by Kent Moon, President, The Addressers
Perhaps a few of you have experienced a reaction along the following lines:
“OK Kent, I’m convinced. I need to promote and I realize I can’t do it all by email and its ever-present delete button. But what do I do? How do I get cost-effective, direct response marketing mailings out in virtually no time at all?”
Indecision as to content and form of direct mail promotions, particularly when a company is under pressure to do something about its incoming traffic flow, can be unpleasant and lead some to find something else to think about. Unfortunately updating your March Madness brackets or contemplating new lunch room policies won’t increase the traffic flow or deal with revenue problems.
There is a simple action that can lead to effective promotion in a short period of time. It requires that you have some records of your past promotional actions and access to numbers that measure traffic, or even revenue.
Your first action is to find a past period – based on factual records or numbers – when traffic or revenue increased. You want to find a time period when business was good. That should not be too hard.
The second action is to locate direct mail or other promotional actions that were done during the three month period prior to the good times. This can be more difficult particularly if systems for saving such materials were weak. But in most businesses one can find some record of the materials that were sent.
You know one thing about these promotional materials – THEY DID NOT DRIVE BUSINESS AWAY. The period of increased production or income may have had many explanations (success tends to generate many claims of causation from a variety of sources), and many of these explanations are just so much opinion. But you are working with two facts – business increased during the period you have located, and the promotional actions identified occurred immediately prior to the good times.
Now analyze the promotional action or actions that occurred before the rise. The key data you want to isolate are:
1. What was the primary message your company communicated in the material? There was some message or offer that was central to this promotional action. Identify it.
2. To whom were the materials addressed? If the action was direct mail, you want to locate the direct mail list to which the materials were sent. If you cannot recover the exact list, at least identify the key demographics of the people on it so that you can get a similar list. If the mailings were to customers or to persons who had earlier enquired, you have those lists and this step is easy.
3. Separate from the primary message or offer, was there some wording or hook that served to get attention or generate positive, agreeable attitude with the recipient?
See, that didn’t take so long.
Now, things become very simple. Just update the materials you used the last time but use the same message or offer or as close to it as you can get. And send it to the same lists as you did the last time (or similar lists if the same list is not available). This eliminates delays that would be required in order to create wholly new campaigns and requires far less creative strain.
There is a very good chance that your mailing, having produced an increase in business before will do so again. Certainly the above promotional action has a better chance than something thought up in the middle of a recession and never tested.
Before closing, I should mention that if you were using the services of Addressers for your direct mail, you would have a complete record of all your past promotional mailings and the lists to which they were sent. You could complete your research steps and issue your instructions to the marketing department before lunch. But even if you are not among the fortunate (our customers), you can do this.
Wishing you the best of luck.