When you are developing a direct marketing campaign, you don’t want to try the “spaghetti” method…throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. What is actually funny, is that many marketers don’t even finish THAT method. They will throw it against the wall, and then turn around and walk away without even seeing if anything did manage to stick! We can’t learn from our mistakes, much less our successes if we are not paying attention. Good marketing requires a measuring mindset which should include the following questions when you start a campaign:
1. OBJECTIVES: What am I trying to achieve?
Steven R. Covey in his book 7 Habits calls this “beginning with the end in mind”. Is your goal to get leads, to get newsletter subscribers, to up-sell to existing customers…? Don’t just go with “sell more widgets”, that doesn’t give you enough definition to craft a message that will cut through all the advertising your customer is being bombarded with.
2. AUDIENCES: Who am I trying to impact? Make sure you define exactly who you are targeting and craft the message to that group or “demographic”, generic messages do not go anywhere these days, and you can spend a lot of money targeting many, or spend a minimal amount targeting those most likely to buy from you!
3. METRICS: How will I define success?Will you track by a coupon, an offer, a select phone number or e-mail address? Do you have web analytics that will allow you to judge your success. If you don’t, you can never know for sure what is and isn’t working and you can never learn to do better
4. RESOURCES: What do I need to invest? And more importantly, what results will justify the money that I spend. You might think that spending $5,000 a month on direct mail could be too much, but if that $60,000 investment grows your business $250,000, It may very well be money well spent. And keep in mind it’s not just the 1-year value of new business, but it’s lifetime value, if that $250,000 of new business is a continuing relation ship it may be worth $1,000,000 or more!
5. RESULTS: How well did I do? If you don’t ask and you are not answering that question, then “You’re not doing it right!”
6. LEARNING: No campaign is a true failure if you are able to learn from it.At the very least you eliminate an approach that does not work. However if you dig deeper, you may find valuable Intel. If your mailing overall was a flop, but you learned that you had good response in a certain age range, the next mailing focus your efforts on targeting just that range! Direct Marketing is the science of going directly to your best prospects, but there is no magic bullet, each business and industry have to learn for themselves what works, and sometimes it’s by trial and error.
Good marketing is not art, it’s not “how pretty” you’re ad looks or how artistic, it’s how it WORKS that is important. But you need to start doing something! This is a case of it’s better to aim at the moon than miss, than aim at the ground and hit it!
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