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

Three Times Seven

Based on some ideas from Bob Stone, here are three groups of seven points each, designed to help you make your audience selection easier and better.

Considering House, Response, and Compiled Lists

First are 7 points to think about when you consider house, response, and compiled lists:

  1. Your house list will outpull all other lists.
  2. A response list will outpull a compiled list.
  3. People over 35 years old are more likely to be mail-order buyers.
  4. Rural areas will respond more than urban areas—business and consumer.
  5. Geography does matter. You will get a different response from different zips, states, and regions; from SIC and all other measures.
  6. Multiple buyers are more likely to buy from you than those who only bought once in the past—business and consumer.
  7. Season does matter. All things have a season. Halloween is October 31. None of us are going to change that. Sometimes we do make more of season than is necessary—in many cases the difference between the best and worse time is less than 20%. But don’t forget season.

Evaluating the Options

Here are 7 points to consider when evaluating the options you have on selecting the right audience for you, your product, and your offer:

  1. What is the universe of the list you are considering? How many names are on it? Find out in the beginning.
  2. How old is the list—is it as current as you need it to be? When was the last time it was cleaned and updated?
  3. What is the duplication factor, if any, and does it matter to you?
  4. Is "Hot" line selection (most current, active responders) available, and do you care—does it affect your offer?
  5. What selection factors are available that are important to you? For consumer—demographic and geographic? What other selections? What is the cost of this selection, and is it worth the extra cost?
  6. Are telephone numbers available, and if so, at what additional cost? For a fully integrated direct response program you very well may need telephone numbers. Know from the start if you can buy the phone number as well as the name and other information.
  7. What format is available—on tape, peel-off labels, cheshire labels? What other production questions do you know are important?

Ordering the List

The last group of 7 things to do when ordering your mailing list:

  1. Always TEST before you buy big. Usually you test 5,000 or 10,000 names, then multiply that to 5 times, and if that result holds, multiply by 5 again. For example: test 10,000. Then test and mail 50,000; and then 250,000. There is no magic to this. Sometimes you roll-out after the initial test; sometimes you continue testing smaller numbers before the big push.
  2. Test segments as well as the whole. Test and you will find both areas you wish to avoid and areas of pure gold. Within the "same" list.
  3. Plan enough upfront time early on in your program to allow for thorough audience evaluation, selection, and ordering. All else can go well—but if you send your marvelous offer to the wrong audience, it will not work. Plan ahead.
  4. Select your list by the quality you want, not quantity or price. If it is big and wrong, it is still wrong. If it is FREE and wrong, it cost too much! If it is $1.00 a name and it earns you a profit, it is the right list and could very well be a bargain.
  5. When your list comes—look at it! Make sure it is what you ordered (and that includes your house list, kept by your own DP department). People have been known to make mistakes. Only by looking at it can you be sure and comfortable that it is correct.
  6. Whatever your results, share them with everyone involved. This means your entire creative team, the production crew, your own staff, and any and all outside suppliers. The list broker or manager, the printer, consultant, agency. Everyone. All have an interest. And all will work with you to make the next effort even better. Share results.
  7. Test-test-test frequently. Continue your search for new audiences. Mail frequently. Repetition builds reputation—frequency earns results.

If you don’t already have profile information in your database customer file, get it. Do a telephone or direct mail survey. If you feel it will help, offer an advertising specialty up front. Or a premium on the back-end. Or both. Get the information that will help you make your best offer to your best audience.

Get your key questions answered. Information is available. You need to obtain it in order to be able to specifically target market your audience.

The idea is to find and take all information that is available on the people who buy and the companies who buy, match this information with your offer and needs, and do a chase. Ask these "new" prospects to buy from you.

You select from a variety of sources. Lists for direct mail and telephone marketing. Magazines and newspapers for print space campaigns. Radio and television for broadcast programming.

And then you A.F.T.O.—Ask For The Order!

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