Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.

Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

How to Keep Your Internal Corporate Communications Strong

Too many times in organizations the Marketing Department is kept in a vacuum and does not communicate the key marketing initiatives to the rest of the company.  It’s important to inform the employees and sales team of all upcoming marketing campaigns.  Internal communications is just as important as external communications.  Most marketers are solely focused on getting the word out to the masses on their product or service without informing their internal employees of their new promotion.

Non-communication internally can create some major issues within an organization and should be a number one priority for marketers.  The goal is to make all employees aware of all marketing campaigns that are launching each month. 

Here are some ways to communicate your marketing initiatives with your employees:

  1. Create a marketing calendar that clearly shows all campaigns that are going out each month.  The calendar can be emailed out to all employees on a monthly basis with information on who you are targeting, the campaign messaging, and what date it is dropping.
  2. Send an actual sample of the marketing advertisement  to each employee as an attachment.  This way if calls start coming in, the employees are prepared and know how to handle the leads generated from each campaign.
  3. Set up a follow-up strategy with your sales team prior to the campaign dropping.  How should the leads be handling? Who is handling the leads? Determine who will be inputting the leads in your internal CRM database.  All of this needs to be determined up front.
  4. Company Enewsletter – For a larger company, an internal e-newsletter can be a great way to communicate with your employees. You can use it to announce new hires, new marketing campaigns, and any company news.

Your company will look foolish if the employees are not aware of the current promotions.  Also, you need everyone’s buy in and acceptance in order to have a successful marketing campaign.   Sending out a one-off communication to your team will not work. You need to be consistent and come up with a long term strategy for your internal corporate communications. By communicating with your

employees and making them feel part of your marketing efforts…… will pay off in the end.  Effective internal corporate communication can improve the atmosphere at your workplace. Employees, feeling more informed, are more likely to be productive and satisfied in their jobs. It will also lead to an increase in workforce morale.  By keeping your employees informed….you will see greater success in your marketing campaigns!


Employee Communication News

Capture Employee Attention

Internal Corporate Communication


How to Keep Your Email Campaigns Running Smoothly

Too many times, business owners don’t have an email marketing strategy in place and keep sending out emails over and over again to any list that they can get their hands on.  Most use Constant Contact to deliver their email communications and manage their contact lists. Guess what?  Constant Contact is cracking down on companies that are sending out continuous emails with no plan in place.  If you are one of those people, be prepared for Constant Contact to shut down your account.  Yes…they are shutting down accounts for a few valid reasons.  It’s important to understand the rules of email marketing and follow it!  Don’t let it happen to your company.

Here are some reasons that your email account can get shut down:

  1. Too many bounces It’s important to collect your bounced email addresses after every campaign and clean up your internal list.  If your bounce rate is continually high, you will be shut down.
  2. Spam Reports – Spam is unsolicited email also known as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). By sending email to only to those who have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines.  If you receive a high rate of people complaining about being spammed by your company, then you are in jeopardy of being shut down for good.  Constant Contact has a no tolerance spam policy.
  3. Not removing Opt-Outs – Every email generated from Constant Contact contains an unsubscribe link which allows your contacts to opt-out of future emails and automatically updates your contact lists to avoid the chance of sending unwanted emails to visitors who have unsubscribed.  It’s important to use one service for all your email campaigns to ensure that your opt-outs don’t receive any further communication via email from you. If you switch to another service, make sure you bring your opt-out (unsubscribe list) with you.
  4. Invalid Company Contact Information – All of your emails are pre-filled with your contact information including your physical address.  If you try to tamper with this or put in a phony address, be prepared to be shut down. Your contact information has to be clearly stated in any email communication.


What happens if your email account has been shut down?

The first step to rectify the situation is to contact a representative at Constant Contact and find out the reason why? Once they give you a reason, you can discuss ways to rectify the situation with your sales agent. Since you are paying anywhere from $28-$75 per month depending on your account preferences, Constant Contact wants to help you get up and running again. Just be very careful to follow their rules so you avoid being shut down for good.

I have spoken to clients that think they will just get another email vendor, but most vendors are following the Spam laws and regulations and will shut you down at some point.  Also, another big misconception is that you can just use Microsoft Outlook to send out mass emails.  Again, you need to make sure you have an unsubscribe link in your email and your contact information is clearly displayed.  I would not recommend using Outlook for mass email communications since it’s not made for this purpose. You are better off using an email service that specializes in email marketing.  At the end of the day, you do not want to annoy your customers/prospects with too many emails.  You need to develop an email marketing strategy that works for you company and ensure that your email communication is going out to people that want to hear from  you! 

How to protect yourself from Spam: Take the Spam Test (compliments of Constant Contact)

  1. Are you importing a purchased list of ANY kind?
  2. Are you sending to non-specific addresses such as:
    •,,,, or other general addresses.
  3. Are you sending to distribution lists or mailing lists which send indirectly to a variety of email addresses?
  4. Are you mailing to anyone who has not explicitly agreed to join your mailing list?
  5. Have you falsified your originating address or transmission path information?
  6. Have you used a third party email address or domain name without their permission?
  7. Does your email’s subject line contain false or misleading information?
  8. Does your email fail to provide a working link to unsubscribe?
  9. Are you failing to process any unsubscribe requests that come to you via a reply to your email within 10 days or the request? If you have answered YES to ANY of the above questions you will likely be labeled a SPAMMER.


Email Marketing Rules

Email Marketing Laws

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Stories To Magazines

Getting articles published in a magazine is a great way to gain credibility in the marketplace. Too many times business owners think their stories are interesting or newsworthy when infact they are boring.   There are techniques you can use when pitching to trade publications and journals to help get you published.  Most companies hire an outside PR agency to help pitch stories and get their name in the press.  The most important element of your strategy should be “The Pitch”. If you pitch it right….then you will see more magazines pick up your story. Another important element is using the right pitch on the right person.  You need to target the editor or publisher of the magazine and make sure you get his/her attention with a good opening line!

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching to Magazines:

Do get approvals up front from all parties involved in the story:

It’s important to make sure you get buy in and written consent from your customer up front to use their information in a story.  The worst thing that can happen is for a customer to see their photos or information used in a story that they did not approve.  Also, the editor or publisher will get annoyed if they write an article and get push back from the customer before they publish it.   Just keep all parties informed and make sure you clearly communicate the goal of the article.

Do focus your pitch on how you solved a problem for a customer:

Editors love this type of pitch where you can show a challenge and how you solved the problem with a solution.  Magazines will use these types of stories for a 4-5 page case study or cover story. They love lots of details so make sure you include all project details ranging from any hold-ups or challenges faced throughout the project.  They also love great photos…so make sure you can provide action shots and beauty shots of your customer’s location.

Do answer questions freely:

Once you get the story….there are typical questions that editors will need answered by your customers.  Here is a sample questionnaire from a major security publication:

1)      When did the installation start? How long did it take?

2)    What did you like about the equipment and technology? (please provide lots of detail here)

3)      What were the most difficult aspects of the installation process? (please provide lots of detail here) How much did it cost?

4)      How was the project coordinated with the routine activities of the facility? Were there any surprises or disappointments related to this experience?

5)      What is the reaction from decision makers, staff, visitors, etc.?

6)    Have there been any incidents since the system was installed?

7)    How is the system monitored, and were there any staff training issues?

8)      How does the system meet your needs and desires?

Don’t be in a rush!

Remember…pitching a story to a publication takes time.  You may not hear back from an editor for don’t give up.  Make sure you check the editorial calendar monthly to find out what types of stories the magazine is looking to publish.  Planning and persistence will pay off in the end!


How To Measure The Right Marketing Metrics

Most businesses launch marketing campaigns without knowing how to measure results.  Did we spend our money wisely?  How do we know if we were a success?  What benchmarks should we be setting?  The list can go on  and on…However, knowing when and what to measure for each campaign is crucial. Campaign measurement is different for each marketing activity and needs to be looked at separately.  The goal is to figure out which medium works the best for you and continue down that path.  The big question that hangs over most business owners is “What Do I look at to see if my campaign was successful?

Here is the measurement breakdown per medium to help businesses improve their marketing communications:

Public Relations – I sent out a press release and want to track results.  How do I know if it was published and/or successful?  This is a common question from clients.  The goal of Public Relations is to increase mindshare among your customers and prospects.  What is mindshare?  Mind Share = The amount of time or thinking an individual devotes to a specific brand, company, product, or service. To find out if your company mind share has increased…you can send out a survey to your in-house database.  This will help you find out if people have seen you in the news.  Also, if you are using on-line PR vehicles, you can track how many times your press release was picked up and how many people viewed it.  These stats need to be looked at over time.  Don’t try to track this too soon!  The results will be skewed….

Email Campaigns– This is a great vehicle for lead generation. However, there are certain items you should be aware of when


tracking results.  The first metric is the open rate. How many unique people opened my email?  The average email open rates can vary depending on your industry and other factors.  It’s important for you to look up the average open rates for your particular industry. Typically the average can range from 14% – 30%.  If you consistently send out email communications, then your email open rate should continue to increase. However, if you have a huge span from the last email campaign, you will see a lower open rate. Some ways of increasing your open rate include testing subject lines, cleansing your in-house list, and purchasing outside lists.  Other metrics for measuring results include click through rate and response rates.  How many people clicked on a link within the body of an email and how many people actually took action and called our 800# or sent an email.  These are all important metrics and should be reported on

Direct Mail – Another great lead generation tool is direct mail.  However direct mail has one clear way of determining it’s success.  It’s all about the response!  The one metric used to determine if the campaign was successful is the response rate.  How many people took advantage of your offer and responded either by phone or email.  The average response rate for direct mail can range from 1%- 2% depending on the type of offer, company, etc.  For both email and direct mail, marketers need to also look at the conversion rate to see who became a customer.  The responses are important..however there has to be a high conversion rate in order to get your  ROI on the campaign.

Advertising –  The goal of print advertising is to increase brand awareness not generate a lead.  Most CEO’s don’t understand this concept.  How do you track brand awareness?  There are a few ways..but most use a readership study.  A readership study can be conducted by a magazine and includes a survey sent out to the magazine subscribers.  The magazine sends out a  list of question to determine the readers ad recall.  They will usually provide a list of some print ads and ask the reader to rank them from worst to best. Also, asking which ad stands out is usually one of the questions. This helps the advertisers confirm whether their ad was memorable or not. Another way to track the success of your ad is to make it a direct response ad and have dedicated urls or special coupon codes within the ad.    This way the company can track the responses by code.  It’s important to inform your staff of the offer so they can be prepared when calls starting coming in.

The goal of all marketers is to make their marketing communications more effective. In order to accomplish this, it’s important to outline your key objectives for each marketing activity and set reasonable benchmarks.  If your benchmarks are unrealistic and do not make sense for that particular medium…then you wasted your time and effort on a campaign.  Keep your goals real and expectations reasonable so you will be able to continue on the marketing train!



The Key to Successful Copywriting

Too many times, copywriters end up focusing their efforts on writing a book rather than a short story.  A copywriter’s job is not easy, it’s a tedious task to continue coming up with fresh taglines and copy to intrigue the reader. The biggest challenge is how to say something short, sweet, and to the point without going on and…and on and on.  Having too much copy can destroy most types of marketing materials ranging from brochures to print advertisements.  Remember the old saying “Content Is King.” The the key to successful copywriting is based on tailoring it for the type of marketing piece. For example, a small tri-fold brochure would need less copy than a full length 25 page brochure/catalog.   Too many people try to jam everything in and leave no imagination to the reader. The goal is to capture your prospects interest and drive them to your website or to call your company to find out more.  Intrigue your prospect and don’t give it all away at one time.

Here are some key steps to successful copywriting:


1.Tailor Your copywriting For Each Project:

Tri-Fold Brochure – Keep it simple stupid!  Make sure you don’t use too much copy in a small tri-fold brochure.  Use bullet points and highlight the important factors and key benefits of your product/service. Don’t write a book.  It’s important to use quality images/photos in this type of medium to draw the reader’s attention and less text.

25 + Page Brochure/Catalog – This type of brochure requires a medium level of content and photos. You need to fill the pages with product descriptions, product benefits, and the types of products.  Make sure you use the same set-up on each product grouping and discuss the important items in the first paragraph of each section.

Corporate Website – Websites require extensive content.  The content should use terms to help optimize the site and keep the SEO strong.  Most websites consist of paragraphs about the company, the mission statement, the leadership team, and lists in detail the products and services offered.  It’s important to build your company’s Unique Selling Proposition prior to hiring a copywriter.  Make sure you use your USP on your website and elaborate on the details.  A website is a great place to tell your story.

Print Advertising – The most important part of the ad is the headline.  Make it compelling and substantial!   If your company is launching a branding ad…then less copy is good.  If you are launching a product ad…then more copy is good that focuses on the bells and whistles of your new product.  Always make sure you have a good offer in your advertisement if your goal is lead generation. A response-driven ad is important to generate new leads for your company.  A good copywriter knows how to portray the offer in a way that will entice people to call!

2. Know your Audience:

It’s important to ensure that your copywriter understands your audience so they can tailor their writing style accordingly.  Engineers will need more technical copy while consumers will need basic easy to understand copy. 

3. Know when to outsource to a professional copywriter

Many business owners are great at financials and running a business. However, they are not good writers.  Accept this fact and don’t try to be something you’re not. Hire a professional copywriter to write your marketing materials. This way you can stick with what you know and focus on your business.

Next time you hire a freelance copywriter…you should discuss your marketing strategy up front and what you hope to accomplish with the marketing piece.  This will help the copywriter come up with the right type of copy for your campaign. Copywriter’s should continue tailoring their writing based on the medium to ensure the best work possible. Also…it’s important to keep consistency within all your marketing materials by using the same copywriter.  Don’t switch copywriter’s too often….Try to keep the same one on staff or as a freelancer. Happy writing!!


Why are Companies Cutting their Marketing Completely During the Recession?

The economic downturn is causing pandemonium for marketers.  Instead of being in high demand to help companies get back on track and find new business, marketing is being cut completely.  How can companies cut their marketing budgets and continue to exist?  They are relying on their current customers to stay with them throughout the years and hoping that they don’t have to go out and find new customers.  This is a recipe for disaster.   It takes years to market your company and build a customer base.  You can’t expect to send out marketing materials and instantly have new customers.  You need to cultivate the relationship and over time convert a prospect into a customer. Why is this concept so difficult to understand?

Too many companies are cutting their marketing without thinking about the consequences.  What happens now? How do we acquire new prospects? How do we spread the word about a new product/service?  How do we drive traffic to our trade show booth?  The list can go on and on and on….but the real issue here is why cut marketing completely?  Be smart and scale down your marketing by utilizing Smart marketing:


S = Strategize

M = Maintain market spend

A = Assess and allocate the budget

R= Research your customer thoroughly

T = Target and reach out to them

It’s important to look at your marketing spend as an investment and not an expense.  The investment will pay off in time.  It’s not instant gratification.  In a recession, keep certain marketing campaigns going strong and cut other areas that have shown a low response or weak results.  Each company is different and must determine what is right for them.   Perhaps outsourcing your marketing is the way to go.  You need to research the best agencies that specialize in your particular industry and figure out if it’s more cost effective to outsource or hire within. In most cases, outsourcing is the way to go.

Most companies are looking to cut their overhead as quickly as possible during a recession.  There are many departments throughout a company that can cut costs. Why cut your entire marketing department? It makes no sense. Spread it out throughout the company and not in one area.

What continues to plaque our marketing world today is the uncertainty of what companies are looking for or want out of their marketing.  Most companies have no clear cut goals or objectives and end up cutting marketing completely.  Unfortunately, if companies continue down this path…the economic recession will continue to get worse and all businesses will suffer.  It’s time to start being proactive and spending your marketing dollars wisely instead of spending nothing at all!


The Importance of Identifying Your Ideal Customer

In our current economic climate, it’s crucial for business owners to keep their customers loyal.  Surprisingly…..the one question that most businesses can’t answer is who their ideal customer is.  Some questions include – Who do you enjoy serving and who is your main target?   You should include the exact criteria of your ideal customer and develop ways to continue targeting this group.  It’s important that all your marketing material targets this type of customer and uses the appropriate messaging.   Another reason it’s important to pinpoint your ideal customer is to stop focusing on the customers that you don’t want.  Some customers end up costing you money in the end.  Companies should conduct a customer analysis annually with the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.  This type of software can help you figure out your customer equity or what your top customers are worth to your business.

In the agency world, there are two types of customers – one type can create havoc and continue making changes to advertising and PR copy that ends up costing the agency money and time.  The second type of customer respects the agency’s time and more than likely has a marketing and business plan with clearly states goals and objectives.  For an agency owner, the ideal customer would be one that has a business and marketing plan laid out.  Each type of business will have different criteria for their ideal customer.  There is no cookie cutter formula for successfully identifying your ideal customer.  However, there are similar questions that you can ask:

  • What is the age, gender, education, location of my ideal customer?
  • What other products do they purchase that relate to mine?
  • What is their favorite form of communication?  Online, print, TV, etc.
  • How did they find your business?
  • What is important to them when selecting a vendor?
  • What do they think of the quality and value of your product?
  • What books do they read?
  • How long have they been a customer?

Once you can answer these questions, you are on your way to determining your ideal customer.   The most important part of the process is making sure you discover the main pain points of your customers.  You need to know the main problems, needs, and wants of your beloved customers.  The goal is to continuing solving their problems and coming up with the most cost-effective solutions.   This takes marketing research and really understanding the needs of your customers.  It also involved researching your competitors to see if they have similar products/services and can become at threat in the future.  Once you have the knowledge of who your ideal customer is…then you can propel into the future and build your business with the right customers.


Essential Tips to Creating A New Corporate Identity

Your corporate identity is an important aspect of building your business into a successful enterprise.  Communicating the core values of your business to your customers and prospects is crucial to your success.  You may want to ask yourself a few questions to determine if you have a clear corporate identity?  Some questions include:

Do people really understand what your company is about?  Do I have a clear value proposition? Does my marketing collateral and website clearly define our vision.  What is our mission statement? Is the company’s core values listed on our marketing material?  Is all our marketing communication pieces consistent and convey a cohesive message?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions…then you should start by understanding the definition of corporate identity and learn the steps necessary to improve it.

What is a corporate identity?

The corporate identity of a company refers to the external personality that is projected by a specific company to the public.  The corporate identity will help determine how others view the company as a whole and your public image.  It includes branding and logos, marketing and advertising.  These will all have a specific and consistent color scheme and design to assist in ensuring that the brand is recognizable and well known for years to come.

Some Don’ts

Don’t change your identity too frequently – remember your customers like and recognize your current identity….don’t start changing it every year and expect people to still like you.  It’s confusing to customers if you continual change your company’s vision and mission.

Don’t think you can do it all in-house – Hire professionals to help you brand your company and improve your corporate identity.  Remember….you are not a graphic designer and need to leave the creativity to the experts.  Professional marketing agencies understand the process of branding and developing a new corporate identity.  Once you communicate your vision to the agency…let them go and leave it up to the experts!

Don’t be too clever – Keep it simple and consistent.  To be remembered…it’s important to keep it simple…and not too complicated.  Don’t confuse people and make it more difficult then it is…..keep it simple stupid!

Some Do’s

Do communicate your corporate identity to all employees – Make sure your entire team understands it and can discuss your company’s vision and mission with customers.  The entire company needs to eat and breathe your company’s identity.

Do develop a logo/tagline that is used everywhere…..Once you approve a new logo/tagline…make sure you use it everywhere from your letterhead, invoices, websites, brochures, advertisements, trade show booths, etc.  Do not deviate from it!

Do fit the identity to the company – Make sure your corporate identity fits the personality of your company. Take your time and do it right the first time around.  You have to feel comfortable with it and embrace it!

At the end of the day, your corporate identity tells a story about your company and makes a statement.  By developing the right corporate identity the first time around, you will save yourself time and money in the future.


How Agencies Can Prepare Clients For Success

A marketing agency is typically hired on to help companies achieve their marketing goals and objectives.  What happens when a company has not set any goals and objectives?  How does an agency handle this type of situation?  We have all heard from clients the famous line “We really don’t have a marketing budget”.  How can an agency prepare their clients for success? The first step is discussing the allocation of funds for marketing and setting achievable marketing goals.  Without this step, the client will be setting themselves up for future failure.   The key is to be prepared with the budget, goals, and proper direction.  Clients must have a vision of their brand and where they see the company going in three to five years.

Here are some tips to help agencies make sure their clients are prepared for success:

First things first…make sure they know their brand and value proposition!!!

  • Developing New Logos and Rebranding a company can be a very challenging task without the right information up front. What vision does the client have in their mind as far as the look and feel of their logo? Logo colors and style need to be communicated to the agency so they can deliver what the client wants on the first try.  Communication is the key here.
  • New Collateral– When developing a new brochure or sell sheet for a client, it’s important that the client has all the materials that you will need up front in order to design the piece. Make sure you have the high res version of their logo, high res stock or professional photos, and insight into their writing style.  I can’t tell you how many times we started on a project with little direction from the client and we had to change things over and over due to the client not being prepared up front.  Be specific and ask the right questions. Don’t be shy!
  • New Website – Developing a new website for a client is another challenge and can be a daunting task if you don’t understand the client’s vision.  What is it about the existing website that they don’t like?  Do they want to add features like blogs, chatting, streaming video, etc. to the website?  Ask these questions up front and also find out the budget for the new website.  You would be surprised how many agencies work in the dark with little communication with the client.

Be specific… Do make sure you put in writing the due dates and all the items you need in advance in order to start on the project.  Marketing is not an easy task and can be subject to many people’s opinions.  Always determine up front who will be approving your work and send all marketing materials to one main contact.  You don’t want too many people involved with making changes to marketing materials as it can turn into a circus. The goal is to keep communication strong and build stronger agency client relationships. Keep your clients prepared and you will see a more successful relationship form between agency and client!


Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit: or call 631-846-1558


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