ICS In-Touch February 2012

Happy New Year! The start of a New Year is my favorite time to write InTouch. I get to look back on the accomplishments during the previous year, plan for upcoming opportunities and help clients finalize their marketing plans for the New Year.

Also, this is a great time to catch up on the industry buzz – everything from the previous year’s highs and lows to experts’ crystal ball predictions for 2012. This InTouch covers what I thought you might find most interesting and useful. So if your holiday break wasn’t much of a “break” allowing you to get up-to-speed, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with a quick read right here.

No surprise, Digital Marketing/Internet Marketing/SEM (pick your favorite term) continues to grow and garner more of your peers’ 2012 budgets. Consequently, lead tracking and management has become a top challenge for marketers as lead sources expand in related areas such as SEO, PPC, triggered email, social media, blogs, mobile, etc.

Also, advancements in analytics help you get even more out of your data for laser-precision marketing. I’ve included links detailing some really exciting developments on this front. In related news, ICS just launched MarketSmart Insight – an affordable, analytics service that profiles your customers for improved targeted marketing, sales, loyalty and prospecting.

I also cover the latest on USPS’s future, data warehousing, email marketing and more. My goal is to get you running at full speed at the start of 2012 and spark your own creativity as you chart your course.

To keep you up-to-speed between InTouch publications, I’m committing to ongoing blog posts with the latest tips, trends and tools. In fact, I just posted an entry on the top three Smart Marketing segments you need to consider for your 2012 plans.

Help me get the online conversation going and subscribe to our blog. I would love to hear your thoughts on this InTouch, your marketing predictions for 2012 and your take on the greatest opportunities and challenges for the New Year.

Best Wishes for Success and Prosperity in 2012,
Kevin Harlow

 Kevin Harlow
 SVP Sales and Marketing, ICS

 News in Your Industry

Five Marketing Predictions for 2012 – Ken Orr’s predictions in an earlier article are completely inline with this author’s take. Data will continue to be at the heart of all successful marketing. More data sources will continue to evolve and data that is “cleansed, verified, modeled, enhanced and utilized… in real-time will grow.” (Source: Chief Marketer)
  • “Big Data” Trends for 2012 – Love this article’s conclusion: “When you transform Big Data into customer intelligence, and then use it across right-time multichannel marketing, your opportunities for driving revenue throughout your customer lifecycle become enormous.” For some MarketingProfs articles, you need to setup a free login and password. The extra seconds of log-in is well worth the access to great content! (Source: MarketingProfs.com)
  • Top Five B2B SEM 2012 Resolutions – Lead tracking and management, integration and content marketing top this article’s list. What are your marketing resolutions in 2012? (Source: Search Engine Land)

Five Tips for Successful Predictive Modeling – This article shows why predictive modeling is hotter than ever, plus five ways to make sure you get the most insight from your analytics. Step 1: Good Data In = Good Data Out. (Source: MarketingProfs.com)

Five Ways to Get Through Filters and Into Your Customers’ Inbox – Just because your email has been subscribed to, doesn’t mean that your customer will see your email in his inbox. Filters have moved beyond SPAM and now track percentages of emails that are deleted without being read and more. This article gives easy tips to ensure your email’s inbox arrival. (Source: Chief Marketer)

Centalized & Managed Data Drives ROI – There’s a lot of talk about marketing data warehousing – and even different definitions among marketers. This article explains the critical importance of collecting/managing, integrating, analyzing and measuring your customer data. Don’t waste another marketing dollar based on guesses instead of analytical insight. (Source: Direct Marketing News)
  • ICS’s MarketSmart Marketing Data Warehouse Portal helps you to manage, enhance and update your customer data in one easy-to-use interface. The portal also tracks all online and offline marketing, customers’ contact history and enables real-time reporting. (Source: ICS)

Where SEO is Headed & What it Means to Your Website’s Ranking – This article gives five key areas where SEO is evolving with specific actions you can take to keep your site’s high ranking on top search engines. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

A PPC Battle Royale: Click Through Rates Vs. Conversion Rates – This fun blog post looks at the best way to measure the success of your AdWord campaigns. Plus, a secret weapon could help your ROI (Hint: a qualifier). (Source: Search Engine Journal)

 News in Your Sector

Is Your Sector the Worst or Best in Open Rates? – Email opt-ins rise while open rates decline. Why? Image blocking, growing smart phone usage and list fatigue – to name a few reasons. See more reasons, plus open rates by industry and list size. What does list size have to do with open rates? Hint: Relevancy and targeting. (Source: Mailer.com)

SURVEY: Retail Marketers Increase Digital Marketing Spend – Your marketing peers in retail/B2C sectors plan to spend most of their 2012 online marketing budget on paid search, email and SEO. This article shows the break-down. Plus, less than 10% of marketers feel they are effectively using their existing customer/prospect data. (Source: Chief Marketer)

How Will USPS Changes Impact Your 2012 Marketing Plans? – It depends on whom you ask. According to this editorial, upcoming changes shouldn’t impact most mailers. However, this article says mailers can expect a significant impact as processing centers continue to close. Bottom line: We have to wait and see if/how Congress will finally position the USPS to reduce costs and adapt to a changing marketplace. (Sources: Multichannel Merchant Magazine, B-to-B Online)

 News at ICS

ICS Launches MarketSmart InsightThis new service from ICS profiles your customers to improve your targeted marketing, sales, loyalty and prospecting efforts. Our affordable analysis even details your customer data against 20+ demographic attributes. (Source: ICS)

Three “Smart Marketing” Segments You Should Consider in 2012 – Now more than ever, you have more channels to connect with customers and prospects. Here’s my blog post on the top three areas where you can make the greatest marketing impact in 2012. (Source: ICS)

Talk With Me. ICS Reinvigorates Marketing Blog and LinkedIn Presence – One of many 2012 resolutions: Use social media and our blog to quickly update you on the latest marketing tools, trends and tips. You won’t have to wait for the next InTouch to get up-to-speed. (Source: ICS)

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