The Role of “Lumpy Mail” in B2B Digital Direct Marketing

February 27, 2014

How a Direct Mail technique can get a digital response


Every successful Direct Mail Marketer knows that “lumpy mail” doubles the response of “flat mail”. Lumpy mail is anything with more volume, larger dimensions, weight, texture or bumps than normal mail. It might even make noise when shaken.

Successful B2B Direct Mail Campaign for WYANDOT Inc.

Lumpy mail gets better results because it peaks curiosity. What could be inside? Is it a gift? Most recipients will open lumpy mail, because they just have to know.

I would argue that this technique could be just as useful in the digital arena. To me there is no difference between offering a small gift or surprise in an envelope or offering it by Email. The trick is to be creative about how you package and deliver your content.

Here are the 3 things you should do to get results from Lumpy Emails:

Offer a Surprise

In Digital Direct Marketing, Email is the closest thing to mailing a letter to someone’s house, and your subject line is the envelope. Don’t waste those few precious words telling the reader about your brand. Instead, entice your customers with the promise of a gift or the ability to do something fun. Remember the “Elf Yourself” campaign OfficeMax launched in 2006? Imagine emailing a customer to invite them to elf themselves. That’s pretty lumpy Email, if you ask me. Try to think of something similar that reflects your brand or current campaign.

Keep it Light

You’ve gotten your customer to open your lumpy Email. Now what? You don’t want to lose them by switching into sales mode. Keep it light and give them what you promised. Whether it’s a silly online game, the ability to create an avatar or a link to a funny YouTube video, make sure what’s inside is as funny or interesting as they expect. Ideally, tie it back into your brand. The idea is to sponsor a little bit of fun in exchange for their attention. Once you’ve delivered that fun, they will be more open to your call to action.

Ask for What You Want

Like any marketing campaign, decide what you want the customer to do and deliver that message last. If you want them to call your office, take your call, visit a website, or provide personal information, make it crystal clear. You gave them something, so they will be more likely to return the favor.

Have you ever sent something you considered to be Lumpy Email? Was it successful? Share your comments and stories with me by emailing I’ll share your responses in a future post.

Marketing Made in USA Products to Baby Boomers

September 6, 2013

3 reasons your American-made brand should target the “me” generation



Baby Boomers are more interested than ever before in buying Made in the USA products. That may be a large part of why the American-made movement has grown so quickly in recent years. If you are marketing a Made in the USA product, be sure you are taking the time to understand the motivations of your largest market. Here are 3 reasons why:

They Have the Buying Power

Baby Boomers are the largest consumer group in America. Even in a recession, they still account for a whopping 40% of total consumer demand. Boomers control 70% of the total net worth of American households, own 80% of all money in savings and loan associations, and spend more money disproportionately to their numbers.

They Actively Seek Out American-Made

An April 2012 Gallup poll revealed that baby boomers are much more likely to buy American-made products than their younger counterparts. The survey polled more than 1,000 adults and found that 53% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 seek out products made in America when shopping. Conversely, only about 20% of shoppers under 30 actively shop for Made in the USA products. Baby Boomers are reaching out with open arms to embrace the Made in America movement. Be sure your brand is reaching back.

They are Conscientious Consumers

Baby Boomers have a long, proud history of being cause-conscious, and they vote with their wallets. To them, buying American is no longer just about blind patriotism. It is a socially conscious choice that helps keep jobs in our country, stimulates our economy, and lets corporations know that they will not stand for the pollution, human rights abuses and poor quality that foreign manufacturers accept as part of trade. I even found a baby boomer advocacy website that sums up all of the reasons why socially conscious boomers are buying American:

It’s worth checking out, because these are also great selling points for your American-made product.

Baby Boomers as a group are loyal to buying American-made products, and they have the money to back it up. If you are marketing a Made in the USA brand, and you don’t already have a fully integrated strategy for reaching this target market, I hope I have convinced you that it is time.

Questions or comments? I’d like to hear what you think. Contact me at

Marketing Made in the USA Products Regains Popularity

August 20, 2013

5 reasons “American-made” resonates with consumers

Over the last two decades, Americans have had little interest in USA made products. Almost everything Americans were buying (includimarketingmadeintheUSAbrandsng the little flags we waved on the 4th of July) was cheaply produced in foreign countries like Taiwan and China, and the trade deficit continued to grow. Luckily, that is beginning to change, as American-made products are suddenly regaining popularity and driving sales. And it’s not just about sentimental patriotism anymore. Here are 5 reasons today’s consumers are looking to buy products that are made in the USA:

Job Creation

According to a Boston Consulting Group survey released in November 2012, over 80% of Americans say they are willing to pay more for Made in the USA products. 93% sited wanting to keep jobs in the USA as the main reason. It’s not hard to understand that after years in a recession and rampant unemployment, Americans are starting to feel the consequences of importing more than we export. Now Americans are voting with their wallets and making smarter buying decisions in order to tip the scales back in our favor.

The Environment

Many consumers take an interest in simplifying the supply chain, reducing our carbon footprint, and protecting the environment. For this reason, locally sourced products very popular. In a global economy, American-made is the equivalent of locally sourced, and consumers feel good knowing products are made “in their own backyards.” More importantly, America has stricter environmental laws than countries like China where there are unacceptable levels of pollution levels from manufacturing plants. That makes buying American an easy choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Human Rights

The same consumers that are concerned about the environment are also concerned about protecting human resources. They understand that many countries exploit their own people, including children, to make a profit.  When consumers buy American, they can be more certain that proper labor and fair trade laws have been followed.

 Better Safety Standards

Some foreign countries do not set even minimum safety standards for the products they manufacture. For example, China ships tens of thousands of toys that contain poisonous lead paint to the US every year.  When consumers buy American, they have more peace of mind knowing that standards are in place to protect them.

Higher Quality

Many consumers have finally grown tired of cheaply made foreign goods, and they are willing to pay a premium for quality, American-made products. When marketing Made in the USA products, a focus on traditional craftsmanship and quality is key.

As you can see, the new Made in the USA market is more sophisticated, informed and socially conscious than ever before. To drive sales, you’ll want to ditch the old approach of appealing to patriotism and spend more time providing quality information about your manufacturing processes, company heritage and high standards.

For more information about marketing American-made products, contact

Use Video for Integrating Your Digital Advertising and Marketing Communications

January 31, 2013


Remember story time? The late night bed time reading that kept you alert before sleep or the engaging class room story with picture books and sound effects made by your teacher. The years have faded away since then but the stories live on. That’s our goal at Clay Creative…to tell the story of your brand to make an ever lasting impression on your audience.

film_countdown_postcard-p239939635109173100envli_400The great part of this business is that story time never ends and it’s our job to keep your audience turning the pages inside the book we call your brand.

Chapter 1: Why use video to tell the story of your brand?

Integrating video into your online marketing efforts is vital for your growing business. Todays generation is driven by an urge to express their interests, hobbies and point of view and social media is the vehicle for most of this expression. Words are the ultimate force behind conversation but photos and videos are taking their place and are becoming much more search engine friendly.

  • Video helps your customers relate to you on a more personal level
  • Video connects with people on a deeper level: The audio and visual representation of your products and services will make stronger connections than wordy descriptions or pictures.
  • It is more common for search engines to pick up on key words in your video and this results in higher SEO rankings.

Chapter 2: Tell stories with videos to make life easier for your audience.

Prospective customers tend to know very little about you and have come to your site to learn how you can help them. They are strapped for time so you must make their navigation experience as easy as possible. Videos can accomplish what paragraphs of text can in 2 minutes or less.

  • Your video must provide value to the viewer and the best way to do this is to teach them something new. 
  • Create FAQ videos to answer the most commonly asked question about your products and services. For example, if you are a bakery, you may record an answer on “The best cakes to bake for catering to large parties or events”.
  • Record a video on how to best use your product or service or to highlight product benefits. Apple consistently uses video to tell the story for every new product release and it works by engaging the viewer and alluring them to the bells and whistles of their latest technology.
  • Pick a focus for your video and do not try to explain 15 things in 60 seconds.

Chapter 3: How to differentiate content for B2B and B2C

The content and strategy of your video must be tailored to your audience and this depends on whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers. The key point to acknowledge is that businesses are people too. Remember businesses that market to other businesses are relationship driver and businesses that market to consumers are product driven. Here is a list to understand the video content you should use depending on your audience.

  • B2B videos should outline your company objectives, mission statement and history.
  • Focus on product attributes and services for your B2C videos.
  • B2C marketing is usually more products driven so focus on appealing to the emotional side of the consumer.
  • B2B sales are usually longer cycle sales so it’s important to be in-depth in describing your company’s core attributes and success stories.

Use video to tell the story of your brand and highlight your products and services but remember to use the visual medium with a mixture of all types of media. Pictures and shared content can be used to support your video. Our brains are hardwired to make a story out of all of the information we consume so give your audience a reason to connect with you on an emotional level. With content sharing at its highest peak companies must embrace visual story telling through media. Recent research from ROI shows that 44% percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures and videos.

Please take our short poll:

3 Tips On How To Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

January 3, 2013


The rapid emergence of social media networks and tools in the last five years signifies the need to enhance the sharing of information for both personal use and branding. There have been many social apps that have failed to impact the social media world and we can argue that it’s a result of not carving out a major niche.


Look no further than Instagram for quick mobile photo editing and sharing (aka combining the digital camera with the smart phone to bring out the professional photographer in all of us), Twitter for allowing us to communicate with short phrases during an era of information overload and Facebook for becoming our online social diaries and connecting us to our friends and family.

The major theme carried throughout every social media tool is ‘sharing’ but each tool/network emphasizes a particular niche to separate itself from the rest. Before LinkedIn, an online social network for professional use did not exist. Founded a year before Facebook in 2003, LinkedIn has become the most popular social media distribution channel and more marketers are using this media channel for content distribution, according to recent findings from the Social Media Examiner.

Here are 3 ways your business can use LinkedIn to turn connections into leads:

1. Create a clean, concise and easy to navigate profile

Your LinkedIn URL should be customized to strengthen branding and make more searchable. With your name in the URL, it is more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name because search engines look for relevant keywords in the URL. To convert your random digitized URL into a personal link of your company name:

  • Go to the “Settings” link at the very top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select the “Public Profile” link under the “Profile Settings” heading. Once selected you can now enter your new custom link.

Before developing your network and creating connections, be sure to optimize your profile to 100% completeness and link your business website to your LinkedIn profile and blog. Encourage every employee of your company to include a link on his/her LinkedIn profile to your business website.

Include your company’s most popular keyword phrases in your company’s personal profile. For example, if you are doing an online ad campaign, match the phrase of your ads to your company description profile to present a consistent image to any potential customers.

2. It’s All About The Groups: Join Them, Create Them and Promote Them

  1. Join groups comprising of likely suspects who can later be turned into prospects. Some groups may be closed off to the public; most will be open to all LinkedIn users.
  2. Create a group for your industry, not your company. People are more likely to join a group when it’s not simply for fans of your company. A group is no good without members so use these tips to promote your group within your LinkedIn network:
  • Invite coworkers, past colleagues, and customers to join and start discussions.
    Use your existing network to get your group started.
  • Promote your group on Facebook, Twitter and your company blog.
  • Include LinkedIn and your personal URL in all of your marketing efforts. The next time your company attends a conference, a good idea is to display a QR code to send spectators directly to your LinkedIn group page.

3. How To Make All Of Your Connections Count!

When your profile is complete and your connections are fastened its time to share your areas of expertise to generate queries from prospective clients. LinkedIn has become a major player among the content sharing social sites and you must use the share feature to educate and inform your connections. Share links to interesting articles, best practices and case studies that demonstrate your company expertise.

LinkedIn has increased the amount of channels to share information through and connect with thought leaders. The content shared on LinkedIn is more valuable than a “status update” and members are encouraged to keep content more professionally focused.

As a group leader for your company, take advantage of LinkedIn’s questions and answers. Ask good questions, ask for the opinions of others, provide your unique insight and feedback on as many discussions as you can and contribute content that creates conversations.

Forming connections on LinkedIn and expanding your professional network will help you navigate through job related roadblocks throughout your career and is the major benefit of Linked in for individual use but businesses are starting to see the value it provides for increasing brand awareness and generating new leads.

How To Integrate A Mobile Marketing Strategy

November 21, 2012


The mobile device is changing the way brands reach consumers and is challenging advertisers to interact with them in meaningful and engaging ways. The 3 best ways to integrate a mobile marketing strategy into your campaign are through QR codes, applications, and mobile advertisements, but before delivering your brands message to the small screen, you need to research your audience to make sure that going mobile will increase your return on investment.

Mobile consumers are always on the go and are a difficult target to zero in on. Chuck Martin wrote a book titled “The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile” and he tells the story of how mobile devices are changing consumer habits.

“The new wave of digital mobility is leading to what we call the untethered consumer. Untethered consumers are freed from the constraints of awaiting a broadcast message or any form of traditional online communication from a company. These post-PC consumers are on the move, and are willing and able to use their always on mobile technology to act and interact with each other and with providers of the products and services they seek out.”

Key findings from Pew Internet research on smart phone adoption and usage showed that 46% of American adults own smart phones. This is up from 35% in 2011. So how do we engage the untethered consumer on her daily journey through the android galaxy or iphone world?

Use QR codes to share your message and interact with your audience with useful information

The QR code is a fast way to bring your audience inside your brand without forcing content on anyone. The smart phone is a personal device and consumers want to have control over the information they read. Mobile consumers are more likely to scan a QR code than take a flyer about an event. Home depot uses QR codes on their plants and flowers. They lead people to pages full of information about how to take care of their plants.

Mobile applications must be designed with the end user in mind

As the mobile market grows, consumers will start to expect their favorite stores and brands to be in the app store just like they are on Facebook and Twitter. App development is a costly project and if you are serious about creating an app for your brand then you better make it stand out from your company website and be sure it offers something to your audience they can’t get anywhere else.

Ok. You just thought of a brilliant idea for an app. Now it’s time to answer these questions I’ve compiled from an article to help your decide whether an app is a good fit for your brand or not.

  • Do you have the time to do the care and feeding of a mobile app?

Maintaining an app is more time demanding than you think. Apps are not like microsites you can take down after a campaign. For an app to be successful it requires repeat visitors which means you must have time to refresh and develop new content. If you don’t, consider your app as scrap.

  • Are you trying to reach as many people as possible?

54% of Americans do not own a smart phone and will not be able to access your app. Do your research and determine how many of your customers are using these devices. Mobile apps require a strong understanding of your audience.

Create mobile advertisements that inform the viewer

“A movie is like a full-course meal, surfing the web is lunch, and mobile is snacking—constantly, constantly snacking,” Martin writes in The Third Screen. “Mobile content consumption is continuous, with no beginning, middle or end.”

Research indicates that mobile ads perform about five times better than Internet ads. When you engage your audience on their mobile device you are interrupting a text message, email or game so be quick with your ad and place it appropriately. To avoid your brand becoming a nuisance to a mobile users experience, create advertising that entertains or informs the viewer about your brand. It’s important to develop messages that consumers believe are fun.

How The Presidential Candidates Took Social Media Advertising To New Heights

November 7, 2012


The surge of social media has shifted the way information is delivered to the masses and this year’s presidential election represents the evolving phenomenon at its best.

Politicians got their start with social media in 2008 when Barack Obama joined Facebook and created an extensive amount of Twitter followers to announce his campaign. 2/3 of the Obama campaign donations were raised online while Twitter reported more than 20 million tweets on Election Day, making this years election the most tweeted about event in U.S history. Yes, even the president and Mitt Romney have Facebook accounts and there is no denying the momentum of social media. It’s a good idea when 88% of adult social media users are registered voters.

This year both candidates dove head first into social media and proved how this channel can reach a widespread audience. The social media interaction of Obamas campaign surpassed Romney’s and provided nearly four times as much content as the Romney campaign. Was this a result of social medias popularity among the tech savvy generation Y? Check out the new study.

Advertisers can learn from this years giant political campaigns that focused on 2 key factors of social media strategy: integration and personalized content.

Integrate your marketing message into each social media channel

-The key messages of Romney’s campaign were “A New Beginning” and “Commit to Mitt”. This message unified the voice of his supporters. A commit to Mitt Facebook app was developed and cleverly spread his message. The app showed you who of your friends lived in swing states then urged you to reach out and share your support with them.

-The videos of Obama were strategically organized over the course of the campaign. At first, Obamas website linked to his youtube channel but his videos were embedded into his site closer to the election. This was to filter the content and share only the videos Obama endorsed. The Obama campaign linked to 9 social media platforms, which may seem overwhelming to integrate into your social media strategy. They were Facebook, google+, Tumbler, Flickr, youtube, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter and Instagram. Remember the presidents target audience is roughly 300 million people. is about the tiniest URL you can get for a website. When you type it in your web browser, you are re-directed to his main campaign webpage. Why such a tiny URL? is a twitter tiny url. This url was brilliantly thought of to be used for the twitter campaign strategy. Twitter squashes down long URLs and provides a bunch of random characters too long for tweets, but easily fits into the 140 character limit.  Each time you saw a tweet with, you knew it pertained to the Romney campaign which is great for top of mind awareness.

Develop a company blog and content platform to share the story and core values of your business 

-The Obama website has a section of groups made up of supporters organizing the issues they care about. Each group contains videos and information related to Obamas support. The group titles are parents, catholics, sportsmen, small business owners, young Americans, women etc.. Categorizing support groups allowed people to relate to causes they care about and connect with citizens on a personal level.

-Blogs are a great way to express the core values of your company and they create relationships with your audience. Write on topics related to your industry to attract your target demographic. Consumers demand more information in this digital age to help them through their buying decisions or in this case (voting process). The Obama news blog kept all of his supporters informed at every step of the campaign by providing updates on his future agenda and political beliefs. When your brand promotes its’ products and services be sure to expand your reach and stand behind every claim, update your followers on a daily basis with engaging content and integrate your social media platforms.

Aside from your political stance, each campaign employed social media strategies that pushed the envelope of multi channel advertising far beyond the ordinary. Social media engagement is a critical component to influence consumers in the digital revolution.