MAKE AN IMPACT with DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGNS
PEOPLE LOVE to get mail. But, they hate junk mail, and unsolicited faxes and e-mail— facts that keep direct marketers teetering between subtlety and straighforwardness. Direct marketers can avoid audience alienation, experts say, by focusing on the basics: targeting the right audience with the right message, and using strong copy and creative elements.
The most important element is the mailing list, according to Matthew Staudt, president of Interactive Marketing Group, Allendale, N.J. “If there is any question about the validity of the list, all the other elements of what might be an otherwise successful campaign are suspect,” said Staudt. “List data becomes outdated on average approximately two percent per month.” He suggested ongoing, low-cost response mailings to purge the list as often as a budget allows. Making sure the names on a mailing list are viable prospects seems like a no-brainer, yet a recent survey by QAS, a division of Experian’s Marketing Services Business, indicates a majority of businesses feel their customer data is inaccurate and poorly
Scrub First, Then Target
Distributors’ first task, then, is to rigorously cleanse customers’ mailing lists, with data hygiene software, such as CASS and NCOA sorting, and United States Post Office’s merge, purge and de-dupe services. Next, refine lists further through well-defined objectives: are you trying to win new customers; hang on to or reward current customers; raise awareness of the organization/business; or solicit funds, legislative support or volunteers for a non-profit?
“Determining a goal is vital to determining the budget and developing a plan,” said Staudt. “Is the objective to collect information or present details in order to educate? Or, is it to look for immediate sales or to generate interest?”
Identifying the best customers’ commonalities is one tried-and-true method for narrowing a prospect list. Psychographics are just as important as demographics, noted Ernest Nicastro, direct marketing consultant and president of Positive Response, a Dublin, Ohio-based marketing firm specializing in B-to-B marketing. “What are the key motivators for your audience?” he asked. According to Nicastro, distributors should find the hot buttons and push them, and heed the old salesman’s chestnut of you-talk versus me-talk. “People don’t care about your product or service, but they do care about how it can benefit them,” he added.
Make an Offer