DM Jul-Aug 2021

online.magazines

❱ 4

Tackling

Negative

Reviews

❱ 10

Four DM

Ideas You

Should

Steal

PM40050803

VOL. 34 • NO. 7 • JULY/AUGUST 2021

THE AUTHORITY FOR THE DATA-DRIVEN BUSINESS

Interview:

Doug Stephens,

Retail Prophet on

The Future of Retail


3

Vol. 34 | No. 7 | July/August 2021

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Contributors

Billy Sharma

Jay Hinman

Stephen Shaw

Michael Morris

Laura Tyson

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ON THE COVER

INTERVIEW

❯ 6

The Future of Retail:

An Interview with Doug Stephens,

Founder and President, Retail Prophet

❯ 4

Ten Tips for Tackling Negative

Customer Reviews

❯ 10

Four Good

Direct Mail

Ideas

to Steal

From

CUSTOMER SERVICE

DIRECT MAIL

STRATEGY

❯ 12

Why the Cause is Now a Cornerstone

of Marketing

TRANSACTIONAL DATA

❯ 14

How a Customer-Centric Business

Model is Driving Growth in Canada

for Afterpay

JULY/AUGUST 2021 DMN.CA ❰


CUSTOMER SERVICE

// 4

Ten Tips for Tackling Negative

Customer Reviews

BY JAY HINMAN

Ask any marketer

today how he or

she feels about

customer complaints and there’s

a good chance you’ll hear, “They’re

never fun,” “They’re part of the job,”

“There’s just so many of them,” or

even, “We can’t make everyone

happy.” Feedback that customer

support and operations teams used

to own has shifted to customerobsessed

marketing teams and

evolved into a key component of

the overall customer experience.

Customers today are more

empowered than ever before. With

just a few taps on their keyboards

or phones, they can leave reviews

online that linger in place and shape

public perception of a company

or a brand — for better or worse.

Negative customer feedback is

particularly worrisome as it poses

a threat not only to a company’s

reputation but also its bottom line.

Online reputation management

has never been more important.

When you consider that nearly 95

percent of consumers now read

online reviews before making a

purchase, you start to understand

the pressure marketers face. While

they often feel like they’re playing

defense, marketers should take

heart.

The silver linings of complaints

Online reputation management

can certainly be a tricky dance,

especially given the everincreasing

number of channels

where customers can share their

experiences. While marketers can’t

control what customers say about

their companies or brands online,

they are more empowered than

they often realize.

For starters, marketers can

control how a company responds

to customer complaints online.

They can also choose to employ

online reputation management

software to better understand the

voice of the customer and act on it.

Specific tools even offer customer

complaint management systems.

Marketers also have the ability to

influence the sentiment customers

— and potential customers — take

away from a brand online.

Customer complaints offer

important silver linings to

marketers savvy enough to

leverage them. Complaints indicate

problems and when customers

raise their concerns, companies

learn how to improve their

products. What’s more, when

customers take the time to leave

a review, marketers gain a unique

opportunity to engage with them

directly. By listening to and acting

on customer feedback, companies

can improve their overall customer

experience, foster customer loyalty

and gain new brand advocates.

How to tackle negative reviews

Instead of fearing customer

feedback, marketers should use

it as an opportunity to shine.

When it comes to negative reviews

in particular, marketers should

develop a process for online

reputation management. While

the nature of customer complaints

will vary, the best practices

marketers should follow to tackle

them are consistent:

❯ Avoid the urge to delete: As

unfair as a review might seem or

as negative as a customer might

be, marketers should resist

the urge to delete customer

complaints. Negative reviews

actually reveal an authenticity

consumers have come to expect.

They understand it’s impossible

for any company to make

everyone happy, so only positive

reviews could appear suspect.

Instead, marketers should focus

on effectively responding to the

complaints they receive and

boosting the credibility of their

companies along the way.

❯ Respond swiftly: Tackling

customer complaints quickly

shows a company is responsive,

cares about the customer

experience and values the

business of its customers. In

today’s digital age, marketers

have no excuse for not

responding in a swift manner,

particularly with online

reputation

management

technology

available.

❯ Apologize

and empathize:

Complaining

customers often just

want to be heard. After

all, their perceived experience

is their reality. This is why

marketers should always

apologize for the customer’s

experience and try to empathize

with him or her. When

applicable, companies should

also admit their mistakes. Doing

so can not only reassure the

customer but also help build

or repair trust. Brands that go

on the defensive run the risk

of being cast as arrogant or

uncaring.

❯ Be polite and professional:

Marketers are representing their

companies when they respond

to complaining customers, so

it’s imperative to stay polite

and professional, regardless of a

customer’s behavior.

❯ Highlight the company’s

commitment to service:

Marketers who are responding

to customer complaints may

be doing so from a reactive

position but that doesn’t mean

they can’t weave in important

key messages. When crafting a

response to a negative review,

a marketer should absolutely

highlight his or her company’s

commitment to customer

service and frame the customer

experience in question as a oneoff

experience — an anomaly.

Doing so shows potential

customers that the negative

review in question doesn’t

accurately portray your company

or services.

❯ Move the conversation

offline: Once a prompt and

empathetic initial response has

been sent, marketers should

try to move communication

with complaining customers

offline, to private channels.

This prevents drawn-out, backand-forth

exchanges potential

customers could see. Giving

the customer a direct means

of contact, such as a phone

number or an email address, will

usually help marketers move the

conversation out of public view.

❯ Find and execute a solution:

Once a marketer has moved

the conversation with the

complaining customer offline,

he or she needs to get more

detail on the customer’s problem

to find a solution and execute it.

❯ Be genuine and authentic:

While a marketer is working

to get to the bottom of the

complaint, he or she needs to

communicate with the customer

in a genuine and authentic

fashion. This way, customers feel

acknowledged and valued. After

all, they did take the time to

leave a review.

❯ Send specific, personalized

responses: Similarly, marketers

need to send specific,

personalized responses to

complaining customers. Avoid

the temptation to automate,

as one might do for certain

positive reviews, because vague

or canned responses could be

seen as impersonal and further

inflame the situation. Recent

research indicates 90 percent

of businesses understand the

importance of personalization

and respond to reviews

manually.

❯ Don’t forget to follow up:

Finally, don’t leave customers

wondering. A marketer who

has followed the above best

practices would be remiss if he

CONTINUED ON page 13

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021


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6

The future of traditional retail looks bleak.

Many more stores are expected to close as

online shopping continues its sharp upward

climb, expected to account for 20 percent of

total retail sales just three years from now.

Doug Stephens, Founder and President, Retail Prophet

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021


INTERVIEW

// 7

The Future of Retail:

An Interview with Doug Stephens,

Founder and President, Retail Prophet

STEPHEN SHAW is the Chief Strategy Officer

of Kenna, a marketing solutions provider

specializing in delivering a more unified

customer experience. Stephen can be reached

via e-mail at sshaw@kenna.ca

BY STEPHEN SHAW

For some time now traditional retailers have

been staring down a gun barrel. The pandemic

killed off the weakest retailers in the herd,

while pushing consumers who were eCommerce

holdouts into the welcoming arms of Amazon. But

even prior to this calamity, stores had been shutting

down everywhere due to changing shopping habits

— pressure on profit margins — the closing down of

shopping malls — and blind adherence to an industrial

age model that was too reliant on foot traffic.

The future of traditional retail looks bleak. Many

more stores are expected to close as online shopping

continues its sharp upward climb, expected to account

for 20 percent of total retail sales just three years

from now. Much of that spending will be soaked up by

Amazon and an expanding galaxy of online merchants.

Infinite aisles and same-day delivery have become

the bullets in the gun, aimed at the heart of any

conventional-thinking retailer whose imagination fails

them.

The old retail model is defunct. The question,

of course, is what takes its place. Do retailers look

to China for answers, where shopping and buying

have become a truly seamless experience due to the

convergence of online and offline channels? Or is there

a hybrid model better suited to North America where

the end-to-end shopping experience involves many

multiple channels and a more decentralized value

chain? Either way, retailers who want to stay solvent

better share the same mindset as Jeff Bezos who once

said: “If you lean away from the future, the future wins

every time”.

Brick-and-mortar stores are unlikely to go away

anytime soon. There is still a large role for them to play

as the face-to-face stage of the shopping journey. But

the mundane store experience of today will need to

improve dramatically to draw people away from their

screens. Store shopping can still be an enjoyable way to

pass the time — still be a gateway to discovery — still

be the best way to experience a product first-hand — if

retailers begin to think differently about what brings

shoppers joy and value.

One of the industry oracles retailers can turn to

for help in reimagining their business model is Doug

Stephens who is a master at predicting consumer and

retail trends. The author of several highly readable

and provocative books on the state of retail, he offers

retailers a clear prescription for survival, warning

them of the even more disruptive changes ahead,

while providing hope in the form of an alternate vision

rooted in the idea of putting customers first.

Stephen Shaw: Is this a good or bad time to be a

retail futurist?

Doug Stephens: I don’t think there’s ever a bad time

to be focused on the future. You always have to have

someone in the crow’s nest looking out at the horizon.

For example, people think the pandemic was a black

swan — that no one could ever have anticipated it

happening. Well, there were organizations that did

anticipate it — Intel being one of them. After the

SARS epidemic in 2002, Intel established a pandemic

committee. And ever since, they’ve been building

contingencies in the event of another pandemic. This

pandemic was foreseeable — so planning for the future

should be important in every organization.

Shaw: Is that why you started Retail Prophet?

Stephens: Absolutely. After having spent 20 odd

years in retail, I knew firsthand how short-sighted

this industry was, and how they operated quarter to

quarter. What they don’t realize is that decisions they

make today are going to impact their future success,

not just next quarter, but five to ten years from now.

Shaw: You make the point in your latest book

that this pandemic is a catalyst for change. Is

this an extinction event that wipes out mediocre

retailers?

Stephens: Yeah, I think so. Somebody asked me the

other day, “Who do you see being the winners and

losers coming out of the pandemic?”. Who’s going

to survive this crisis? Frankly, it depends on what

their view of retail is. I think there are two camps.

There are those for whom retail remains an industrial

occupation: it’s all about sourcing a product and

getting it into the hands of the consumer — pretty

much retail as we’ve known it forever. And then

there’s another, more enlightened camp which accepts

that society has fully moved into the digital era. Our

JULY/AUGUST 2021

DMN.CA ❰


INTERVIEW

// 8

primary concern as consumers is

no longer, “Will I be able to find

the things I want?”. In fact, we now

live in a world where we can have

anything we want. What we want

in the digital era is inspiration;

what we want is information; what

we want is a fusion of commerce

and entertainment.

Shaw: Coming out of this

pandemic, many people have

a changed outlook on life.

What are the ramifications for

retail? One stream of thought

is that shopping may no longer

be seen as a pastime. Will we

see a so-called “new normal”

where shopping is less of an

obsession?

Stephens: Oftentimes, we

have to look to the past in order

to understand the future. After

the SARS pandemic, China’s

retail economy was completely

reinvented. Companies like

JD.com, now one of the largest

retailers in the world, were born

out of the SARS pandemic. So, is

it likely that we are now going to

spend a disproportionate amount

of our spending online? Yes, it’s

quite likely. We may use stores

very differently going forward. I

don’t think that stores are going

to become less important. But I do

think that we are going to use them

very differently than we do today.

Shaw: You also describe in

your book a fairly apocalyptic

vision of the retail future. On

one hand, you’ve got “apex

predators”, as you call them

— like Amazon and Walmart;

on the other, competing

retail giants playing catchup,

creating their own online

marketplaces. How does that

battle play out?

Stephens: Yeah. It’s an

interesting question, and this is

the reason I reject the idea that

everything we’re seeing is simply

an acceleration of what would

have happened anyway. I don’t see

it that way at all. I think that the

pandemic has not just accelerated

the future of retail, but altered it

completely. Here’s the interesting

thing: Amazon actually lost market

share in global eCommerce. And

the reason was simple: the rest of

the world was catching up once

and for all. This is now going to

motivate companies like Amazon

We may use stores

differently in the

future. I’m not

saying they will

go away.

to move into other sectors of the

economy that are vulnerable to

disruption and incredibly lucrative.

Like education. Like banking, a

huge opportunity. In fact, Alibaba

owns Ant Financial, which is the

15th largest bank in the world.

Insurance is another sector open

to attack — same with healthcare.

Amazon has launched nine

concerted efforts over the last

three years to break into the health

care market, consummating with

an online pharmacy. So, imagine

five years from now: you’re not

just ordering running shoes and

electronics from Amazon —

they’re your child’s education

platform; they’re your health

insurer, your bank. Everybody

gets one bill every month, and it’s

payable to Amazon and it covers

virtually every aspect of your life.

So, if you’re a retailer, now you

have to ask yourself, “How on

earth do we compete with that?

How on earth do we draw that

consumer out of that ecosystem

and get them to our website?”. And

so, large international retailers like

Costco, Target, Kroger, are feeling

the heat too and are building third

party marketplaces just to try and

keep up with this expansion of

Amazon and Walmart.

Shaw: Hudson Bay announced

that it was creating its own

marketplace.

Stephens: A third party

marketplace gives you the ability

to scale up your offering very, very

quickly, with virtually no capital

investment. And sales through

third party marketplaces can

actually be more lucrative than

selling that same product in your

own stores. Retailers are realizing

it’s not good enough anymore

to just be a grocery store, or just

be a building material store —

they have to build out a minimarketplace

of their own in order

to give consumers new reasons to

shop with them.

Shaw: You use the term

“habitats” to describe these

ecosystems. Does retail

eventually become a battle of

the habitats?

Stephens: Yeah, it’s a good

question. Every morning, I read

some article that talks about

retailers trying to become “omnichannel”.

In fact, omni-channel is

a zombie concept. Omni-channel

was a recognition that most retail

companies had these two divisions:

nerds who worked over in

eCommerce and retail people who

worked over on the physical side

of the business. They didn’t talk

to one another, they didn’t share

data, and they certainly didn’t

have a single view of customer.

Omni-channel at it’s inception

was an effort to knit together

those two parts of the business.

It was never about reinventing

the shopping experience. And

then in 2016, Jack Ma, who is

now the chairman of Alibaba,

came up with a term called “New

Retail”. What Ma was saying is that

we, as consumers, don’t operate

in channels. We don’t say to

ourselves, “I’m going to go online

and do some shopping.” We are

shopping now in the moment. So

I watch a video on TikTok and that

becomes a shopping experience. I

read a post on Facebook and that

becomes a shopping experience.

I connect to a QR code in a

magazine to get some information

and that becomes a shopping

experience. Ma recognized that

consumers bounce from moment

to moment in their life. And at

various moments, retailers need to

be available to serve those needs.

And at the same time, we need

to build what my friend Michael

Zakkour 1 calls “power sources”.

These are new delivery systems,

new technologies, to allow for new

retail formats and experiences.

And what we see now is Amazon

starting to take pages from

Alibaba’s playbook.

Shaw: Some people say that the

future is already on display in

China.

Stephens: Yeah, absolutely.

And the rails of commerce are

incredibly well oiled in China.

There’s very little friction in

terms of one’s ability to shop and

in particular to buy and pay for

things in the moment, because so

much of that activity is centralized

across very few channels. WeChat

is one of the primary avenues for

commerce. Everything that you

need is there: you can hail a taxi,

order your meal, buy a few things,

pay your rent, buy an airline

ticket, all without ever leaving

WeChat. So, it is a system that

has been designed without even

thinking about conventional retail

channels, or conventional methods

of payment. It’s a model that was

created for the digital age. And so

to your point, yes, I think that if

we want to divine the future five

years from now in North America,

we should be looking at China.

Shaw: The other aspect of it

that strikes me is how important

social commerce is in China.

And of course, we’re seeing

moves by Facebook now to

take advantage of, as you put it,

shoppable media, using social

channels to buy things, connect

with influencers, and during a

live streaming event, buy stuff

in real time. It’s quite a futuristic

picture you draw.

Stephens: It is indeed. What

we’ve seen in the Chinese

market is a complete collapse

of the boundaries between

entertainment and commerce.

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021


INTERVIEW

// 9

So much of the entertainment

landscape has commerce built into

it. Opportunities for consumers

to connect with, as you say, key

opinion leaders or influencers in

the market — to connect with

specific products that may be

embedded within a movie or a

television series. Again, Alibaba

is a great example because

they have this ecosystem that’s

made up of video production,

shipping, commerce, banking, and

payments. All of these things are

stitched together very elegantly,

so that consumers can watch

a TV show that’s produced by

Alibaba — they can shop that TV

show while they’re enjoying that

entertainment — and they can

pay for it all, using Alipay. It’s a

complete ecosystem.

Shaw: With more and more

streetside stores shuttering,

the retail industry is in need

of “remodeling”, as you put

it. The answer, you say, is for

retailers to adopt what you call

a new “store archetype” and

deliver something that the apex

predators cannot. Is that a fair

summation?

Stephens: That’s a very good

summation. I don’t believe there’s

room anymore for mediocre

brands. There’s no surplus market

share for them to subsist on.

What every retail brand needs

to do now is define its purpose

in this new world. Purpose

is the new positioning. But I

don’t mean positioning from

the traditional standpoint, like

luxury or discount. What I mean

is a pretty simple litmus test.

And the test is this question: if

your brand is the answer, what’s

the question? That sounds like a

pretty simple question. But I’ve

asked it of executives at Fortune

500 companies and oftentimes

you don’t get a clear answer. And

so, I provide in the book 10 retail

archetypes that retailers can

choose from. They are divided into

four categories. One is culture:

brands that can tell interesting

stories, and turn those stories into

movements. And so here you find

brands like Nike, a real storytelling

brand, or Patagonia, a brand

that espouses environmental

responsibility. The next quadrant

is entertainment. What brands do

here is surround their products

with a theatrical and entertaining

experience. The next quadrant

is expertise where you offer

the deepest knowledge in your

category. And the final quadrant

is product, where it’s the product

itself that is the differentiator.

Shaw: What’s a good example

of a retailer getting their model

right?

Stephens: Go back to Patagonia,

an activist brand which puts

environmental causes right at

the center of its business. They

offer differentiated products

by virtue of their recyclability,

and the fact they’re made from

recycled materials. They also

offer a differentiation in their

expertise. They hire people who

are enthusiasts — who absolutely

love the outdoors. Everything

Patagonia does is aligned with its

environmental positioning. It’s a

brand with a strong position as an

activist. And they enable it with

people who are enthusiastic about

the things they sell.

Shaw: I happen to be wearing a

Patagonia shirt today. You also

give another example in the

book of a camera store in New

York City.

Stephens: It’s called B&H Photo

Video. If you’re a photography

buff, you pretty quickly hear

the name B&H talked about

online. They have a tremendous

reputation for knowledge. Unlike

what you find on the Best Buy web

site — a stock image of a bunch

of people in blue polo shirts called

the “Geek Squad” — on the B&H

site you see individual bios of all of

their resident experts. And these

are people who have spent decades

as professional photographers,

videographers, sound technicians.

And so, is expertise a commodity

that can be delivered by any

trained store associate? Or

do you actually hire experts?

Photographers from around the

world will order things from B&H

which they would never dream of

buying from Best Buy. So, identify

what your strength is, and go really

deep so that Amazon will never

ever dream of chasing you down

that rabbit hole. It’s just not worth

their time or effort.

Shaw: As far as Canada goes,

there are two companies that

have done very well through

this pandemic. One is Shopify,

now Canada’s most valuable

company. Scott Galloway 2

calls them the anti-Amazon.

And then on the other side of

that digital divide, you have

Canadian Tire, which has had

a fabulous year, and yet is very

brick-and-mortar based. How

do you see those companies

evolving?

Stephens: Shopify is a remarkable

company, for sure. They’re now

the second largest marketplace

in North America, just behind

Amazon. The gross merchandise

volume pumped through the

Shopify platform is pretty

staggering. But I believe their

next move should be to provide

a cohesive shopping experience

Today I am deluged

by algorithms

feeding more

of the same

products I like.

across all of their merchants. Make

it a shoppable marketplace where

you discover brands that you can’t

find on Amazon. Canadian Tire

has done very well through the

pandemic, largely because they’ve

been allowed to stay open, whereas

so many other merchants have not.

But the challenge for Canadian

Tire is overcoming resistance from

franchisees to support a uniform

level of online sales and delivery.

I don’t dispute that Canadian

Tire has evolved to a point where

they now provide eCommerce and

logistics services to consumers

to a greater extent certainly than

they could even five years ago.

But it’s not up to the level that it

needs to be. And frankly, service

levels in their stores are not, in my

opinion, where they need to be

either — just go online and look

at their online reviews. Canadian

Tire has thrived because it did

a very good job decades ago of

putting stores in close proximity

to consumers. Over the long term,

they are going to have to make

some very significant changes to

both their in-store experience and

their online capabilities in order to

withstand the kind of change that

is coming.

Shaw: Recently you wrote that

“discovery is dying”. What did

you mean by that?

Stephens: I was thinking about

iTunes and the degree to which it

was a catalyst for how we consume

everything today. In the good old

days, you’d buy an album because

you had a favourite song on it that

you might have heard on the radio.

But of course, you were paying for

all the other songs on the album

along with it. And oftentimes, it

was listening to those other songs

that gave you an appreciation

for the artist or the band.

Your musical sensibilities were

broadened. Today I am deluged by

algorithms, feeding me more of the

same products that I already like.

What I’m losing is serendipitous

discovery. And so, it opens up a

massive opportunity for retailers

to provide consumers with the

occasional surprise. Even in this

post-pandemic world I think we’re

still hungry for discovery.

1 A China retail specialist and author of “New Retail

Born in China Going Global”.

2 Scott Galloway is an adjunct professor of marketing

at the New York University Stern School of Business,

and popular author and speaker.

JULY/AUGUST 2021

DMN.CA ❰


DIRECT MAIL

// 10

Four Good Direct Mail Ideas to Steal From

BY BILLY SHARMA

We all have

come across

a brilliant

idea that we wish we had thought

of or which we have filed away in

order to adapt some day. Here is

my humble grab bag of ideas for

you to steal from with abandon.

Many of these simple

“swappables” are either ones I

admire or are mine, but either

way I am sharing them with you

because they have been field-tested

and have worked each time. So,

feel free to adapt, steal, reproduce,

share, or pass them on to your

friends or clients, but please don’t

just copy them blatantly.

Here’s the list of things that

work in direct marketing:

1. Use any device to get readers

involved.

2. Add an item in your direct mail

piece to tell a story.

3. Use your creativity to make a

single important point.

4. Tell a good story.

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Direct mail offers two huge

benefits. First, it has been

scientifically proven that the brain

retains information gathered from

paper for much longer than it does

from digital messaging. In other

words, people trust paper.

Second, you can practically mail

anything. This tactile nature of

direct mail, that is inherent only in

this medium, is a big plus in telling

stories and raising funds.

Here are some examples and the

explanation for each of the above.

1. Use any device to get readers

involved.

The beauty of involvement devices

is that they engage your reader and

draw their attention. And getting

their attention is crucial in getting

results.

Example 1: Here alongside is

a brilliant example by a charity

for the prevention of suicide that

gets you from the start before

opening the package. The idea of

INFO@CANADADECEASEDLIST.CA

EXAMPLE 1

using string and button envelopes

as a noose is a powerful visual

demonstration of the message. By

allowing recipients to untie the

string and free the noose around

the victim’s neck, they got them

involved in a powerful way. This

simple act drove home the point

that saving lives is that easy. This

almost forces your reader to paint

a mental picture while they read,

which anchors an image in their

consciousness.

EXAMPLE 2

Example 2: Here is another

way to get your reader involved.

A detergent company in Malaysia

mailed this package to people

who had just purchased a washing

machine. Once they opened the

package they found the product

was wrapped in a t-shirt as below:

And the message inside said it all.

Example 3: Amnesty

International. Simulated

Chopsticks. They put a clever twist

on a familiar item. Pencils instead

of chopsticks were

handed out with

these instructions:

❯ Tuck under

thumb and hold

tightly.

❯ Write the

Chinese

government to

help end torture.

❯ Don’t let human

rights violations

by the Chinese government give

China a bad name.

❯ Take further action at:

amnesty.org/china

Example 4: Talking about

involvement, here is an insert

for the Canadian Paraplegic

Association that I used to convey

what it feels like to be disabled.

Go ahead just follow the

instructions and see for yourself.

2. Add an item in your direct

mail piece to tell a story.

I have used many physical objects

to tell a compelling story: I’ve

sent brass keys to sell Fiberglass;

I have mailed a single glove to

get recipients to write back and

request the other glove; I have used

a piece of cardboard to dramatize

the plight of the homeless.

Example 1:

Here I used a

bandage to talk

about partner

abuse.

Example 2:

Or even a toothbrush to let the

reader know that when a woman is

fleeing from her abuser, she barely

has time to pack even her most

basic necessities.

Example 3: I mailed a pack of

sugar to talk about obesity in

children for the charity Food Share.

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021


DIRECT MAIL

// 11

Example 4: A Boston homeless

charity mailed ID cards to their

donors to demonstrate that

homeless people lose their identity.

3. Use your creativity to make a

single important point.

Example 1: When I learned that

some young girls at the Massey

Centre became homeless due

to physical abuse, I wanted to

highlight the plight of these girls.

So, here is the letter donors

received:

The idea was to make the bold

words hard to read and to involve

the readers by making them

hold the letter up to a lamp or

window. Because most partner

abuse cases are hidden. Once it

was backlit, it clearly revealed the

words: PARTNER ABUSE, because

the other half of each letter was

printed on the back of the paper.

The main idea was to inform

the readers that PARTNER ABUSE

is mostly hidden behind closed

doors, so it needs to

be exposed. And stats

showed that partner abuse

is prevalent especially

among young mothers

from impoverished

families.

Sadly, 80 percent of

the women at the Massey

Centre come from such

backgrounds. How well

did it do? In the first two

weeks the response was

well above 18 percent with

3 or 4 weeks still to go.

Example 2: Then

there is this simple

post-undelivered slip

from JWT London

placed in the mailboxes

of selected recipients.

To communicate the

chunkiness of Kit Kat

Chunky, JWT London’s

card claimed that they

couldn’t deliver a Kit

Kat Chunky because it

was “too big for your

letterbox”. Recipients were

directed to collect their free Kit Kat

from their local newsagent.

Example 3: In an emergency,

flash the crisis as loudly as you

can. Here is an appeal I wrote for

the Canadian Children’s Fund of

Canada to send to people who

sponsored children in India. It was

very successful.

Example 4: Wedgewood created

a ceramic envelope that was mailed

to couples that had registered to

get married, because there is a

tradition among many cultures to

break a plate for good luck. When

the recipients smashed the ceramic

envelope, there was a discount

coupon inside for them to redeem

many Wedgewood products.

4. Tell a good story.

Truth be told, the power of a good

story cannot be underestimated.

There is plenty of proof in the many

novels we read and the number of

movies we watch. More amazing,

stories captivate us because we

want to know what happened next

and how it all ended. Stories have

the ability to open our eyes and

hearts to someone else’s plight.

Stories can be agents of change.

Example 1: Stories can

humanize your mission. Donors

want to see how their money is

spent. They want proof of your

fiscal accountability. What better

way to show this than by sharing

a story that embodies hope and

goodness; a story that reminds

your donors how they can help

change the lives of children who

may have a serious or terminal

illness.

Example 2: If you want to

convert more donors to monthly

donors, stay focused and be

transparent; tell them where their

last donation went. And tell them

how important they are.

Example 3: Paint a picture of the

surroundings of your main story

character and bring it to life. That’s

what I did with this dying rose, to

speak about the bond between a

dying wife and her husband.

Example 4: I have even used one

of the best children’s storytellers,

Munsch, in my letters, to show

the plight of one disabled child for

Easter Seals, Ontario. He wrote a

story about her. Twenty percent is

creative.

You can use the names of your

donors and the communities

where they live to first try to figure

out their ethnic backgrounds. But,

if you look a bit deeper, you will

find the donation amounts that

they generally give to your charity

may give you a clue too.

A person’s name may not

specifically indicate their original

ethnic origin. Many charities ask

for rounded up amounts like $25,

$50, and $100, but receive other

donations such as $18 or $36.

What these donors are telling us is

that they are probably Jewish. The

number 18 in Hebrew also means

“life” so it is customary to give gifts

in multiples of $18. If you run a

report on your database of donors

who have given a gift of $18, $36,

$180, $360, $1,800, $3,600, you

will likely find some who gave that

amount. By their giving behaviour,

they are identifying themselves to

you as likely Jewish.

Similarly, the Indian community

generally adds an extra dollar to

rounded up amounts, so they

traditionally give $51 or $101, etc,

at weddings and other occasions.

Chinese people often have

specific numbers that they regard

as lucky or unlucky. In China, lucky

numbers have pronunciations that

are similar to words with lucky

meanings. Number 8 holds huge

significance as a lucky number.

To a lesser extent 2, 6, and 9 are

considered lucky. While 4 is the

unluckiest number in China.

Different donation amounts can

give you a hint about your donor’s

ethnic background and how to best

use that knowledge.

For Muslims, 786 is a sacred

number because the Arabic letters

of the opening phrase of the Quran

add up to the numerical value of

786. Asians also go by Chinese or

Indian astrology and numerology.

For the Chinese, even numbers

are considered lucky, since it is

believed that good luck comes

in pairs. Now why is all this

important? As a charity leader, you

are always looking for good ways

to contact and steward your most

loyal donors.

So, if your donor has signalled to

you that you may not want you to

send them a Christmas or Easter

card, mark your calendar for early

August and send out wishes for a

happy and healthy New Year (Rosh

Hashana, the Jewish new year).

Or send a Diwali greeting to those

who celebrate the Indian New Year

in October, or the Chinese New

Year in February.

To ensure better stewardship,

CONTINUED ON page 13

JULY/AUGUST 2021

DMN.CA ❰


STRATEGY

// 12

Why the Cause is Now a

Cornerstone of Marketing

BY MICHAEL

MORRIS AND

LAURA TYSON

Cause-Related Marketing is

based on a very simple and

honourable practice, which

is partnering your campaign or

product with a charitable cause.

This might seem straightforward or

easy to do, but it’s hard to get right

and it comes with considerable

demand for expertise on a number

of fronts.

We are living in a time of

conscientious consumers — people

are caring more and more about

their social impact on the world.

How effective is CRM?

A recent study found that Causerelated

marketing is exceptionally

effective and becoming more

critical. Millennials and Gen Zer’s

may respond especially strongly to

marketing for a cause.*

❯ Earn more. Brands that people

believe are making the world

better earn more and have

higher purchase intent;

❯ Avoid losing customers.

Sixty-four percent of people

avoid brands that they don’t

believe have an excellent social

responsibility;

❯ Attract new customers,

especially among young

people. Sixty-nine percent of

Gen Z is more likely to buy from

a brand that contributes to a

cause;

❯ Take a stand. Sixty-six percent

of consumers think that brands

should take stands on political

and social issues; and

❯ Embody what North

Americans think is important.

Seventy-two percent believe

that it is important to buy from

companies that reflect their

values.

Benefits of cause-related

marketing

CRM has wide range of benefits.

Practically any business can

take advantage of this form

of marketing. Cause-related

marketing may have a special

meaning for online retailers,

eCommerce of all kinds, and any

other company that may be lacking

in natural attention-getting.

From boosting service and

product sales to improving the

public’s impression of your

business’ dedication to social

responsibility, there are many

reasons to team up with a great

non-profit organization.

Get attention and build

credibility

Statistics state show that

millennials make over half of their

purchases online, however, only 6

percent of them think that online

advertising is credible. Causerelated

marketing is another way

to reach clients online without

directly advertising their product

or service.

By promoting ethically

responsible initiatives, your

company can build brand

awareness and loyalty. This is

especially important for companies

that operate entirely online.

Millennials are more receptive to

relevant online advertising, Which

involve their current values. Sixtysix

percent of young consumers

view a brand more positively, if

it is associated with a cause, and

fifty-eight percent are more likely

to buy from that brand, according

to DoSomething Strategic.

A well-targeted social media

campaign that can explain how

your business WILL help the good

cause that your consumers already

care about can get a lot of positive

attention for your business,

quickly and inexpensively.

Win the race for loyal

customers

ALL businesses want more

customers. Loyal customers

bring in more loyal customers by

telling friends and family about a

company, displaying brands, and

supporting each Cause-related

marketing campaign.

You may not want to wait

around in the race for loyal

customers. Corporate giving has

increased by 15 percent in two

years. Cause-related marketing is

growing, and you don’t want to be

left behind. Brands win out with

each customer. (Yotpo 2019) If

you want to be in the handful of

companies that have a customer’s

loyalty, you need an edge over the

competition.

A third of customers have

already stopped purchasing

favourite brands by 2019 because

they lost trust in the brand. You

want your customers to trust YOU

more thanks to your commitment

to a cause, not to change

brand loyalty because they lost

confidence in your brand.

Stable revenue growth

Cause-related marketing doesn’t

just raise awareness for your

cause and business — it increases

income. 71 percent of Millennials

are willing to pay more for

something if they know some

profits will go to charity.

Furthermore, sixty-seven

percent of people are happy to pay

more to have a great experience.

The satisfaction of contributing to

a good cause can aid customers’

experiences and will make them

even more willing to pay more.

Cause-related marketing can

dramatically improve customer

loyalty. Customers are more likely

to be loyal to a brand that they

believe is committed to a nonprofit

organization or cause. Increasing a

customer’s loyalty by just 7 percent

can increase lifetime profits per

customer as much as eighty-five

percent.

Loyal customers are more likely

to keep purchasing from a brand.

Increasing retention of as few

as five percent of customers can

result in an increase in revenue

from twenty-five to ninety-five

percent.

Starting a campaign

If you’re ready to start a campaign,

your motivation can include

helping your business stick in the

minds of your customers, building

trust and loyalty, but most of all by

doing something good in the world.

A campaign built around a cause is

a great choice. Find a partner who

will ensure your campaign will

work to successfully raise money

for your charitable cause and

incorporate powerful marketing

campaigns for your business.

LAURA TYSON is Director of Communications

of Social Strategy Group and Michael Morris is

Founder of Social Strategy Group.

https://www.socialstrategygroup.com/

(*contact us for details about these statistics)

Michael Morris was born in

Manchester England in 1945.

He joined his family owned

Ladies fashion retail-business

in 1961. After 30 years as a

successful manufacturer/

retailer in both the UK and

Canada, Michael realized

that to be successful in the

fashion industry, one had

to change the way they

conduct their business. In

1993, Casually Yours, was

formed as a workplacefashion

fundraising program

which benefitted over 50

hospitals across Southern

Ontario. This successful

fund raising initiative lasted

until 2003, when the SARS

outbreak forced a shutdown

of all hospital events. The

epidemic closed Casually

Yours down for over 12

months. It was during this

period, Michael Morris

collaborated with Angelo

Mantenuto, president of

Stix Brands International, a

company that manufactured

quality soap products.

Together, they created Clean

Freak Patrol, to help educate

children and parents with

the importance of hand

sanitation and hygiene.

“Spread the word not the

germs” was the campaign in

support of Sick Kids Hospital,

which was distributed

nationally through Shopper’s

Drug Mart.

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021


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// 13

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Ten Tips for Tackling Negative

Customer Reviews

CONTINUED FROM page 4

or she didn’t follow up with the complaining customer. By following up to

ensure the customer’s problem has been resolved, the customer might be

inspired to update his or her original review, or, potentially even, delete it

altogether.

How companies respond to customer complaints online is incredibly

important and visible, and marketers play a pivotal role. One bad experience

doesn’t have to be the final say for that customer. Each customer interaction is

an opportunity. With the right online reputation management strategies and

tools, companies can differentiate themselves and show they’re willing to go

and beyond to ensure a great customer experience.

JAY HINMAN is the head of corporate marketing at Birdeye. He has over 25 years of B2B marketing leadership

experience at global companies, such as Opera Software and MobiTV, and helped lead two startups to

acquisition as vice president of marketing at Neumob and Skyfire

Four Good Direct Mail Ideas to Steal From

CONTINUED FROM page 11

you can build your donor base to reflect your research. Through customizing

your stewardship and your giving levels, you can show your donors that you

13-07-04 10:43 AM

are paying attention to them. They will appreciate the personalization and

your thoughtfulness, and you will be able to appeal to them more effectively.

You can ask them in certain amounts and during appropriate holiday periods

that are a better fit for them.

And that is what smart fundraising is all about.

MelissaDirect.com

1-800-MELISSA

BILLY SHARMA is President & Creative Director of Designers Inc. He started his career in the advertising world

and have worked in four major cities — Munich, Montreal, New York and Toronto for some of the largest

advertising agencies. For the past three decades he has run his own company, Designers Inc.


TRANSACTIONAL DATA

// 14

How a Customer-Centric Business Model

is Driving Growth in Canada for Afterpay

How a Customer-Centric Business

Model is Driving Growth in Canada for

Afterpay

Afterpay is the leader in “Buy Now, Pay

Later” (BNPL) payments, helping millions

of users get the products they want fast and

with responsible spending in mind. More than

this, Afterpay has proven to be a valuable

marketing tool for retailers when it comes to

reaching young and engaged shoppers. Afterpay

is one of those rare “win, wins” for both

consumers and merchants, helping the brand

see unprecedented success since entering the

Canadian market.

We spoke with Afterpay’s General Manager

of North America, Zahir Khoja, to break down

what Afterpay is, how it helps merchants and

retailers understand their shoppers, and how

the brand’s customer-centric business model

has spurred Canadian growth so far.

Tell us about Afterpay. What is it and how

does it work?

Afterpay lets consumers receive products

immediately and pay over time using their own

money — always interest-free — at thousands

of retailers across the globe. Purchases are paid

in four installments due every two weeks. Since

launching, Afterpay is now offered by over

86,000 retailers and used by 15 million active

customers around the world.

How does buy-now, pay-later drive

marketing?

The benefits of using BNPL for merchants are

far reaching. For one, merchants have access

to millions of global shoppers, mainly in the

Millennial and Gen Z cohort, who are turning

away from traditional credit cards, debts and

fees. Merchants see a service like Afterpay as

a marketing vehicle, as many of our customers

will start their shopping journey on the Afterpay

platform. An average of 35 million merchant

referrals are generated globally per month from

our Shop Directory, providing a source of new

traffic to our retail partners and an increase in

cart conversation by twenty per cent on average.

What’s the cost for the merchant?

For merchants, it’s as simple as paying a small

transaction fee for the service which, in turn,

gives their brand exposure to millions of users.

Once a product is bought, the merchant ships

the product immediately and Afterpay pays the

merchant in full the next day, minus the fee.

Afterpay assumes the full risk of non-payment

so the retailer doesn’t have to worry.

Our goal is to give its

customers the ability to budget

their own money and pay over

time, instead of turning to

expensive loans with interest,

fees and revolving debt.

There’s a connection to

loyalty as well.

Afterpay has a highly tailored

user platform, which has

influenced customer loyalty

and acquisition. Tell us a bit

about how Afterpay helps

retailers understand their

overall customer demographic

and keep them coming back to

shop.

Overall, we’ve found that a

more personalized consumer

shopping experience delivers

strong value. In the US, we’ve

seen this especially with our

Favourites feature — which

allows customers to keep track

of all the items they want to

Afterpay in one place. With

this feature, shoppers return

more frequently to track saved

items, merchants see increased referral traffic

from return shoppers, and Afterpay get insights

to make better recommendations. We look

forward to bringing this feature to Canada in

the near future in our newly launched app.

We also aggregate and share purchasing

data with retail partners to help them better

understand what people were buying, when,

and why — see our latest Trend Report here.

Tracking massive shifts — like the move to

more transitional dressing as consumers emerge

from lockdown — helps savvy retailers adapt to

retail in a post-pandemic world.

How is Afterpay using its buy now pay later

service as a discovery tool for retailers?

Afterpay’s Shop Directory is a destination where

customers can find our newest merchants, and

can filter brands by category, trends, values,

and those offering sales. Whether customers

are looking to browse through our thousands of

retailers or they have a very specific item they’re

looking for, our app and website are designed to

support them through their shopping journey.

Our Shop Directory is also an important

marketing channel for our partners, connecting

the best brands in the world with a powerful

demographic of young and engaged shoppers.

Zahir Khoja is General Manager of North America for Afterpay.

Afterpay has seen great success since its

launch in Canada. What are some successes

or results you’ve noticed from your

Canadian partners?

Despite Afterpay’s relatively recent entry into

Canada, it is the most used and visited BNPL

service in the country with the highest customer

intent, according to a February 2021 Citi

Research report.

This success is benefitting Afterpay’s retail

partners in a big way. For example, recent

data shows Afterpay owns 30 per cent of cart

share with Herschel Supply Co. This is a result

of bringing approximately 150,000 shopper

referrals to Herschel between September

2020 and March 2021 from Afterpay’s Shop

Directory.

As of late, Canadian retailers such as Urban

Outfitters, Lululemon, Pandora, NARS and

Shiseido have recently partnered with Afterpay

to reach a younger demographic of consumers.

ZAHIR KHOJA is General Manager of North America for Afterpay.

Founded five years ago in Sydney, Australia, Afterpay has millions

of global customers and tens of thousands merchant partners

now using the platform globally across Australia, US, Canada, UK

(where it is called Clearpay) and New Zealand. Afterpay’s global

team is currently made up of more than 700 people and growing.

DMN.CA JULY/AUGUST 2021

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