Employee Spotlight: Erik Turbin

 

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

If you were to ask someone at Nahan what their favorite part about being on the team is, more likely than not, their answer is the people. Our people are where we take the greatest pride. One of those people is Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor. I had the opportunity to get to know more about Erik and why he has made Nahan his home for almost 10 years.

 

Erik Turbin

Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor

30 Years in the Print Industry 

Erik came to Nahan in 2013 with twenty years of experience in bindery, as well as being a supervisor. Since he started at Nahan, Erik has held the positions of Operator and Finishing Department Lead Trainer. This fall he will be celebrating an exciting personal milestone of 30 years in the print industry! Nahan is proud to have someone as talented and knowledgeable as Erik on the team, holding so many years of experience. In 2016, he even received the Production Professional of the Year award from Printing Industry Midwest (PIM). When asked what aspect of his career he is most passionate about, Erik responded that always being honest and fair to employees under his supervision is his priority, as well as helping people understand how every minute adds up to supporting both Nahan’s goals as well as their own personal goals.

 

“I love to see people meet a production goal and also work on building their relationships with others in the organization.”

-Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor

Beyond Nahan

When Erik is not busy leading his team at Nahan, he enjoys hunting, camping, and fishing (as he describes the normal Minnesota way of life). He also enjoys spending time with his wife, five children, and five grandchildren. When he has the opportunity, he loves to travel, citing the Boundary Waters up north as his favorite place so far. He hopes to visit Iceland and Bora Bora sometime in the future as well.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our Careers page today!

 

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

Nahan Announces Rebrand as Part of Business Evolution

SAINT CLOUD, Minn. – April 19, 2022 – Today, Nahan announced it has rebranded. The effort includes a new logo, refreshed visual identity, and an updated website.

The rebrand reflects Nahan’s growing suite of services that include marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics — coupled with world-class print production and postal strategies  — providing a fully integrated solution for its clients. The news follows on the heels of Nahan’s earlier announcement that it had expanded its direct mail capacity and geographic footprint through the acquisition of a Pennsylvania-based facility.

“Our business has evolved dramatically in recent years, including an expansion of the services we offer, enhancements to our printing platform, and considerable additions to our leadership and management teams,” said CEO Mike Ertel. “We’re excited to unveil updated branding that more accurately reflects the company we’ve become, which is a one-stop-shop for our clients’ direct marketing needs.”

Founded in 1962 by Jim and Helen Nahan, the company established a strong reputation for providing high-quality direct mail and commercial print, and exemplary customer service. Sixty years later, what was then a small family-owned print shop, is now home to more than 400 employees, including industry-leading experts in direct marketing strategy, data, analytics, creative, and more, with facilities in the Midwest and East Coast.

“The team at Nahan is driven by our immense pride in our company’s history, combined with the ambition to push ourselves in new directions and deliver greater results to our clients,” said Mike Logar, SVP, Sales and Marketing Services. “Great marketing is more than just delivering the right message at the right time — it’s also about making real connections with people. And Nahan is purpose-built to create those connections.”

For more information about Nahan and to view the new Nahan branding, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

Direct Marketing Insights from NEMOA Spring Summit

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, marketers and brands are facing new challenges from rising input costs, labor shortages, and continued supply chain disruptions. With all this uncertainty, gaining an edge in the market and optimizing marketing programs becomes even more important. One place to gain insights is from industry peers and experts developing innovative solutions.

Every spring NEMOA (National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America) holds their first of two summits, bringing together leading experts to share their insights on the current market, providing the opportunity to network with peers, and have lively discussions about the biggest topics in the industry.

This year’s spring summit was held virtually and we at Nahan were thrilled to attend and present our roundtable conversation on ‘Extending your Catalogs Reach by Geo Targeting Mobile Users.’

We also attended several of the presentations and roundtables to learn what some of the best minds in the industry are thinking. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

DTC Brands Turn to Print Inserts

In ‘The Power of Marketing Via Print Inserts’ hosted by by Craig Kapilow, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships RUE GILT GROUP, we learned how digitally-native brands are utilizing print inserts for brand awareness and customer acquisition.

They also offer a great way to delight when they open their packages by offering a little surprise, which everyone loves!  Another key advantage of print inserts is the ability to include offers from thirty party partners. Craig warned that brands shouldn’t try to do too much with their inserts and should make sure their brand and logo are always prominent, as well as including a crystal clear call to action and value proposition.

Getting Creative with Catalogs

 Catalogs are a big investment, making it critical marketers assure their effectiveness in engaging with their customers. In “Catalogs: Creative and Creation,” Brent Niemuth, J. Schmid spoke with Jackie Ardrey of Grandin Road and Bryan Seeley of BSW to learn their insights about tactics for creating beautiful, impactful catalogs.

For Seeley, catalogs are a great way to cut through the digital noise for their B2B focused customers in the broadcast industry. He recommends working with suppliers to help pay for catalogs, as well as featuring the people behind the brand, and most importantly, make it fun!

With Grandin Road, Ardey says catalogs are a source of inspiration and the best format for telling a broader and deeper brand story. Their customers are looking for inspiration and ideas and want to see something they have never seen. Their top tips are to elevate the creative by focusing on great photography and conveying personality through copy.

The Future of Print is Personalized

Digital inkjet technology is a significant trend for everyone in the print world. Ricoh’s Director of Global Marketing, Mike Herold hosted an insightful roundtable discussion on the “Opportunities and Obstacles in Customizable Print” with a few key takeaways that are going to be relevant for all marketers in the space.  

The COVID pandemic accelerated the decline of offset which is also facing labor shortages. There aren’t enough skilled employees to run offset equipment, so future growth will come on the backbone of digital solutions. Right now less than 1% of the 44 billion direct mail pieces produced annually are produced with inkjet technology, so there’s a lot of growth ahead.

One of the huge benefits of inkjet printing is the ability to personalize the campaigns, however customization does come at a higher cost. This tension requires marketers to work closely with their partners on optimization. In many cases, those higher costs will be offset by the higher response rate you get from personalized campaigns.

Smaller and more targeted runs, sometimes called ‘microruns’, are quicker and more customized, with programmatic print continuing to grow. Bottom line, traditional print is not going away, but how can you compliment it with digital to drive value? 

Taking Multi-Channel Marketing from Digital to Catalogs and Print

Many direct-to-consumer brands had great success building their brands through digital marketing, but with the cost increasing, some are diversifying to catalogs to increase engagement.

In a presentation called, ‘The Whys and Hows Of Beyond Digital Multi-Channel Marketing,’ Liz Dolinski, Chief Growth Officer of Lunya, shared how the three pillars of media diversification, customer journeys, and brand building have helped them grow in the face of steeper digital marketing costs.

With media diversification, she emphasized the importance of meeting customers where they are by not allowing one channel/partner to dominate your marketing spend.

Moving into the physical world with catalogs is a great way to tell the full brand story and create a deeper, richer experience. Since the lead times for print are much longer, they can be more difficult for agile marketing strategies.

A couple of tactics they have found successful are to follow up with a postcard when a customer unsubscribes from their newsletter and to add a copy of catalogs to gift boxes.

Conclusion

NEMOA brings together some of the best minds in the print industry. The presenters at the spring summit shared actionable insights that marketers can implement into their 2022 direct marketing strategies. We look forward to the fall summit to see how  these trends and insights evolve throughout the year.

 

 

Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support, and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy, and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

Paper Market: 5 Insights for 2022

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

It doesn’t take long in the print industry to know that the current paper market is a tricky challenge to tackle. There are many different layers to consider when developing your direct mail and catalog strategy, but the most tangible element of your planning will always be your paper choices. Paper is what makes print….well, print!

Whether you’re a seasoned paper veteran, or new to print, you’ve undoubtedly realized that there are many variables to understand, including: pricing, size, finish, coating, sustainability, among others. The last two years have added a new layer of complexity with increasing paper shortages due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fundamental shifts in the paper market. What does this mean? Marketers are facing unprecedented challenges when developing their direct mail and catalog campaigns. In such an environment, knowing the pulse of the industry and trends is more important than ever.

While we could certainly write a book on the topic (hey, this is our business and we love it!), we’re going to instead share the top tips and trends you need to know about making paper choices for your projects in 2022.

Stay Flexible When It Comes to Choosing Paper 

Paper availability looks different in 2022. What was used in your last project, might not be now, or might take longer to acquire than in prior years. The name of the game going forward is flexibility. For example, one might have to consider environmental certified versus recycled depending on availability and timing.

This is also a good opportunity to discover new paper types and sizes you haven’t tried before.

Small is the New Big

Want an easy way to combat the increase in paper prices? Go smaller. With paper prices increasing, it makes sense to try to use less of it. This doesn’t mean your mailer will lose impact. It means being concise and strategic with your messaging and creative design. Think “small but mighty.” A smaller mailer implementing best practices can have the desired impact and achieve your ROI. For example, we’ve helped several fashion retailers make a splash with mini catalogs that have a smaller paper footprint. Not only does it cut down on paper, but it also stands out in the mailbox.

Supply Chain Issues and the Resulting Delays

By now, the snags and snarls caused by the supply chain issues have been apparent in nearly every industry, forcing businesses to be nimble and adjust. For the paper market, transportation challenges have been a leading cause of delays and price increases. Rising energy and gas prices paired with a shortage of truck drivers have created a perfect storm for moving paper from the mills to printers. Experts expect some of these issues to slowly work themselves out over the year, but for the time being, patience is required.

The Paper Market is Changing

As with many industries the pandemic has disrupted and fundamentally changed the paper market. Many mills have had to shift production to producing corrugated cardboard to meet the increasing ecommerce demand and are suffering from the labor shortage as well. The result has been that paper companies are now setting allocations for paper delivery, with shipments requiring longer lead times, creating the shortage we’re all feeling.

Plan Early, and then Be Nimble

In an industry that requires effective planning with moving parts, the current headwinds with supply chain issues and paper shortages requires planning even further into the future. Once planning is in motion, you want to be nimble and know where you can make last minute adjustments. This is where it becomes important to work closely with vendors such as Nahan to help guide through the process and find opportunities for optimization.

“I’ve been telling clients they need to firm up circulations and place orders as soon as possible. They also should be open to trimming their mail file at the 11th hour to remove the populations they feel are less likely to respond,” Pat Nahan, VP of Client Solutions.

Conclusion

Paper may not be glamorous but it’s a crucial component in the success of any direct mail or catalog campaign. With supply chain challenges persisting and fundamental transformations taking place in the paper market, it’s important for marketers to understand the core industry taking place. While these new challenges create headwinds in executing campaigns, they can also create new opportunities for brands who plan with agility and partner with the experts.

 

 

Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

Gen Z and Direct Mail: Reaching the Newest Consumers

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

Did you know that Gen Z makes up 20% of the population? While it may be hard to believe at first, the newest generation of consumers (born between 1997 and 2012) are now a major contender in the world’s retail scene. The oldest of this generation is a recent college graduate and starting new life stages, while the youngest of which are just embarking into their teenage years. This generation of consumers boasts a spending power of approximately $140 billion (Rolling Stone, 2021), making them an extremely valuable target audience that you should be reaching. They’re ready to spend their money, but they hold brands to high standards.

Embrace the Physical Quality of Direct Mail

Gen Z may be known as “Digital Natives,” meaning they grew up around technology, but they’re also overly served digital ads. Additionally, in the midst of a pandemic, they have a thirst for the personal and physical touch (Forbes, 2021) that digital ads cannot provide in the same way tangible items can. Utilizing direct mail helps reach this audience that has overflooded inboxes and social ads with something that fills this innate need.

Integrate Technology with Direct Mail

As mentioned, Gen Z is often referred to as “Digital Natives” and most do not know a world without the Internet or smart phones. And while marketers should embrace this opportunity to stand out with the physical quality of direct mail, it is also a chance to integrate technology with it for the best of both worlds. How can one do this? Marketers have found success with using a scannable QR code for a quick way to assimilate information while keeping the copy and creative on a mail piece minimal. The use of augmented reality also provides for a unique way for consumers to virtually try on or place items.

Make Sure You Stand Behind Something

At the end of the day, Gen Z cares about more than service offerings and discounts. They care about what your brand stands behind. They want to know what you support, how you support it, and they will do the research to find out. Gen Z is also more likely than other generations to switch brands to align with their personal beliefs/values (Business Insider, 2021). The social justice movement is one example of a cause that Gen Z is often passionate about. They are more likely to give their brand loyalty to brands that have diversity programs and support related local and national organizations.

Use Gen Z to Market to Gen Z

Who does Gen Z want to listen to? Whose voices do they care about? Your messaging is more likely to resonate with them if you are using those who are similar to them in age and life stage. Gen Z is very different from previous generations in the environment they grew up in, and they are more likely to take the word of those who are coming from that same frame of reference. This generation of consumers is actually twice as likely as millennials to make a purchase based off an influencer recommendation or testimonial (70% of which are under 34) (Rolling Stone, 2021).   Are you ready to expand your reach to Gen Z? We’d love to help you with your direct marketing strategy and creative to do just that.

Sources: Rolling Stone Sprout Social Business Insider     Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

Direct Marketing Trends for 2022

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

The new year brings new direct marketing trends and continuations of ideas that advanced in 2021. Like the beginning of last year, 2022 gets its start in an advertising saturated society with technology at the fingertips of nearly every consumer. In such an environment, knowing how to stand out to the right consumer at the right time, is a necessary skill for differentiation. Below we’ve rounded up five direct marketing trends for 2022 for you to ponder as you plan your marketing strategies:

1. When it comes to words, less is more

Want to catch a consumer’s attention in the mail? Don’t overload it with unnecessary text that crowds the mail piece. You only have a limited amount of time to entice the consumer to act. If the consumer perceives that it will take too long to read the piece, you may have just lost your chance for them to get to your Call to Action. Provide enough to get your point across, but don’t leave the consumer drowning in words.

2. Combining Digital and Print

While both digital and print advertising have their own advantages, together, they make the ultimate power team, especially in the wake of the phasing out of third-party cookies. Whether it’s using QR codes or pre-in-home-date digital ads, the addition of digital to print will become more popular as marketers get creative to increase ROI. Nahan’s solution to this is Direct Mail Companion™, used to create a seamless message before, during, and after your direct mail or catalog in-home date, leading to greater response and higher ROI.

3. Augmented Reality

Marketers can harness the power of Augmented Reality (AR) to layer computer-generated dimensions onto a real-world setting. Consumers can use their hand-held technology to view direct mail and catalogs with AR to view how certain products would look in a space. Utilizing this technology gives consumers a memorable and enriching experience that is hands-on.

4. Targeting by Challenge and Not Demographic

What prompts consumers to pursue a service or product? Most often it is a need that they want to fill and they believe that a specific service or product will fulfill that need. Instead of only looking at consumer targeting by age or geographic region, including the segmenting of your target audience by unique challenges and/or behavior may return more favorable responses and make messaging feel more personal.

5. Use of Informed Delivery

When consumers use Informed Delivery from the USPS, they are able to see ahead of time the mail pieces they are receiving each day. Not only are they aware of what is coming, but they are also able to interact with the mail pieces by clicking on the images and view offers from the business’s website. According to the USPS, by September 2021, nearly 43 million users had registered for Informed Delivery and that number is expected to grow throughout 2022.

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is our Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

Nahan Named Top Digital Agency in Minnesota by DesignRush

St. Cloud, MN — November 2, 2021 — Nahan has been named a Top Digital Marketing Agency in Minnesota by DesignRush.

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, direct marketing firms and top technology companies. Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

“We’re excited for Nahan to be recognized for driving performance improvement for clients through our integrated suite of services,” said Alan Sherman, VP-Marketing Strategy. “We’re proud to be a true one-stop-shop for all of their direct marketing needs.

Nahan’s team of experts across strategy, data, creative, production, postal logistics and fulfillment enable our clients to successfully acquire, develop, and retain profitable customer relationships, while continuously improving Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

To learn more about Nahan, visit: https://www.nahan.com/what-we-do/

To learn more about DesignRush, visit: https://www.designrush.com/

USPS Postage Rates Updated 2021: Cost-Effective Mailing Solutions

Author: Brandon Jacklin, Logistics Specialist

As of August 29, 2021, the USPS has released updated postage rates (printable chart can be downloaded here). These postal rate increases will enable the USPS to provide reliable and predictable service while ensuring its financial sustainability. The plan will support a precise and efficient processing and transportation network, positioning the USPS to deliver 95 percent of all mail and packages on-time. More information about FAQ’s about USPS rate changes can be found here.

Larger Maximum Allowable Size for First-Class Postcards

A positive development for marketers, is that the new plan includes an increase in the first-class postcard maximum dimensions from 4.25 x 6” to 6 x 9”, providing additional space for information and branding.

Compared to 6″x9” marketing mail, a 6″x9” First-Class postcard offers many additional benefits including 1-5 business day delivery, return to sender, address correction, and forwarding services. Under the new plan, it also comes with a much smaller upcharge than in the past when jumping from Standard to First-Class. Postcards provide an affordable and effective way to drive business. With the ability to be highly personalized and in-home quickly at a great price, this is a wonderful opportunity for marketers.

Co-Mail, Commingle, and Drop-Shipping Options Help Keep Postage Rates Low

There are a variety of ways that a finished mail piece can be shipped to a customer. Three of the most common methods include co-mail, commingle, and drop ship. Co-mail is used for catalogs and flat-sized pieces. In this type of shipment, multiple jobs are combined, enhancing the pre-sort, which gives the customer the lowest postage price. Commingling is used for letter-sized pieces and helps to save postage while combining mailings similarly co-mail. These two methods are most cost-effective for those mailing smaller quantities. Lastly, drop shipping consolidates pallets with other pallet jobs and then delivers them to postal facilities around the country. This method is beneficial for geographically concentrated quantities as well as the ability to hit a tight in-home window. Our postal and logistics experts at Nahan are here to help you navigate which shipping option is the best for your needs.

How Nahan Provides Cost-Effective Mailing Solutions

  • Logistics expertise – We have a team of logistics experts to help our customers determine the best mailing and transportation method for their needs. The team is always on top of what’s going on with industry changes and is quick to respond.
  • Multiple shipping methods – As explained above, we have three primary shipping options: co-mail, commingle, and drop-ship, all of which our team of experts can help you choose from to best support your needs.
  • Advocating for our customers – Throughout industry changes, we remain committed to finding the best postage rates for our customers and by the best means possible relative to desired transit times and in-home dates.

The printing and direct marketing industry could not exist without the partnership of the USPS to deliver your eye-catching and action-driving piece to your consumer. The team at Nahan is here to help you find solutions to minimize postage and transportation costs and drive improved marketing return on investment (ROI).

The Value of Triggered Direct Mail

 

Author: Sean Wambold, VP of Business Development

What are trigger mailings?

How many times have you bought something online, looked up what a monthly loan payment would be or gotten an insurance quote, only to get follow-up offers in the mail? Or moved to a new home and received furniture offers? This happens every day and is known as trigger mail. Trigger mailings are “triggered” by an event – your behavior – and are the most effective type of direct mail campaign. Response is typically 40-70% higher than a typical mailing.

Trigger mailings produce superior results

Marketers that work with data know that prospect and customer behavior – whether it’s a credit inquiry, purchase or a life event, our interest in a product or service – is more relevant than our household income or which zip code we live in. But as marketers, we also know that consumer attention is fleeting – just because we’re looking at switching auto insurance because we received a rate increase – doesn’t mean we’ll still be interested a month from now.  The best trigger programs reach us quickly with personalized offers while the interest level is still high.

But how do you build an effective trigger mail program? Nahan’s solution is in combining both fresh and highly targeted trigger data and an efficient production process that reaches prospects quickly, with the right creative and messaging.

Trigger data sourcing

The two main trigger data categories are Credit and Invitation to Apply (ITA) data. Credit triggers typically come from the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Trans-Union and Equifax, and include auto, credit card, mortgage, personal loan, home equity, retail, and insurance inquiries.

ITA data is non-credit based, comes from many sources, and is driven by lifecycle events like age, marriage, employment, home purchase, moving or shopping. There are approximately 38MM to 65MM credit inquiries a month. ITA data ranges from 10-20MM monthly occurrences. Trigger data can also be web-based, such as cart abandoners or visitors to a website, captured via software or IP address.

Trigger data costs more than the usual compiled demographic data and non-triggered credit data. This is because of its credit bureau or multiple data sourcing and the extra work involved in capturing it daily, linking/deduping from multiple sources, cleaning it, and then delivering it for mailing, all within 24 hours. However, our clients usually find that the added benefit of far higher trigger response (+40-70%) greatly outweighs the additional cost. In some cases, it may be worth testing first class postage against standard class in terms of total ROI.

Nahan’s trigger data: faster, fresher, and more accurate

Nahan provides highly targeted triggered data via its credit data agent partners, who can also supply ITA lifecycle data. A credit data agent consolidates data from the 3 credit bureaus, providing real-time, deduped, and cleaned trigger data, delivered to Nahan for production within 24 hours. The “freshness” of this data means superior response results. Credit data agents have the ability to access all credit-active consumers, identifying the “best” address and info for an individual across the 3 credit bureaus. Because they source from 3 bureaus, they find 15-30% more net triggered data than is available from a single bureau.

Data can also be ranked and prioritized by the use of sophisticated predictive models during the 24-hour data processing period. These models leverage thousands of credit and non-credit data points, which dramatically increases the amount of available predictive data. Machine learning algorithms enable us to evaluate and sift through the data to find the right combination of data elements for the best model performance. Model performance continually improves as updated campaign results are added to the data.

Nahan’s trigger production: fast, flexible and nimble

One of Nahan’s capabilities that I’ve been the most impressed with is the agility of our platform and how well it can support the execution of high-performance trigger mailings. With our dedicated triggers team, we can provide flexibility and nimbleness unmatched by competitors. We convert the complex programming process into a simple, automated lights-out program.

Timing is everything and partnering with a solutions provider that delivers a quality product provides a major advantage. At Nahan, our 48-hour turn-around time, from receiving data to first mail-drop, sets us apart in our speed-to-market. Our experts can leverage the data to create a personalized direct mail piece based on the consumer’s behavior that arrives in-home as fast as 5-7 days after the event. We can also time triggers to an integrated mobile digital program.

What matters – the results

Analysis conducted across client products and industries has proven a Nahan trigger response lift ranging from 40-70% over traditional direct mail credit data programs. Analysis also indicates that it is crucial to reach recipients within 7 to 10 days after the behavior event. Nahan triggers average 7 days from event to in-home when first-class postage is used. After that, response begins to drop off. First class mail usually out-performs standard class mail on a cost-adjusted basis.

Nahan’s trigger programs are perfectly timed and managed to interact with prospects at the right time with the right offer. They work because they quickly and effectively identify and reach prospects that have expressed a need through their behavior. We understand that our clients’ offers are not the only ones out there and recognize that a program that brings together high-quality data, superior production, and speed to market is crucial for marketing success.

Direct Marketing Strategy: Direct Mail Testing

Author: Maggie Stack, Account Director

At least once a week, while doing homework, one of my kids will say “when will I ever use this in real life?” I like to point out to them how often I use my Algebra skills, but I never thought I would use science in my marketing career. As my colleague, Alan Sherman, mentioned in a previous blog, we use direct mail testing to determine the best direct marketing strategy. This is where science comes in. By following the steps of the scientific method with a continuous improvement mindset, we aim to exceed our clients’ marketing goals.

Purpose

When thinking about our clients’ direct marketing strategy, our question is always how can we improve results. The exact Key Performance Indicator (KPI) we are trying to improve varies by client, but it always means a better Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Research

We start by reviewing current marketing efforts. Who is the target audience? What motivates them to respond? What tactics are currently being used? How do those tactics work together?

Hypothesis

Once our research is complete, we make recommendations for the elements or options we believe will improve results. Sometimes this is the choice to reduce the cost of a campaign while maintaining response and sometimes it is a higher cost option that will improve response. This could be a new data source, a new offer positioning, a new direct mail format, or addition of a complimentary digital tactic. In direct marketing, the options are truly endless. Once we decide on what will be tested, we can begin the experiment!

Experiment

The two most commonly used experiments in direct mail testing are a split test and a multivariate test. Split tests, or A/B tests, involve testing the same package except for the specific element to be tested. Multivariate testing involves testing multiple elements at the same time. The right one to use is based on several factors: budget, available quantity, quantity needed for the result to be statistically significant, and the number of items we want to test. Once the experiment is in the hands of the prospects, we wait for results.

Analyze Data

Depending on what we are measuring, results could take months to gather. There must be enough responders to be confident in the results. Analysis comes in the form of charts and graphs. Our goal is to always improve results, but sometimes we learn what does not work. As my high school science teacher would say after a failed experiment, “if you learned something, the experiment wasn’t wasted.” In direct marketing, the win in a losing test is that it leads to better, more refined hypotheses.

Conclusion

While there is a conclusion to every individual experiment, direct mail testing should never end.  We believe marketers should always be striving to improve their data, improve their messaging, and improve the tactics they use. And we love partnering with those that feel that same. Looking to apply a little bit of the scientific method to your direct marketing strategy? We are here to help.

Bio: Maggie Stack is an Account Director with over 20 years of experience in marketing services and direct mail production. When she isn’t discussing data and creative with her clients, you can find her and her husband cheering on their children in hockey, baseball, and dance.

The Importance of Data in Direct Mail Marketing

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

Quite often, when we work with clients in direct mail marketing, creative development is the first focus. But, just as in any marketing channel, who we target is just as important, if not more so for driving increased direct mail response and a successful direct mail campaign. For a full-service direct marketing company like Nahan, using data in direct mail marketing is a crucial component of an integrated success chain that includes strategy, data, creative and production execution.

Direct mail provides more data points to target against than any other marketing channel. The typical national data compiler manages over three thousand data points per person.*  Combine a multi-sourced wealth of data with sophisticated predictive analytics, and we can precisely rank prospects based on their propensity to respond (or other desired outcomes).

Let us take a look at typical data used by various direct mail industry clients. In the interest of time and space, what follows is not an exhaustive list.

Financial Services and Insurance – Credit Data

For financial and insurance clients, we see widespread use of credit bureau prescreened data – both in terms of trigger (credit or insurance inquiries by consumers) and broad market (often dictated by credit score and other data points) campaigns.

As a direct marketing service provider, Nahan partners with credit data agents, which can provide unique sources of value. Credit data agents typically receive and maintain real-time data from all 3 main credit bureaus, providing a comprehensive picture of all credit behavior across bureaus. More data across all 3 bureaus means more net qualified names, typically 15-20% more, and improved credit decisioning.

It also means more flexibility in terms of FCRA regulations, allowing for counts to be more easily run before actually pulling a file. Typically, when one pulls a complete prescreened credit file, one is obligated to make everyone on that list a firm offer of credit. Credit data agents have more flexibility in this regard. Custom models can make use of both credit and non-credit data for increased predictive power.

While credit data is usually the go-to data source for most financial and insurance acquisition mailers, it can often be supplemented by Invitation to Apply (ITA) data, which is primarily driven by a lifecycle event – such as college graduation, marriage, having children and buying a home. While ITA prospects are typically not as responsive, it is less expensive, and can be tested and paired with credit data as an effective supplemental data source.

Multiple Industries – Modeled Compiled Data

Compiled data is just that – data compiled from multiple sources and then linked to individuals and households. It’s typically used in travel, healthcare, retail, telecom, and auto direct mail.  There are a number of medium and large-sized data compilers that we partner with to provide the best data for our clients. Compiled data typically includes demographic, psychographic, and attitudinal data. 

Demographic data includes data elements like age, gender, income, occupation, and more.

Psychographic data is focused upon people’s interests and hobbies, often obtained via surveys, donations, and specialty lists.

Attitudinal data reflects attitudes and belief systems, typically from surveys and donations made to non-profits.

Compiled data is best paired with predictive analytics to identify the data elements that will give the greatest response.

Catalogers, Non-Profits, E-tailors and Others – Cooperative (Co-op) Data

Co-op data is customer purchase data collected from thousands of co-op members and maintained in a database. Typically, a member marketer must provide their customer data on a regular basis to join and participate. Co-op members include companies from the catalog, retail, etail, continuity, non-profit, publishers, finance, insurance, and business-to-business industries. Some co-ops focus on non-profit donation behavior specifically.

Co-ops collect over 1500 data elements for a given household and cover 190MM U.S. consumers. The depth and granularity of the data can vary by co-op. Given that customer behavior is often the most predictive of future behavior, this data is very powerful in its ability to predict the future response and purchasing.

Using marketer-provided customer purchase data, the co-ops use predictive models to find prospects elsewhere in the database with similar product and purchase behavior. Co-op data has long been a go-to data source for catalogers, replacing many of the more expensive specialty, “vertical” lists that exist, such as magazine subscriber files.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Data

B2B direct mail data used to come from two main data sources – Data Axle (formerly InfoGroup) and Dun & Bradstreet. They are still major players providing excellent data. Both, along with a continual flow of new players, now offer much more than the traditional data points like annual sales, number of employees, SIC code, and NAIC Code. Data points such as B2B buying behavior, public filings and linked consumer information all provide additional targeting insights. Because people change jobs much more frequently than they change addresses, B2B data is more challenging and labor intensive to maintain and keep up to date, resulting in a higher cost.

The Role of Analytics

The performance of all data mentioned here can and should be enhanced by predictive analytics. We simply can’t leverage any of these types of data to their full potential without the use of modeling to prioritize prospects. While a predictive model adds to the cost, it usually pays for itself in the first direct mail campaign with the increased direct response it produces. Depending on the circumstances, the model can be re-used until market conditions change. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have sped up the modeling process, and in certain cases, such as co-op data or credit models, new models may be built with every direct marketing campaign.

Our Data Role

Nahan has deep and long-time relationships with many types of direct mail data providers and list brokers. We can determine which source is the right fit for our clients’ objectives. Typically at a lower cost than our clients can obtain on their own. Our expertise ensures the best possible data at the best possible price. For any questions about data, please feel free to reach out to me at alan.sherman@nahan.com.

*Source: WebFX

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

NEMOA Spring Summit Takeaways: 4 Trends to Watch in 2021

Author: Krista Black, Group Account Director

I had the pleasure of participating in the NEMOA (National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America) Spring Summit last week. As you can imagine, attending a trade show looks a little different these days, with visiting booths, attending seminars and networking all done virtually. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the event was run and how impactful the content was even though it was presented under different conditions. I found myself wondering if trade shows might maintain some of this new approach in the future even when a higher level of normalcy returns – a hybrid model where attendees could choose to participate in-person or online – or a combination of the two.

This thread of the “new normal” went beyond how the conference was run. It was woven into much of the content – the trends and predictions for our industry for the year ahead – predictions of a permanent shift in consumers’ behaviors as well as strategies to reach them.

Here are a few of my favorite COVID-inspired trends to watch from the 2021 NEMOA Spring Summit:

1. Resurgence of Mail

While mail volumes declined during the beginning of the pandemic, over 2/3 of Americans continue to collect their mail EVERY. DAY. Additionally, 77% of Americans indicate that they have a high interest in receiving mail and 50% of Millennials surveyed see mail as being more important than it was three years ago1. Meanwhile, packages from online shopping orders were delivered to doorsteps in record numbers, training us to check the doorstep and the mailbox more than ever before to retrieve them. As more and more brands re-enter the mail channel, they can benefit from these newly formed routines.

2. Test and Learn Mindset

In these times of rapidly changing consumer behavior, marketers must be nimble in terms of channel strategy, target, offers, and creative. A test and learn mindset is more critical than ever and will continue to remain imperative to helping marketers determine what’s working, what’s not, and what changes need to be made.

3. Rise of Social Commerce2

Consumers are buying directly from digital ads on social platforms at incredible rates, helping fuel a 33% year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales2. Thanks to Elizabeth Drori, Chief Marketing Officer at Sperry, for introducing me to the phrase, “thumb-stopping content” when describing how to capture attention and engage your audience when designing social content. Thumb-stopping content has lured me in many times; I’ve purchased everything from snacks to socks while scrolling through Instagram. But of course, social ads are only one piece of the puzzle – by aligning social ad strategy together with mail, we can fuel increased interaction and purchase behavior beyond what either channel can do alone. In the future, these channels will continue to become more interwoven.

4. Getting Real with Your Audience

The pandemic forced many brands to share their story differently during Covid shutdowns when travel, photo shoots, and large-scale productions were brought to a grinding halt. The silver lining? Many brands found new ways to connect with their audience, often leveraging user generated content to deliver an authentic brand message. With the shiny veneer of high production brand assets removed from the equation, smart brands were able to connect with audiences in new and more “real” way and “humanize” their brands.

Our team invites the opportunity to connect with you to strategize on these trends and to talk through your direct marketing strategies now and into the future. Reach out to us to schedule a time to chat.

Sources:

1Engaging with Customers in the Time of COVID, United States Postal Service

2How you succeed in an environment of rapid consumer behavior change, Oracle

Bio: Krista is our Group Account Director and brings over 15 years of marketing and agency experience. She and her husband have two children. Krista enjoys volunteering as a manager for her daughters’ dance teams, spending time with family, and watching reality TV.

5 Advantages of Working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency

Author: Melissa Fransen

We have many exciting things happening at Nahan!

In January, we announced an expansion of our services to include a full omnichannel suite of direct marketing services, including strategy, creative, data, analytics, and more! These new services are being offered as needed a la cart style or in a fully integrated approach. Where you need help, our team can plug in and bring our expertise to take your direct marketing initiatives to new performance levels.

For many of our customers, our business relationship will remain unchanged and we are proud to continue our relationship as a trusted print partner. For others, these new resources bring forth a whole new world of opportunity.

Our team has been thrilled with the buzz we’ve been getting in the marketplace regarding our new services and the excitement we’re hearing from our customers. We want to say thank you for all of the questions we have received thus far. Keep the inquiries coming!

Here are 5 advantages of working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency.

1. We Are Direct Marketing Strategy Experts

For over 50 years, Nahan has been known as a world-class printer. We know direct marketing production inside and out. We know best practices, what works, postal efficiencies, and much more. With our strategy offering, we can work with your team to optimize your entire direct marketing strategy and/or plug in where needed. Here are some examples of topics you could expect us to cover and ultimately address:

  • Discussion of your current direct marketing go-to-market strategy
  • Understanding your top-line goals and provide recommendations for helping you achieve and exceed them
  • What do successful KPIs look like for you?
  • Introduction of omnichannel and integrated tools to provide incremental response and lowered cost per acquisition
  • What is your data strategy?
  • How we leverage a test and learn approach with data and creative to continually improve results

2. We Bring Design/Creative Expertise

When it comes to the design of your next direct marketing program, our design experts are at your service. Whether it’s building an entire campaign from scratch to helping with new, efficient format ideas, we bring an unsurpassed level of creative expertise to your direct marketing projects. We can help with design, copywriting, personalization, versioning, best practices, and more! Here are some examples of things we’d likely cover in a design/creative review:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Understanding what’s worked and hasn’t in the past
  • What is the action you want the recipient to take?
  • Reviewing the developed creative brief
  • Offer and supporting benefits development
  • Optimal design and content placement
  • Copy that engages, makes an emotional connection, and prompts action
  • Accommodating differences in how readers consume content
  • Communicating your unique selling proposition

3. We Can Help with Your Data, Targeting, and Analytics

Whether you are a seasoned direct marketer or are just getting started, our team can help with your data and targeting strategies. From list research in identifying your best target audience to predictive modeling tools, we love to help our customers with their data/targeting strategies. Topics surrounding data and targeting would include items such as:

  • Understanding your target market
  • Reviewing current and introducing potential new sources of data
  • Leveraging sophisticated analytics to boost response, cut costs, and lower cost of acquisition
  • Understanding your current CRM strategy and how we can enhance it
  • Leveraging your customer and prospect data to further enhance personalization

4. We Bring Analysis Experience

Once the mailing gets to the recipient, our team is equipped to step in to help you analyze results of your direct marketing campaigns. Examples of items we’d analyze include:

  • KPIs and what they tell us
  • What can be learn from what worked and what didn’t
  • Go-forward testing recommendations

5. We Take What’s Working (or Not!) and Build Upon It

The best part of working together is that you will realize . . .

Request a Quote

Are you interested in learning more about our direct marketing service offerings? Reach out and contact us today!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Looking for a Unique Take on Direct Mail? Try the Peek Fold Format!

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Check out our spin on a traditional direct mail format with the peek fold format. You’ll grab your recipient’s attention with a personalized headline as the first thing they see when they pull this peek folded letter out of the envelope. The longer form allows for a traditional letter using direct mail best practices along with extra real estate for a branded or promotional panel.

  • Unique folded letter peeks a large headline at the top
  • 14” long form for additional real estate
  • Tip on card for a tactile feel
  • 6” x 9” envelope stands out in the mailbox
  • Options: Fold style can be incorporated on other size formats

Watch the short video below to see the peek fold format in action!

For more inspiration, check out our other format ideas, including a double gate mailer, iron cross mailer, and 5 panel rollfold mailer.

Bio: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

How To Build an Effective Direct Marketing Strategy

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

How many times have we in business or marketing heard the word “strategy?” or “strategic?” or “strategic direction?”  It’s one of those common business buzzwords that we hear all the time, but when it comes to direct marketing, what does “strategy” really mean? Merriam-Webster offers up several definitions of “strategy,” but the one I think is most relevant to direct marketing is “The art of devising or employing plans towards a goal.” After all, successful direct marketing strategy requires effective planning – putting the components of a winning program together.

From Our Perspective, What is Strategy?  

Nahan provides Strategic Planning, which is most simply about enabling clients to achieve their direct marketing goals.  This means improving direct mail gross response, while lowering cost without corresponding drops in response. This can be a challenge, as adding package components, increasing package size or paper quality will often lift response, but add cost. Ultimately, improving upon both response and cost leads to an improved cost per acquisition and superior return on marketing investment. So how do we do this?

A Step by Step, Rigorous Approach Gets Results

We recommend initially approaching this from a macro level. Who will we target and why? If we are focusing on direct mail, what kind of package format is needed? What does our creative and messaging need to look like? What are our target metrics?

The answers to these questions can be found in a step-by-step approach to direct marketing performance improvement. We suggest beginning with a marketing assessment to best understand everything that has been done in the past, from creative, targeting, cadence and offers to the competitive landscape.

Based on our knowledge of data and analytics and an analysis of the marketer’s data, we will likely propose specific types of data and the right predictive analytic tools for data testing. On the creative side, although budget is usually a factor, when we can test more than one creative, we create more opportunities for success.

Finally, based on what we see in the data and from our knowledge of direct mail creative best practices, we design the creative, with the target audience in mind. The data analysis tells us quite a bit about our prospects. We develop messaging, the package design, articulate the offer, supporting benefits and Call to Action.

How Strategy is Rolled Out Against Data, Analytics, and Creative

The available universe is determined. Because we take a “test and learn” approach, a test plan that minimizes risk while testing creative, data, and analytics is developed. When results come back, we measure them and make recommendations for further improvements in targeting and creative. Feeling more comfortable in what works, we can invest more dollars in reaching more people, often expanding to an omnichannel campaign, particularly where we can simultaneously target the same direct mail recipients with online campaigns, can substantially lift results further.

A subsequent results analysis leads to additional improvement – ideally, a never-ending improvement process. Which is necessary, given that costs like paper and postage are always rising!

The Results

We can almost always improve response through our knowledge of what creative and data works, creative and data testing, and predictive analytics. We can also test less expensive materials to bring down package costs. When we work these “levers” in the right way, cost per acquisition drops.

Questions To Ask Yourself and Your Team

What are your acquisition goals for the year? Where do you think your program is working and where might improvement be needed? Are you testing creative and data on a regular basis? Do you rotate your creative to keep it fresh and performance up? If you would like to achieve better results or simply discuss your challenges and receive suggestions, give us a call.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Direct Mail Design Best Practices: Personalization Matters

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Designers of all mediums have best practices they follow when creating their best product and direct mail designers are no different. One of the most important best practices in direct mail design is using personalization and using it well.

Direct mail personalization has come a long way from just using the recipient’s name and address. Digital print technology and highly targeted data has allowed marketers to personalize direct mail design in creative ways. Personalization is proven to drive better response rates and who doesn’t want that?!  

Ways to get personal…

Imagery

Images can be personalized based on segmentation data, business vertical type, location, and more. Visuals the recipient can relate to can be very powerful.

Offers

Targeting offers to a recipient’s consumer history or specific needs are more likely to get response from your direct mail. Response rates can increase up to 50% or more when targeting consumers on a 1:1 level. (thedma.org)

Geo-Targeting

One of the easiest ways to personalize and get impact is the use of maps and locations within the direct mail design and copy. This is also information that is part of the basic data—it can simply be pulled from the address block.  

Copy

The words you use can be personalized in so many ways. Using the recipient’s name, address, consumer history, business type, etc. in thoughtful ways within the copy can entice the reader and increase response. According to the ANA (formerly DMA) simply adding a person’s name can increase response by 135%!

Forms

If your direct mail format includes a form or response device, prefill out the form with the recipient’s data to make responding easier.

These are just 5 ways to use personalization within direct mail design but digital print technology has opened the door to so much more.

Check out this example of a mailer that was designed to contain 57 variable pieces of data and photos, resulting in increased engagement and a higher ROI per piece vs. previous direct mailers! Contact Us to see how we can help you effectively use personalization in your next mailing.

This is part of our Design Best Practices Blog Series. Look for more best practices in future blog posts.

BIO: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

Expanding Our Portfolio of Services – Introducing Marketing Services

Author: Alan Sherman

For almost 60 years, Nahan has been known for an emphasis on high quality production, distribution, and design. Our clients are a blue-chip group of direct mail and catalog marketers.

In a marketing climate that is increasingly competitive and further challenged by a global pandemic, we are building upon our success and offering clients a true end-to-end omnichannel marketing solution, driven by a team of experts across strategy, data, and creative.

Crafting a Solution Around What Works

In doing so, we are positioning our marketing services around what drives client success. In direct mail, response is driven by 3 top-line components: the data, creative, and the offer. Supporting and “orchestrating” all of this is the strategy, with an overall plan of action that often optimizes all three of these elements for best results.

Targeting Crucial for Success

Research indicates that the right data or list, is the single most important factor in prospect or customer response. An investment in direct mail is wasted against the wrong audience. Proper data selection, whether it is a targeted list selection or through the application of predictive analytics, is essential for success.  We can drive enhanced performance via additional, proven sources often priced at levels that clients cannot obtain on their own.

Creative Designed Specifically to Drive Response

Our skilled and experienced team is highly focused on applying a series of creative best practices that get respondents to take action. High performance creative is much more than small, iterative changes to an existing creative control. It means re-tooled responsive design, copy and often the introduction of new direct mail formats. This is where the big gains in response are realized.  Depending on the client, it may mean development of a rotation of creative controls, especially when targeting an audience more than once.

Hooking Them With a Well-Written and Properly Located Offer

The creative offer is what hooks potential customers. Offers themselves may sometimes be limited by what a client is able to provide, but how they are presented, messaged and supported by benefits is key to response success. A well-constructed offer with supporting benefits is compelling, hooks the reader, establishes credibility, reverses perceived risk, and includes a strong, urgent call to action.

Tying It All Together with Strategy

Well-developed strategy effectively brings these key components together. It may include analyzing past performance, scoping and ranking the right universe, putting an A/B or multivariate test plan together, providing guidance on the campaign, measuring the results and then applying the learning for continued, ongoing performance improvement. This may mean expanding the marketing plan, utilizing various approaches to reach the same people with multiple contacts across additional, integrated marketing channels. We have long known that omnichannel programs perform best.

An End-to-End Solution Makes for Cost Efficiencies and Higher ROI

Pairing some or all of your direct marketing efforts with high-quality production and smart postal strategies produces cost and time efficiencies, which leads to greater Return on Investment. We are already hard at work helping clients achieve better results for 2021 and are eager to help you be successful as well! Please reach out to me at alan.sherman@nahan.com if you would like to learn more about our marketing services.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Success Story: Creating an Award-Winning Catalog for the U.S. Market

Author: Melissa Fransen

Creating an award-winning catalog is one thing. Having the first catalog you produce for the U.S. market as an international brand win a Gold Ink Award, one of the industry’s most prestigious awards… that is in a class of its own!

At Nahan, we feel honored and privileged to have been a part of this success with our customer TriSyle Group and their Madeleine catalog. I had the privilege to chat with Niels Degen and Rob McMahon of TriSyle Group to learn more about their catalog creation and their success story with launching the Madeleine brand in the U.S.

Madeleine’s Award-Winning Catalog

Background

The Madeleine brand is a very strong fashion brand internationally. As a part of their strategic growth initiatives, TriStyle Group decided to launch this brand into the U.S. with a catalog pilot test program.   

The pilot program consisted of two distributions of 100,000 catalogs each. Everything was planned very carefully for the entire pilot program and then something happened in the world that shook all of us – the pandemic started the same week as their first catalog dropped! Scary? Yes! But, I’m happy to report that all went well. In fact, the catalog performed 10% better than planned; moreover, was 6% more profitable!

“At TriStyle, we are very happy with our first steps into the US market and are looking forward to our future journey.”

Niels Degen, TriStyle

And even better news… the second campaign came in with even better results than the first one!

Creating an Award-Winning Catalog in the U.S.

When creating a catalog for the U.S. market, there are many things to consider from SKU assortments that appeal to the U.S. fashion market to U.S. paper selection to the size of the catalog itself to ensure it is spec’d to co-mail efficient sizes.

Rob walked me through the process of creating the catalog pilot program and how Kelly Marthaler, our Nahan Sales Representative, flew to London to review the details and to strategize on a successful catalog brand launch in the U.S. Every aspect of the project was planned carefully and strategically. One of the ideas that came from the meeting was a “mini catalog” within the catalog itself that featured a range of their hottest selling products featured at special pricing. The mini catalog featured a thicker paper stock than the rest of the catalog to help it stand out. The catalog also featured a few variable special offers, specific to each customer from “free shipping & returns” to “$25 off and a free gift scarf.”

All of these details and more contributed to this successful Gold Ink Award win. Winning pieces for Gold Ink Awards are chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect.

Follow Up to the Test Pilot

Due to the success of the pilot program, TriStyle Group has expanded their print marketing efforts to include follow-up catalog strategies and self-mailers.  

“I’d like to personally congratulate TriStyle Group’s team on putting together an award-winning catalog! Well done! And thanks for choosing Nahan as your partner for this project. We are very happy for you and your success!”

Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

Interested in Learning More About Launching a U.S. Catalog Program for your International Brand?

If you are in interested in learning more about our marketing services, let us know! Feel free to contact us today! Plus, check out the Madeleine website at the following link: https://www.madeleine.com/

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Do You Want to Get to Market Quickly? Consider a 5 Panel Rollfold Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to market recovery plan mailings, a 5 panel rollfold mailer is a great option. A lot of our customers are finding this to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Size is shown as 5″ x 7.” Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Rollfold is option is great for telling a story
  • 5″ x 7″ and 6″ x 9″ folding sizes. 5″ x 7″ offers excellent paper cost efficiency
  • Can attach a static or personalized card
  • Inline 1:1 personalized 600 X 1200 (high resolution) inkjetting for address and other panels
  • Produced in one-pass – printing, folding, gluing, inkjetting in one single pass through our press
  • Glues closed – no wafer seals or tabs needed
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks
  • Options: tipped cards added to panels, perfing, and adding an outer envelope

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Do You Want to Get to Market Quickly? Consider a Double Gate Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to Holiday mailings, a double gate mailer is a great option. A lot of our customers are finding this to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Size as shown is 6″ x 9.” Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Expanded selling space
  • Large, visual impact
  • Can be expanded to 6″ x 10.5″
  • Can attach a static or personalized card
  • Inline 1:1 personalized 600 X 1200 (high resolution) inkjetting for address and other panels
  • Produced in one-pass – printing, folding, gluing, inkjetting in one single pass through our press
  • Glues closed – no wafer seals or tabs needed
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks
  • Options: tipped cards added to panels, perfing, and adding an outer envelope

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Get to Know Nahan’s Marketing Manager: A Q/A Session with Melissa Fransen

Author: Tracy Tougas, Account Executive

Keeping Nahan’s name and quality reputation popping up on Social Media, planning events, creating eye-catching and poignant external marketing materials, and helping to retain Nahan employees is just part of the short list of what Melissa Fransen does here at Nahan. She is a burst of positivity and is always working two steps ahead. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Melissa and thought you would all enjoy getting to know her a bit too!

Marketing Extraordinaire

Melissa, why did you choose the marketing field?

I love to think differently. I love to create. I love to push boundaries and drive results. That is what I love about marketing and why I chose the career.

What is your favorite part about working at Nahan?

I can’t pick just one. First, and foremost, I love the people. The people at Nahan are truly outstanding and I’m thankful to be surrounded by great co-workers.

Secondly, since I love marketing, there is just something about seeing something come to life. Seeing a brand’s artwork go from a design to a beautifully crafted tangible marketing piece is something truly awesome. Day in and out I get to see what goes through the doors at Nahan, and it’s really something! I’m blown away with what we do. (Interested in seeing some of our work? Request a sample pack).

Tell us about one of your favorite Nahan capabilities?

I’m truly amazed at the capabilities of Variable Data Printing. I’ve been in the marketing field my entire career and before starting at Nahan a little over three years ago, to be honest, I didn’t know that technology like VDP even existed in print technology. It’s amazing how the power of data can be utilized to create a truly customized marketing piece. Instead of doing a campaign of 50,000 of the same exact artwork to 50,000 customers, you can do 50,000 customized unique pieces to 50,000 people and each one will be customized to that specific individual. I love data and the technology component of VDP. API integrations, CRM systems, and custom marketing programs get me excited since there is so much potential with it! 

Melissa Fransen with her husband.

What is the favorite project that you’d worked with in the last year?

I’d say it was our website launch.  We launched our new website in Sept. of last year and as anyone in the marketing field knows, it’s A LOT of fun and it is A LOT of work. I’m really proud of what the team accomplished and we worked with a fantastic partner to bring our vision to life! It was also really fun to discover some really amazing talent we have on our team from awesome photographers to fantastic writers and editors that are contributing to our blog. Check out our website!

On which social media platforms does Nahan appear?

We are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow us to stay in touch!

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time in the outdoors! I like to fish with my husband Mark and we spend a lot of time with family and friends. We have large extended families and live an active life and I’m very thankful for that! There is always something or someone to celebrate. I enjoy traveling. I also like to play the piano and have played since I was six years old. I’ve really been enjoying teaching a few students of my own. With more time at home with the pandemic, I’ve been enjoying reading (which I haven’t done in a while), gardening, and planting flowers.

Melissa Fransen
Melissa Fransen with one of her great catches.

How has COVID-19 changed your role and the marketing Nahan is doing?

Over the past several years, we’ve had a big presence with conferences. Most of our largest conferences have been canceled and we’ll be participating in our first virtual conference this Fall. So, that has changed for us. Our social media presence has been growing, along with our followership, so we’ve been staying very active on our social media pages. We’ve ramped up our direct mail efforts since we are in the industry and we know it drives results. We’ve also kicked off an eNewsletter so we can stay in close contact with customers, job seekers, and more. Since we aren’t having client visits, doing in-person job fairs, and more, this helps us stay connected. (Interested in signing up for the eNewsletter? Sign up below in the footer of our web page).

Tell me something recent that you are proud of…

In 2019, I became a certified Social Media Strategist (SMS) with the NISM. I’m working on my CEU credits currently to keep up with my certification. With the marketing industry constantly changing, I think it’s important to continuously learn so I can stay at the top of my game. In the last 5 years, I’ve obtained this SMS certification and five HubSpot certifications.

I also enjoy volunteering and making others smile. I’ve participated in several volunteer activities over the last couple of years, including United Way volunteer events. Some of my favorites have included writing thank you letters to Veterans, an activity day at a local Nursing Home, and making tie-blankets for babies in the NICU.

Author: Tracy Tougas

Tracy works at Nahan as an Accounting Executive partnering with our National Sales Reps to build customer relationships and meet customer needs. She has been at Nahan 12+ years and another 2 back in the 90’s. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, gardening, hiking, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Build a Dynamic Plan for Direct Mail

Are you familiar with the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing? It states 40% of your campaign’s success is the result of list selection, 40% is because of your offer and 20% is based on creative. But what does that mean, exactly? Let’s break it down with some quick tips you’ll want to keep in mind for your next campaign.

Know Who You’re Talking To

Owning the right list is vital whether you’re trying to grow your audience, communicate with current customers or reach prospects you already know. Knowing your market allows you to nail down the tactics. You don’t talk to car salesman the same say you speak to the neighbor kid at her lemonade stand, so why waste words with a blanket message? Secure engagement and responses by tailoring your advert to interests, location and purchase history.

Seal the Deal

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to reel them in with a killer call to action. The second 40% is all about getting the reader to do something. Which sounds obvious, but you’d be shocked by how many mailers don’t inspire clear action. Do you want them to complete a survey? How about redeem a coupon? Lead the reader towards your goal with action verbs and explicit, easy-to-follow instructions. Don’t waste time and money on bland, generic messaging.

Get Creative

Creative may only be 20% of the rule, but it’s the cherry on top of your ROI-driving sundae. Think outside the box to boost your open rates and catch scanning eyes. One tip: make your mail lumpy. Including any item thicker than the envelope it comes in piques the reader’s interest and turns your ad into a prize. After all, who doesn’t love getting a gift? Find out more about effective creative on our blog about direct mail personalization.

See some examples of the 40/40/20 rule in action on our work samples page. Can you pick out the audience? Is the call to action clear? Are you attracted to the creative? Put these rules into practice and you’ll be a direct mail master in no time. Check out our marketing services page for more on how we can help you get started.