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

Geography—The Where Factor

Geography definitely affects your audience selection. Both consumers and business. Fast food restaurants and branch banking have a radius of approximately 3 miles from which they draw 80–85% of their customers. Because in urban and suburban areas you don’t have to go any further than that to get service. And, you have a good selection.

On the other hand, you will drive further for an evening out at a fine supper club. For a play or movie. A night at the ball game or a day at an amusement park.

Sometimes postal zip codes will define where you service. A railroad crossing, a freeway interchange, a river or other similar, major manmade or natural "change" in the landscape has a great effect on consumer marketing.

Local newspaper service area dictates where you put your advertisements as a business—and where your customers come from. Radio and television stations’ signal area determines how you use broadcast, who your prospects are, and whether or not you can get business. "Super" stations and cable have changed that somewhat, but only if you have national distribution and/or your product can be sold via mail order.

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of "belts" across the country, such as sun, iron, farm, snow, economic (which vary and shift a lot more than those tied to weather and nature), political, and religious. Towns, cities, counties, "valleys," states, and regions all help you decide where your marketing message goes.

If your product or service is unique or different, people will travel further to get it. If it is a commodity, then it must be close to home or office, or easy to buy over the telephone and through the mail.

The telephone and credit cards, electronic mail, facsimile, telex, and other communication tools have greatly expanded the geographic limits of many products and services. For consumers and businesses. The mail-order industry is booming because it is easy to place an order 24 hours a day for almost anything.

It is not always necessary to have a storefront operation to be successful in business—certainly not for businesses using direct marketing as a channel of distribution.

You name it and it has probably been sold using direct response techniques. Money by mail . . . $25,000 offered by one company. Office and computer supplies. Electronic gear, measuring instruments, and other high-tech equipment costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Training aids, such as tapes, records, books, and other business tools. From under $100 to many thousands of dollars worth on one order.

Plumbing supplies—one company sells spa, hot tub, and jet bath nuts and bolts with an average order over $650. You can buy clothes from head to toe. Any size, color, shape, or style. At almost any price. One company accepts a trade-in of your old work shoes on a new pair!

Cosmetics and personalized jewelry. Filing cabinets and luggage with your initials. Handmade seat covers for your car. Imported sunglasses. Fruitcakes and chocolates. Cheese and wine. Thick steaks, the knives to cut them, china to serve them on, and the silver to eat them with. Gift packs of peanuts and every other food item you can think of.

Geography offers no bounds in mail order. If you can clearly identify your right audience, you can probably sell them by direct response.

Other items don’t work so well for mail order, but direct response can still be important. As a lead generation or traffic building medium. So far most systems for business, such as computer networks and telephone equipment, work best when you can feel and touch them and see them work.

Lead generation works well here. (To some degree that is now changing, too; as companies like Dell are selling computer equipment with a catalog and 800-number service. I also receive every month a used telephone equipment catalog; and that is their only means of distribution.)

Almost anything that is extremely heavy is best sold retail, where a traffic-building program to get you into the store with a special offer will work.

Low profit/low margin items, everyday items that are available almost everywhere, are not good products for mail order. Ice cream is tough, but your local independent or franchisee store can still mail you a coupon to get you in the front door.

The unusual will work. Recently I purchased 2 gallons of matzo ball soup from a deli in Brooklyn and had it shipped to a friend in Santa Monica! Geography is important where personalized sales and services are important. Small television sets can be sold using direct response mail order. But what about service on your big screen?

Because most art and decorative items for the home and office are both expensive and heavy, pure mail order rarely works. However, catalogs are used to "show and tell" the potential buyer all the options.

Will you drive 250 miles to buy a home entertainment center or to buy groceries? Probably not. Because you don’t have to; it is too inconvenient. You can get both sales and service closer to home.

Will you call an 800 number to order an inexpensive 5-inch handheld television? Sure you will—it’s easy to do, the product is still unusual enough that it isn’t in every store. And it doesn’t cost so much that you might be concerned.

Traffic-building programs for both business and consumer retail stores and for consumer and industry-specific trade shows are all a major part of direct response marketing. With heavy use of direct mail, broadcast (usually radio for business and both radio and television for consumer), and print (newspapers more than magazines).

The media selected directly relate to the geography of the event and its worth and value in the buyer’s mind against the time and cost.

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