Learning from the pandemic: 5 direct marketing survival facts

While the term “new normal” has become a cliché, it’s an apt description for the pandemic’s impact on daily life. We are resilient creatures and we’ve quickly adapted to living with COVID-19 in ways that will forever change the way we think and act. Looking ahead, marketers need to recognize that much of the new normal is here to stay. Consider how these 5 facts and trends may affect your marketing plans:   1) The value of E-commerce cannot be overstated. This comes as no surprise but it’s important to note that the lockdown has forced traditional brick-and-mortar retail shoppers to become more comfortable with online shopping. At the height of the lockdown, there was a 66% spike in global daily e-commerce sales. If you sell directly to the consumer via your website, now is a critical moment to ensure that your shopping experience is optimized.   2) Technology’s role in customer relationships is...

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5 hot blogs & news sites for insurance professionals

With professional organizations putting conferences and meetings on hold for now, staying abreast of hot topics within your industry takes a little extra effort. Fortunately, we have some great recommendations for those of you working in the world of insurance.   The Triple I Blog (property and casualty focus): Brought to you by the Insurance Information Institute, this blog provides professionally written articles on everything from insurance fraud to catastrophes. Whatever’s trending in the industry, you’ll find it here.   org (for consumers and professionals): While the website is aimed at educating consumers, their blog called The Scoop focuses on providing the latest news on health insurance and health reform. Each edition has several easy-to-digest news bites covering the entire nation.   America’s Health Insurance Plans (trade association blog): If you work for a health plan, this blog should be on your reading list. You’ll get the inside scoop on current issues and...

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Take Five: Choose your must-have summer reads

Everyone enjoys a good book. Here's a variety of this summer's favorites:   For a new perspective: My Vanishing Country A Memoir by Bakari Sellers. Unless you grew up in a rural, black, working-class town in the deep south, you need this book as a window into what has become a forgotten and neglected part of our country. Penned by a lawyer who became the youngest African American elected official in the country at age 22 and has served as an analyst for CNN, it’s an American success story wrapped in the struggles of the rural south. It’s no wonder that My Vanishing Country has become a New York Times Bestseller and a #1 New Release on Amazon.com.   For the kids: The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart. Full disclosure, this writer has had a thing for Kristen Bell ever since binge-watching The Good Place and all of her Funny...

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Recalling office life in 1995 as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary!

As your hand searches for the snooze button on your clock radio, you hesitate upon hearing an update from the O.J. Simpson trial. There’s an incriminating bloody glove but the defense insists a dirty cop has planted the evidence. Intrigued by this update, you are compelled to learn more. You decide to buy a newspaper along with the obligatory cup of coffee on your way to the office. Regular or decaf are your only options. No Italian dark roast, organic breakfast blend or mochaccino to be found.   Arriving at the office, you boot up Windows 95, marvel at the colorful new interface and wait for email to load. There’s no social media, no text messages and no app notifications to distract you from getting right to work. That’s a good thing for Nick Lanzi. He needs all of the time in the world to manage the duties of his full-time gig while starting a side-hustle...

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No-cost virtual doctor visits for Seniors during the coronavirus outbreak

Direct Choice Inc. has recently engaged in some pro-bono communications for the Medicare Telehealth Hotline, a service which we feel could benefit our friends and family. By now, we are all well aware that our nation’s 44 million Medicare recipients face the greatest risk from the Coronavirus pandemic. Along with having the highest mortality among COVID-19 patients, seniors are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to get access to the care they need for many other chronic health conditions. In light of this health crisis, the Medicare Telehealth Hotline is providing Medicare recipients with no-cost doctor visits from the comfort of their homes.   How the Medicare Telehealth Hotline works:   Patients with Original Medicare (with or without private supplemental insurance) who cannot reach their primary doctor can simply call 1-888-392-8889 (7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET) or visit https://medicaretelehealthhotline.org/   The Medicare Telehealth Hotline connects patients with appropriate board-certified doctors who can address...

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Test yourself with our Super Bowl advertising trivia

There’s really no point in adding to the commentary about this year’s forgettable Super Bowl ads. Seriously, do you recall what Jason Momoa was hawking? Do you care to know what in the heck is Quibi? Even the much-loved “Smaht Pahk” was no “Whassup”. Good thing the game was memorable. Anyhow, this is where opinion ends and the fun begins …UNLEASH THE AD TRIVIA! We’ll begin with an easy one.   Which brands are the top-five Super Bowl advertisers of all time?  Considering the ad spend for type 2 diabetes drugs these days, four out of five of these brands should be of no surprise. The top advertisers during Super Bowl games in order of prominence are Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Ford. Because, after decades of poor dietary choices, you’re gonna need a heavy-duty American truck to haul your butt to the ER.   Name five brands who advertised during the first Super...

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THREE MEGA-ISSUES FOR MARKETERS IN 2020 and how we need to address them

If your New Year’s resolutions include staying ahead of the curve, this article is for you. We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff (sorry for that paleo & gluten-free friends) to focus on today’s mega-issues for marketers.   1: The Steady Rise of Voice Search.   Yep, just when your SEO team thought they had mastered the game, Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri change the way we all search. Now it’s less about keywords and more about answering very real and human questions.   Smart speakers play a huge role in this trend. According to Canalys research, smart-speakers grew by 82.4% in 2019 and will overtake tablets by 2021 with over 400 million installations. In fact, the use of Google Assistant has quadrupled in just one year.   What to do about it: Start thinking about the questions that prospects and customers will be asking and insert those questions in headers. In addition, adjust web content so that...

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That’s the Spirit! Creative ideas for giving back during the holidays

Feeling challenged to come up with an event more interesting than a toy drive or canned food collection? Look no further than the agency world. Marketers are known to turn their fundraising up to 11 during the holidays (perhaps they feel a bit guilty for all of the crass consumerism). Last year for example, a Toronto agency auctioned off some of their prestigious awards via Instagram (including this gold Clio) as a means of raising funds for their favorite non-profit.   If you’ve been following Direct Choice, then you may recall voting for our Ugly Sweaters or  Holiday Album Covers to raise money via Facebook. Both of those holiday campaigns motivated our staff, friends and clients to join together for a good cause. This doesn’t mean you have to create a social media campaign to get creative. Consider these alternatives:   Auction off some perks within your organization During a holiday party, you could auction-...

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Medicare Advantage Plans Enter a New Age of Innovation and Competition

When your business is heavily regulated by the federal government, innovation and progress don’t come easy. Such is the case with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans which provide health coverage to 22 million Medicare beneficiaries. Everything about operating these plans (benefits, rates, marketing campaigns, etc.) happens under the watchful eye of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).   Last year, MA plans received some good news. CMS announced that plans could add supplemental benefits for home care and adult day care in 2019.  Now, CMS is allowing MA plans to expand coverage in 2020 with benefits that are “not necessarily health-related but have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health.”   Watch for new plans and new benefits coming in 2020.   According to Home Health Care News, there are at least 16 new MA plans becoming available  during the 2020 Annual Election Period when members can switch MA plans. Added competition is...

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Back to college: Reaching tomorrow's consumers today.

Back-to-College: Reaching tomorrow’s most valuable consumers today

Now that U.S. campuses are beginning to fill with nearly 20 million students, it’s a good time to consider what this means to your brand today and tomorrow. At this very moment, they have back-to-school needs and interests. Not too far down the road, they have the potential to become your most profitable customers.   3 key reasons why they’re the most sought-after segment: Today, Gen Z represent 44 billion dollars in estimated buying power   After they graduate, they will earn anywhere from 42% - 135% more than workers with no degree   College years represent a pivotal time in people’s lives when they are straying from parents and defining who they are and want to be. Connect with them now and you could reap some serious lifetime value.   How do you connect to Gen Z? Some traditional brands are doing surprisingly well.  Student brand ambassadors have been a big thing for companies such as...

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