Agua Latinoamerica

Biofilm solution program

Saturday, April 15th, 2017


Solenis introduces the ClearPointSM Biofilm Detection & Control program, which helps identify and prevent biofilm growth in cooling water systems. Use of the program can help promote improved heat-transfer performance, lowered water usage and reduced corrosion and equipment damage caused by biofilm fouling. ClearPoint merges equipment, chemistry and service into a single, integrated solution that detects the early onset of biofilm and intelligently doses the right combination of proprietary chemistries to help remove it. The program includes the OnGuard 3B analyzer, which provides real-time, in situ monitoring using an ultrasonic probe to distinguish soft organic fouling from hard scale.

Communicating Water’s Value

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

The American Water Works Association announced the release of Communicating Water’s Value, Part 2 by Melanie K. Goetz, which focuses on the importance of engaging the public when communicating about the value of stormwater, wastewater and watersheds. This 229-page softcover edition outlines tactics for wastewater utilities, watershed stewards, stormwater managers, engineers, operators and elected officials to shape and change consumers’ perceptions about the value water and wastewater bring to a community. Also featured are examples of organizations that have effectively implemented strategies to change consumers’ perception of the value of water. The full book is also available as a PDF download and as a PDF download and print set.

Nickel finish faucets

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Tomlinson Industries’ Contemporary, Designer, Quadra, Ultra Contemporary and Vintage RO faucets are now available in a polished nickel finish, which blends the elegant warm-tone of nickel with the luster of a polished finish for an eye-catching result. The faucets feature: lead-free brass body; smooth operating lever-style handle; patented removable modular air gap; protective spout tip to prevent after-drip; high-reach neck of approximately 12 inches (30 cm) that swivels 360° and are certified to NSF/ANSI Standards 61-9 and 372. They are available in an array of finishes and all mounting hardware is included.
(216) 587-3400, ext. 279

Well operations guide

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

NGWA Press announces the publication of Operational Stage of the Well, authored by groundwater experts, Thomas M. Hanna, PG, Michael J. Schnieders, PG, PH-GW and John H. Schnieders, PhD, CPC. It explains various factors of well deterioration and how they impact well operation and maintenance. Through research, field and laboratory work, the authors have developed a method for assessing this information and assigning a value to the well in regard to its health. The information is able to extend the operational lifespan of existing wells, while providing valuable information into the design and operation of new well systems. Member and non-member pricing available.

RO membrane and connector kit

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Hydrotech Water’s residential RO membranes are made in the company’s fully automated, state-of-the-art production facility with 1,000,000 annual production capability. Platinum NPI models are made with high-quality polyamide thin-film composite GE Fabric (made in the USA); Value NPD models are made with high-quality polyamide thin-film composite house fabric. They are available in 50, 75 and 1,000 GPD (189, 283 and 3,785 L/D) membranes and have a private-label option at M.O.Q of 300 membranes. The company’s quick-connect, stainless steel Flexi-Connector Kits are designed specifically for Hydrotech control valves. They are affordable and provide for faster, easier installations, while eliminating two connection points. Each kit consists of two 18-inch- (45-cm-) long flexible water connectors with John Guest© Quick Connect fittings on one end and a proprietary Canature WaterGroup control 0.75-inch (19-mm) valve bypass connection on the other, as well as a polybag with merchandizing header.
(877) 288-9888

Uncertain Effects of PFOA and PFOS

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

A newly emerged group of chemicals is found to be common in municipal and private water supplies. While nearly everyone tests positive for exposure to these substances, health effects related to those exposure levels are unknown. Laboratory tests in animals suggest a probable cause for concern and consumers are seeking alternative options for cleaner drinking water sources.

What are PFOA and PFOS?
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used broadly is manufacturing and consumer products. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) are fluorinated organic chemicals within the group of PFAS used in common materials such as non-stick cookware, water- and stain-repellent clothing, food packaging and more. Drinking water is also a source of exposure in localized communities, in particular those associated with an industrial site where the chemicals were used on a larger scale.
Blood tests show that Americans have been universally exposed. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that out of 2,094 blood samples collected from volunteers over the age of 12, nearly all tested positive for PFOA.(1) Concentrations have been decreasing, however, since the early 2000s, as many major manufacturers voluntarily phased these chemicals out of production. At that time, 3M was the primary manufacturer. Eight more major manufacturers followed suit with phasing out their use by 2015. Data released in January from the US EPA indicated that out of over 36,000 samples, nearly 5,000 tested positive for PFOA and/or PFOS across a wide range of states. Only 379 and 292 samples, however, exceeded the minimum reporting level (MRL) for PFOA and PFOS, respectively and even fewer exceeded the health advisory limits (32 and 124 respectively).(2)
Some states have reported very high levels of contamination. In Vermont, tests from five private wells showed PFOA concentrations ranging from 40 to 2,880 ppt, orders of magnitude above the health advisory levels.(3) Other high-profile events identifying unacceptable levels of the contaminant in drinking water have occurred in New York. Minnesota, Michigan and Alabama issued advisories warning of the toxicants in fish harvested from contaminated waters.

Are PFOA and PFOS dangerous?
The question of whether or not PFOA and PFOS are dangerous is difficult to answer. Studies performed in the laboratory on rats and mice showed adverse effects in developing fetuses and breast-fed infants related to low birth weight, accelerated puberty and skeletal changes.(4) Other effects included testicular and kidney cancer, as well as liver damage, immune disorders and thyroid changes. Scientist are uncertain if the same health effects in rats and mice, exposed at high levels of the contaminants, are likely in humans exposed to much lower levels. Epidemiological studies in exposed human populations suggest increases in testicular, kidney and thyroid cancers but the risk increase was small and potentially due to chance. Still, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified PFOA as a possible carcinogen, acknowledging that there is limited evidence of adverse effects in humans.
Overall, scientists are calling for more information and research studies. PFAS are currently being reviewed among the top-priority group of chemicals for inclusion in US EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database.(5) The IRIS database considers scientific evidence of chemical contaminants’ toxicology reports and dose-response relationships to characterize the risk of exposure and helps to set reference doses below which health effects are not likely to occur. Currently, PFOA’s potential carcinogenic effect has not been classified in the IRIS system.

Precautionary guidelines
US EPA is responsible for ensuring the safety of the US drinking water supply and implemented the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 to set criteria for evaluating water quality and responding to supplies that do not meet the standard. More than 90 contaminants are regulated via the SDWA with legally enforceable limits. General criteria for regulating contaminants includes whether they are known to cause adverse health effects, have a high likelihood of being present in water and may result in significant health risk reductions if controlled. Contaminants of uncertain risks may be placed on a list of unregulated items, known as the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL). The CCL is extensively reviewed (which also includes a public comment period) to determine if the general criteria for regulation exists. Historically, few items on the CCL move into the regulatory realm. Often, regulatory determination is not made because more data is needed to establish if and when contaminants occur, what the exposure and health risks are and if regulation would reduce any health risks. More often, US EPA sets priorities for additional research on contaminants that might support regulatory determination in the future.
For waterborne contaminants of concern that do not meet the criteria for sufficient information toward regulatory determination, health advisories may be set. Health advisories are not legally enforceable standards but rather provide a guideline of levels at which health risks may occur. For PFOA and PFOS combined concentrations, US EPA established a health advisory level at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water. This level represents a margin of protection from adverse health effects for consumers over a lifetime of exposure. The agency first published a provisional guideline in 2009 but revised it in 2016 based on new scientific evidence. Health levels were considered based on higher volume drinking water consumption rates in lactating women who could pass the chemicals on to nursing infants via breastmilk. In addition, the chemicals were placed on the Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR3) to drive testing of drinking water supplied by public water systems.

POU solutions
Consumers of municipal water sources can find out if PFOA or PFOS are present by reviewing the Consumer Confidence Report publically available from water utilities. Utilities that test positive above 70 ppt (0.07 µg/L) should provide public health officials and their consumers with information about the exceedances and potential risks to fetuses and nursing infants, along with personal options to consider for avoiding exposure (i.e., treated or bottled water and pre-canned infant formula). Private well owners should have their water tested periodically for specific contaminants of concern. Resources related to testing and treatment for private well owners can be found on the US EPA website.(6)
Municipalities can manage contaminant levels by not utilizing contaminated wells, blending water sources or by treating with activated carbon or reverse osmosis. A precedence has also been set in some communities for supply of bottled water until utility management of the problem is in place. POU treatment devices offer simple solutions for removing PFOA and PFOS from tap water supplies.
The American National Standards Institute and NSF International have established protocols to evaluate POU performance to meet required PFOA and PFOS reduction standards.(7) Home treatment systems that meet these minimum requirements are certified as effective for reducing PFOA and PFOS to acceptable levels. Given the lack of clear adverse health effects in humans, use of POU devices to reduce exposures to PFOA and PFOS is purely precautionary.

(1) CDC. National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals–NER at
(2) US EPA. Occurrence Data for the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule at
(3) Vermont Department of Health. PFOA in Drinking Water 2016 at
(4) US EPA. Supporting Documents for Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS at
(5) US EPA. IRIS Agenda at
(6) US EPA. Private Drinking Water Well Programs in Your State at
(7) Andrew, R. PFOA and PFOS Reduction Testing–WCP online. Water Conditioning and Purification International, Vol. 58, No. 11 (Nov. 2016).

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at

Commercial Modular Systems

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

By Rick Andrew

The majority of residential POU systems are fairly straightforward when it comes to matching replacement elements with treatment systems. Typically replacement element A is designed for use in system A and maybe also systems B and C. Identification of the proper replacement element is usually not a major concern for the majority of residential POU systems. User instructions and information on packaging typically make it quite clear for consumer end users which replacement element is appropriate.
In contrast, POU systems designed for commercial use with post-mix beverage applications can be much more complex. These systems often consist of manifolds that include parallel flow paths and outlets for an ice maker and post-mix beverage dispenser. They can also include multiple different options for treatment, customizable for the water conditions, water demand and treatment needs of the restaurant in which they are being installed. Not only are these systems more complex to specify, install and maintain than are typical residential systems, but they are also more complex to certify. Fortunately, NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 address the need to simplify complex certifications of these systems through requirements specific to commercial modular systems.

What are commercial modular systems?
Requirements for commercial modular systems were first introduced into NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 in 2005, including developing a definition for them that today is included in NSF/ANSI 330 Glossary of Drinking Water Treatment Unit Terminology, the standard that houses definitions used throughout the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards. This definition is included in Figure 1. The reason for this definition is to clearly separate these systems from typical residential systems so the specific allowances for commercial modular systems would not carry through into residential equipment. The flexible requirements for commercial modular systems are not appropriate for residential equipment, where instructions for consumer end users must be clear and unambiguous.
The open-ended configurations of commercial modular systems would be very confusing to consumer end users of residential POU equipment and could result in some inappropriate and ineffective installations. For example, a consumer may not understand that two dissimilar modular elements should not be installed in a parallel-flow configuration, which could lead to uneven flow, incomplete treatment and other undesirable results. Because of the configurable nature of commercial modular systems and the necessity of installation by qualified personnel, NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 require that they be installed by authorized plumbers or authorized agents of the manufacturer. The standards require that this application statement is included on the modular elements themselves (see Figure 2).
The commercial modular system requirements in NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 allow for a straightforward certification path for these systems that can have so many permutations of configurations in the field. The requirements allow the manufacturer to provide claims, flowrate and capacity information specific to a modular element on the element itself, as opposed to attempting to identify and uniquely name and label each possible system permutation associated with a given manifold system. Additionally, the manufacturer can choose to develop performance data sheets for each modular element, instead of facing a requirement to develop a performance data sheet for each possible system permutation, as would be required for residential equipment certifications. Required information for commercial modular element performance data sheets is described in NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 (see Figure 3).

Commercial modular requirements meeting industry needs
Water treatment manufacturers have developed sophisticated and specialized treatment technologies to fulfill the needs of post-mix beverage dispensing applications. These technologies allow qualified water treatment professionals to configure systems in the field that help assure high-quality treated water appropriate for post-mix dispensed soft drinks and beverages. It is the combination of effective treatment technology developed by equipment manufacturers and water treatment expertise possessed by installers that allows this desired outcome of consistent, high-quality treated water for restaurants. The NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards recognize this effective combination of manufacturer technology and field expertise by including requirements specific to commercial modular systems. These requirements help address the unique needs of three different industries: treatment equipment manufacturers, field installers and restaurants.

The ability to develop these specific requirements, which are separate from the requirements for residential treatment equipment, demonstrates the sophisticated approach taken by the NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Units. This approach considers the needs of all stakeholders, including manufacturers, product end users and regulators, and utilizes a consensus approach to assure that these stakeholders all have a voice in helping to assure appropriate requirements for all.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email:

Zero-Waste Drinking Water from Rainwater Harvesting

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

By Donna Kreutz

The island of Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists. Tourism has been the mainstay here since Victorian times. In recent years, Bermuda has also become a prime destination for international offshore banking. “Island tradition holds that the water that falls from the sky is pure and perfect, just as it is. That’s our biggest challenge in the water treatment industry,” said Kevin J. Lanthier, General Manager of ClearWater Systems, whose service area is precisely 21 square miles of land mass with a population of 65,700.
“The unique method of catching and storing water has been in operation since the island was inhabited. Throughout this time and up to present day, it has been difficult to change the mindset of people taught that their method of water collection and storage guarantees safe, high-quality water. Unfortunately, this simply is not the case. Government and independent studies have proved the existence of coliform, E. coli, Salmonella and other dangerous contaminants. With our 20-year existence on the island, we are changing that mindset and educating home, business and corporate clients about the importance of water filtration and water quality control.
“Virtually all potable water used on the island is collected and stored in large tanks located underneath our homes and large buildings. This method of rainwater collection and storage is extremely sustainable and leading-edge for water conservation. This system of water collection does come with a price, however. Airborne contaminants, animal droppings and activity, vegetation growth and roof coverings all play a role in the state of the overall water quality that collects in our tanks. It is here that ClearWater excels. Our POU/POE water filtration and UV disinfection products are our best sellers and most sought-after systems for both residential and commercial building installations. These systems, in combination with analytical water testing, allow us to design, install and service our clients, giving peace of mind and assurances of safe, bacteria-free, potable water.”
Business is good and steadily expanding. In 2014, ClearWater established a professional relationship with Bermuda Environmental Laboratories Ltd. to supply a need for water analysis on the island. The lab offers wastewater plant analysis, as well as most of the water testing needs for the island’s residential, commercial and corporate clients.

Bermuda’s leading water treatment company
ClearWater was founded by Paul E. Claude, a Canadian native who built it into the leading water treatment company in Bermuda. Lanthier, also from Canada, joined the company four years ago. He began his career in the swimming-pool industry at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, then worked as a certified environmental operations manager for a million-square-foot condominium in Toronto, Canada. “After a 15-year career, I married my Bermudian wife and we relocated to the island of Bermuda.” He worked for several years at the prestigious Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel and Spa before joining ClearWater.
“Throughout my career, water treatment has always been a focal point and water has been a way of life. The most rewarding thing about dealing with water is the fact that you’re always finding ways to improve, assist and implement new ideas, which in turn provides the best products and services to achieve the highest water quality possible. ClearWater has worked hard over the years with our overseas partners to become the leader in water treatment, equipment supply and service.”
This summer, ClearWater will share the international spotlight at the famed America’s Cup sailing event hosted this year by Bermuda. “This event is promoting a plastic bottle ban, which makes the need for our hydration stations pivotal to the success of the event.” The 2017 America’s Cup takes place May 21 through June 22. The main venue is a new nine-acre, reclaimed land mass built specifically for this event.
ClearWater teamed up with Bluewater Group and Elkay International to design, build and service six custom-made hydration stations featuring the BlueWater Spirit 300 SuperiorOsmosis system, which can produce more than 40 gallons (151 liters) of high-quality drinking water per hour. The stations dispense drinking water with the Elkay ezH20 bottling filling stations. Elkay and ClearWater also will supply and service their premium Blubar line and Fontemanga Bridge line of water dispensers for the VIP locations. Bluewater is a major sponsor for Team Artemis Racing from Sweden, a highly favored contender in the America’s Cup. Bluewater and ClearWater will supply Team Artemis with a state-of-the-art, virtually zero-waste drinking water program. “Using Bluewater’s purifier, we have been able to turn the 100-percent rainwater harvesting program into a premium drinking water program.”

Offering innovative products, unparalleled service
ClearWater services the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. “Residentially we focus on POE and POU drinking water systems. Commercially, we supply and service POU water systems, water coolers and chillers, assuring premium drinking water programs as well as high-quality water for coffee machines, ice makers and other water devices. We continue to build our client base with innovative products, unparalleled service agreements and a high level of proven results with respect to our products and offerings.” The company slogan is “Taste the Difference—Pure and Simple.”
“As potential clients are experiencing more and more water-related problems and illnesses, we find the need for our expertise and leadership only increasing,” Lanthier said. “We’re seeing an overall increase and demand for quality water filtration products and services. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of their water quality. In Bermuda the cost of living is quite high. Consumers are becoming abundantly aware of the need to protect their expensive home appliances and water-related equipment. Without proper filtration, the probability of foreign matter, suspended particles and debris entering the supply water stream has a direct negative affect on the operation of their appliances, fixtures and faucets. Consumers are learning that investing in water filtration and disinfection products offers more than improved water quality for consumption. It also gives assurance their investments in home appliances and water-related equipment are protected.”

PWQA We Are the Eyes and Ears of Water Treatment

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

By Donna Kreutz

On January 31, Ronald E. Ruef retired from Morton Salt, where he had worked for more than 34 years. Not one to stand still for very long, he became the new Executive Director for the Pacific Water Quality Association a few months later. It was a natural progression. Ruef has worked closely with the association throughout his career since 1982, when he started in the water treatment industry at Ocean Salt, which was later acquired by Morton Salt. Along the way, he served as President of PWQA (2001-2002). He received the Carolyn J. Fahnestock Award in 1992 and again in 2003, which honors those who demonstrate creative leadership in producing meetings, conventions and trade shows; this had become his hallmark. In 2006, he received the PWQA Hall of Fame Award, the highest honor the association confers. And most recently (2014) the PWQA presented him with the Marino Pomares Award for those who demonstrate leadership in the field of public relations.
Now Ruef is leading the 60-year-old nonprofit that began as the Pacific Water Conditioning Association and was renamed in 1975 to better emphasize the membership’s involvement with all aspects of the water quality improvement industry. “It’s not just water conditioning, but POE, POU, filtration…the whole nine yards,” Ruef said. PWQA serves water improvement professionals, predominantly in the western US. Members include retailers, assemblers, manufacturers and suppliers, as well as auxiliary companies. “I’m committed to the PWQA as long as they need me. That’s how strongly I feel. I love the industry. It’s been good to me and I find it very, very interesting.”
There’s plenty of work ahead. This is one of the largest and longest-lived regional WQAs in the nation, along with Texas and Florida. And California, where he’s lived and worked, has long been at the forefront of water industry issues. “Anything that happens in California goes east, across the industry. That’s why it is so important to be involved with trade associations at the local level. We’ve got to take care of our backyard first. We are the eyes and ears of everything.”

Solutions to address water quality concerns
One challenge is informing municipalities, legislators and others so they know about the advanced technologies available in the water treatment industry. “Our industry already has solutions to address water quality concerns: lead, arsenic, TCP contamination, whatever. We as an industry are able to go in and help people take things out of their water.”
Yet many government officials (and legislators in particular) don’t realize this. “We have the technology. We can test. We can clean it up now at a reasonable cost. We can take care of the need immediately” and not wait for cities and counties to discuss the issue, write about it and sell bonds to build a facility, which can take years. “The worry is here today. We can take care of it today. It may not be a cure-all for everything but it can certainly tide us over.” Regulating solutions takes time. “Government likes to have control over its constituents. For example, with RO filters, one of the challenges is who will make sure the filters get changed in six months or a year from now? They need to control that and make sure it happens.”
Meanwhile, water quality remains a major concern. “Here in California, we have hundreds of communities that are getting their water trucked in. How can this possibly be? It’s mind-boggling.” In the state of California there are more than 400 communities with drinking water that does not meet safe standards, according to the State Water Resources Control Board, as of February 2017.
Ruef’s home state has long been a hotbed of restrictions and outright bans, particularly the salinity issue regarding automatic water softeners, which had been banned in some communities. “Then they found that the TDS levels did not go down—that was not the case at all. Farmers downstream thought the discharged sewage treatment water was damaging their strawberries and avocados. It wasn’t.” These misconceptions persist. “Our industry is the low-hanging fruit. It’s much easier to target us than large corporations and other sources. One of the stories we need to get out there is to let people know about the increased efficiency of water softeners. The technology has gotten better—no ifs, ands or buts.”
He spends a lot of time on the phone and at the legislature. One bit of good news for the water treatment industry: William ‘Bill’ Dodd, a former Culligan Man, served on the Napa County Board of Supervisors and was subsequently elected to the California Senate. “He knows the water treatment industry well. Now, if someone wants to talk about the industry, I can tell them to see Senator Bill Dodd.”

From car wash to water treatment
Ruef’s long career in the industry began accidentally at a car wash. “Back in 1982, I was working at a car wash while earning my teaching credentials.” The office manager for Ocean Salt brought in a company car and someone put in the wrong kind of gas, filling it up with diesel. “She was so impressed with how I handled that challenge that she came back later and offered me a job. She said ‘You’re good at this. Have you ever considered sales? Will you ever get a company car as a teacher?’ I thought, Wow, that’s interesting.” He accepted the offer. His first boss, Dennis Gallifent, was actively involved with PWQA and soon Ruef was a fixture at the silent auctions. Over the next three decades, after veering off the teaching career path, he moved from Account Executive to District Manager, then Retail Account Executive. He retired from Morton Salt, just as his late father had done before him.
Ruef’s personality, persistence and passion contribute to his success. “I’m one of those people who likes to be involved. I don’t want someone else making decisions for me. I want to be part of the decision making. And I am always willing to help anybody at any time with anything at all.” He shares that rah-rah enthusiasm with the next generation. He’s an avid soccer referee. “My kids don’t even play anymore. I still referee several hundred games a year—three or four on Saturday and another three on Sunday. I serve on the Mission Viejo area board and am co-director of referee mentoring.” He recalls a hot-tempered girl who was benched. “I told her ‘stay in the game, keep your head clean.’ Her mother thanked him for helping her grow up. She said, ‘Someone else would have tossed her out.’ I enjoy it—the running around, the fresh air, the camaraderie. The atta-boys and atta-girls are really special.”

Marketing Trends in 2017

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

By Dale Filhaber

The year 2017 will be an exciting year for marketers, particularly in terms of enhanced digital skills. As new trends, technology and customer behaviors emerge, the key to success will be in continually learning and staying up-to-date. Dealers need to experiment with new tools, tactics and marketing campaign ideas and continue to monitor each project so they can discover where their greatest return on investment can be made.

Diversifying the marketing mix
2017 will be a year of blended media. This is where the old adage “different strokes for different folks” really holds true. Different people respond differently to different marketing channels. Even though we are all focused on digital, it’s important to realize that over 22 percent of computer users now use ad blockers. That means that marketers need to rethink their ad spending on non-digital forms of advertising, like direct mail, if they really want to get a bang for their buck.

Rapid retail
We are seeing a tremendous effect of rapid retail and the ‘want-it-now’ mentality. As ecommerce companies, including Amazon, start delivering at ever faster rates (Amazon Prime Now service providing city dwellers with what they want within the hour, seven days a week), this will only increase expectations from consumers. Dealers with an ecommerce site need to be prepared.

The time spent on mobile now consists of over two-thirds of digital media time, compared to just one third for desktop. Website speed is a critical area that marketers need to get right, particularly as it is all too easy to bloat a site with unoptimized images, code and excessive JavaScript tags. Google has said it will penalize marketers who are directing traffic to a slow-moving mobile site, so dealers really need to pay attention to the loading speed of their websites.

We are seeing a resurgence of print options for direct mail. Marketers can stand out from the crowd with unique shapes, sizes and virtual QR codes that take readers to a new reality. Millennials continue to be a surprisingly strong mail-market segment with seniors relying heavily on the channel for information and offers. Bottom line with print: if it’s great, people will read it and save it.

Direct mail
According to 2017 Media Usage Survey results, direct mail is not only holding steady, but it’s growing. Nearly one third (31 percent) of marketers responding to the survey are increasing their use of direct mail this year and 33 percent are keeping it the same. Only nine percent are decreasing their use of direct mail. Dealers definitely need to keep direct mail on their horizon and commit to doing it right.

Social influencers
In the world of social media, some humans matter more than others—we call them influencers. When it comes to social media, marketers are increasingly accepting the new world where they have to pay to play and find recognizable talent to appear in their newsfeeds, blog posts and ads (sure, I’d like Brad Pitt to appear in my posts, too!) but because this is becoming a high cost, marketers are looking for new solutions. Experiment with a company spokesperson, anime or animal who can become your influencer.

Facebook/Instagram marketing
This is way different than social media. This is about paying for ads and sponsored posts that show up directly on people’s newsfeeds. Since 2017 is all about blended media, the key here is to match direct mail to Facebook ads with customized match programs that let dealers market to fine-tuned audiences. The more times a consumer sees an ad and the more channels they see it through, the better the branding and the higher the response.

While we all want to showcase our companies across every marketing channel, from a cost perspective, it’s just not feasible. Dealers need to test their message in the different marketing channels to find the special formula that’s right for them.

About the author
Dale ‘Data Dale’ Filhaber, Listologist Supreme, Author and Direct Marketing Commentator, is President of Dataman Group, a direct marketing company based in Boca Raton, FL. Data Dale has been working with water quality dealers for over 30 years and is a featured speaker for the WQA on marketing and lead generation. Her latest book, Lead Generation for Water Quality Dealers, was launched at this year’s WQA Conference & Exhibition.

About the company
Dataman Group was founded in 1981 and has provided thousands of clients across the country with accurate, high-quality, direct-mail and telemarketing lists. Dataman Group specializes in lists of new homeowners, parents of new babies, homeowners, modeled credit-score lists, families with children, mortgage data, as well as lifestyle, donor and compiled lists.

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