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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - “Marketing Home Runs from 1st Half - 2018”

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Marketing Home Runs from 1st Half - 2018” highlights some of the top marketing trends that have come to light in the first half of 2018. We are now officially operating in the last half of 2018 and businesses should be taking advantage of both current trends, as well as, trends that are developing and expected to impact 2019.

Marketing trends in and of themselves are a far cry from establishing company strategies, but nonetheless serve as a window of what’s actually driving revenue and how to take advantage of consumer interests based on the latest trends. To that end, the more actionable information available for organizations to make informed strategic marketing decisions, the higher the probability for successful outcomes.

For those of you who celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, we at Dove Direct would like to take this moment to thank our readers and wish all a safe, happy and exciting Fourth of July celebration!

The following excerpts are taken from a selection of posts created during the first half of 2018. We've pulled, what we believe, to be the most valuable highlights and we trust that you will find the review invaluable as well. So let's get started.

Direct Mail Resurgence

Direct mail has seen a resurgence in recent years and the marketing trends indicate that using direct mail in any marketing initiative is a must-have and a difference maker. Here are a few points that we want to reiterate about direct mail:

  • Craig Elbert, Bonobos vice president of marketing stated that 20% of the brand’s first time website visitors place orders after receiving a catalog and spend one and a half times as much as other new customers who failed to receive a catalog prior to making a purchase.
  • Print’s ability to produce personalization, environmental targeting and tactical rendering represents a specific dominance above digital. In fact, when print is used to send valued targets to online destinations, the results have shown measurable upticks in response rates, and ultimately conversion rates.
  • Print’s direct mail marketing continues to be an impactful and powerful marketing medium. As of 2016, DMA reports that customer response rates increased a whopping 43% year-over-year!
  • The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than the time it takes the brain to decode text. Therefore, stories that can impact people with graphics and pictures is a must-have.
  • Millennials respond to direct mail over email, with 82% stating they would engage with retail print literature.
  • Response rates doubled for ages 18-21 in 2016 according to the USPS Household Diary Study.


We’ve now graduated from ad tech to martech, which is the buzzword that now represents marketing technology, or better yet, the intersection where marketing meets technology and they proceed to stroll down the proverbial marketing road, hand in hand, offering a better marketing solution experience in a digital world.

Morgan Stanely’s 2016 "Software Eating the CMO Suite" report uncovered five technology implementation challenges marketers are facing by percentages:

  1. 39% - Complexity of technology integrations
  2. 30% - Reliance on legacy systems
  3. 30% - Inadequate budget/cost to implement
  4. 30% - Inadequate resources/time to implement
  5. 26% - Inadequate executive understanding/ownership

In looking at technology implementation from yet another perspective, Steve Nakata of the Pedowitz Group states, “Marketers must know what they actually have and how well it’s integrated with the rest of the different areas of the organization before they go out and start looking for new technology to bring into the house.”

Cultural Branding And Brand Spam

As crowd-culture is maturing into many sub-cultures, Douglas Holt, president of the Cultural Strategy Group now sees the strategy for reaching these groups to be ‘cultural branding.’ Recent studies and reports have determined that consumers show minimal interest in branded content, hence the term, ‘brand spam’ enters the marketing conversation fray. Further, Facebook and others have deemed that ‘brand spam’ also viewed as clutter, is the primary reason why companies are being charged for sponsor positions being fed into user feeds, the same feeds of folks who are supposed to be supporters of the brand.

Branding in the digital age comes with a variety of techniques, including some which are considered old-school tactics. Uncovering the mindsets of crowdsources and their respective sub-sets is the key to being able to position one’s brand correctly with those consumers. In addition, branding in the digital age actually focuses on a new term, that being ‘cultural branding.’ Think about that for a moment. If you are electing to promote a novel, authentic ideology gleaned from a crowdsource, then in effect you are actually in the process of cultural branding.

Mobile Usage and the Wrike Report

The Wrike's (software provider) December 2015 survey produced even more supporting data that mobile usage among U.S. professionals was beginning to rise. This consequential data outcome pointed to a trend that U.S. professionals were not only using mobile in greater numbers for business activities, but were also using mobile devices for business-related content for educational purposes. Some interesting data highlights from the Wrike report include:

  • 63% of respondents indicated they used their mobile device (phone or tablet) for work more than in the previous year
  • 44% of respondents looked at their mobile device in excess of 20 times per day for work related content
  • 25% of respondents looked at their mobile device from 11 to 20 times per day for work related content
  • 68% of respondents indicated they used their mobile device (phone or tablet) for news related to their industry or business
  • 66% of respondents used specialized apps related to work
  • 56% viewed video content or webinars

Adding Promotions to Existing Transactional Documents

The beauty of using transpromo marketing concepts has a number of advantages. In fact, promoting marketing messages using transaction-related documents rises above the advantages of most other promotions. These are just a few of the advantages:

  • Billers are able to track promotion activities.
  • This detailed tracking and reporting method provides insightful, measurable customer behaviors based on revenue generation.
  • Transactional documents are in essence a statement-based marketing effort. It’s effectiveness is directly proportional to the customized messages that can be generated automatically by the transactional data residing within the document itself. It can be personalized according to customer demographics, business drivers and marketing criteria.
  • Transpromo documents are also able to be segmented by specified customer data, i.e., demographics, business drivers and other marketing criteria.
  • Bills and financial statements receive higher engagement rates over any other form of communication including television advertisements.
  • In addition, marketing initiatives present in these types of emails and documents produce higher click and conversion rates.

Developing Compelling B2B Trademark Stories

One of the most effective ways to refresh the brand is to provide new visibility and energy with the introduction of new trademark stories. Similar to marketing campaign strategies, where frequency is the determining factor associated with creating mindshare, or brand retention, multiple stories can provide depth, texture and breadth for the brand image.

It is without a doubt a challenging proposition for a brand’s marketing message to include all the various facets and brand depth to be included across multiple storylines. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid staff concerns with being able to successfully manage them. In lieu of story management concerns, the following short list should help with those issues:

  • Design a story bank repository where locating stories is an efficient process
  • Prioritize the leading, introductory stories that contain the most intrigue and drama that convey the most relevant strategic messages
  • Make it a directive to remove stories that fail to break through the clutter, including ones where the impact is waning
  • Lead stories can be reignited by trademark stories that provide a fresh look or perspective, and thus linking them to add more relevance and newness
  • Design composite stories that combine the experiences of several successful case studies, mostly based on customer testimonials

B2B Content Marketing is Growing Up

The following numbers demonstrate what the report uncovered regarding content type usage by the B2B marketing community. These marketing medium tools represent the direction of what most successful B2B marketers are using. By the numbers these are the top 6 growth areas that B2B marketers are committed to:

  • 94% of B2B marketers have reported using Social Media Posts, (excluding videos, tweets and pins).
  • 73% of B2B marketers reported that Case Studies are a major segment used within their B2B content marketing strategies.
  • 72% of B2B marketers reported that pre-produced videos are one of their top 6 content marketing types used in their campaigns.
  • 71% of B2B marketers reported wide usage and development of eBooks and White Papers as part of their B2B content marketing mix.
  • 65% of B2B marketers are dedicated to incorporating infographic creation and design into their content marketing mix.
  • 56% of B2B marketers have reported utilizing illustrations and photos in their marketing mix

Content Marketing Commitment

A report conducted by the Content Marketing Institute along with MarketingProfs, demonstrated that going forward, 80% of B2B marketers are going to focus on growing their audiences. The survey included 870 North American B2B marketers inclusive of various company sizes and industry sectors. Which leads to this excerpt on Content Marketing Ratings Year Over Year:

B2B Content Marketing Successes

The following percentages highlight what the Content Marketing Institute's report uncovered regarding content successes submitted by the B2B marketing community. These success percentages represent the how successful B2B marketers are rating their content usage. The report did query how B2B marketers rate the success of their organization’s overall content marketing approach:

  • 4% reported ‘extremely successful’
  • 20% reported ‘very successful’
  • 53% reported ‘moderately successful’
  • 21% reported ‘minimally successful’
  • 2% reported ‘not at all successful.’

Improving Market Share

B2C and B2B sectors are moving toward human to human targeting in the personalization marketing game, and to that end, all of the above excerpts form a roadmap of sorts to building personalization strategies for marketing initiatives across the board. These aforementioned marketing trend excerpts should greatly aid any brand’s quest for improving ROI for the remainder of 2018.

The Net-Net

Marketing techniques and strategies are changing and refocusing due to the Internet of Things, and most importantly, the offshoot of advanced technologies that allow consumer to consumer to brand and back conversations. Brands that fail to adopt any of these 2018 marketing trends are only asking for an unhappy ending. Hit a Home Run with Happy Strategic 2018 Marketing Trend Development!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, July 26th, 2018, anytime between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com