Power Direct Marketing: The Book
The 8ight Point Market Action Plan
POWER DIRECT MARKETING is
Lets walk through the 8ight steps of this action planning process. One-by-one. Lets summarize the meaningand benefitsof each point.
Do have a mission. A goal. A stated focus and direction. Begin the plan with a simple summary of what business you are in and what you plan to achieve over the coming year. Or with this campaign. With this effort. With this program.
Including specifics that can be measurable. Real, live numbers you plan on meetingor exceeding. Pinpoint your objectives. The real tragedy of any program is not in not reaching your goal. The real tragedy is in having no goal to reach.
Ask questions to firm up your objectives. Ask: What market sharehow much? What increasehow much? And where? What markets? Which consumers? Have specific, measurable objectives, and youll be well on your way to success.
Be tough with your objectivesrealistic. IBM is one of the better companies at setting objectives with all their sales teams. One by one each year, for each product line, they set realistic objectives. Each sales rep has a different set of goals. Based on that reps experience, the territory, the product line, the objectives are set.
Your objectives must also fitbe compatiblewith the other activities of your organization. Because if they do not you may soon have a major in-house problem. Possibly even a true disaster.
When the Apple Computer people decided to build the Macintosh they gave themselves a year to do it. They also recognized that such a major project would be disruptive to the other good things going on inside Apple.
So, they selected a project manager, lifted him out of the central organization, and planted him and the entire Mac team in another physical location. They were given a budget, a timetable, the necessary personnel, and told to build that box.
It worked. The story became famous in the Santa Clara Valley of California because, among other things, they had a 24-hour-a-day work schedule and a video game room as a "standard" part of their operation. Different, certainly not compatible with most business practices. But at the end of the year that new computer was built. They achieved their objective.
All objectives must be reached with a set time frame. You must have a schedule to reach your objectives. Rarely do you book too much time. Usually it is the other way aroundyou fail to allow sufficient time. But in any case, include timing as part of setting objectives.
Although Ive never worked on any direct marketing program where we didnt have at least some of the direction in writing, I do know of those who wing it. Those are the type people who say: "So, youve got a problem? Heres the answer. Got another problem? Heres another answer. Nobody reads all that stuff anyway. And besides, putting it in writing takes away time from real work."
Sound familiar? If that is what happens in your companyyou play the game by the "seat of the pants" response methodyou are less likely to have good objectives. And even less likely to achieve much of anything.
Another reason you put your objectives in writing is so youll have something to change. As Katie Muldoon, president of her own direct response agency, says:
Be prepared to revise your marketing plan
When your objectives are in writing it is easier to do what Katie suggests.
The next step in The 8ight Point Plan. Having a timetable involves two activities. First is a schedule to implement your direct marketing program or campaign. Second is whenwhen is the best time to use direct response for your product or service.
You must have a time frame to achieve the objectives youve set. If you dont set a time to reach your goals, guess what? Youre much less likely to arrive anywhere!
The same reason limited time offers work to get people to take action applies to having a time frame to reach your corporate or program objectives. We as people tend to procrastinate.
Are you caught up with your business reading? That stack of night and weekend reading material? Why not? One of the reasons has to be that there is a lack of urgency to itso you just put it off. You cant do that with your direct marketing plan. Professor Thomas W. Bonoma said it best: "You cant know if your plan is any good if it is not executed."
The second reason you have a timetable is to plan what season to be in the marketplace. To decide the best timing to reach your best prospects and key customers.
For many products and services timing is a non-issue. An example is telephone products. Any time is a good timethey move year around.
For others, timing is important. They are big movers only at select times of the year. Christmas trees in July is a tough sellbut between Thanksgiving and Christmas youll do just fine. Sometimes we make more of "season" than it deserves. Businesses make buying decisions every day. You and I at home make buying decisions several times each month.
Consideration of when to introduce your new product, have a special product line sale or do a lead generation program for your sales staff can be totally up to you. On the other hand, a fund-raising drive for a special disaster relief project, or an invitation to your customers and best prospects to a trade show you are exhibiting in will be dictated by outside forces. Sometimes the timing is picked for you.
When you have total control you may look at market trends in your industry or evaluate competitive activity. You may decide the first half of the month or the last third of the quarter is best.
There is no right or wrong with setting a timetable. There is only a "do"you must do it.
Budget is the third point of The 8ight Point Plan. Accounting sees it as an expense. Top management views it as an investment. For the marketing team its the life and blood of the organizationits the effort that keeps the phones ringing, the sales team singing, and the factory humming. And its never big enough.
Of course, its the budget.
When youve been in marketing for one day, youve experienced a budget. Because you cant operate without one. Moneyin whatever form you get and use itis a necessity.
There are a multitude of ways to set a budget for your campaign. Many in direct response prefer to work on a project by project basiswith what is called the task method of budgeting. It is popular because you assign what is necessary to accomplish your agreed-upon objectives within the time frame allowed.
Sometimes this is not only the easiest way to calculate your budget, it is the most efficient and effective. Because you are working with a known situation on a project basis.
Using some arbitrary formula or estimating based on what happened last year or from raw industry statistics is also easy. Unfortunately, easily developed budgets also tend to be poor performers. You spend too muchor not enoughor worse yet, you dont know if its right or wrong.
Budgets need to be planned, just as everything else in direct response. Here are some things to look for as you plan your budget:
Just as you need to plan your budget, you also need to make a firm commitment to the budget. A commitment which says youre going to support direct marketing, its objectives, and planned programs.
Audience is the next step of The 8ight Point Market Action Plan. And the most important.
Larry Lamattina, an advertising executive from New York, made an "interesting" prediction late in the 1980s. Mr. Lamattina said:
In the year 2010
Where has this advertising professional been? For at least the last two decades, direct marketing has known the advantages of a "more fragmented, but far more targeted" audience.
No matter how great your promotion is, your sharp direct mail, your four-color coupon ad, your slick television commercialit wont do well if it goes to the wrong people. Getting your message to the right audience is THE key element in direct response marketing. If you do all else only so-so but target the right audience you have an excellent chance of turning up a winner.
The single most important part of audience is identifying their interest. Determining what is most interesting. Offers are not good or bad, creative is not short or longeverything can be reduced to simply "interesting." Or not.
Here are 6 ideas about selecting the right audience for your message:
Redefine your market before you begin the creative process.
Get the most current demographic/psychographic/geographic information available. If youre in business marketing, identify the proper SIC codes. And the correct titles.
Redefine your product or service and how it fits with each of your markets.
Make certain you know what youre selling, understand what your offer is. If youre not up on the product, talk to those that are. Know as much as you can before you start to create. Know your audience and their wants, desires, and needs.
Talk to your current buyers. Know what they know.
Find out from them what they think of you. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Does your audience know? Do they care? Talk to your customers.
Redefine your prospect sources, based on what you learn from your buyers.
If geography is a factor, find those prospects closest to your current customers. Know you probably will have to "ask for the order" several times before receiving it.
Fit your service or product to your marketplace.
Prepare your creative to fit your audience. Talk to them in their language. Choose the right words for direct mail, for print, broadcast, and telephone.
Sell the benefits and advantages, address the needs, express understandingbe interesting to your audience.
The sizzle still moves as many people to take action as the steak. Make certain your audience know WII-FMWhats In It For Me.
Direct mail is still the major tool of direct response. Selecting the right listgetting to the preferred audienceis mandatory for success.
Here is a laundry list of ideas lifted and revised from Citibank/Australia: things to look for when you rent a list for your use. Here are some questions to get answers to before making a list-purchasing decision:
As youre putting your direct mail program togetherif you will be purchasing outside mailing liststhis checklist should prove useful.
No matter the tools you usemail, print, broadcast, telephoneyour audience is still your most important element. Select it carefully.
The fifth point of The 8ight Point Plan is offer. Your offer is next in importance to audience as you plan your direct response marketing program. The quote from Mr. Emerson may have been true in his day, but it certainly is not today. Just because you have a product or service that offers some benefits to your select audience, it does not mean anyone will even think about youlet alone beat a path to your door. Which is why an offer is so important in direct response.
The purpose of an offer is to get that special audience to stop, look, listen, and understand that your product or service is of benefit to them. And they should take advantage of the opportunity and place an order. With you. Now!
How do you put a good offer together? What makes a good offer? Here are 17 ideas17 ways to present your messageto get that audience to STOP and consider you:
There are many more offer ideas. This list will get you thinking about the best way to present to your audience.
A word about business versus consumer. Yes, they are differentBUT you are still talking to people. People make decisions, not companies. And for the most part, the same good offers that work to you and me at home will work equally well to us at the office. As you plan your program and consider the best offer to make, give every idea equal weight. Then decide, after some common sense evaluation, what will work best to your audience.
Maybe one of these next 7 ideas will work for you. Many times were dealing in everyday items, commodities, possibly with a mature product or service. How can you make an offer that will get your audience to pay some attention to youto even consider what you have? Try one of these ideas:
Upgrade your productmake the upgrade the offer. Take your basic product, add to it, improve it, give it value. Thats why a gold credit card is worth more than a green card. Thats why designer jeans cost more than "regular" jeans.
In many cases a luxury automobile is not much more than fancy trim, comfortable seats, and more buttons to push.
Downgradetake away from what has always been. If status, image, polish, and position have been your trademark, remove some of the brass and offer less. Computer stores have found they have a type of customer that wants only the basics...nothing more. They offer that (with clone products) and keep more of the marketplace.
Generic almost-everything is an example of downgrade.
Even Rolls Royce has a "downgrade" modelthe Bentley.
Bundle together a group of your products or services that go together. And sell them that wayas a groupin a bundle. As a package.
The telephone companies have been excellent at doing thispackaging office products and services together and offering them at a special price. An example is the custom-calling group of services (call waiting, call forwarding, and similar) which they "bundle" into a nice package for the consumer market.
Unbundlethe flip side of bundle. If you already have a package, divide it up and offer the parts. Allow your audience to pick and choose only what they really want.
The entire financial industry offers a variety of products that you can buy in pieces. Life and health insurance companies and banks are examples. With the discount brokerage house probably being the best exampletheir "unbundled" service being the offer.
Narrowcastwhen your audience is huge and your competition numerous, you might find it beneficial to select from the total a smaller group. And work with a niche of the marketspecializing in a "narrow" part. Doing what direct response does bestconcentrating your offer on that segment you can serve best.
6. Mass Market
Mass marketthe opposite of narrowcast. You have been successful within a niche. You now take your idea, your success, your offer to a broader base. This concept has worked many times when an industrial product has found a spot in the much larger consumer marketplace.
Many of the cleaning supplies in our homes today originally were found in factories. A host of the 60,000 products of the 3M Corporation began their commercial life in offices around the worldand now are everyday items in our homes. Scotch tape is the most notable example.
Pricean offer consideration. In every survey as to the most important factors when a buying decision is made, price is there. In the top 10 alwaysmany times the top 5. But NEVER the top spot. Important, but not most important.
Here are 4 ways you can compete on price:
As you consider how to present your offer to your audience, look at these 7 ideas. See if one (or a combination of 2 or more) of them might work well for you and your audience.
Creative is the tactics of direct response. It is what you do to implement the strategy. It is putting your plan to work. Creative is the sixth point of The 8ight Point Plan.
Until you have the first five points in orderobjectives, timetable, budget, audience, offeryou cannot do the creative. YOU CANNOT BEGIN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHERE YOURE GOING AND WHAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM IS. And before you know that, you must have the first 5 points of The 8ight in order.
Yes, sometimes the specific offer falls from the creative efforts, but even in those cases there is some general thought and direction as to what the offer might be.
While many times we look for creative work that is very different, unusual, innovative, sometimes it is better to be "safe" and stay with the known. And sometimes it is not!
The best creative work isnt necessarily that which appeals to you. Instead, it must appeal to your audienceyour customers and prospects. It must meet their needs with a message in both copy and art that offers a benefit of doing business with you.
The best creative work is that which meets this short list of criteria:
Some good friends from Ogilvy & Mather Direct in southeast Asia have prepared a list of IDEAS to make your creative development work better. To help you evaluate the direct response work you prepare. Let me share my version of these thoughts with you:
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.