Author: Patricia Uhrich

Supply Chain Holiday Blues: Questions & Answers for Marketers.

It’s not just the title track of the 2021 Holiday Season. This year’s supply chain issue is a heavy dose of reality that has retailers scrambling to meet demand and end the year in the black. As marketers, we’re kind of caught in the middle with more questions than solutions. Our Q &A tackles some the broad questions behind this unprecedented Holiday marketing season.   Why isn’t the supply chain keeping up with demand?   The pandemic is ultimately to blame but there is no simple answer. Three key factors have led us to be unprepared for the uptick in demand.   Just in time inventory management: Rather than keeping warehouses full, companies have switched to having raw materials and finished products arrive exactly when they need them. It’s a way of running leaner by eliminating excess inventory. Unfortunately, it leaves little room for surprises like a pandemic.   Lack of warehouse workers and truck drivers:...

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Jack-o-lanterns. Skeletons. Candy. And the $10 billion in sales? … PART OF IT.

If you have not yet seen SNL’s Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins) skit, you’re missing out on the brilliantly odd inspiration for our headline. More importantly, if you can connect your product or service to Halloween in a fun and compelling way but fail to do so, you may be missing out on an easy seasonal boost in awareness or sales.   According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2021 Halloween trends, Halloween-related consumer spending is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion this year. That’s enough to buy 4 billion bags of Brach’s Candy Corn and still have money left for some Necco Wafers – yes, it’s still possible to hand these out to the dismay of unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.   We can thank the pandemic for the added enthusiasm and spending surrounding Halloween 2021. In fact, consumers are expected to spend an average of $102.74 which is close to pre-pandemic...

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Health plans should expect record ACA enrollments in 2022 — thanks ARP!

Back in April we promised to follow up on the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP’s) impact on the health insurance market. As you may recall, the ARP offered larger premium tax credits to a greater number of people who obtain coverage through Affordable Care Act health plans. It also created an extended special enrollment period (SEP) that’s slated to end on August 15th.   Here’s the good news from the ARP’s impact on 2021 enrollments: CMS reports that over 1.2 million Americans signed up for health insurance under the extended SEP as of June 1st.   3 million consumers reduced their monthly health insurance rates by applying for additional premium tax credits.   State-based marketplaces and healthcare.gov helped spur additional enrollments by promoting the SEP along with health plans. This included CMS teaming up with Stride’s Portable Benefits platform to help independent contractors enroll in an ACA health plan during a “Gig Workers Week of...

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Why your marketing plan MUST consider short-form video.

If you’ve been wondering if it pays to make the leap from online image ads to short-form video the answer is most likely a resounding, YES!  Even with the added production costs, video is too powerful to be ignored.   According to Social Media Today, video is the best performing content type on all social platforms. Video wins on engagement, response, shares and other metrics.   Consider these mind-blowing video ad statistics: Facebook: Video gains 2-3x higher click-throughs and a 20-30% increase in conversions compared to image ads (adQuadrant)   Instagram: Video posts gain 60% more engagement than photo posts (Hootsuite)   Twitter: Video delivers 10x more engagement and 50% savings on cost per engagement (Social Media Today)   LinkedIn: Video delivers 3x the engagement as text posts (LinkedIn)   YouTube: Best ROI for video with 34.6 billion visits per month (the world’s second most popular website after Google).   What qualifies a short-form video ad? Anything under 1-minute. 66% percent...

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A Quartet of Awards — Music to our ears.

Awards season is back for 2021 and Direct Choice is off to a strong start. Last week, our team attended a virtual presentation of the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards (AKA Bennies) via Zoom. Other than the “Creative Only” category, these awards are judged based on a blend of marketing strategy, creative and response metrics. Direct Choice was recognized with awards in four categories:     Integrated B-to-C Winner: Blue Cross of NC Medicare Advantage Campaign. While face-to-face sales were made impossible by the pandemic of 2020, this campaign managed to drastically increase direct sales and decrease the cost per sale. The campaign included traditional direct mail and DRTV together with new social media strategies for highly targeted marketing.       Broadcast (TV or Radio) Campaign Winner: Blue Cross of NC Medicare Advantage DRTV: As part of the above campaign, we expanded our DRTV efforts with a new spot that leveraged the localized power...

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TikTok ‘til you drop. Why and how to use social media’s fastest growing app.

Did you know TiKTok is the fastest growing social media platform of all time? According to the Digital Marketing Institute, it has grown faster than Facebook and twice as fast as Instagram since its inception. Yet only 4% of U.S. social media marketers use the platform.   Why aren’t more marketers jumping in?  There’s a misconception that TikTok is for teenagers. Yes, that’s where the initial rapid growth took place but now, as with previous platforms, its user base is broadening. For example, 54-year old celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has amassed 23.3 million followers on TikTok.   Check out this distribution of users in the United States as of March 2021.    Source: www.statista.com/statistics/1095186/tiktok-us-users-age/     How can you make TikTok work for your brand?  TikTok is all about short-form mobile video entertainment. If you’re not already on the platform, have a look at TikTok’s top 100 from 2020 to get an idea of what attracts eyeballs and gets shared. Here...

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American Rescue Plan equates to huge opportunities for insurers

Here at Direct Choice, we’re capitalizing on a new wave of marketing opportunities for our health insurance clients brought on by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). That’s the self-aggrandizing title for what you may more readily recognize as the most recent COVID-19 stimulus/relief package. Signed into law on March 11, 2021, Biden’s $1.2 trillion package includes direct stimulus payments, extended unemployment benefits, expanded child tax credits and other safety nets for struggling Americans.   One of the less publicized aspects of the plan includes a big win for people without employer-provided health insurance, including middle-income folks. Here’s a breakdown of how the new law is expanding access to affordable health insurance for Americans in 2021 and 2022:   Larger premium tax credits According to HHS.gov, monthly premiums will decrease by an average of $50 per person after credits. Four out of five enrollees (up from 69% pre-ARP) will be able to find a plan for...

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One year into the pandemic … thoughts from Direct Choice

It goes without saying that we are eager to put the pandemic in the rear-view. Up ahead but not yet in clear view, we anticipate our return to the office, vacation spots, concerts, sporting events, etc.   Before getting too far ahead ourselves, we felt it would be remiss not to look back on the past year and consider the impact of such a sudden shock to our daily lives. With that in mind, we put together a few quick questions for our staff. See how your answers align with ours…   What was the hero of the pandemic for you — i.e. something that made life easier throughout the past year?   Nick: From a serious perspective, the hero(es) of the pandemic are the front-line healthcare workers — many risking their lives every day to save lives, as well as having to keep a distance from their families when they returned home from their shifts. ...

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Why it was good to see some Big Brands sit out the Super Bowl

For marketers, the Super Bowl traditionally begins in the summer when budgets and creative ideas are set in motion. This year was anything but traditional. Although all 256 regular season games were played, some advertisers chose to sit out the Super Bowl. In fact, it was the first Super Bowl in 37 years without Budweiser airing a spot during the game.   Clydesdales, Mr. Peanut, Korean cars, Mexican avocados and Coca Cola were all conspicuously absent. Whatever their PR people may have said before the game, we know it’s all because most big brands aren’t risk takers and couldn’t handle this year’s uncertainty — but that’s a good thing and below are three reasons why:   1) Budweiser, Kia and Planters diverted money to good causes.   According to Ad Age, Planters is shelling out (ha ha) $5 million to support unsung heroes this year while Kia plans to expand its giving to support America’s youth....

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Marketing Year 2021 – More social, influential and self-aware than ever

As we enthusiastically leave 2020 behind us and wonder what the new year will bring, we have some predictions for our marketing community. Actually, they’re more like suggestions for staying on the cutting edge of what’s working in today’s world.   Social commerce – where sharing meets shopping   Ever buy something you saw on social media without ever leaving Facebook, Instagram or whatever platform you were on? That means you’ve already participated in a swiftly growing trend. Amped in 2020 by the fact that the entire world was shopping from home during the pandemic, social commerce is predicted to rise steadily with a compound annual growth rate of 28.4% from 2021 to 2028. Besides simplifying the purchase for consumers, it also allows them to immediately share purchases in a post which helps marketers reach new customers – brilliant eh?   Video, video and more video   The meteoric rise of TikTock since 2019 reveals our strong appetite...

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Way to go Reem, our resident @Peloton aficionado, for recently completing 500 RIDES!! #peloton ...

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Shout out to @michelafavazza who will soon be a Drexel University field hockey Dragon! Michela is the daughter of our very own Sal Favazza (a Drexel alum!) https://maxfieldhockey.com/2021-michela-favazza/ #drexelfieldhockey #drexeldragons #drexeluniversity ...

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Time to get your brackets done! #marchmadness #brackets #ncaabasketball ...

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Thank you to our friends from @Mayoseitz-media for the @dibrunobros gift basket! Looks delicious! Happy Holidays! ...

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Holiday Video. You can tell a lot about a person by their favorite holiday movie - see if you agree with the DCI team’s favorite flicks! #holidaymovies #happyholidays2020 ...

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Happy 2020-Style Halloween Everyone! #halloween #halloween2020🎃 #wearamask😷 ...

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Direct Choice Inc and Center City Film & Video. On Location
#onlocation #socialdistancing2020 #bluecrossnc
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