Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

13 Platinum Advantages Direct Response Marketing
Offers the 21st Century Marketer

There is a lot of chatter about "new media". And the "new economy".

Management guru Peter Drucker says "... the new economy ain't here yet."

Robert Joss, Dean Graduate School of Business, Stanford says; "A lot of people think the new economy has new truths. It doesn't. The old truths are still there - the new economy just has new risks and new opportunities."

"A lot of people think the new economy is all about the Internet ... but it's really about customers. ...some dotcoms think of the customer as just another part of the business. They don't understand the customer is the core of the business." This from Patricia Seybold, founder & CEO Patricia Seybold Group

Michael Schrage from the MIT Media Lab has an interesting media statement; "Advertising has never been worse, thanks to the net. In the coming wave new and improved will mean tried and true."

And from Beth Synder Bulik in Business 2.0; "We've learned there really isn't a different set of rules for online and other branding. What we'll start to see are marketing campaigns that are more traditional."

These people talk " ... tried and true". They say "...there isn't a different set of rules ...". And "...the customer is the core of the business". Plus, "the old truths are still there...". Well, what a collection of old fashioned, and "yes", traditional thought. Each from a recognized voice. And each from the middle of the year 2000.

What does this say? I think it says the basics of marketing have not changed.

The delivery system is going through an upheaval - the standards of marketing and sales success are as they have been.

Translated further, this thinking says Direct Response Marketing is definitely "IN".

If I'm right, and you and I are in the right place at the right time - what are these standards? These basics.

Let's lay the foundation for success with the 13 Platinum Advantages Direct Response Marketing Offers the 21st Century Marketer.

Foundation #1. It's Direct!

Each person in your marketplace wants to be talked to as an individual. The 1:1 concept.

Back to the days when your banker knew you by name. Where you worked, your kids and dog. When the store owner carried your groceries to your car. Before everybody was a number, before ATM's, remote control, touch-tone, voice-mail and self-service just about everything.

Individualism is back. Oh, it's been around since Adam & Eve. Our sales friends may in fact "laugh" at marketers talking this "new way of doing business". As selling has been 1:1 since the Garden of Eden.

Still, it has not been practical for most as a way to market. For many it is still not the way to go. Yet, when you address your customers - and your prospects - as real people, you will gain a higher level of positive response. This is not difficult to understand ... it is common sense.

Direct Response Marketing is Direct. For practical reasons it may not always be individual. It can always be Direct..

Foundation #2. It's Action Oriented

The #2 idea. ties with the first foundation; Direct Response Marketing is there to "make something happen". It is Action Oriented.

DRM is not passive - it is active. It almost "demands". It certainly carries your message to your buyer. And does the sales thing ... it AFTOs ... it Asks For The Order.

It is more than general advertising awareness, positioning and image building. It is more than education and information. Although it may be all those things, it goes further.

It urges a response. It directs you to complete the form, return the card, go to the store, mail back the application, go to a web site, take a demonstration, visit a trade show stand, call the toll-free number, fax the order. i.e., DO SOMETHING!

Direct is not subtle. No, it is strong and hard sell. With no apologies. That is how it works. Period. Direct is Action Oriented.

Foundation #3. It's Fully Measurable

Because Direct Response Marketing is Direct and Action Oriented, it is Measurable. You know what happens when your campaign is a DRM campaign.

Yes, you can count the faxBack forms. The E-mail messages. The number of business cards in the drum at the trade show booth. The visitors to your web site. The phone calls requesting the fulfillment kit. Those requesting a home demonstration.

You know where your leads come from. And the traffic to your store. You know how many are new prospects vs. old customers. You know the cost per media, per territory, per sales rep. And of course - you know everything there is to know about orders!

Generally, advertising, public relations and merchandising cannot be this precise. It's not that these disciplines are bad - it is they are different. And not Fully Measurable.

Foundation #4. It's Exceptionally Flexible

DRM frequently is THE way a company sells their product. They are a Direct Response Marketing firm. They sell the direct way.

Meaning, the tools used to find new customers and serve those they have are direct tools. DRM is the channel of distribution. They do not use other disciplines.

And then there are those who use DRM as part of their mix. They have a general advertising campaign, a PR effort, maybe a sales promotion or special event sponsorship program.

It is neither "right" or "wrong" to go one way or the other. DRM can be a support tool. Or it can stand on it's own. Because it is Direct, because it is Action Oriented. Even when it supports a larger campaign - it is expected to be Measurable. And it is.

DRM is a Flexible discipline. You have many options on how you can make work for you.

Foundation #5. It's Extremely Versatile

You can do many different things - different ways - with DRM. It is extremely Versatile.

There are few creative bounds (although there are some very specific "rules"!). What you do in print or broadcast is limited only by your imagination. Well, maybe by your budget and timetable, too.

Ditto direct mail. You can send a basic letter/envelope/brochure/response card package. Or something 3-D. Or a catalogue. A post card or self-mailer. There are few limits to the size, shape, format or design of your mail. And you can be personal, too.

Telephony inbound and outbound calling, fax marketing, E-mail and the WWW allow extreme personalization. These media offer true 1:1 capabilities. Versatility to the max.

Because Direct Response Marketing is Flexible, it allows you to be Versatile. You select which tool you need to reach your specific audience and objective. And you use it ... anywhere and everywhere it fits.

Foundation #6. It's Selective

The most important Foundation point is also the most obvious; You must send your message to the right audience.

DRM allows you to "talk" to who you need to talk to, when you need to. With a reason "why" message. Customers or prospects - when DRM is very Selective it is very successful.

DRM is discriminating. It is not "mass" or random. It is targeted, specific. It is reaching a very Selective vertical or "different" audience. A special interest group. Those with a unique collection of common characteristics.

Direct Response Marketing works best when you can first clearly identify your target audience. And next find a way to get your message to that group. It is Selective from the start.

Oh, and there is absolutely no give in this Foundation point. It is mandatory to be Selective. Period!

Foundation #7. It's Personal

David Bovet says; "It's important to be fast, but it's also important to be fast for the right customers."

In this age of everything fast and faster, it's still best to be Personal. As the most pleasing sound know to mankind is still their own name. DRM allows for personalization ... and encourages "name calling".

Before paper and pen we had "databases". A collection of data about prospects, customers, friends and others, that we used for marketing and sales. Early on kept in our head - later on a rock or piece of word. Then paper. Followed by tape and disks. Today electronically.

The concept of a database is not a 19th, 20th or 21st Century invention. It goes way, way back in time.

What's made it different today is technology. Which gives us the option to store almost everything - and anything - we know. And then to recall it when we need that knowledge.

When we are Personal with our message we are most likely to gain a positive response. Direct Response Marketing allows us to be Personal.

Foundation #8. It's Emotional ... and It's Rational

Most goods and services are sold with a mix of feeling and thinking. With both an Emotional as well as Rational appeal. Because people respond with both senses.

My theory is you must show a "need" for your product before you make the sale. If you cannot demonstrate your customer "needs" what you have, you will be less successful.

The need must be rational in your buyers mind. They must justify making this decision. Here's an example of how that happens; research shows that new car sales are made playing to the customers Emotions. The same research tells us paying for that car - the financial part of the transaction - is a very Rational process.

My bet is there is similar research for personal computers. Certainly software, Internet services, cell phones, cable television and most of those Sharper Image and Radio Shack electronic gadgets. For both home and office.

DRM is in an excellent position to execute this Foundation idea. Why? Well, back to point #7. And being Personal; with a database you will know what message to send to who, and when.

Direct Response Marketing allows - in fact encourages - both an Emotional as well as Rational message. Because your audience will respond with both senses.

Foundation #9. It's Confidential

"What matters is what your best core customers think. If something is important to them, then it's important, period." So says Nick Poulous, VP eLoyalty.

And of course he is 100% right. Frequently "it" is not how it is ... it IS how it is perceived to be.

So, if your customers think (or feel) a certain way - you have the responsibility to respect that direction. You must be Confidential.

DRM is positioned to be the most Confidential media. Because the database allows you to keep records. And to respond in a Personal way to each issue, each request from your customers. No other discipline has the infrastructure to do so.

The WWW has made privacy even more of a marketing factor - because the web is so "open". Everyone can "see" what's happening in the marketplace. So, if "bad things" or flat out mistakes happen, they are shared worldwide in days - if not hours or minutes.

The communication tools of direct mail, the telephone, fax, E-mail and PIN access web sites give marketers excellent means to keep Confidential things Confidential. Another advantage of DRM.

Foundation #10. It's a Wonderful Testing Medium

Testing one audience vs. another. One offer against another. A series of creative approaches against the control. And media vs. other media ... mail, phone, fax, E-mail, print, broadcast, the Web. Testing is a primary advantage of Direct Response Marketing.

There was a time Testing was considered the "middle name" of DRM. In my book it still is. Because you can learn in a very short time if "A" or "B" is the direction you should really go.

Testing is not research or a survey or a focus group. Real testing is being in the marketplace. It is comparing one set of criteria and another. Audience. Offer. Creative. Media. And many sub-sets of these base points.

There are scores of things you can - and may wish to test. And very few things you can't test. The WWW has opened the door to easier, quicker and more thorough Testing. No longer can the excuse of time be used for not testing.

Testing is an "old" method of learning how to earn the best bottom line. It is another advantage of DRM in the 21st Century.

Foundation #11. It's Persuasive

Persuasion is a sales word. Direct Response Marketing "Persuades" the Select audience to take a specific Action. With a Personal Emotional and Rational message.

That's what DRM is all about. Being Direct . Putting marketing and sales together. Working as a team to Persuade a prospect to become a customer. To Persuade a customer to move up the ladder ... to cross-sell and up-sell. To convince the target group that what you have to offer is what they need to fulfill their needs. And to prove now is the time to take Action.

Persuasion is a strong word. It is not "cute", although it may be happy and fun. It is Direct - in that Action is the end goal.

Know that DRM techniques mesh your marketing theme with sales objectives, to reach a positive financial end. Persuasion is the way you do that.

Foundation #12. It's Economical

DRM is Economical because you begin by talking to the audience who can buy what you sell. And you do not talk to those who cannot.

The base for being Economical is sending your news to a Selective audience. To do other wise means you are not being cost-effective. You enjoy very little waste with Direct Response Marketing. Because the people who receive your words, your sights and sounds, are interested in what you offer. That is being Selective ... that is being Economical.

When you have the option to "talk" with only those who are your best prospects, you are using DRM to the max. Another advantage.

Foundation #13. It's Effective!

Of course it's Effective ... when you follow the first dozen Foundation points. Especially Personal, Selective, Persuasive.

That's not hard to understand. In fact, it's very easy to accept. Because when you send your message to a Select audience, Personalize it, and present it in a Persuasive manner, you should expect to be Effective.

The difference for Direct Response Marketing vs. other media is with DRM you have the tools to do it right the first time. Real Testing reduces judgement calls and flat-out guessing. The database allows you to use Confidential data in a Confidential way.

You can "plan" on being Effective with DRM. So, do so!

Part of doing so is to know that everything is the same - and everything will be different. Direct Response Marketing has had a number of "different" names. And although it has been around for several centuries, the Foundation points remain pretty much the same. Early in this 21st Century.

Lawrence Bossidy said ... "Show me a great company and I'll show you one that has radically changed itself and is looking forward to the opportunity of doing so again."

With DRM you can have it both ways. You can get ready for the "new media" and the "new economy". And you can be successful while doing so with Foundation points, based on centuries of experience.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

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