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.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

Typical Response Curve

See the following graph. Is this typical—whatever that means? Yes. And no. I include it to make a point. The point being you MUST be ready to handle the response to your program.

In this example the activity is quick and sharp—lasts only a few weeks, falls off steadily over 6–7 weeks, and then drags on for months. It is not a bell-shaped curve.

You need to be ready to provide your service during the initial peak as well as long afterwards.

Years ago I was involved with a grand opening traffic-building program for a fast-food hot dog outlet. We mailed several-thousand special coupon offers to households around the store.

The program was outstandingly successful. In fact, it was too successful. There was so much traffic that by the middle of Saturday afternoon we were out of hot dog buns! A near disaster, if your product is hot dogs! (This particular problem was solved by rushing to the local supermarkets and buying every package of hot dog buns in sight.)

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Another near crisis I participated in was a lead generation program for a high-tech company. The product was "new," a true breakthrough in its field. It was introduced at trade shows, through direct mail, print advertisements in selected publications, and with postcard decks. A true multimedia program.

A FREE information booklet was offered to generate leads. An 800 number was available to those who couldn’t wait for the mail. Outbound telemarketing was scheduled to follow up the fulfillment, to qualify the leads for the field sales force. The program was thoroughly organized.

It was expected we would generate about 2,000 leads per month. All was set to handle this volume. What happened? Over the first five months of the campaign, 26,000 leads were generated—9,000 in one month! It doesn’t take a whole lot to guess we were not prepared for this avalanche—and had to do some real schedule revisions to catch up.

What is typical? There is no such thing. Just as you are not average neither is any direct marketing program "average." You can’t assume you’ll get a certain response over a set time. It doesn’t work that way.

Sure, you can and should plan—based on what happened last year. And if there wasn’t a last year—use industry statistics.

Here are some industry statistics. If you use business magazines for lead generation, your replies many times will start slow and build over a long period of time. Longer than a similar direct mail program to the same audience with the same offer. Here is an example of what you might expect:

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Sometimes your suppliers are a good source of what you can expect. Talk to those people. The paper people. The envelope houses. The list brokers and lettershops. The magazine reps. These people are working daily with firms like yours—and could be your best source of what is happening today.

And, if all else fails, your "gut" feeling may be as good as any information you’re going to get.

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