New Orleans and the World: A Tricentennial Anthology Book

We’re so proud to have worked on this project for Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. This beautiful book has been the hard work of the entire team at LEH and their partners. For you print nerds, here are the paper specifications:

End Sheets – 80# Starbrite Opaque Cover
Text – 100# Endurance Silk Text
Cover – 100# Endurance Gloss Text
Dust Jacket – 100# Endurance Gloss Text

Three Tips for Keeping an Active Blog

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In today’s digital age, a company’s blog could easily become one of its most successful marketing tools.  The next time you are out somewhere in public take a look around you.  How many people are passing time waiting in line, taking a walk, or simply sitting down with their noses and fingers buried in their cell phones or mobile devices?  These people could be consumers researching a product or service they are interested in buying.  Wouldn’t it be great if they were researching your product or service in their spare time?

What steps can you take to be sure your company’s blog stays active and helps you market your products or services?

  1. Schedule it:  Marketing your company’s products or services has the ability to make or break your business.  Blogging is a great way to get word of mouth about your products or services out there.  Make your blog a priority every single day.  Every aspect of your business can be an inspiration, from new products or services to money saving tips.  Keep your customers informed and intrigued.

  2. Maintain a Fresh Collection of Topic Ideas:  Here is where being in touch with your customer’s needs can put you light years ahead of your competition.  Your customer service representatives are your best to start.  Find out what questions and concerns are most popular with your customers.  Consider picking a few items and expand them on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  Monitoring similiar businesses is important too.  Considering reading other industry blogs or setting up Google Alerts to help you keep up with new industry trends.

  3. Consider Hiring a Writer:  Writing is not something that comes easy to everyone.  Yes, it is very important to be informative, but you also need to keep your audience’s attention.  If you find that you cannot keep people informed, yet entertained, perhaps it is time to consider hiring a professional writer.  An informative and professional looking website or blog can ensure repeat visitors, and perhaps even repeat customers.

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

DMA Response Rate Report 2015 – original article: here

Direct mail is over seven times more effective than all digital channels combined, according to the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.

Median direct mail response rates to house-file lists were 3.7 percent, survey respondents reported. Email, social media, paid search, mobile and internet display together tallied only a 0.52 percent median response. Direct mail’s overall prospect-file response rates were 10 times that of email, which came in at just 0.1 percent.

“The report is clear,” said Partner & Chief Marketing Officer Jay Carroll, “in spite of all of the noise about direct mail being a non-relevant channel, it is unquestionably still a potent marketing tool.”

The return on investment in the direct mail channel was between 15 and 17 percent, on par with social media, and topping mobile, paid search and internet display. Email’s median ROI was between 21 and 23 percent.

Direct mail’s median cost per response of $19 was less than half of the cost per acquisition for internet display, which was between $41 and $50. DM’s CPR was competitive with CPA in social media and mobile ads ($16 to $18), while email was $11 to $15. The study did not track CPA for direct mail.

“One of the most interesting takeaways from the study,” said VP of Marketing & Sales Erik Koenig, “was the breakdown of CPR among different mail formats. A lot of marketers get hung up on cost per piece, prematurely ruling out more expensive concepts that turn out to be more viable than many think.”

Dimensional prospect mailings had median response rates of 2.8 percent, beating oversized envelopes (2 percent), letters (1 percent) and postcards (1 percent). CPR was $43 for dimensional mailings, but $105 for oversized, $58 for letters and $59 for postcards.

The study also found that 44 percent of respondents use three or more marketing channels. When that’s the case, those channels are most likely to be email, social media and direct mail.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they expect their direct mail usage to grow or stay the same in the coming year. Half of respondents reported using direct mail in 2015, higher than social media (34 percent), paid search (30 percent), online display (29 percent), and mobile (5 percent). Email is used by 83 percent of respondents.

So if direct mail is so effective, why is usage down from 79 percent of respondents in 2012 to 50 percent in 2015? The challenge with direct mail, according to the study, is the cost, effort to deploy and the difficulty of tracking it.

“This is consistent with what we often see in the marketplace,” Carroll said. “Many companies have either given up on mail or not tested mail because of a lack of internal resources, a lack of budget or a lack of an effective DM testing method.  It’s in these circumstances where SeQuel can step in and resurrect or launch a successful campaign that will thrive for years.”

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

Facts About The Man Behind The Brand, James ‘Pel’ Hughes, on his 100th Birthday

The Man Behind The Brand

The Man Behind The Brand  – Pel Hughes












  • Born on May 2, 1915
  • He was an only child
  • Real name: James Wellington Hughes, Jr.
  • Grew up at 7933 Birch Street
  • Went to Mater Dolorosa for grammar school
  • Was nicknamed ‘Pel’ due to a grammar school friend that was not able to pronounce Wellington and said Pellington instead
  • Went to Jesuit High School (Go Blue Jays!)
  • Was a stud athlete and captain at Jesuit playing football, baseball and basketball
  • He was a catcher at Jesuit in 1933, his son was a catcher in 1963 and his grandson was a catcher in 1993.
  • They called basketball players “basketeers” back then
  • Pel was 6’2”
  • Graduated Jesuit High School in 1933
  • Pel attended Loyola from 1933-1937
  • Pel was in the Beggars Fraternity at Loyola
  • He ran track, and played football and basketball for the Wolf Pack
  • He played fullback and was a punter in football
  • He was the 1937 Best All Around Athlete at Loyola
  • He was married to Alice Catherine Laborde in 1938
  • They had 3 kids, Jimmy, Yvonne “Bebé,” and Vic
  • They had dogs named Oogie and Qwerty
  • He frequently doodled and even won a few Dixie Cartoon doodle contests
  • Pel was ineligible to go to war due to a leg injury
  • He worked for the IL Central Railroad
  • In 1945 he was signed to play with the New Orleans Pelicans AAA Baseball team and continued working for the railroad
  • Hit 1 homerun during his AAA run
  • He and his track coach at Loyola, Robert “Doc” Erskine, went to Chicago and ran in the same meet as 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist Jessie Owens
  • He would play home games with the Pelicans after working a full day at the railroad + he would take vacation days and play a few away games
  • In 1955, Pel and his wife purchased Earl J. Christenberry Letter Service, which Alice ran
  • They changed the name to Pel Hughes Letter Service, and later to Pel Hughes Electronic Service, before finally settling on Pel Hughes Printing.
  • His wife Alice passed away in 1973
  • He loved to eat at Pascal Manale’s
  • Pel remarried Lois Klein in 1980 – a friend from his earlier years
  • In 2003 he was inducted into the Loyola Hall of Fame
  • He’s in the CAA Hall of Fame
  • Favorite Food: Oysters on the half shell
  • He was a lover of golf and bowling
  • He was a member of the Metairie Country Club
  • He didn’t mind flying, it was the crashing part he didn’t like
  • He was an honorary member of the Over The Mountain Athletic Club (OTMAC)
  • He didn’t drink much, but later in life he liked vodka.
  • He was an original member of the Dawn Busters
  • All of his friends and family say he was an incredibly humble and unique man that loved his family to no end.
  • Pel passed away in 2004 at the age of 89

Improve A Customer’s Online Experience

To improve your customer’s experience online, consider these three tips.

Don’t make them have to hunt you down.

Online customers can easily get frustrated and give up and leave if they can’t swiftly find a way to contact you with questions about your products or services. Don’t make them scroll all the way to the bottom of your website to finally unearth a dusty contact link in grey, 3 pt. type. Don’t make them navigate away from your product page to the home page in order to find the contact link. Don’t force them to consult a site map to find a contact link either, unless you prefer to be completely unreachable.

Instead, at a minimum, have a clear, large contact us link that shows up on every page of your website, so customers can quickly get answers to impromptu questions.

Take a page from the old print catalogs.

Years ago when print catalogs were in style, customers were given multiple methods to place an order. Buyers could mail it in, phone it in, or fax it in. Do the same for your customers. People have varying favorite ways to place orders. Offer an 800 number as well as an online order form, and perhaps let them order via Live Chat. By doing this, you’ll appeal to a much broader range of customers.

Don’t make them wait.

Don’t make your site visitors wait for splash pages to finish, and don’t make them wait for pages to load. This is akin to making your customers wait outside the shop door while your employees finish their merchandising displays. By the time you open the front door, your customer could be long gone. Your website developer should be able to design a site for you that loads quickly, with web-optimized graphics that won’t hang up your customers’ ISPs. When in doubt, always choose faster download times over razzle dazzle.

Online And Offline Presence Building

It’s a buzzword phrase business folks hear all the time these days – “you need to expand your presence!” Unfortunately, while this action seems to be an agreed upon need in the digital world, not as many people full understand what it means.

In reality, expanding a business presence online or off is about developing and building brand awareness and reputation. It’s about developing a name, service delivery, and recognition that is synonymous in consumers’ minds with a particular product, need or service. So every time people think about a particular tool, the company’s name comes up immediately instead of just a generic tool.

While the online side of things involves websites and social media presence, businesses shouldn’t forget about the realtime, real world side of things. Local and regional presence has been developed for decades with the use of fliers, advertisement, mailers, newsletters and multiple other print options. No surprise, business sales and revenue still comes from people remembering about a coupon, an address on a pen or notepad, or seeing an add on a billboard on the side of the highway or commute road.

Another aspect about expanding presence is that, unlike the digital world, an offline presence can remain a bit more static. Time moves slower for printed material, so there’s not as much need to keep updating information to stay on a particular search engine. The biggest search engine in the print world is the local yellow pages phone book, and that only gets updated once a year.

So if your business is looking to boost its name, the digital world is a fine place to do so, but don’t forget printed hardcopy marketing tools as well. Sometimes the old tried and true is still a better path to take, especially when building local name recognition.

Measuring The Real Results Of Social Media

If you are like many business people, you may wonder how much time and money you should invest in social media on large networking websites like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. You might havealready invested in these platforms, but you are not sure that you can measure any tangible results. While it’s nice to see a growing number of fans and followers on your business pages, it would be even nicer to correlate that with an increased number of leads and sales.

Measuring Social Marketing Performance

One of the most difficult things about assessing the benefits of social media efforts is that some important benefits are intangible. For example, brand awareness might be one of the main goals of your campaign, but it can be hard to measure the way that increased awareness has impacted your sales unless you do absolutely nothing else to generate sales and leads.

Information Today is a website mostly aimed at librarians and information gatherers, and they have published some topical insights for business people who need a way to quantify the results of their efforts. They suggest these simple tactics to measure the effectiveness of your campaign:

  • Analytics: If your goal is to increase the number of visitors to your website, you should have tracking in place on your site to see where visits originate. If your goal is to get the phone to ring, you can either dedicate a phone number to your efforts or simply train your representatives to ask where the call came from.
  • Search results: Spend the time to measure your ranking in popular search engines, and you should do this both before and after a search media campaign.
  • Internet mentions: Google Alerts is a great tool to alert you to mentions of your business website or social media page on other Internet properties.

Millennials And The Mailbox

While there are many people who love getting coupons, flyers and other marketing messages in their mailbox every day, the millennial generation is probably one group where your paper marketing methods will fall flat. If you want to reach the younger generation, you’ll have to find ways to reach them where they’re already gathering information: the internet.

More Connected than Ever

A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reports that 80% of millenials sleep with their smart phone next to their bed. This means that those smart phones are probably the first thing they check every day. The same study also reports that millenials shift their online focus to different platforms more than 27 times in a single hour. A focus on digital media and a short attention span means your online messages have to be present and quickly digested to be effective.

Doing Business Online

Another sign that messages in the mailbox might be ineffective for millenials is the fact that 88% of them are paying their bills and performing other banking tasks online. Where older generations still make the trip to the mailbox to collect their bills, millenials are getting their important information in their email inboxes and via smart phone apps and dismissing the paper mail as advertisements.

Get Social

The millenial generation relies on personal interaction and recommendations from friends when it comes to choosing where to spend their money. This means that instead of dropping advertisements around the web, companies need to interact with the millenial generation using social media outlets. Companies also need a solid inbound marketing strategy so that when millenials start searching the web for solutions, they are easily found.

Direct mail campaigns are still an effective strategy for many age groups, however, when it comes to millennials you’ll need to put your best digital foot forward to meet your goals.

Why Print Marketers Need To Think Differently

In the glory days of print marketing, advertisers could produce just about anything they wanted and it would attract the desired attention. From listings in newspapers to colorful spots in magazines, some quality artwork and a quick catch phrase often proved all an advertising company needed to prove successful. However, this day is long gone and it has changed drastically over the past decade. Now, the majority of marketing takes place over the Internet as it is easier to target a specific demographic and know exactly what these individuals might want. This does not mean print marketing is dead, but it does mean print marketers have to think differently.

Target Demographic

A print marketer needs to understand now who is more likely to come in contact with their advertisement. If the ad is to appear in a newspaper spread, fewer and fewer young professionals are reading newspapers. This means marketing towards a younger crowd requires more integration with the Internet than ever before. It also means that a print marketing company needs to target specific publications in order to increase the chance of even reaching their younger demographics. Publishing content in smaller newspapers or magazines that target a more focused audience is now more important than spending more money for the major newspaper in the region, as this readership is lower than ever before.


Integrating other forms of marketing with print is essential, not only to reach the target audience but simply for survival. Without this ability to use the Internet, most marketing companies are going to fold due to the lack of revenue. Marketing is now a progressive, ever evolving game mixed with the growth and development of technology. Without integrating this technology into the marketing platform, the company has very little chance of success.

Marketing To The Non-Internet Crowd

It may seem odd — bizarre, to even think that there are still people out there who have little or no use for the Internet. In an age when two out of three people own a smart phone and the average person uses three social media networks, there’s still a huge chunk of the population (fifteen percent, or nearly fifty million people) who disconnect themselves from the Internet by choice. How can your company market to these customers?

The Printed Word

Much of the reason that people wall themselves off from the e-world comes down to a preference for physical rather than digital content. Just as some people prefer to hold a paper book than a Kindle, so too do others prefer to use snail mail rather than email in order to gain a sense of connection. Printed mail helps companies to connect with these customers by delivering information or promotions directly to their doorstep. Although Daily Tech reports that 20% of Americans have no Internet access, every American has access to a postal route. Creating a direct mail marketing campaign allows you to ensure that your brand and listed products end up in the customer’s hand, which is more than any email marketing campaign can promise.

Offline Customers

It’s not just the Americans who prefer not to use the Internet who benefit from mailing campaigns. The Seattle Times reports that coupons are the newest hot commodity in the retail game, with consumers going out of their way to track down deals and even watching television shows based on cost cutting. Offering deals by mail puts your marketing in the driver’s seat by giving the customer a sense of positive energy that digital marketing could never achieve. Ask yourself: when was the last time you felt as positive about a pop-up ad as you did a set of coupons by mail?