Power Direct Marketing: The Book
The 8ight Point Market Action Plan
POWER DIRECT MARKETING is
The Creative Team
The care and feeding of creative people can be a humbling experience. Ego plays a large role in the creative processand copywriters and art directors are no exceptions to its power.
To avoid much of the trauma that can go with preparing the best creative product, here are some ideas that will help you communicate:
Productiondoing the program, implementing the project, buying the space, arranging the printing and mailingthe "do" part of direct response is the seventh point of The 8ight Point Market Action Plan.
Friend Pat Haag of Creative Mailings has put together a list titled: "9 Rules to Make Sure Your Direct Response Program is Late, Wrong, and Over Budget!" As she says: "Followed diligently, you are guaranteed to delay, foul-up, and increase your costs." Being positive by nature, Ive accepted these rules from Pat, revised them with some ideas of my own, and present them here for you.
1. Never become familiar with your suppliers equipment and capabilities. Dont visit your printer, the letter shop, the telemarketing agencywork in a vacuum.
Not knowing the length and breadth of the capabilities of those youre working with will, if nothing else, cause you to lose valuable time. And probably money.
Ask questions. Do find out what your suppliers can and cannot do. You determine if you should go elsewhere for the jobor split the assignment between 2 or more houses. You can only make those decisions if you know what is available in your marketplace. Find out ahead of time.
2. Never, ever share with your suppliers more about the project than that portion which they are to perform.
If you do tell your suppliers what you are really looking for, your desired end result, they just may be able to suggest another and better way to accomplish it for you.
This may be the first time youve done this particular type of project. Undoubtedly your printer, letter shop, or agency has done something similar scores of times before. Ask them to help you. Share what you want and they may save you money or time. Or both.
3. No matter how many changes you made in a project, or how close to the due date you made them, never give your suppliers more time to produce a quality job.
We all know due dates are sacred. However, we also know that many times due dates are pure fantasy. Or artificial. Not real. Youre begging for mistakes by giving your suppliers too short a time to do an adequate job. No matter the assignment.
Remember, its not their fault you (or someone) changed your mind half a dozen times. Making corrections is one thingmaking changes is another.
Ive learned over time to question if the change is really necessary. Sometimes when more money is involved or the due date will truly be missed because of changes, those changes have a way of becoming less important. And, if they really are needed, a little more money or a little more time to do them right is rarely a problem.
4. Always design your direct mail packages with window envelopes that are too small for personalization. Never check to be certain all the pieces fit in the outgoing mailing envelope, nor the response device in the return envelope.
Bless art directors, without them our world would be much less colorful. Not nearly as interesting. However, in direct response we must all remember were in a dialogue business...you want the mail to be delivered and you want the reply to come back.
Direct mail packages must be designed to go togetherto fit both outbound to your prospects and customers, and when they respond back to you.
Because personalization is so important in direct mail (If you have the correct name you should use it, it increases response!), your package must consider the mechanical elements. How much space is needed to be certain everything fits? How much space do you need for the personalized letter or reply form to show through the window? Find out before you begin final art.
5. Never plan ahead and allow for special paper needs. Or unique or different folds, cuts, trims.
When designing a personalized direct mail letter, a fancy fulfillment package brochure, something that will require an unusual paper, a different type of fold, a perforation, a pop-up, or other involvement device, you must tell your suppliers ahead of time. These extra-nice action pieces take extra time to arrange. And handle.
6. Never consider international as requiring anything special or difficult.
In direct mail the "standard" United States Post Office envelopes are not accepted in other countries. You must think of this beforehand, and if you have a large number of customers or prospects overseas, make the necessary production arrangements.
The same for print advertising, television, and video standardsthey are different in different parts of the world. You must know what they are if you are to operate successfully internationally.
7. Never ask for counts by code from data processing before placing your order and printing.
Measurability is a standard in direct response. When mailing numerous tests, you require numerous codesso you can count and measure what happens.
To save time afterwards and money up front, get a count for each code before production. By asking ahead of time you can determine exactly what you need before personalizing with an incorrect tape or list, or before printing is done using incorrect quantities.
If youre planning to include a tip-in response card on your space ad and want different codes for different publications, also be sure to plan ahead.
8. Never ask for live samples when running personalized pieces until after the job is complete.
"Live" samples of each direct mail test cell will enable you to check your codes against your plan. They allow you to check for data processing, folding, and insertion errors. And to catch them before its too late. It does take some extra time and a little more money to review and approve at this stageand its worth it!
9. Never, never consider postage in your plans.
The post office takes only money up front. You must pay before you mail. Those are the rules. Which means you must schedule payment prior to your mail date. Either directly to the post office or to your mailing house.
If youre using a postage meter, it must be filled ahead of the letter shop processes. If youre using live stamps, they must be purchased in advanceusually 3 to 5 days prior to the mail date.
Plan aheaddont forget postage.
The eighth point of The 8ight Point Market Action Plan is analyzing and measuring your direct response program. Determining how successful it was in the marketplace.
The direct response marketing discipline is the most measurable you can employ if you want to really know what happened. If you want to track exactly your response, how many orders were received, how many leads generated, how many donations made, the foot traffic at your store or trade show booth.
As Steve Bedowitz of Amre, a company working in the fast-growth remodeling marketplace, says: "What Im looking for is not the least expensive lead. Im looking for the least expensive sale!" With direct marketing, Steve, and you, can know what is your least expensive sale.
If you want to know what it cost to talk to that prospect and convert them to a customerdirect response is the way to go. If you want to know your success rate in upgrading your customer baseuse direct response. If you want to introduce a new product to a select marketplaceuse direct response. In every case, youll know what happened.
In one way the back end of direct marketingthe analysis and measurement stageis just the beginning. With the knowledge you gain you can improve your marketing efforts.
Because you learn not only how many orders you obtained, but the value of sales of those orders. Not just the number of leads, but how many bought and for how much. Not just the store traffic you generate, but how many become ongoing customers. Because you count, you measure and you analyze your results.
Another benefit of measurement is learning when your response really comes. The timing. And how it comes. Phone. Mail. Walk-in. Other.
Lets build a program to show some possibilities. You do a direct mailing that invites your audience to either return the response card for more information on your offer, or to call a toll-free 800 number. Whichever is most convenient for them. This is a very common occurrence in both consumer and business promotions.
How will the split between mail and phone fall? Again, it depends on many factors. Is this a customer base or prospect mailing? Are you a known player in this field or new? Is the product or service new or established? How much does it cost? What is the offer?
For this example lets guess the direct mail will generate 60% of the total response and the telephone 40%. The mailing is 100,000 piecesand you predict a 2.5% total response, or 2,500 leads. Using the 60% figure for mail response means youll receive 1,500 leads by mail and 1,000 by telephone.
Now, when can you expect the response to come? Over what period of time? Pierre Passavant has established what is called a Response Lag Time Theory for direct mail. For a lead generation program as outlined in this example, heres what you might see in the weeks immediately following receipt of the mail by your audience:
For telephone response, Gene Kordahl built the Telephone Response Lag Time Theory. Results of our example look like this:
If this were your real, live program and not just an example, you might use these figures for planning. You would then carefully gather and evaluate what the true results were by both phone and mail. By week. And assuming the quality was what you were seeking, youd make adjustments and continue your direct response effort accordingly.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.