Thursday, May 28, 2009

Direct Marketing On A Shoestring

Alan Rosenspan gave a presentation at the DMA Annual Conference last year called "Better, Cheaper, Faster."

In his presentation he stressed that the single best way to make something cheaper was to make it better!

Here are some of the "Shoestring Thinking Techniques" he shared:

1. Test a postcard. Although postcards will rarely pull as well as a direct mail package, they are an ideal way to test an idea, as well as measure the effectiveness of your mailing.
I did a campaign for a high-technology telephone answering service called Wildfire. The client decided that the mailing piece was too expensive. So I recommended we split the list and mail half of them a postcard with the same offer. The result was a significant reduction in costs. Plus the postcard won in terms of cost per response. In addition, first class postcards are also an inexpensive way to clean your list.

2. Use card decks. When available to your target market, card decks can be used as a "secret weapon" for direct marketers. They're very cheap to buy and inexpensive to produce. Most card decks also allow you to split run their deck, so you can test 2 or more different offers. Once you measure the comparative results, you can then decide to invest in a more expensive program.

3. Try a "cluster bomb." Here your goal is to get more than one response per mailer. You can do a sophisticated program where you ask people to recommend others in their company. Or you can simply include an additional reply card. I did this for a mailing for Interleaf and increased response by almost 20% -- for pennies.

4. Develop a fulfillment "wrapper." A software company I worked with had high fulfillment costs. Every time they changed their product or their price, received a favorable product review, or gained a big new customer, they had to reprint their brochure. I created a simple "wrapper" folder for them, and a set of independent elements including a price sheet, product specs, and case-histories. When something changed, they merely replaced that single element. Plus they could add new elements as they went along.

5. Be creative about buying and using lists. You don't have to mail to the entire purchased list. You can mail half and then decide if it pays to mail again. You can also negotiate multiple use. For example, many list companies will sell you unlimited use for one year for about double the cost of a one-time use. However, if it's a good list, you will want to mail to it several times over the next 12 months. Swapping lists is also a money-saver. Try to find a company that makes a complimentary product or shares your target market. You might even decide to run a co-promotion. The software and the hardware companies do it all the time.

6. Use clip art or stock photos. There is a lot of free clip art available as well as inexpensive stock photography. Try to negotiate a fee for "testing." You can then agree to pay more if you decide to roll out your program.

7. Lose the brochure. If you have to cut out any part of your direct marketing package, this is it -- particularly in business-to-business. A powerful letter and an effective reply device can sometimes pull just as well, at greatly reduced costs.

8. Think of your customers first. It is 5 times cheaper to get a sale from an existing customer than to find a new one. (It can cost 100 times as much to win them back). One of the most important shoestring techniques is to keep your customers satisfied.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Extend Your Reach with Mail

Extend Your Reach with Mail

As brands zero in on engagement as a key marketing battleground in 2009, mail remains a potent weapon.

With consumer spending sliding and the economy in a downturn, marketers are more pressed than ever to build relationships with target audiences. They must develop a bond that goes beyond a single sale and into long-term engagement with the brand. This type of interaction isn’t a marketing luxury, either. Engagement is quickly becoming one of the most important and hotly contested industry battlegrounds of 2009. And no channel can engage as potently as direct mail.

Consider that most businesses grow by acquiring new customers or increasing the spending of existing customers. When you create a relationship with a consumer, you increase the likelihood that you will either win that customer’s loyalty or increase their share of wallet.

To this end, mail remains an ideal medium. It is a fundamental, familiar, easy and safe communications pipeline into homes. Moreover, mail stimulates multiple senses at once. And unlike typical Internet marketing — where the consumer has to initiate contact with the company — mail brings your brand to the consumer. In fact, one USPS® study shows that 98 percent of consumers bring their mail in each day, and that 77 percent of customers sort through and organize the mail immediately.

When consumers receive mail, they know they are in complete control of the relationship. They can open the envelope, remove the contents and decide whether or not to keep them. They know it’s a secure, private message, which helps them be open to an ongoing dialogue. There are none of the privacy concerns that in digital marketing frustrate the connection the company is trying to forge.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that the digital realm can’t strengthen engagement.
But mail can target in a way digital just can’t match. In the home, one person is typically responsible for handling the mail. Known in our circles as the CEO of the Mail, this person is also the household’s bill payer and principal shopper in 85 percent of homes. That’s the person most marketers want to reach. There’s no similar connection between a computer user and the manager of home life. E-mail messages may get to the right home, but not the right person.

By the right person, I mean the influencer in the home. For instance, our research shows that, in three-fourths of American households, women are CEOs of the Mail. In these households, women are also overwhelmingly responsible for responding to marketing offers: 95 percent determine which ad materials to keep; 93 percent clip coupons; and 86 percent write the checks.

So not only can mail engage, but it’s much more likely to engage the person most responsible for purchase choices.

Some marketers feel mail is not as effective at brand building as it is at generating response. But mail can be just as effective at building a relationship with a brand.

For instance, large retailers have always used mail to retain and strengthen relationships with existing customers. While some store mailers, like coupons or special promotion notices, aim to get customers in the store, other pieces communicate changes in the relationship with existing customers, such as upcoming merchandise or special events. The retailers differentiate themselves by building a deeper relationship with their consumers, resulting in a definite advantage in the marketplace. Mail can engage customers like no other medium because consumers already trust it and are open to receiving it in a way that makes building marketing routines and relationships around it very easy.

Greg Whiteman is the manager for market research for the [1] United States Postal Service®

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mow the Lawn: Great, Edgy, Schick Advertisement

Every gardener loves the satisfaction of creating a well-crafted design on his front lawn with just a few pushes of the old John Deere. Wilkinson and JWT are apparently banking on this love-of-gardening frenzy to transfer to other lawns, those more, ahem, south of the border. Innuendo and subtlety do the trick nicely in this ad for the new Wilkinson Sword for women. Too bad this gardening technique will never make it to HGTV.

The US Version is a lot more subtle. Check it out here:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Werk! Werk! Werk!
Testing once more, this time through AOL IM on the BlackBerry - sorry Andy
Testing how this updates through the AOL IM tool across all the social networking sites...
Trying out to see the posts across the multiple social networking sites for the first time
Will Royall
Royall Media, Inc.
cell: 386-747-1964

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Oh how advertising has changed....

Interesting ads from the 1930s

Direct Mail Marketing - Tip of the Week - February 3, 2009

Ways to improve your response
Add value.

Imagine if you opened a Fortune Cookie and the message was “Try our delicious desserts.” You’d feel cheated. It’s supposed to be about you – not them.

The same is true about your direct mail. It should be about your prospect and not just your product or service.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Direct Mail Marketing - Tip of the Week - January 26, 2009

Ways to improve response:
Target the right people.

You don’t want to try to sell lawn mowers to people who live in apartments. It’s not only a waste of time, but it’s a waste of your marketing dollars.

- Make sure you are mailing to a list of your “most likely” prospects. One of the rules of direct marketing is that your next customer will look a lot like your last customer.

- Regularly updating and improving your mailing lists helps limit duplication and waste, which is just one way to be green!