~ by Marty Shaw, Global-Z Director of Sales & Marketing

The National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA) fall conference was held in Providence, Rhode Island recently. The event was dubbed DirectXchange, with the tag line “Catch a wave: Recognize rising trends and ride them to success”. Right in line with NEMOA’s mission this year’s fall conference provided a wonderful opportunity to “SHARE knowledge, LEARN about industry trends and CONNECT with peers and experts in a non-selling environment.” I wanted to share just a few highlights from the two days that were packed full and well worth the time and investment. If you’ve never been to a NEMOA conference I highly recommend it!

The most enjoyable and crowd-pleasing session (more like a comedy routine) was Scott Stratten’s on what he refers to as  “Un-Marketing”. Scott emphasized that marketing is not a task. “Your brand is defined by your customer set.” Anyone in any organization is a marketer since arguably each person in an organization has an impact on how others experience their (our / your) organization. With great timing and emphatic tone Scott had attendees laughing as he shared his views on organizations that look to “rebrand” themselves. “’Rebrand’ is Latin for ‘waste of money!’”

One of the more pointed and funny slides was when Scott took on how effective… or NOT… QR codes are for marketers, when comparing them to, say, using our mobile phones to make a phone call rather than scan a QR code:

Break It Down For Me Fellas

  • 85% of people have a cell phone
  • 50% of phones are capable of scanning a QR code
  • 17% have scanned a QR code
  • 50% were successful and would use again
  • 3.6% of people total
  • 99% of people can call a phone number with their phone (1% variance)

I guess QR codes have a way to go before they are effective tools to include in our marketing kits, right? Scott recommends you check out this blog of Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes.

Beyond the great presentation and belly laughs Scott provided there were a host of other sessions which offered strategy and insight into how each of the attendees can “recognize rising trends and ride them to success”.

During a keynote session Giovanni Feroce, CEO from Alex and Ani presented “Ride the Wave: Stress the Importance of Customer Interaction”. Drawing on his military experience, while advocating organizations should hire young people, Giovanni said “If you could show me a 28-year-old General I will show you a better army.” During the Q&A time his advice, when asked what he recommends marketing professionals read, he said “Read outside your industry for strategies and tactics, like Inc. Magazine and Fast Company.” Somewhat controversial, I feel, Giovanni said that “Alex and Ani is rising to cult status.” He attributed this to the high quality of their products and their “positive energy” amongst all their employees. “I’ve let someone go for not saying ‘good morning’.” Okay, that’s extreme.

On the heels of Giovanni’s presentation was Andy James from New Pig; “Hotdogging with the Piggers”. Andy pointed out that the fun he was poking at often-used military terms marketers turn to – email BLAST, catalog DROP (picture of a bomber included)—were not in opposition to Giovanni’s presentation, but entertaining and informative nonetheless. Andy compared the “glossy” Super Bowl ad style with that of “gritty” Zappos’ ad style, highlighting that Zappos’ facets of marketing and branding are much more effective in the new marketing environment of today.

Other sessions that were information rich that I attended included Scott Drayer from Paul Fredrick and others presenting on revenue attribution. Scott called the session “Attribution: Making better decisions despite imperfect data” while co-presenters emphasized that we need to know what revenue attribution is and what it isn’t; that attribution is not channel preference, it is list source or name segment performance tracking.

We all headed to the recently refurbished Providence Public Library after the first day of the conference, to catch up with friends and meet new folks, all with a Hawaiian theme. NEMOA organizers pulled together a beach party extravaganza in the Ocean State that was a lot of fun!

I’ve only touched on a few highlights that stood out to me from the many sessions I benefited from. I encourage you to check NEMOA out if you have not before. I suspect you, too, will have fun, meet friends and stand on the shoulders of those that have “been there” to help gain insight into what may be ahead in your organization and how best to ride the wave.

If you attended this recent NEMOA conference please comment on what you thought about it.