The 2016 Marketing Mix
By admin on Friday, November 27th, 2015


Do you have your 2016 marketing plan sorted out yet?

Most people we know are running around like crazy trying to get 2015 finished off.

But it’s worth taking a bit of time out to think about next year.

To start planning your 2016 marketing mix.

A well-balanced marketing plan will have a mix of channels.

Both offline and online. TV, radio, magazines, events, email, search, social…

In fact, many of the experts are saying it’s time to forget the divide between digital and traditional. It’s all marketing after all!

What that means is that multi-channel, integrated marketing will be the way to go. And of course we’re biased, but all the research suggests that including print in your marketing mix will help deliver great results. Here’s the data to back up that claim!

1. Adding print advertising to the marketing mix (US)

A recent meta-analysis by Millward Brown reviewed 100 advertising studies with 250,000 respondents. It looked at the effectiveness of different multi-channel options.

  • online and print
  • online and TV
  • print and TV
  • online and print and TV

Adding print to the mix improved results across a whole slew of measures. But one really stood out.

Adding print to an online and TV campaign doubled brand favourability and intent to buy!


It’s also worth noting that more repetition is possible in print. TV and online show diminishing returns after 4 exposures. Positive response to print continues to grow with 5 exposures, or even more.

2. Letterbox media drives consumer action (Europe)

Research by ELMA (European Letterbox Marketing Association) in 2014 shows that letterbox media is far from dead. Annual spend across 18 countries totals around 3.9 billion euros!

Why spend so much? Because it’s effective. After reading letterbox media, consumers take action. They don’t just visit shops, although 75% do that. A staggering 89% go online.

More evidence that online and offline need to work together!


3. Catalogues are a winner for offline and offline retailers

Harvard Business Review reported on this in February. Read the full article or just skim the quotes from senior marketers below. It’s clear catalogues are worth the investment!

20% of first-time customers place orders after receiving a catalogue. They spend one and a half times as much as new shoppers who didn’t receive a catalogue first.

Craig Elbert, Vice-President Marketing, Bonobos

L.L.Bean is experimenting with the catalogues it sends to regular website shoppers. They look for frequent website visitors and ask, “Can I only send her 50 pages, or 20, as a reminder of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to the website’?”

Steve Fuller, Chief Marketing Officer, LL Bean

4. Your 2016 marketing mix needs a plan to get round adblocking

In 2015, there are 198 million active adblock users around the world. That’s an increase of 41% in just 12 months.
The cost to publishers is an estimated US$22 billion.

(All statistics from the PageFair Ad Blocking Report.)

So how are you going to reach those internet users? Maybe it’s time to try something offline?

Maybe, going by another print trend this year, you should add an adult colouring book in your marketing mix.  With careful product placement and subliminal ‘buy’ messages…


Of course the last comment wasn’t entirely serious. Even if it would be fun to produce. But we do hope the statistics give you a reason to include some kind of print in your 2016 marketing mix.

And if you need any help with campaign planning or implementation, just get in touch!

Corporate Gift Ideas for Christmas 2015
By admin on Friday, October 23rd, 2015

corporate-gift-presentation-boxChristmas decorations are in the shops already.

Has your business started planning yet?

If not, you need to start now!

We’ve put together some guidelines and corporate gift ideas which might help.

8 Guidelines for Corporate Giving

1. Set a budget before you start.

Think about all the people you want to give gifts to. Whether it’s clients, prospects, suppliers or staff, work out how many there are and how much you’ve got to spend in total.

Then divide your budget carefully.  If you’re giving to clients and prospects, you may want to spend more on the most important relationships – but remember, people may talk and compare what they got. For staff, the best policy is to give everyone gifts of the same value. Otherwise you’re simply telling some of your team that you care less about them than you do about their colleagues.

2. Spend time to get the right gifts rather than money to get expensive gifts.

It seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget. It’s the thought that counts.

3. Make sure your corporate gifts comply with company policy. Yours and your client’s!

The more expensive the gift, the more likely you are to run foul of company policy. (Luxury gifts can also backfire if the client decides you’re making too much money out of them, so be careful!)

Another option is to give a group gift such as a food hamper to the entire client team. This is less difficult for decision-makers than a gift they and they alone get to keep.

4. Presentation matters.

Great gifts come in fantastic packaging. Once again, you want to demonstrate time and effort. You want your gift to look as if you care. To be special. To make an impact.

If you need help with custom packaging, Xpadite have plenty of experience.

5. Logos are for promotional items, not gifts.

Maybe not if  you’re a cult brand like Apple or Harley-Davidson. But most of us aren’t. Customers and staff don’t generally want to be walking billboards for our company.

If you really do need to have your logo, consider putting it on the packaging rather than the gift. Or give items like lollies or gift cards.

Another option is to use your company colours, with possibly a small and discreet logo.

6. Personalised, but not personal.

Personalisation is one way of showing that this gift was planned for a specific person. So the recipient is more likely to feel special and appreciate the gift.
Personal gifts, however, run the risk of being misunderstood. This is especially true when giving to someone of the opposite sex.
There’s a fine line to tread between giving something which matches the individual’s interests and giving something which is too intimate.

7. Be careful with humour.

Not everyone thinks the same things are funny.

8. Consider religious sensibilities.

December is a prime season for gift giving, but not everyone is Christian. Those of other faiths may be offended by Christmas wording.

It’s not just wording either. Wine won’t go down well with Muslims. And food hampers can present all kinds of challenges!

So, bearing all those points in mind, what can you give this festive season?  We’ve divided our ideas into a few categories.

Corporate gift ideas – food and drink

  • corporate-gift-ideas-chocolate-bouquetWine. As mentioned above, make sure the recipients like and drink wine. It’s not a great option for Muslims or pregnant women. You might also check whether the recipient prefers red, white or bubbly.
    Substitute options include luxury tea or coffee selections. Or foodies may like flavoured vinegars or other condiments.
  • Food hampers. The trick here is to check carefully what’s in the hamper. Consider dietary restrictions based on religion or allergies.
  • Chocolates. These are a safe but unimaginative option. Make sure they’re nicely wrapped, so at least they can be passed on.
  • Food bouquets. This is a great option if you’d like to give something to the whole team. Choose chocolates, lollies or fruits depending on the group you’re giving to. Vary the size, or order more than one for bigger groups.
    Bouquets are all about presentation, so you don’t have to worry about giftwrapping. Just add a message so they know it’s from you. Or you can hand-deliver – all smart salespeople know it’s great to have the receptionist and the PA on your side! (This bouquet came from Edible Blooms, who deliver Australia-wide.)

Business-focused corporate gift ideas

There are more imaginative ideas out there than a personalised pen or desk calendar.

  • For frequent travelers, try a travel pillow. Or a passport cover or suitcase tags – add their name for a personal touch.
  • Novelty USBs were all the rage a year or two ago. How about a novelty mouse? Even better if you can make it something which relates to your business. (And if you have an idea but you can’t find the product, ask Xpadite. It’s exactly the kind of strategic sourcing project we enjoy – as long as you have the quantity.)
  • How about a business book? Pick something relevant to your clients, or to the work you do for them.

corporate-gift-ideas-car-mouse corporate-gift-ideas-ladybird-mouse

Giving the gift of choice

Gift cards and vouchers – you may love them or you may loathe them.

On the plus side, your clients or staff can use them to get what they really want.  Prepaid Visa cards are the most flexible of all, or you can opt for movie vouchers, or store cards, or many other options.

On the downside, they may seem like a last minute lazy option.

To avoid that ‘no care‘ impression, take care with the card and the presentation. If you have enough volume, you can get gift cards custom printed. For smaller quantities, use a folder and luxury packaging to make the card special. This is one case where you can use your logo freely, since the card will be taken out before use. You can personalise too.  Luxury-look presentation doesn’t have to break the bank either – here’s one way to get a metallic embossed look without breaking the bank.

Corporate gift ideas which share the love

The ‘Christmas spirit’ is originally about giving rather than receiving. How about donating to a charity rather than giving a gift? This is also an option when company policy doesn’t allow your clients to receive anything from suppliers.

If you know what charities clients support, you can donate direct. Or you can leave the choice to them.

My Cause gift cards put the decision power back in your clients’ hands. Or maybe they’d prefer to support entrepreneurs in the developing world via microfinance provider Kiva?

corporate-gift-ideas-bike-chain-clockOriginal and Unusual Corporate Gift Ideas

Original gifts are more likely to be remembered. But they’re also more risky.

One option is to take a standard ‘safe’ gift and reinterpret it with an unusual angle. If that angle reflects your business, so much the better.

For bike shops, engineers or other technical companies, how about this fabulous clock from Resource Revival?

corporate-gift-ideas-cactus-candleFor garden centres or florists, cactus candles would be a better fit.

When it comes to gifts like these, your imagination is the limit.


Here’s hoping this gets your creative juices flowing on some great corporate gift ideas for you and your business.

Now all you need to do is find what you want!  Happy hunting!

By the way, if there’s something you really want and you can’t find it anywhere, ask us. We may not be able to source it for this year, but it’s not too early to start planning for Christmas 2016. (How do you think all those Christmas decorations got into the shops already this year?!?)

Sticker Marketing – 13 Ways Stickers Can Help Your Business
By admin on Monday, September 28th, 2015

sticker-marketing-duracellSticker marketing – it’s not the latest digital technique, but it’s affordable, flexible and effective.

Stickers can be used in so many ways, they’re an option for just about any business.

Here’s a look at the why and how of sticker marketing, with plenty of great examples.

And we finish up with a sticker marketing checklist. Everything you need to make your next campaign deliver results.

Why are stickers so good for marketing?

  • They can be used almost anywhere. Retail outlets. Outdoors – including on cars. At events. In direct mail. As promotional items. On packaging.
  • They last. All print lasts longer than digital. Stickers last longer than other print. They stick around!  And that means more visibility for longer. More time for your brand and your message to sink in.
  • When customers choose to use and display your stickers, they endorse your brand. Does your laptop have an ‘Intel Inside’ sticker on it? What about car stickers? They work for sports clubs. They work for the ABC. Could they work for you?

Ways to use sticker marketing for branding

Increasing brand awareness is probably the commonest sticker marketing goal.  There are many ways to do it.

1. Use stickers to brand your packaging.

Custom packaging is a great way to promote your brand. For online retailers in particular, packaging is often the first time a customer interacts with your brand physically.

But if you don’t need high volumes, or if you need a whole range of different packaging for products of different sizes, you may be up for lots of expensive minimum orders.

Stickers solve the problem for you. Order one size of branded stickers which you can apply to multiple different packaging items. Now you can use standard boxes, bags and other packaging which don’t have minimum order quantities, but still promote your brand.

2. Use stickers to brand low-volume promotional items.

This works on the same principle as printed packaging.

3. Use stickers as branded giveaways.

sticker-marketing-car-windowWe’re back to car stickers again! But branded giveaways only work if people actually use the stickers.

It’s easy if you’re a membership organisation. Or if you’re a brand with passionate fans like the ABC or Apple.  What do the rest of us do?

Do you have thousands of customers you can distribute stickers to easily? If you’re sending monthly statements or annual certificates of renewal, why not pop a sticker in with each? The cost is minimal, so you only need a low percentage of stickers being used to get a good return.

For most of us, the answer is appealing stickers which customers will want to display – and which include your brand too. Even if they are not consciously promoting you, you get exposure and tacit endorsement.

Ideally the sticker content will not only attract attention, but also tie in to your product or service. And provide a contact detail if possible.

4. Use stickers at events.

As with any giveaway sticker, the stickers need to be appealing or useful.

If you’re creating stickers for a specific event, relevant creative may make them more popular. ‘I survived <the event name>.’ For international audiences, a local icon like the Sydney Opera House.

If you’re handing out stickers, don’t forget you can print on the backing paper too.  How about unique numbers on the back with a link to a website where you might have won a prize? Or a map promoting a nearby cafe or bar? (Great if you can get them to subsidise your print costs too.)

Events offer other options as well as sticker giveaways. How about a guerilla sticker marketing campaign around the venue to drive traffic to your stand? Make sure your stickers say clearly where you are. Offer a reason to visit. Print a codeword and offer rewards to stand visitors who quote it. Or ask an intriguing question, with an invitation to visit your stand to get the answer.

5. Use stickers on your company car(s).

sticker-marketing-wicked-campers-cane-toadsIf you or your employees are driving company vehicles, this is a simple way to advertise your brand as you go about your business. You can be as subtle or as in-your-face as you like with this branding.  And you can place it anywhere on the car that you like.

One point to consider if you’re stickering large parts of the car window is visibility. The driver still needs to see out. So we’d recommend micro-hole stickers. They let light filter through but still present a full image from the outside.

6. Use stickers in creative outdoor campaigns.

Outdoor sticker marketing options are endless.   But you do need to think about your image and the response you’ll get.  Putting stickers ‘on signs, poles, and even other advertisements‘ worked for Reddit, but it may not be right for you and your market. Especially if you don’t have a cute alien logo to help you along.

An alternative is to pick one particular part of the outdoor environment. Folgers Coffee chose steaming manholes in New York.

Also be aware that if you’re going to sticker lots of public places, you’ll need a lot of manpower to get your stickers in place.  Stickers themselves are very affordable, but be careful about your other campaign costs!

Use sticker marketing to share information

Stickers are often used on products or retail packaging to highlight information. Everything may be on the box already, but a sticker draws more attention.

7. Promote any awards, competitions or praise your product has won.

The wine industry does this all the time. It’s easy to add ‘medal’ stickers to all your bottles. And it’s a great way to differentiate on the shelves.

What about positive reviews from trusted sources? Put these on product or packaging so that customers see them when they’re in buying mode.

8. Promote product features

Think about the energy efficiency and water efficiency stickers on many white goods. They stand out with bright colours against the white.

If you sell in multiple markets, stickers can also help customise standard packaging. So you can promote what matters for each market.

9. Use stickers to provide updated information

What happens if you relocate? Change your phone number? Print up stickers with your new details and stick on all envelopes and packaging to communicate with existing customers.

…this is also great if you a lot of customers on account and you change your bank details. Stickers on a bill or statement will stand out far more than a simple paragraph.

sticker-marketing-homeless-rubbish-bin10. Information-rich stickers are also great for cause marketing.

Here’s an example from Help the Homeless.  The shock tactic comes from treating a garbage can as a food source and using food labelling. It’s a hard-hitting approach, different from the mass of charities simply asking for donations.


Use sticker marketing to drive action and get the sale

11. Promote price reduction.

Everyone’s seen footprint-shaped stickers on the floor leading shoppers to a product. It’s a simple, proven technique.

12. Stimulate demand and drive people towards your product.

Here’s a fresh take on the same idea. And in case you can’t read it, the text on that red sushi dish tells you how to get to the restaurant.


13. Use stickers in direct mail to encourage interactivity and engagement.

Have you ever received a mailing from Reader’s Digest? Did it have lots of little stickers which you could select to put on your reply? They used that technique because it worked.

Stickers can turn your direct mail text into images. They make responding fun. They give the respondent a sense of control. They’re especially good if you’re targeting families, as children love them.

Combine multiple tactics for really great sticker marketing.

This sticker campaign works on so many levels.

  • It’s creative and inventive.
  • It’s directly related to the business it promotes.
  • It uses a double-layer peel-off sticker which makes it interactive.
  • It has a ‘public good’ message which creates positive brand feeling.


And finally, the sticker marketing campaign checklist…

It’s clear that sticker marketing is flexible and can be very powerful, if planned and used effectively. To finish off, here’s a checklist to use for your next sticker campaign.

  • Be clear what the goal of your campaign is. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness or drive specific actions.
  • Be clear about your target market.  This will affect creative and placement of stickers.
  • Decide on your sticker placement. You want to put stickers somewhere your target market will notice them.
  • Make your stickers fit their location. If you want to give away stickers for people to stick up, a small size is better. If you’re implementing a sticker campaign yourself, think about appropriate sizes and shapes.
  • For maximum cut-through, you need great creative.  Stickers come in all shapes and sizes. They’re found in all kinds of unusual locations. Use those for inspiration. But try to stay relevant to what you’re promoting!
  • Consider die-cutting stickers to an unusual shape. This might fit a particular location, like the beer steins above. Or it might just make stickers you hand out more interesting.
  • Consider whether you need permission for your sticker marketing campaign. If you’re putting stickers on parked cars, you might get away without permission, but if you want to put them on escalators in a shopping centre, that would be harder.
  • Work out all the technical requirements for your sticker. Will it be outside and need to be weatherproof? Do you need micro-hole stickers to maintain visibility? How easy will it be to remove? What about other features such as peel-off multi-layer stickers, scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers or even unique numbering?

Whatever you do, good luck with your sticker marketing! And if you need help designing or sourcing stickers, just ask the experts at Xpadite.

Drop-shipping: Is it right for your business?
By admin on Monday, August 24th, 2015

What is drop-shipping?

drop-shipping-diagramDrop-shipping means that when people buy goods from you, the goods ship directly from your supplier to your customer. This business model is especially common for e-commerce operations.

Your supplier could be a manufacturer or a wholesaler. The important point is that they are happy to pick, pack and ship small orders direct to end-consumers rather than wanting to deal in bulk.

They also ship as if the goods came from your business. They use your company name, branding and packaging. The contact details on the shipment are yours, not the supplier’s.  So you maintain control of the customer relationship.

Benefits of drop-shipping

1. Drop shipping reduces your inventory headaches.  If you can drop-ship all your items, you don’t need a warehouse at all. You don’t need to touch physical product at any time. You have more free time to concentrate on marketing, customer communication and business growth.

2. Drop-shipping can be fantastic for cashflow! If you’re selling non-custom items, you can simply promote product online and you won’t have to pay for any stock until it’s sold.

3. Even if you’re selling custom items and you have to pay for the goods upfront, drop-shipping can cut total shipping costs. If your supplier can store and ship goods for you, then each item is shipped once only. In a ‘normal’ shipping scenario, you’d get everything delivered to your location, then ship out again to the end customer, so everything would be shipped twice.

4. You can work from wherever you want. If your drop-shipping supplier is looking after all stock, you can communicate online from your home or from the beach in the Bahamas. (You might just need to check your time zones!)

5. Your business is easily scalable. It’s easy to handle increased volume without having to take on operational staff. It’s your supplier’s problem. This is great for easy business growth. It can help with seasonal variation too. But remember your operations are only as good as your supplier’s, so be careful who you work with! (Of course this applies when you outsource  your e-commerce fulfilment, whether it’s drop-shipping or not.)

Challenges of drop-shipping

1. Your cost of goods may be very high. It makes sense if you think of it from the supplier perspective. Why would they give you any volume discount when you’re only buying items one or two at a time? Unless you can offer something special, you’re not likely to make much margin on drop-shipping standard goods. So competing on price will be hard – you may need to compete on something else.

2. If you don’t see your product before you sell it, how do you manage product promotion, product quality and product support? It’s harder to check out features or to take great photos for promotion. You can’t check each order for quality as it leaves the warehouse.  If your customers call with queries about how to use the product, it’s hard to replicate their experience and talk them through the issue. One option is to buy a single unit for yourself.

3. You may not have full visibility of stock levels. What happens if you sell something and the supplier’s out of stock?  You may need to invest in technology to ensure you have real-time inventory information on your website.

4. What happens when a customer buys goods from two or more different drop-ship suppliers? The short answer is, you have to pay for two shipments. But your customer is buying from one business only – yours! So you can only charge one shipping fee.

Quite apart from this cost issue, your customer experience is also less good. They place one order, but goods arrive one by one. And the paperwork probably won’t show their complete order either! (Would you let supplier A see what was ordered from supplier B?)

5. You may have less control of your shipping service levels and costs. If you use your supplier’s shipping, you’re tied into their rates and services. As long as these match your business model, it’s not a problem, but make sure you check.

There’s an additional problem if your supplier is overseas. In this case, drop-shipping may make your delivery times longer. The cost of lots of small international shipments can add up too. And there’s the risk of items getting delayed by customs.

On the other hand, where are you shipping to? If you have customers all over the world, shipping from a supplier in China, India or Singapore may be a lot cheaper than shipping from Australia every time.

6. Returns are much more complex.  There are now three parties involved – your customer, you and your supplier. But the only reputation on the line is yours!

Was the product faulty? If so, will your supplier pay for return freight and for shipping a replacement item? You need to address this in your contract with them before it happens.  Even if they cover everything, your brand is still damaged.

What if the product isn’t faulty but the customer changes their mind? In this case, the customer should be willing to pay return shipping, but is your drop ship supplier happy to take stock back?

Worst of all, what happens if the customer is unhappy with the item but the supplier thinks it is up to standard? You’re caught in the middle. Hopefully this will be rare, but you may have to wear the cost of refunding a customer occasionally.

Is drop-shipping right for you?

In the end, the only person who can answer this question is you.

There are pros and cons to drop-shipping. It really depends on your situation and your business goals.  There’s a great post here comparing a drop-ship ecommerce store to one which has inventory. Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is this – the owner of the drop-ship store would like inventory next time around, but the one who has inventory would like to go with drop-shipping next time round. So it seems the grass is always greener!

Some questions you may want to ask when trying to decide what’s right for you?

1. Are you selling standard products or custom products? Standard products are easier to drop-ship, but there’s more competition and less margin.

2. How expensive are your products to ship? If they’re big, heavy or extremely fragile so they require careful packaging, there’s more opportunity to save on shipping costs by drop-shipping.

3. How many different suppliers do you use for your entire product range? The more you use, the more complex drop-shipping will be.

4. Do customers generally buy one item at a time, or multiple items? Orders with multiple items from different suppliers make drop-shipping more complex and less attractive.

5. Do you sell high volumes of a few items or small volumes of many items?  Keeping a large product range in stock can be expensive, which makes drop-shipping more attractive.

6. Where are  your customers located? As discussed above, this can have an impact on  your total shipping costs.

7. Does it have to be an ‘either-or’ choice? Would a hybrid model work for you? Keep stock of your core product range, in your own warehouse or with a warehousing partner, then use a drop-ship model as a low-cost, low-risk way to extend your range.

To explore fulfilment options for your specific business situation, contact Xpadite today.




World’s Biggest Magazine
By admin on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

worlds-biggest-magazineCongratulations to UK content marketers River Group and printers Polestar on their new Guinness World Record!

A one-off issue of ‘Healthy’ magazine is the world’s biggest magazine ever, with the following amazing statistics.

  • 3.055m high
  • 2.35m wide
  • required 9.3 litres of ink
  • took 14 hours to print
  • 6 hours to trim
  • 5.5 hours to assemble

Obviously it’s not meant to be sold at the newsagents. We wouldn’t like to send it via direct mail either!

The magazine is in fact part of a campaign River Group are running to highlight the importance of print in content marketing.

‘…everybody these days is saying it’s all about digital and social media and not about print. While we have a thriving digital, social media and, indeed, video business, for us print is still at the heart of a lot of what we do for our clients.’

So says their CEO Nicola Murphy.

Recent research by Two Sides UK supports her statement. 83% of all respondents state a clear preference for reading print on paper.

As we mentioned last month, even the digital natives of Generation Y like print. They’ve grown up learning to ignore the marketing messages in their inboxes, but print is ‘real’ in a way digital isn’t.  And even daily papers or leaflets in the letterbox last a little longer than the average email.

Whether it’s letterbox media or direct mail, a printed piece usually has less direct competition for the consumer’s attention. So your message has more chance of getting noticed. Two Sides also found that nearly 4 out of 5 are more relaxed reading on paper than on screen.

So if you’re trying to build connections with your target market, don’t forget print! (You can also read our articles on measuring and improving print ROI and tips for more effective direct mail.)

Click here to watch a video about the world’s biggest magazine.


marketing-to-millinnials-megaphoneMillennials. Generation Y.

The ones born in the 80s and the 90s.

The so-called digital natives.

They may not be the richest, but they have the most discretionary income. They have influence over older generations.  They advise their parents on the purchase of technology like phones, computers and entertainment devices.

So they’re attractive to marketers.

But they’re also highly aware of marketing messages – and cynical about them.

Which means marketing to millennials is no easy challenge.

Why are millennials different?

Some say millennials are really different. Others say it’s simply what each ‘younger generation’ is like, until it grows and matures. For marketers, this may not really be the issue. The issue is to understand them and market to them.

So here are the commonly cited characteristics of the millennials.

They grew up with technology. They don’t remember a time before computers, the internet and smartphones. They live on social media. They share everything.

Actually, the truth is a little more complex, as this infographic about millennials shows.

They certainly seem to be connected. But it’s not all social media. Much of that online time is browsing news or researching work or study issues. And they don’t want to do everything online.


It’s also true that they share. A report by Boston Consulting Group says more than half ‘are willing to share their brand preferences on social media, compared with 31 percent of baby boomers‘.  Many also have their own blogs and personal pages. From a marketing perspective, social media is word-of-mouth on speed.

They think short-term rather than long-term. They want everything now. They don’t save for the future.

This seems to be at least partly true. One study shows that ‘millennials love to travel, buy clothes and dine out with friends’ more so than any other generation‘.

What’s more, their average debt is higher than their average annual income. And one in four is living at home with parents.  (Maybe this is fueling disposable income? Maybe it’s a response to unaffordable housing and little job security?)

They want to make a difference.  They’re idealistic rather than money-driven. They search for meaning in their jobs and their lives.

This is difficult to assess with hard data. But it does appear that experience is more important for this generation.

So what does all this mean for marketers?

Marketing to Millennials – Content

If you want to engage millennials, build your content around these factors.


This generation is very aware of spin and how things can be manipulated.  If the message and the reality don’t match up, they’ll notice.


Millennial cynicism offers an opportunity to delight by living up to the values you promote.  That’s part of the authenticity.

How do you align your brand with millennial values?  It’s interesting to note that male millennials and female millennials have really different values. So think about your gender targeting when you develop your campaign.




Story has always been important, but for millennials, it’s huge. It’s part of that search for meaning and authenticity.

Interactivity and participation

‘Interactive’ doesn’t mean online.  It means the millennials want to be involved. They want a voice. They create content. They share it.  The recent Apple shot on iPhone 6 campaign is a great example.


Redshift and Bite also note the ‘rising popularity of visual-based interaction‘. It’s not just actions that speak louder than words. Pictures do too. Whether they’re photos or videos. Whether they’re online or in print. Make your images resonate.

Marketing to Millenials – Channels

It’s no surprise that for these switched-on digital natives, online is important.

But marketers must realise that online is not the only place to go.  For millennials, multi-channel works.  So don’t dismiss print out of hand. Just make it work with digital.

One effective approach is print materials to drive millennials online where they can interact.

An astonishing 75% of millennials have purchased something in response to direct mail.  


Print gives authenticity, especially if personalised or well targeted. Remember, this generation didn’t get a lot of letters when they were growing up. They appreciate something physical, addressed to them.  It’s real. Authentic. Combine that with a step where they can follow up in their digital space, interact and share. Now you’re pushing lots of buttons.

Millennials are also the only generation to rank mail as their “preferred” source of coupons.

  • Mail (61%, versus the 51% overall average of all generations)
  • Newspapers (52%, equal to the overall average)
  • Internet: download (47%, versus the 30% average)
  • Internet: print at home (42%, versus the 34% average)
  • Smartphones (39%, versus the 20% average)

Remember, we’re talking a savvy generation, quite capable of looking around for the best price. (And carrying a lot of debt, so keen on a bargain.) The old-fashioned coupon is still an effective marketing tool.

Another important channel is word-of-mouth.  More from Boston Consulting Group on that:

 Millennials are around 2.5 times more likely than boomers to at least occasionally share a social-media link that references a brand or product and to follow brands on Twitter. They are also far more likely than boomers to support their favorite brands online: 52 percent said that they post likes of a brand on social media such as Facebook, and 21 percent reported that they do so “every time” or “almost every time.” Also, 39 percent said that they post reviews of brands or products, 27 percent reported that they reference a brand in blog posts, and 26 percent said that they answer satisfaction surveys on mobile devices.

The word-of-mouth may now be online sharing, but the basic concept is the same. And if your campaign lets them interact, participate and create, they’re even more likely to share.


So what’s the ideal campaign when marketing to millennials?  Here’s one suggestion.

Develop an authentic message.

Promote it via traditional channels.

Use those channels to refer millennials online, where they can engage with your message.

Let them add their own angle and share with their own network.

Because one final thing about millennials is this – they trust their own network over experts!


At Xpadite we’re interested in drink packaging design because we do a lot of packaging and fulfilment for beverage clients.  Here are some of the most innovative ideas we’ve seen recently – along with some ideas on how to adapt them.

64% of consumers say they’ve tried something new because the packaging caught their eye.

Whether you sell drinks or something else entirely, we hope you find inspiration.

1. For the love of tea

‘Te quiero.’  In Spanish, it means ‘I love you’.  It’s used not just for your lover, but for family and friends as well.  It also sounds exactly the same as ‘té quiero’ – with an acute accent.  ‘I love tea’.



What else could you put inside a flower-opening package?  Gift items like jewellery, chocolates, luxury toiletries and fragrances spring to mind.

2. Flowers and Bubbly  – Turning Drink Packaging Design Upside Down

More romantic packaging design for Cava sparkling wine.  Simple, imaginative and effective.  Also great fun.


If you’re selling Australian product anywhere in the northern hemisphere, you could adapt this idea.


3. Practical Drink Packaging for Out and About

While we’re turning things upside down, what about this drink packaging design?  Is it a glass?  Is it a bottle?  It’s both!!

It’s a bottlass.  Great idea, but it needs a better name.

4. Improving the Product with Great Packaging Design

Why is wine stored horizontally?  Traditionally, this keeps the cork moist and prevents oxidation.  This packaging for Quartz champagne makes it hard to stand the bottle upright.  What’s more, it builds on the brand name and it makes the product stand out on the shelf.



Look at the easy-carry handle too.  If your product is heavy or bulky, that’s a feature you might like to consider.

5. Packing in extra value

Serious wine drinkers might also like this packaging – the wine comes with its own paper for tasting notes.


Don’t limit yourself to tasting notes.  That piece of paper could be any number of things.

  • A promotional offer or something to drive buyers to your website or collect contact details.
  • Information about other products in the range.
  • How the purchaser should store or care for the product.
  • Recipe ideas for a gourmet vinegar or condiment.

Try this for any product which comes in a bottle or which has a long narrow handle you can wrap paper around.

Don’t forget, our fulfilment team can help with assembling this for delivery to retail stores too!

6. Getting the Most Out of Packaging

Casual drinkers also want to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of their wine.  Here’s one way to do it:



7. Great Packaging Design Takeaways

There’s a lot of wine in this packaging showcase – we don’t know if that makes you happy or sad!  But this final drink packaging design lets you share how you feel.

These ’emotion cups’ from were a limited edition souvenir for take-out coffee shop Gawatt.  If we had one, we’d keep it!

Key elements here are interactivity, emotion and fun!  What can you do to add those to your packaging?


We hope this gives you some inspiration.  And if you’d like some creative packaging design and solutions specifically for your product, why not contact Xpadite?

12 Tips to Improve Direct Mail Response Rates
By admin on Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

direct-mail-response-rates-handsDirect mail was the first major direct marketing channel – and after all these decades it’s still going strong.  It also lends itself to measurement and testing, which means there’s lots of opportunity to learn from experience.  There’s a good body of knowledge about what works and how to improve direct mail response rates.

Of course, every product, every market and every campaign has its own flavour, but these tips are a good place to start if you want to improve your results.

Starter Tips for Better Direct Mail Response Rates

1. Start with the basics.

Make sure you include the three things recipients need so they can respond .

  • An offer you want them to respond to.
  • A reason why they should accept the offer.
  • Show them how to respond to the offer.

2. Make it easy to respond.

Make sure details of how to respond are on every single page, or every single piece if your mailing has multiple pieces.

Give people a choice of how to respond.  Include at least two of the following

  • A response or order form within the mailer.
  • A phone number. Use a toll-free number if you can.  Make it clear when that number will be manned!
  • A web address.  A page directly relevant to the offer you have mailed, or even better, a PURL (personalised url) for each recipient.
  • An email address.
  • An SMS service
  • A QR code

3. Make the offer as attractive as possible.

Please note the ‘usually’ in all the points below. Wherever you can, test in your own market, for your own product or service.

  • An offer with a time limit usually outperforms an offer with no time limit.
  • An offer with a free gift usually outperforms a discount offer.
  • Prize draws usually increase order volume, especially for impulse items.  (But customers may not be loyal).
  • A ‘try one, get one free’ offer can increase response rates dramatically.

Content Tips to Drive Direct Mail Response Rates

4. Engage emotion first, reason second.

You have a few seconds to catch people’s attention.  That’s an emotional task.  Only once you have their attention and a willingness to buy, use reason to help them justify their desire.

Benefits are emotional, features are not.  So this also means you focus on benefits, not features.  How does your offer help the prospect do one of the following?

  • save money
  • make money
  • save time
  • achieve more
  • feel better about themselves
  • have fun
  • impress their friends
  • care for their loved ones

5. Focus on the Most Important Content

Most readers will scan rather then read every word. So focus on the content with the most impact. Here’s what the average reader looks at on a page, in order:

  • Pictures or illustrations
  • Headlines
  • Charts or graphs
  • Captions
  • Body copy

So work on content in that order.

6. Personalise as much as you can.

It’s not just the name and address.  What else can you personalise?

Different images for different demographics or psychographics.  Maps to your nearest location.  Details of previous transactions with  you.

Formatting Tips for Better Direct Mail Response Rates

7. Envelopes usually outperform self-mailers.

They’re harder to throw away as people just want to check what’s inside first.

Anything which makes your envelope stand out more or look more personal also helps – a different colour or a handwritten address, for example.

8. Larger response forms often lead to a higher response.

They’re more visible.  They create more sense of expectation.

9. More is more.

If you’ve ever received a mailing from Reader’s Digest about one of their prize draws, you’ll know how many pieces there are in it.  Letters, certificates, stickers, response forms, envelopes.  There’s a reason they do it.  Over years of testing different formats, they’ve found this gives the best return on investment.

  • Testing shows that four page letters often get better responses than two page letters.  Hard copy mail which people can consume at leisure allows for a longer attention span than email!
  • Scratchies, stickers and peel-off windows all encourage interactivity.
  • Psychological studies show we work harder to keep something we have than to get something we don’t.  So a free gift which we might miss out on by not responding is seriously hard to ignore.

Processes to Improve Direct Mail Response Rates

10. Test, test and test again.  Then test some more!

Test everything – headlines, formats, copy, images, offers, lists, frequency – everything you can think of!  Just don’t test it all at once, or you won’t know what made a difference!

Testing is the R&D of marketing. The more you test, the more your direct mail response rates will increase.

11. Keep your data quality good!

If you’re using internal data, keep it clean and up-to-date.

If you’re using third-party lists, de-duplicate.  There’s no point in sending someone two copies of the same mailing piece.

12. Integrate direct mail with other marketing channels for even better response rates.

TV, radio, magazine and newspaper advertising, outdoor, telemarketing, email, online and social – all these channels and more have a part to play. Adding them together can increase return on investment by as much as 20%.


We hope some of these tips help you take another look at your direct mail campaigns – and we’d love to know how you get on!

The Xpadite team are currently working on a longer white paper exploring direct mail response rates, with further tips, case studies and more detailed commentary.  We’re expecting to publish in April 2015 – if you’d like to pre-order a copy, just drop us a line and we’ll send you the files as soon as they’re ready.


Catalogue Marketing in a Digital World
By admin on Thursday, March 12th, 2015

catalogue-marketing-cataloguesWith the rise and rise of internet shopping, is catalogue marketing still relevant?  The experts say yes, but you have to be smarter about it.  Don’t just print a catalogue and blast it out to everyone you can.

We look at some facts and figures, plus practical tips and real-life tales.  Can this information help you improve your catalogue marketing results?

Why is Catalogue Marketing still relevant?

Catalogues have Reach.

Catalogues reach 18.3 million Australians every week.  That’s 30% more than TV.

Catalogues are well accepted.

Consumers like catalogues and flyers because they are:

  • easier to refer to later (72%)
  • often informative (48%)
  • easier to understand. (42%)

The 40+ demographic finds them highly relevant.  Younger consumers see catalogues as entertaining, but even in this age group, 28-30% rank them as the medium most likely to influence purchase.

Catalogues are easy to use.  They’re portable.  They’re trusted.  And they’re durable!  Over 70% of consumers keep catalogues in their home for  more than a month.  A third keep them for up to a year.

Catalogues work as part of a multi-channel approach.

According to consultants Kurt Salmon, ‘some 58% of online shoppers say they browse catalogs for ideas, and 31% have a retailer’s catalog with them when they make a purchase online’.  Land’s End found an even bigger impact.  They asked online purchasers if they had looked at a catalogue before buying.  An astonishing 75% said yes.

Other statistics from Kurt Salmon’s research support the use of catalogues.

  • The average order size is around 6% bigger for catalogue-driven sales compared to online.
  • Retention of Internet-only customers was 13% to 32% lower than for catalogue buyers.
  • Multi-channel customers ranked best for both average order size and retention rate.

Note also the following comment in Nordstrom’s annual report. (Xpadite emphasis.)

 Customers who have a multichannel relationship with Nordstrom spend four times as much with us as those who do not.”

Which industry sectors should use Catalogue Marketing?

Roy Morgan research finds consumers rate catalogues as the medium most likely to influence purchases for:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • childrens wear
  • clothing and fashion
  • cosmetics and toiletries
  • groceries
  • small electrical appliances
  • toys.

Catalogue marketing is also the second most influential channel for:

  • books
  • car parts and accessories
  • CDs and DVDs
  • computers and peripherals
  • home entertainment and electronics
  • home interiors and furnishings
  • large appliances (kitchen / laundry)
  • mobile phones and phone providers.

And it ranks third for

  • real estate
  • home improvements and renovations.

If any of these are you, catalogues should be part of your marketing mix!

Other sectors where catalogue marketing has grown in recent years include:

  • pharmacy
  • take-away
  • outdoor.

How should I structure my Catalogue Marketing?

The answer depends on your market and your brand.  The only way to be sure is to test different options.  Fortunately, testing catalogue marketing tests is relatively easy.

Here are some common considerations.

  • How often should we send catalogues?

Supermarkets send out price and offer-focused catalogues constantly.  Fashion retailers may opt for twice a year to reflect seasonal lines.

  • Should we include our entire product range or just some of it?

FAO Schwarz replaced their (northern hemisphere) spring catalogue with a teaser to drive website traffic.  (After testing, of course!)  This gave huge cost savings without hurting revenue.  They kept the Christmas catalogue full-range, however.  Undoubtably competition is fiercer at Christmas.

  • Should we send the same catalogue to everyone?  Should we segment or personalise?

If you’re sending to past customers, investigate your purchase data to help you decide.  It probably doesn’t make much sense to segment for fashion, but what about separate catalogues for dog owners and cat owners?

You could also send smaller catalogues to past customers with a lower total spend. Or to those who have not purchased in the last 12 or 24 months.

Another option is a customised first page with targeted special offers. Include these as an inserted letter to control cost.

  • How much space should we devote to each product in the catalogue?
  • Should we include non-product (but related) material in the catalogue?

The Williams-Sonoma product range is focused on cookware and entertaining.  Their catalogue has changed a lot over time – 11% more pages, with fewer products covered in more detail.  They’ve also introduced extra content such as recipes to make a ‘more compelling story’.  Direct-to-consumer sales have increased!

catalogue-marketing-anthropologieWhat about a store like Anthropologie?  Catalogues are their principal form of advertising.

‘We don’t call it a catalog; we call it a journal,‘ said Susy Korb, chief marketing officer of Anthropologie, whose materials show women wearing dresses in fields, on beaches and ‘where the rolling heather meets the broad, brisk sky,’ as one recent spread detailed.

‘Of course we’re trying to sell clothes and accessories,’ Ms. Korb said, ‘but it’s more to inspire and engage.’

Controlling Print and Distribution Costs

Printing and distribution are the largest costs in catalogue marketing.  But remember, these ‘costs’ are actually an investment.  Your primary goal should not be to cut cost, but to increase overall return.

Product photography, paper stock, level of personalisation, whether to include price offers – all of these should reflect your brand position and your target market.  If you’re making changes to control cost, it’s always worth testing before you roll out.

Some ‘tweaks’ will have little impact on cost.  Others may be really effective.  As print and fulfilment specialists, this is one area Xpadite can help.  Here are a few ideas to start you thinking.

  • A standard size mailing may be cheaper, but will it lose stand-out value and result in lower sales?
  • Are your catalogues near a postal weight-break? If so, a small change in the number of pages or a slight variation of paper stock could change costs significantly.
  • If you are personalising, can you get 80% of the benefit by personalising only one or two pages, which you insert into an envelope with the catalogue?
  • Most catalogues are distributed via direct mail – either addressed mail to a subscriber list or as an unaddressed ‘letterbox drop’.  Consider using other distribution methods including:
    • via stores and outlets
    • inclusion with orders. This is especially good for e-commerce operations, as it gives them a ‘real world’ presence.

Does your catalogue marketing need review? If you’d like to discuss your situation in detail, just contact us.

Promotional Products in the Marketing Mix – Infographic
By admin on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”promotional-products-infographic-detail

Marketing has come a long way since American marketing pioneer John Wanamaker first said that, but measuring marketing success is still a challenge.  It’s not so much measuring any one part of your marketing – although direct mail is still easier to measure than promotional products, or social media for that matter.  It’s measuring how they contribute to the marketing mix. When someone buys an expensive jewellery set from your online store, how do you attribute the revenue?

  • How much goes to the email she clicked from?
  • How much goes to the other emails you sent her before that?
  • How much goes to the diamond pin you offered in a competition which made her sign up in the first place?
  • How much goes to the branded travel cosmetics set you promised to anyone spending above a certain amount ‘while stocks last’?
  • How much goes to the Facebook ads which she saw but never clicked on?

In theory, you could run different campaigns to test each and every element.  In real life, no one has the time or the money.  Fortunately, agencies and very large companies do manage to test many variations in the marketing mix, and sometimes that information is made public.  This is especially helpful for marketing elements such as promotional products, which aren’t generally the ‘heroes’ of the marketing budget, so can easily get cut.

A highlight of the UK infographic shown below is that promotional products alone create a more favourable impression than print and TV combined!  Surprising at first glance, but it makes sense when you think about it.  A promotional item is a present, something useful, rather than yet another ad to navigate.  That’s especially true if it’s useful or relevant to your main business, or entertaining.

Gyms hand out branded water bottles and towels.  Make-up brands offer make-up cases.  Brands targeting mothers or families give away something to entertain the kids.  IT companies hand out USBs.  FMCG companies send samples and gift size packages via direct mail.  Online stores may include a surprise gift with big orders.  But it helps to be creative and offer a that little bit more.  NRMA holiday parks gave us a fridge magnet, but it’s also a thermometer.  That little difference keeps it on the fridge door even when I clear off the clutter.

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost…‘  Tiny things can make a huge difference.  The tiny thing could be having a promotional product at all.  It could be having the right one, the creative one, the one which wows your target customer.

Could some kind of targeted promotional product or prize be the nail you need to help win your marketing battle?  Contact Xpadite for help sourcing imaginative, company-specific promotional products which will make your name stand out.


Infographic from 4imprintUK