The Long Withstanding Success of Doritos Super Bowl Commercials

              At first I thought maybe I was alone in associating Super Bowl commercials with the cheesy chips company.  So I did a test and asked my coworkers the question I already knew the answer to.  “What company do you most associate with Super Bowl commercials?”  The answer—unanimously—was “Doritos”.  What is it about Doritos’ marketing strategy that has proven so successful year after year on the biggest night of TV advertising in America?  I dug into this phenomena, did my research,  and watched WAY too many old Doritos commercials to find out. 

              The source of Doritos’ success is unsurprisingly its own consumers.  Doritos mission aims to “re-define culture and support those who are boldly themselves”.  Following this mission, for the 2007 Super Bowl, Doritos started their “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest which encouraged consumers to submit their own content to be featured in the Doritos’ commercial.  One of the first winners was the iconic Crystal Ball Super Bowl ad which featured an office worker who wished for free Doritos, proceeding to throw the “crystal ball” (a snow globe) at the vending machine and snatching the now free Doritos.  The insanely popular, fan-made ad placed #1 on the official USA Today Ad meter poll, winning the Super Bowl as far as ads were concerned. 

              The Crash the Super Bowl Contest went on for over 10 years until 2016, and it paved the way for user-generated content use in advertising.  In using UGC, Doritos changed the course of TV marketing, bringing it back to the consumers to produce real, authentic content that the average person could relate to.  The contest itself also did a great job generating hype for Doritos and the advertisements months before they even came out.  Each year, thousands of amateur film makers sent in contest submissions and thousands more online users generated organic buzz about the competition on social media platforms.  As a response, other big name brands like Ford Lincoln, Pepsi, and Newcastle Brown Ale created their own Super Bowl ads with UGC, following Doritos’ lead.  Truly, Doritos began a new era of television marketing.

              Doritos consistently produced hilarious content using its UGC method.  Some of my favorite Doritos Super Bowl Commercials included When Pigs Fly, about a boy who goes to great lengths to make a pig fly in order to secure a bag of Doritos.  Another great commercial was the Doritos Funeral commercial.  A man fakes his death so he can eat Doritos and watch the Super Bowl in peace until he falls out of the casket and is exposed.  These simple, out of the box commercial concepts created by Doritos consumers themselves continued to entertain Super Bowl viewers until 2016, when the company took a new turn in its marketing strategy. 

              Post 2016, Doritos kept up the pace by leaning into viral and influencer marketing tactics for their Super Bowl commercials.  In 2017, Doritos hit the ground running with a rap battle featuring iconic actors Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage.  Super Bowl commercials after featured performances from Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys and a dance showdown between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliot.  All these ads had one thing in common—the use of celebrities.  Celebrity features boost viral and influencer marketing, which occurs when consumers are encouraged to share information about goods or services via social media and the internet.  The use of celebrities in the Doritos commercials made them memorable and exciting, and as a result, millions of consumers talked about the ads online.  Doritos’ success comes from its ability to create, rather than follow, marketing trends. If Doritos continues this string of advertising commercial wins, they will achieve Super Bowl success for years to come!

By Marley Niesz

B2B Versus B2C Marketing

              You’ve heard of North Face, Under Armour, Amazon, and Facebook.  But have you heard of SnapCap, New Relic, BulkBookStore, or Mailchimp?  Maybe not, and there is a reason behind that.  The latter mentioned businesses all operate as a Business to Business (B2B) entity, while the first companies listed operate as Business to Consumer (B2C).  These terms are self-explanatory, as B2B companies sell to businesses and B2C companies sell to consumers.  B2C organizations are consumer-facing and their marketing strategy reflects this, whereas B2B marketing is anchored in identifying, growing, and maintaining relationships between businesses.  While the marketing strategies may vary, they both reflect the needs of the businesses and consumers they directly serve.

              In B2C marketing, the focus is typically on a large-scale market segment, with some B2C companies planning a more strategic and targeted smaller-scale audience approach.  B2B marketing tends to be more niche with advertising concentrated into a smaller customer segment and the main priority being lead generation to increase business.

              B2B marketing strategies are designed to drive long-term business.  As a result, the strategy concentrates on building personal relationships with businesses in the supply chain.  Because business-to-business interactions are often centered on problem-solving, most B2B marketing centers on providing solutions.  A B2B marketing plan first creates demand, followed by lead generation, and ultimately— customer retention.  In order to carry out this plan, a business should have a clear, focused website and other strong media content establishing a need for its goods or services as well as a presented solution. 

              Moreover, B2B marketers use industry terms in their copy to connect with business partners and establish credibility.  Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising is great for establishment as an industry leader.  However, the real power in B2B marketing is in creating affiliates and partnerships.  As stated before, the priority in B2B operations is relationship building, which is why partnerships and business affiliates are crucial.  Partnerships establish trust and a strong reputation for a business.  This creates long term relationships which are key in driving a business. 

              Unlike B2B, B2C marketing is more transactional in nature.  Because B2C organizations tend to target a much larger customer segment, they spend less time forming relationships with their customers and more time reaching the market as efficiently as possible.  Email marketing is very successful in B2C industries because it generates positive reviews and customer retention with loyalty programs and special deals.  Furthermore, branding is an essential priority in B2C marketing as it allows a company to carve out its place in its industry, create loyal customers, and increase buyer motivation.  Because of the disconnect between the customer and company in B2C, it is important for organizations to ensure a quality, lasting experience for the consumer.   

              Advertising is also enormously important in B2C marketing as an influence over consumers who have never-ending options in the market.  Marketers use focused keywords and clear messaging to achieve prominence on the internet, in the minds of consumers, and in the product market.  B2C advertising should be emotional and relatable in order to draw in customers and convert to real purchases.  Ultimately, B2C marketing relies on maximizing efficiency.    

              Conclusively, business organizations should evaluate their existing marketing strategies to align with the needs of the market and their end user. B2B companies should continue to focus on long-term relationship building, credibility, and establishment as an industry leader.  The B2C market will continue to see the necessity of efficiency, finding and connecting with customer segments, and maintaining a quality customer experience.  CCG’s creative agency, Digital Shuffle, works with B2B and B2C companies to refine their brand strategy and produce cutting-edge marketing tools.  Give us a call today! 

By Marley Niesz

Augmented Reality—The Future of Marketing!

              Do you remember the world-wide phenomenon and phone app Pokémon Go?  It felt like all children and adults alike were spending the entire day walking around with their phones to catch Pokémon.  Although the craze subsided, this app was one of the most widely known and utilized examples of augmented reality.  Augmented reality is computer-generated technology that adds to the reality you see.  In Pokémon Go, augmented reality is the visible Pokémon in your actual environment.  Augmented reality is different from virtual reality, which is a completely computer-generated environment.  Phones and tablets work well with augmented reality technology.  Another example of AR that users may be familiar with is Vito Technology’s Star Walk app.  This app enables users to point their phone camera to the sky and see the names of stars and planets reflected onto the image they see.  Although AR may seem like a thing of the future, it is here right now and consumers have already shown their enthusiasm for it!

              Today, more and more marketers are realizing that augmented reality is no longer reserved for tech companies and video games—it can be an incredibly engaging marketing tool as well.  In print, there are a number of exciting ways that marketers can deploy AR to create a higher than average engagement rate.  Take a direct mail package, for example.  How exciting would it be to receive a postcard that you could actually interact with—virtually?  Augmented reality allows companies to incorporate a barcode onto their print piece which can be scanned by the consumer and then interacted with through their phone.  A good example would be a home décor company sending out a postcard advertising a new desk lamp.  With augmented reality, consumers could scan the postcard barcode and then see the desk lamp in their office, viewed through their phone.  Project Color, a recently released app by Home Depot, shows users what a paint color would look like on their own walls.  This encourages the consumer to visualize and interact with the item in their own environment, which can lead to more purchases.  The possibilities are endless! 

              A major advantage of augmented reality is the amount of time and money it can save companies, especially those in industrial manufacturing.  Imagine how much money and physical labor it costs Lockheed Martin to store and ship its large planes for trade shows.  With augmented reality, all of these costs are eliminated.  Instead, consumers can scan a barcode at a tradeshow and see a life-sized plane right in front of them, including virtual information about it.  In retail, this technology generates fewer item returns because customers are able to see the products in more detail before they actually make the purchase.  This is particularly useful in the age of online retail when less people are seeing physical items in stores and more are ordering online.  According to a study by Ventana Research, the three most important AR capabilities for consumers are getting detailed product information, reading product information, and accessing product information easily on mobile devices.  Simply, augmented reality is an efficient way to market products while also increasing uniqueness and consumer engagement, not to mention its increasing importance during the pandemic. 

              The beauty of augmented reality is its versatility and ease of incorporation into existing marketing strategies.  Although competitive disruptions are bound to intensify across industries with the increasing popularity of AR technology, it remains a smart investment that can generate higher ROI.  Costs incurred by the implementation of AR technology are easily offset with the accompanying decrease in costs such as shipping and travel expenses and other supply chain costs.  Additionally, AR can have a larger reach than traditional marketing touch points because of its virtual nature. 

              We’ve seen many great augmented reality marketing campaigns—and I highly recommend if happen upon one to experience it yourself.  One of my favorites is from Absolut Vodka.  The company placed neck ring tags around each bottle and when scanned the consumer could view and interact with a tour of the Swedish village that distills the vodka.  Not only does this endear the consumer to the brand or product, it works to make the consumer feel connected to its history and story as well.  Another great campaign came from The New Yorker Magazine in 2016.  Illustrator Christoph Neimann designed the cover and brought it to life with the magic of augmented reality.  When readers scanned the cover, it became three-dimensional and animated right before their eyes.  Augmented reality is truly capable of turning a simple print campaign into a living work of art. 

              The importance of augmented reality in various industries, especially marketing, will continue to grow exponentially as consumers increasingly value convenience and rely on the online market for making purchases.  Augmented reality fits seamlessly into traditional marketing techniques while presenting the opportunity to advance them to a highly interactive level.  Backed by our creative agency Digital Shuffle, CCG frequently works with AR technology to enhance any print project.  Let us know your needs, and we will bring our capabilities!

By Marley Niesz

How Grand Format Print is Changing the World Around Us

            A billboard on the highway.  Mesh signage banners around a construction site.  A display sign at a tradeshow.  Consumers see grand format printing all around them, yet probably don’t know the name for it or the processes behind it.  Known as grand format, wide format, or large format printing, this type of print is manufactured on specialty large print equipment capable of imaging on all kinds of surfaces, and practically unlimited in size, it makes a big impact.  Its versatility renders it capable of decorating the exteriors of apartment buildings to wrapping vehicles with custom imaging and messages.   CCG prints its grand format projects with ultra-violet inks which are humidity, water, temperature, and sunlight resistant.  Although a project’s lifespan can be dependent on the materials used, the use of these specialty inks allows the material and print to withstand harsh weather throughout all seasons.  Large format printing began with cut vinyl and screen printing, which has evolved today into advanced digital print by specialty print equipment.

            In 1991, company Nash Editions developed the Iris Graphics Model 3047, the first digital grand format printer.  It was unique and industry-changing, but also expensive and short-lasting.  The printer only used water-soluble CMYK inks, which were easily damaged by sunlight.  Additionally, the expenses of this printer made it inaccessible to the general public.  Soon after, a collaboration between Nash Editions, Epson, and Durst began the conception of the Epson Stylus Pro 9500 in 1999.  This project was groundbreaking for photographers and artists looking to showcase their works in vibrant colors on a large scale.  The printing industry was once again thrust into the spotlight with the growing popularity of wide format printing. 

Epson Stylus Pro 9500

            In the new millennia, innovations from industry experts Hewlett-Packard and Durst improved large format print quality with high-stability, multi-colorant pigmented ink systems.  These new printers produced images that were longer lasting than before.  The commercialization of wide format print technology made it much more widely accessible to the average consumer.  Today, the options for grand format printing are essentially limitless and can be used by a business or organization for many purposes including trade show graphics, indoor and outdoor signage, banners, backlight graphics, floor-window-ceiling-wall graphics, environmental graphics, vehicle wraps, building wraps to name a few.

CCG’s Mimaki Grand Format Press

           In the print industry, grand format projects are printed on a variety of materials, called substrates.  Choosing the correct substrate for a grand format project depends on the environment of the project, the size, and the specifics of installation, as different materials have varying outdoor lives.  One of the most common substrates used is PVC which is highly durable and ideal for outdoor signage.  It produces a quality image that can also withstand all kinds of weather conditions.  For large scale projects, durable vinyl makes excellent, smooth banners that are high-quality and affordable.  Interior designers love removable vinyl, which is a substrate that can be cut into specific graphic designs, applied to a wall, and removed without any damage.  Grand format projects involving photography often use acrylic as a substrate because of its outstanding quality and luminance.  For water-resistant and reusable projects, clients often choose gatorboard, a substrate made of lightweight foam between wood-fiber.  Gatorboard is easy to transport and durable through all weather conditions because it is water proof.  These are just some of many substrates that are used in grand format print.

Mesh Signage Banner

            Wide format printers differ depending on the way they transfer ink onto the substrate.  Aqueous ink is water-based, meaning the ink pigment or dye is held in a water solution.  This works well on coated materials such as canvases and banners that can be laminated afterward.  Solvent is any ink that is not water-based.  These prints are water-proof and can be printed directly onto uncoated substrates such as vinyl.  Solvent inks are generally more durable than aqueous inks.  Another type of ink is dye sublimation, which is diffused into the substrate, producing photographic quality prints.  Finally, UV inks are inks that dry under UV light resulting in waterproof, embossed, and vivacious prints.  The type of ink used is dependent on the project and the customer’s needs. 

            Grand format signage has maintained added importance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot businesses and society as we know it.  Social distancing signage can be found everywhere now, whether it is an “Enter Here” sign on the front of a grocery store or a 6-feet apart marker on the floor.  These are often made from adhesive-back vinyl which can be stuck to a variety of surfaces and removed after use.  Grand format printing is an essential need in society in order to keep people safely distanced and maintain order and capacity.   

            Furthermore, grand format print takes a large role in company rebranding projects.  CCG has successfully worked on a number of customer rebrands which included numerous grand format projects.  One rebrand involved the installation of new window and wall vinyl graphics, silicone-edge graphics, and exterior and interior graphics and banners designed to support the new brand identity of the company.  CCG also installed directional signage and printed PVC 3D custom signage for the customer.  It was a highly successful and cohesive rebrand that could not have been completed without large format print technology.

3D PVC Custom Signage

            Grand format print is also in high demand for business grand openings.  There are a number of projects which can be used to generate excitement and provide clarity for new customers arriving at the location.  A specific example of a grand opening where signage is crucial would be for a real estate development company opening a new apartment building.  Typical grand format projects include parking rate signs, wayfinding signs, windmaster signs, and leasing office signs.  The feather flags often seen on the side of the road to announce a grand opening also fall under grand format work.  Adhesive backed vinyl and window perf graphics can be applied to walls and windows to announce a grand opening as well.  All in, grand format is a crucial form of advertising when it comes to these types of projects. 

Adhesive Vinyl Signage with Laminate

The advent of grand format printing changed the graphic communications and advertising industry significantly and is now an integral part of marketing.  CCG’s wide format technology provides clients with stunning grand format graphics and signage to fulfill all marketing objectives.  Grand format print continues to be a successful medium for attracting new customers and retaining current ones.  Talk to a representative at CCG about elevating your company’s brand image and advertising with grand format print today!

By Marley Niesz

The Impact of Data Mining on Marketing

Data mining is a huge buzz word in today’s digital world.  Love it or hate it, the ability to mine data has truly changed many industries for the better—but at what cost?  The question many experts and consumers are asking is—how far is too far when it comes to our privacy?  Is it ethical or legal to buy and sell the personal and private details of a consumer’s digital footprint, lifestyle, etc?  These are questions corporations and lawmakers face on a daily basis.  But data mining isn’t going anywhere, and artificial intelligence continues to refine itself.  So where did data mining begin, and where is it going?

Data mining is the process by which computers analyze large sets of data and use them to predict behaviors and future trends.  Companies use models, such as a set of examples or mathematical relationships applied to different situations, to make these predictions.  Through data mining, businesses can retain information about consumer behavior that could only otherwise be discovered and studied in focus groups, case studies, or other more time-consuming and expensive methods.  It is efficient and accurate, giving corporations and industries access to information they never had before.  Today’s data mining technology is highly advanced, but it wasn’t always as such. 

Data mining has evolved every decade since the 1960s, starting with its conception of data collection.  Data collection is self-explanatory, but it was initially enabled by computers, tapes, and disks, allowing businesses to retain information about simple concepts such as revenue totals or sales history.  The 1980s saw the birth of data access, which enabled industries to collect more minute details about their day-to-day business dealings.  This data could be stored and reviewed at another time through relational databases, which were also capable of establishing connections between data points.  This led to the invention of data warehousing which reports and analyzes data.  Data warehouses store current and historical data from multiple sources in one place and are used for creating analytical reports.  Data mining was developed from all of these technological advances. 

There are many specific uses of data mining for marketers.  One is market segmentation, which groups consumers into segments based on common characteristics, allowing companies to target them in advertising campaigns.  Similarly, direct marketing uses data mining to identify customers that will have the highest response rate probability to direct mail.  Another is “customer churn” which predicts and identifies customers who are most likely to leave the brand for a competitor.  For security purposes, data mining can be used as fraud protection to identify fraudulent transactions.  Interactive marketing and market basket analysis predict individuals’ interests, future purchases, and products they are likely to buy together.  Finally, trend analysis reveals the differences between typical customers from month-to-month.  In general, marketers use data mining to predict consumer trends and behaviors and discover unknown patterns between consumers and transactions. 

So how do companies access this data?  Is there some sort of data black market where corporations put consumers’ profiles into a basket and check out? A data Amazon?  Thankfully, for consumers like you and I, there is an entire professional (and not sketchy) industry focused on data mining.  The professionals who work in this industry, buying and selling data, are called data brokers.  Data brokers collect information from public records, online activity, and purchase history (to name a few) and then sell it to businesses who use it to influence marketing decisions.  Some of the largest data brokerage companies store data for more than 500 million consumers all across the world.  Data brokers also purchase data from specific companies who sell information, such as lists of consumers who belong to loyalty programs.  This purchased data is then sold to other companies who may use it to make decisions about their own loyalty programs.  The options, like the data, are endless.  Unless a consumer is living entirely off the grid it is safe to assume a company owns their data.  Luckily, some companies offer consumers opt-out options which prevent their personal data from being sold or rented. 

Although the opt-out option leaves consumers with some control over their data, legislators across the United States are fighting for more consumer privacy rights.  Recently in the news, Facebook made headlines after it was revealed that hackers sold the online identities of 267 million Facebook users for the price of $540.  The data was comprised of users’ email addresses, names, Facebook IDs, dates of birth, and phone numbers.  Although no passwords were stolen, users could easily fall victim to phishing and accidentally give away more serious private information.  Data breaches and insider trading like this happens every day, and law makers are using these examples to lobby for their constituents.

With new technology, data mining has come a long way since the early days of data collection.  As artificial intelligence becomes more prominent across all industries, data mining will continue to grow as a powerful tool for marketers and businesses alike.  Although it comes at a price to consumer privacy, new legislation offers protection and a nice compromise between personal security and business efficiency.  It will be interesting to see how this balance plays out between public and private interests.  For more information on data mining and other direct marketing techniques, order Corporate Communications Group’s Direct Mail Marketers Guide

By Marley Niesz

Omnichannel Versus Multichannel Marketing

             Best-selling author and content marketing expert Ann Handley described omnichannel marketing as “a seamless and unified experience across every channel” for the customer.  Continuing, Handley stated that omnichannel marketing “refers to the overall brand experience that a customer has of you across any platform, any channel, in person, or online, every step of the way.”  Omnichannel marketing emphasizes a personalized, customer-centric view, focused on the point of view of the customer instead of the marketing team.  It is completely integrated to provide a consistent experience for the customer across all channels, whether that be social, online, or in print.  Additionally, omnichannel marketing follows a customer through his or her purchase journey, updating as they make purchases, for example. 

              Ann Handley gave a great example of omnichannel marketing with the company Baking Steel, which sells high quality baking sheets specifically designed to bake the perfect pizza.  The company’s story tells of a love of food, family, and togetherness, something that all consumers can relate to and feel good about.  On their website, Baking Steel has a blog with recipes for which customers can use their products to try new meals with family.  This is a channel through which they sell their brand and tell their story, with the customer at the center.  All of their customer touch points maintain a cohesive theme and story, making it an excellent example of omnichannel marketing. 

              On the other hand, multichannel marketing is when a company uses several different modes to communicate their ideas to a customer, putting the company at the center of the channels instead of the customer.  Because it is not customer-central, multichannel marketing does not allow for the same level of personalization as omnichannel.  Multichannel, however, casts a wider net and more easily reaches customers in different target segments through its use of many different channels.  It gives each channel the freedom of its own strategy and ideas.  Because of this, marketers can use A/B testing amongst channels in a multichannel marketing strategy to test which images, messages, and touch points work best. 

              One of the first companies to utilize multichannel marketing was JC Penney.  JC Penney was the first department store to sell online, opening up a never before used channel.  In the present, they continue to operate online and in brick and mortar stores, but they have expanded their customer channels further.  Now, on Facebook, customers can browse through the product catalog and make purchases right through the website or app.  This allows ease of purchase for customers browsing social media.  While all of these channels do not blend together in the same format seamlessly, like in an omnichannel strategy, multichannel marketing is still able to reach many different market segments to bolster sales. 

              Conclusively, omnichannel and multichannel marketing both offer pros and cons to a marketing strategy.  In the end, the choice between the two depends on many factors—including brand, campaign type, and target audience and platforms.  So which will work better for your next campaign?  Omnichannel or multichannel? 

By Marley Niesz


Image Credit:

1.  Santa Tracker- Google Maps

A CLASSIC holiday campaign. Santa Tracker is so synonymous with Christmas you may have never even realized it’s a well-disguised advertising campaign for Google Maps. Every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember my family looks at the Santa Tracker website to get into the holiday spirit.  Santa Tracker appeals to kids and adults of all ages, and with new features added every year, continues to successfully evolve.

Image Credit:

2.  #OptOutside- REI

I need to get something off my chest… for as much as I love Thanksgiving, I HATE Black Friday.  As a result, I love REI and its #OptOutside Black Friday campaign, for which they closed all their stores to encourage people to spend time outside and give back to Mother Earth. Customers used the hashtag #OptOutside to showcase their time in nature on social media, simultaneously providing UGC (user-generated content) for the REI brand. This campaign is unique and meaningful and continues to be a success year after year. 

Image Credit:

3. #NZsecretsanta- New Zealand Post’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange

In 2013, the New Zealand Post decided to sponsor the online Secret Santa social media campaign started by twitter user @WebSam. #NZsecretsanta turned into a nation-wide celebration of generosity and togetherness where participants spend up to $10 sending a gift to a total stranger — connecting people all across the country. Even the Prime Minister participates! The success of this social media campaign continues to grow every year for the New Zealand Post, and everyone who participates receives a gift. It’s a win-win!

Image Credit:

4. First Christmas- Alaska Milk

In this commercial, which perfectly touches on togetherness, emotion and memories, a daughter experiences her first Christmas without her mom. To bring her family joy during this tough time, she makes her mother’s special Filipino Sapin-Sapin Christmas recipe using Alaska Milk. This holiday commercial was a huge success because of the significance and global familiarity of sitting down for a meal with family transcends all cultures.

Image Credit:

5. No Need to Fly/Around the World in Germany- Deutsche Bahn

A whopping 72% of Germans travel abroad for the holidays. In this innovative marketing campaign, Deutsche Bahn, a German rail line, encouraged Germans to stay home for the holidays instead. Each commercial compared foreign tourist spots to ones within their own country, and showed the money saved by choosing to ride a train instead of fly. Utilizing beautiful, “Instagram-able” imagery, Deutsche Bahn impressively compared the landmarks and countryside of Germany to ones all across the world. After airing this campaign, they saw a 6.61%. conversion rate and  a 24% YOY increase in revenue. Now that’s inspiring!

By Marley Niesz

Guide to Nonprofit Marketing

By Marley Niesz

                In 2018, Americans donated $410 billion dollars to charities across the country, with the average household donating $5,508. Although $410 billion is a lot of money, the number of households making donations is on a decline and the donor pool is shrinking. This reveals the importance of maximizing the amount of money each individual is donating, as well as consistently re-engaging the organization donor base. In fact, it is more cost effective to retain donors than it is to acquire new ones.

                In order to effectively recruit and re-engage donors, a nonprofit organization or foundation should visualize a donor persona. According to CCG’s Nonprofit Marketer’s Guide, a donor persona is a “way to describe and visualize the people you are trying to engage with, whether in a marketing effort or in a fundraising campaign.” Nonprofits create donor personas by collecting real data from their current and potential donors. This data includes demographics, behavior patterns, interests, concerns, communications preferences, and personal histories with your organization. One organization may have multiple donor personas, depending on their target market.

Figure 1 Donor Persona Template

                Once an organization establishes its donor personas, it should focus on evaluating its current pool of donors and dividing them based on characteristics and engagement. This is called segmentation. One donor segment is a lapsed donor, including donors who gave previously but not in the current year.  The two types of lapsed donors include LYBUNT (donors who donated “last year but unfortunately not this” year), and SYBUNT (donors who donated “some year but unfortunately not this” year.) On the other hand, there are recaptured donors who donated this year and in previous years, but not last year.  There are also downgraded donors who give less and upgraded donors who give more than they did the previous year. A highly valuable donor is a recurring donor who pledges to give monthly on an automatic basis. Finally, there are single gift donors who make a one-time donation to your organization. 

                After evaluating current and future donor bases, nonprofit organizations can plan their charitable giving campaigns accordingly. Direct mail campaigns are physical messages printed and mailed to current and prospective donors. Because of new digital print technology, nonprofit marketers can use collected data to send personalized messages and images to individual donors. CCG frequently uses their Ricoh inkjet for nonprofit and foundational direct mail marketing, designed to print high volumes of variable printed pieces in a single pass. There are also many ways to fundraise digitally, including crowdfunding, #GivingTuesday, text-to-give, and peer-to-peer fundraising. Crowdfunding involves soliciting many small donations from a large group of people, generally online. Text-to-give and peer-to-peer fundraising are two types of crowdfunding. Text-to-give is a campaign that engages donors through mobile giving, and peer-to-peer is a campaign where individuals create personal fundraising pages and receive donations from friends and family on behalf of an organization. Finally, a newer and proven-to-be quite successful fundraising celebration is the launch of #GivingTuesday, a nationally recognized day of online giving which occurs on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday is important to leverage as it kicks off the charitable season when many donors are looking to give. 

                All marketing is persuasion, and one of the best ways to engage with your donor is by using the “rhetorical triangle.” The three parts of the rhetorical triangle are ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos establishes credibility and trust, logos creates consistency and logic within an argument, and pathos uses emotions and the imagination to sway the audience. Although it may not be obvious, these three elements are used in virtually all nonprofit marketing, especially in direct mail. Let’s look at some examples—first starting with the envelope. A direct mail campaign for a humane society or animal shelter immediately establishes pathos by printing a picture of one of their animals on the envelope. This evokes emotion from the receiver who has now connected through the image of the animal to the humane society’s message. Often, these pictures include a CTA that also tugs on the heart strings, such as “These animals are suffering. Here’s how you can help.” By evoking emotion through pathos, the nonprofit draws a sense of urgency to their message and as a result acquires more donors. Now, for the direct mail letter. After hooking a donor with pathos, this is where nonprofits can establish credibility and use logic to support their argument and further solidify a donation. An organization can establish ethos by using credible sources to back up their message and make it more believable. For example, if a nonprofit is using statistics, they should be correct and from a reliable, fact-checked source. The author or organization sending the message should establish ethos by citing their experiences with a particular cause and explaining why it is important to them. Finally, logos is an argument’s appeal to reason. A donor cannot say no to an argument when presented with real, understandable facts about an organization’s cause and its need for donations. Just like with ethos, including statistics, data, and common sense strengthens the logos behind a message and helps with convincing a donor to support your cause. For example, an organization looking to end childhood hunger should include facts that demonstrate the existence of childhood hunger and how a donation can help end it. The rhetorical pyramid is a fool proof way to craft an argument, so why not use it to argue a nonprofit cause? 

For more interesting examples, powerful insight, and 10 compelling tips for successful nonprofit marketing, check out our guide titled: “Nonprofit Marketers Guide to Donor Re-engagement”. Order your copy today at:

10 Tips:

Tip 1 Have an ongoing strategy to re-engage donors in a timely manner.

Tip 2 Ask more of recurring donors.

Tip 3 Focus on fundraiser retention.

Tip 4 Mobile-first design pays off.

Tip 5 Social is essential.

Tip 6 Social success depends on content and timing.

Tip 7 Donors stay where you find them.

Tip 8 #GivingTuesday is great.

Tip 9 Email and direct mail are powerhouses for nonprofits.

Tip 10 Direct mail and digital marketing work together.

4 Powerhouse Practices EVERY Direct Mail Marketer Should Know

By Marley Niesz

In my last blog post, I discussed the differences between digital and traditional print and the ways data is transforming the printing industry. This week, I would like to explore a marketing medium that continues to evolve as rapidly as print does—direct mail. One of the only things I remember from my college marketing classes is this: direct mail consistently outperforms other marketing touchpoints. Year after year, direct mail receives the highest response rates of any form of integrated marketing communications.  On average, consumers keep mail for 17 days before discarding it.  That’s over two weeks of brand exposure to anyone who happens to pass by or pick up your mailpiece. Can digital marketing do that? Linger for two weeks, giving you a tangible piece you can lay your hands on and leaf through at your convenience? To digital marketers, direct mail marketing may seem archaic — like a thing of the past. Actually, it is a more relevant and powerful marketing platform today than ever before. How can you harness it’s potential? Here are four direct mail practices that every marketer should know and use.

1. Personalization and Customization

According to Corporate Communications Group’s Direct Mail Infographic, the average American household receives 454 pieces of marketing mail per year. And 41% of American’s actually look forward to checking their mail every day. So how can you send distinguishable direct mail that speaks specifically to each recipient? Send them mail created just for them—personalized and customized to each person. As I mentioned in my previous blog, data is the key to variable and personalized direct mail. Simply putting a customer’s name on a piece of mail is no longer an impressive marketing feat. Research shows that 54% of consumers want to receive mail from brands that interest them with promotions that are relevant. Because of this, brands should be tracking their consumers digital footprint to better understand and anticipate their purchase intent. They can then use that data to customize and send direct mail campaigns to the same audience with exactly the product(s) or promotion(s) they were looking at online. (This is known as “retargeting” with direct mail.) Of all industries, travel and hospitality currently print the highest volume of direct mail. Using cruise lines as an example, they could easily distinguish themselves from their competition by sending a brochure detailing the exact trip the traveler was previously researching online. But, as we see on a regular basis here at CCG, personalization can be applied to all types of direct mail in all industries. Interested in how your company can refine its direct mail strategy to include personalization? Contact Corporate Communications Group today and let us help you personalize your next direct mail campaign. 

2. Prospecting

Let me ask you a question.  Which would you rather receive from your best friend? A generic email or a meaningful, handwritten letter? Unless you’re a robot, or perhaps a psychopath, I would assume the latter. Like a good friendship, prospecting is all about relationship building and putting in effort. High-value prospects deserve to receive a package in the mail with their name on it and a personalized message. This package could also include print samples specifically for your prospect or branded merchandise relevant to their industry. Just like general consumers, your prospects receive hundreds of mailpieces every year. It is up to you to print something memorable for them. Direct mail can cut through the noise of the digital world and allow for further engagement with prospects, in addition to whatever online channels you may be using. 

3. Cross-Channel Promotion

As I was researching for this blog, I scoured a number of websites for data and information. Afterwards, I went onto Facebook to check the notifications on the Corporate Communications Group page and the first thing I saw was an advertisement for one of the websites I had just visited. I immediately recognized the brand, and now it has been in the back of my mind all afternoon. This is an example of cross-channel promotion and digital retargeting. Reaching customers across multiple platforms in a short period of time is crucial to brand recognition, sales, and customer retention. Wise marketers will incorporate direct mail into their omnichannel marketing strategy as well.  Let’s analyze a scenario. I’m on the Target® website comparing makeup concealers from Brand A and Brand B. Later, I see an advertisement on google from Brand A for the exact concealer I was looking at, and I receive an email from Brand B. Two days later, I receive a post card advertising the concealer from Brand B. Statistics show that most consumers would move forward and purchase Brand B. These statistics can be found in the CCG Direct Mail Infographic. Our infographic research also taught us that 73% of American consumers prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail and 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed them the catalog. More touchpoints within your marketing strategy often leads to more sales. At CCG we work with our clients every day to optimize their cross-channel promotional strategy—let us do it for you too!

4. USPS Promotions

Every year, the United States Postal Service releases new promotions to help businesses save money and encourage direct mail marketing. The remaining active 2020 USPS promotions include incentives to combine direct mail with mobile shopping, a personalized color trans-promo promotion, and Informed Delivery®. The mobile shopping promotion can be used when mailing marketing mail. Through this promotion, USPS is encouraging the integration of mobile technology and mail. Any direct mail campaign that uses QR codes, other barcode formats, and app-enabled QR code payment options is eligible to receive a discount as long as the company has registered and dropped the mailpiece into the mail stream before the New Year.  Another promotion is personalized color trans-promo which is for first class, presort mail only. The USPS would like companies to modernize their customer bills and statements while also promoting other products and services. Companies qualify for this promotion if they use variable color print in their transactional statements, including personalized marketing messages. This promotion also runs through the end of 2020.  (Every year when the USPS announces their promotions schedule, CCG includes it in our marketing publication ENGAGE and posts it on our website.)

Finally, USPS is offering an Informed Delivery promotion through November 30, 2020 for marketing and first-class mail. Informed delivery is a program that is gaining users faster than any other USPS program, sending registrants a daily email digest showing them all letter-mail that will be arriving that day. The email consists of the scanned images of their incoming mail. But the great thing about informed delivery is the role it plays in the omnichannel strategic approach I mentioned earlier. Customers who enroll in this program receive a free, secure account with a digital mailbox that they can log into to view their mail before it is delivered to their house or they can view it in the email sent directly to their inbox. A mail campaign is eligible to receive a discount from the USPS if the mailer has registered their direct mail campaign with the USPS and provided a coordinating digital image and URL which the USPS will replace their scanned image with. When the recipient receives their email or checks their digital mailbox, they can click on the four-color image of the direct mail piece to be taken directly to a coordinating page online, providing a second touchpoint to the original piece of mail. There are already many case studies which show the value of Informed Delivery for marketers.  In a case study for the Pittsburg Pirates, the organization was able to perform a split test of three complementary calls-to-action on the digital version of one mail piece. Using the Informed Delivery technology, the Pirates saw which call-to-action received the highest response rates of the three, and helped them to understand what promotions were more likely to prompt people to take action.  Informed Delivery is an easy, free way for marketers to increase impressions and response rates.  On the consumer side, marketers should encourage their customers to enroll in Informed Delivery as it allows customers to immediately respond to their offer digitally before receiving the mailpiece. Are you signed up for Informed Delivery? You can create your free account and sign up HERE.

In summary, direct mail is far from antiquated and still considered to be the best way to engage your customer base.  Direct mail can be used in conjunction with digital trends in an effective multi-touch strategy when trying to reach prospects or current clients. Just don’t forget to get personal with personalization and take advantage of the promotions that the USPS has to offer—there’s no reason your next direct mail campaign cannot outshine the rest.  Check out our Direct Mail Marketers Guide here and order your copy today