Archive for July, 2008

Partly Cloudy Means Mostly Sunny

In Case You Missed It Dept. – if you were at the beach this weekend and did not grab your Boston Globe business section (am I the only one troubled by the fact that Business is now folded into section A more often than it used to be?) or see this news on your mobile device, the quarterly MoneyTree venture capital report was released today. Hmmm, why today I wonder? Let me not digress any further.

The news is, as you’d expect not great. Nationally funding slipped by 0.8 percent to $7.38 billion in the second quarter versus the same period a year ago. The IPO window remains slammed shut, with a few exceptions. VCs are forced to hang in a bit longer and for the most part, deal sizes are down a bit.

However here in New England, the picture is a bit brighter – VC firms cut checks totaling $822.8 million in Q2, an increase of 5.5 percent. New England remains second to Silicon Valley

So whether you are headed to the beach (as I am – a week’s vacation on the Bay side of the Cape in Dennis awaits ) or looking at the investment environment, think positive thoughts…things are brightening up. Sure, there is a threat of turbulence – either a passing thunder storm or some more economic hiccups – but it’s summer and that’s not all bad.

Is there anything we CAN do anymore?

With the advent of the Internet, many marketers dropped dollars devoted to traditional methods like direct mail in favor of online ads and email marketing to reach their audience immediately. When the Do-Not-Call list made it into the law books, even more marketers turned to email. Then anti-SPAM laws made it nearly impossible to use email as an effective marketing tool, so we reverted back to tried-and-true methods, and direct mail made a big comeback. This proved to be an effective method to get response as long as marketers were creative in their messaging, offers and packaging to break through the clutter. But now, state legislators around the US are lobbying for a “Do Not Mail” law which would effectively end direct mail as an option for many marketers. AK, CO, CT, HI, MD, MI, MS, MT, NJ, NY, NC, RI, TX, VT and WA have all considered establishing a “Do Not Mail” registry.

In hopes of abating this, the DMA (whose very existence depends on the aforementioned marketing techniques) has issued new guidelines designed to help marketers. Many of these guidelines are practices that companies already have in place to comply with email marketing rules. Although geared to consumer marketing, there are lessons that can be applied to B2B marketers, including:

– Provide customers with an opt-out of future mailings
– Upon request, notify recipient of how their address was obtained
– Update your lists frequently to remove undeliverable and opt-out requests

You can already block broadcast ads thanks to DVR and satellite radio, and avoid any type of online advertising by subscribing to RSS feeds to receive your favorite site’s content. Before we know it, magazines and newspapers will be ad-free! Direct mail is one of the few remaining vehicles we have to get creative and make our message stand out. In times when regulations and things we can’t do seem endless, let’s hope this is one law that isn’t passed!

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