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 and Marketing Assistant

Merry Law, Address Data Quality Expert

Global-Z recently had the opportunity to catch-up with our longtime friend Merry Law. Merry is the President of WorldVu LLC, the editor of the Guide to Worldwide Postal-Code and Address Formats and author of Best Practices for International Mailings.

Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Global-Z: Why is it so important to for marketers to have good address quality anyway? 

Merry: Correct addresses are important in two ways: delivery (of course) and perception.

For delivery, a completely incorrect address or one that can’t be understood is not deliverable.   This can mean an invoice, a marketing offer, or a product doesn’t arrive.  Each of those creates different problems and costs before the mailing (printing, packaging, postage) and after the item doesn’t arrive (following up, reshipping products or processing refunds, and so on.)

If the address is decipherable and gets delivered, it can take extra time to get there.  (That can means delayed payments with invoices, slow order streams with marketing offers, or customer complaints with products.)  A poor address also sends a poor message to the recipient about your company.  The company is not professional, is ill-informed, and doesn’t know what they are doing.

 

Global-Z: It’s almost comical to highlight the importance of mail being delivered correctly. Do you think many marketers are ignoring address data quality issues, or do they not have the resources/time to deal with it?

Merry: Yes, isn’t it! I think many marketers and other mailers aren’t aware of all the resources available for verifying and correcting international addresses or don’t know how cost effective those services can be.  Some mailers tell me that the cost of the address hygiene services are often made up for in savings from wasted printing, postage and processing required by undelivered mail.

The same is true of the time element. The amount of time a staff is involved in dealing with returned and undeliverable mail can be greater than the staff time required by the address hygiene process.   And, the old issue of who pays for the hygiene comes up, although we know that the artificial silos between marketing, IT, and other departments on issues like address quality are counter-productive.

There’s sometimes an issue of convincing top management to invest in address hygiene.  Companies like Global-Z help demonstrate how you will benefit from address hygiene.

 

Global-Z: In 2013, you made predictions about the future of marketing. Looking back, which trends do you think will continue this year?

Merry: I think my predictions from last year have held up pretty well, although the growth in international has been a bit slower than I expected.  The restrictiveness of Canada’s legislation on email privacy was a surprise but I don’t think we will see other countries follow this path.  Indeed, the Canadian government is seeing some problems with the strictness of the regulations.

The exploration of big data and integrated, multichannel marketing (by any name) will, I think, be the ones that get the most attention from marketers this year.  The USPS discount offers for qualifying mailings that integrate digital into a mail piece are a wonderful development.  These have now been continued and expanded.  (See here for details.)

 

Global-Z: How would you describe the current state of the direct mail industry?

Merry: While there’s been a tremendous shift  to move away from mail over the last decade, there seems to be a recent move back to direct mail.  Mail works.

Internationally, there are generally fewer legal and practical limitations on sending mail than there are on email marketing.  Mail also reaches everyone, everywhere.  Studies suggest that people spend more time looking at a piece of printed mail than they do looking at an email.  As all marketers know, those seconds matter to the response rate.

 

Global-Z: What’s new at WorldVu? Are you working on any new projects that you are excited about?

Merry:   I have been doing more writing and speaking.  I am speaking more often on best practices for international mailing.  I recently presented a paper on The Value of Addresses, discussing their economic and financial value, at conferences in France and the U.S.  It’s an interesting topic that’s often neglected by both companies and by governments.  Perhaps if addresses were a balance sheet asset, top management would better understand the need to spend on address hygiene and maintenance.

Geoff Downer, InsightStream Co-Founder and Director, Solutions

~by Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Recently Global-Z had the opportunity to speak with Geoff Downer, Director and Co-founder of Insight Stream Ltd, a data-driven marketing service company that specializes in helping clients (especially B2B) enhance and manage complex marketing projects.

Geoff works in the United Kingdom and has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of data-driven marketing and the application of marketing automation, bridging marketing and IT.

We hope you enjoy our interview with Geoff.

Global-Z: You’ve made a career out of data-driven marketing. How do you know that the data you use to enable decisions is indeed accurate?

Geoff: This is a very good question.  We say it’s really easy to obtain data, but the difficult thing is to obtain good data. We have developed a network of suppliers whom we now trust. We have taken data files from them, enhanced the address data, cleaned them, matched them to other business data reference sources. Often times, we also have added emails and pinged them before committing data to campaigns. Although we can never know that the data we use is 100% accurate when we start, we can do everything that is ‘best of breed’ in the industry to ensure it is.

Global-Z: What are the common challenges your clients face when they work with you on data-driven marketing campaigns?

Geoff: That’s a very interesting question. The most common challenge is not usually a lack of data, as most clients have far more data then they realize. The most common problem is finding and gaining access to the data from the many different systems that support the various divisions of their companies and operations. For example, sales and marketing  has multiple data sources but also does customer service, warranty, production and so on. Very often we will start with a discovery exercise to help our clients identify, and (if possible) analyse all the data sources available to them. We try to make the best of the data they’ve got before we start going to external data sources to enhance or to find additional prospects.

Global-Z: When a marketing campaign is global, how does that a change your strategy when you make data-driven decisions?

We do deal with global campaigns for clients, and we can source data when required on a worldwide basis. We also can provide our clients with international data processing and enhancement services.  Provided the marketing objective has been correctly defined, I suppose the main impact of going global on a data strategy is upon practicalities such as the different data protection requirements in different regions.  It’s absolutely essential to ensure that in each marketplace, the campaign is meeting local requirements.

Global-Z: Social media marketing is a hot topic conversation for B2C marketers. I’m wondering what your thoughts are about the usefulness of social media marketing for B2B companies?

Geoff: I think there’s no doubt that social media marketing is becoming a reality for B2B as well as B2C. As with the traditional marketing channels though, we feel it is important to regard this for what it is – a new and exciting real-time marketing channel, but not something that is so different it should be treated in a separate way. It’s important to integrate your social media marketing with other channels and to plan for its use in your overall marketing strategy. One of the key ‘watch outs’ for B2C’s and B2B’s is that it is really important to recognize that social media marketing is interactive. You must have a resource dedicated to spending at least a part of the day monitoring your communications and responding as necessary.  You can then use any feedback to inform and influence other communications across all the channels you use.

We work with a very interesting social platform that combines social listening capabilities with event trigger campaign management functionality. The communication to our clients’ customer and prospect base can be timely and triggered by the issues that are of common interest.

Global-Z: What excites you about the future of data-driven marketing?

Geoff: I’ve been doing this work for very long time and I still enjoy it! What excites me most is the growing understanding of the importance of data to both sides of a customer supplier relationship. Secondly, I’m excited by the growing understanding that different customer touch points are all part of the overall relationship between the customer and the supplier. By centralizing all interactions and analyzing the data to inform future stages of the communication cycle, we can ensure that the customer is provided with the information they need when they need it.  Overall, helping the business process become more efficient while creating a more satisfying experience for all parties. Long may it continue!

Jeff Couture

~By Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Recently, we had an opportunity to interview Jeff Couture, Executive Director of the Vermont Technology Alliance (vtTA). The vtTA is a business association focused on supporting, promoting and expanding technology companies and jobs in Vermont. Through that role, Jeff has experience in association leadership, organization and membership development, event planning and advocacy. Previously he was a communications manager for IBM, serving at the primary spokesperson for IBM in Vermont.

 Global-Z- Why did you start the Vermont Technology Alliance?

Jeff- The Vermont Technology Alliance started as the Vermont Software Developers Alliance in 2004. It grew out of a gathering of software companies in the greater Burlington area who realized there was a large number of software and tech-related businesses in Vermont, but that this business sector was not always recognized or visible.  The organization was formed to encourage collaboration, share expertise, and provide a unified voice for Vermont’s software industry.

As the organization grew, Vermont companies in other tech business segments identified common needs and joined the Alliance. In 2012, the Vermont Technology Alliance name was adopted to better reflect the organization’s expanding membership and its mission to represent and support the state’s growing number of technology companies.

Global-Z- In our digital age, most all businesses use some form of technology to function. This can make the definition of a “tech company” become a bit ambiguous. How do you define a technology company?

Jeff- Our definition of a technology company is fairly broad, in recognition of the many types of businesses that create, use and manage technology.  It often focuses on companies involved in information technology, and encompasses the use of digital tools, networks, applications, data and analytics to create or deliver a product or service. For our organization, this includes software development and consulting, web design and development, information systems management and data processing, telecommunications and networking, game and app development, technology manufacturing, biotechnology, energy, technology-related sales and marketing, and others who support or do business with Vermont’s technology sector.

Global-Z- Why should anyone consider a career in Vermont if they want to work in the tech industry?

Jeff- Vermont has a strong reputation as a great place to visit and to live. Tourists flock here for the state’s recreation, beauty, small communities and downtowns. Vermont regularly makes national lists for its quality of life. What if you could live here and have a great tech career?  Well, you can. Vermont is home to a number of dynamic, fast-growing, innovative technology companies who are leaders in their fields and doing business worldwide. Many of these companies tend to fly under the radar – they’re not as well-known in the state as Ben and Jerry’s or are not located in a typical corporate high-rise – but they’re here, they’re successful and they’re hiring.

Global-Z- Recruiting good “techies” who want to live and work in Vermont can be a challenge for business in the state. What can businesses do to help build Vermont’s reputation as a technology state?

Jeff- One of vtTA’s goals is to draw attention to the number of tech companies that are based in Vermont – it’s one of the state’s best kept secrets. That’s why vtTA sponsors the annual Tech Jam trade show and works with state government to encourage marketing Vermont as a home for tech. There are a few large tech firms in the state, but many are smaller firms that have great opportunity and growth potential. As a business association we try to spotlight the collective strength of the industry as a whole, and communicate to job seekers that if you come to Vermont to work in tech, you can find opportunities.

Global-Z- What are your goals for the future of vtTA?

Jeff- We will continue to expand our membership, which today includes more than 150 companies and entrepreneurs, and to connect with tech businesses throughout the state.  We will continue to work with the Legislature and state Commerce Agency to support and promote the value of Vermont’s tech business sector. We’ll continue to provide and promote opportunities for the tech sector to network and collaborate. Among our planned projects this year is production of a third edition of our Tapping Tech publication, which highlights the positive impact of Vermont technology companies on the state’s economy, and a “Tech Summit,” to share ideas, address issues and plan for the future of Vermont’s digital economy.

Gary_Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~By Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Recently, Global-Z had the unique opportunity to speak with Gary Palmer, Director of Information Alchemy ltd, an independent marketing information consultancy and services provider which helps organizations take control of their data resource and extract from it maximum value through data-driven marketing and customer insight.

Gary works in the United Kingdom, and he has twenty years of experience in getting real business value from data resources. He spoke with us about the impact of bad data quality, information management and the future of data-driven business decision making.

We hope you enjoy our interview with Gary.

Global-Z: Why do so many organizations have a hard time starting a data governance program?

Gary: Part of the problem is that data is pervasive, and responsibility for it diffuses. Very few organizations have assigned a clear accountability for managing data. What they should be doing is finding the particular functions within the context of their own company and industry who stand to gain most or suffer worst according to the state of the data. Then they should back this vested interest with a strong official mandate to establish and maintain governance over this vital resource.

Global-Z: Has the European economy had a negative impact on businesses ability to finance and focus attention on data quality issues?

Gary: It has been proven enough times that firms who maintain marketing budgets are the ones that assume strong positions as the recession ends. Good data quality  can enhance and unleash one of the few remaining sources of unique competitive advantage. After all, only you have your customer data. Sadly, the economic conditions have become an easy out for organizations wary of what is, to be fair, a relatively new discipline. The brave few acting now will reap the benefits.

Global-Z: Let’s pretend you are a CEO of a large direct marketing company, where would a data quality initiative fall in your list of business priorities?

Gary: Poor data quality is invariably a symptom of broken business processes – so fixing that would have to come pretty high. Then an initiative to leverage the potential of the cleaned data set to deliver unique customer insights has to lie at the core of strategy for any direct marketing driven organization.

Global-Z: In the future, how do you think data analytics and tracking will affect the consumers experience when buying products and services?

Gary: In the past, marketers have had a bad habit of using analytics to spot the next opening for launching new promotions or products. This is like talking to a person who is mentally rehearsing their next utterance rather than actually listening to what you are saying.

In the future, I hope we will  see a switch to using tracking and analytics to genuinely listen to customers with the aim of readying the organization to service their expressed needs.

Global-Z: What is the most challenging part of your job?

Gary: The most challenging part of my job is overcoming the idea that data is arcane, nerdy, boring or not worthy of anyone’s attention.

Data is a resource inevitably generated by all organizations that can be a source of friction or fuel, heat and light. When data is used properly,  it can turbo charge any organization.

Global-Z: What do you like most about your job?

Gary: I like seeing organizations discover and use new capabilities based on the clean, well maintained data resource they have after I finish a project with them!