Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

40 — 30 — 20 — 10 — Blast off!

German friend and writer Christof Wadlinger asked me some database direct marketing questions so he could do an article. I had so much fun putting this together — here is the text I gave Christof.

Christof, your first question was about target marketing. And is it going to get better ... meaning are we going to truly pinpoint our markets better in the future.

Well, the easy answer is "YES". Yet, we also know an answer of "NO" would not be wrong.

Digital capabilities, combined with database knowledge and creative thinking allow marketers to talk 1:1 today. And to the right audience. At the right time.

The technology is available to allow us to target. Thing is MOST will not invest the time, money and people to make that happen. And it takes all 3 ... certainly time, absolutely money and most definitely dedicated people.

Most companies have little idea what the lifetime value of even their best customers are. Which, if they did, would make money and save money. Make it, because they’d talk to buyers. Save it, as they’d NOT talk to non-buyers.

Are we doing this? Yes. Are we doing it well? No!

Today there are still a lot of "assumptions". Based on history and customer behavior — which may be the most valid characteristic of all. Behavior.

Plus the old and still valid recency-frequency monetary model. Yet, most get little beyond these standard concepts.

No, we will not get "perfect" with our targeting. At least not any time soon. And "yes", we will continue to get better. As we have since the business began after WW I — decades ago.

You next ask about the gathering of data and how it relates to privacy. Are we invading people’s lives?

Guess I’ll get on a soapbox about this one. Because I think it has been blown way, way out of proportion to the real problem.

Whenever any consumer is asked data they do NOT wish to share — it is simple ... DO NOT SHARE IT!

Frankly, I think most of the privacy issues have been made up by the mass media and government. I said most — that is what I mean.

The newspapers and broadcast networks decided to jump on the direct mail marketers. Because they were there. And because they were taking business away from mass advertising.

The government got into the middle of privacy as they do with most things; knowing little and making decisions based on the 1% rule. Meaning less than 1% of the population has even thought about the issue ... yet we must solve this "problem." Of course, there was NOT a problem until they made one.

It is really very simple: If any person is "invaded", it is because of what they did or said. Bought or used. An event they attended. A product they purchased. A trip they took. A service they asked about. Some action they took that triggered an "assumption" — see my earlier comment.

Yet, those of us in Database Direct Marketing do NOT want to talk to people who do not wish to be talked to. It is a very, very simple concept: Find out what your customers and prospects need and give it to them. Period.

When you learn a person does not want to hear from you — then we stop talking to that person. And we do not need the government or "do-gooders" to tell us to stop. It is the law of supply and demand and PROFITS that will make it happen.

Still, is the privacy issue an issue? Yes it is, because it has been made one. And now we cannot ignore it.

Next, let’s talk about collecting data. And what that means positively ... and maybe negatively ... for direct marketers.

Gathering and saving data today is easy. And it is inexpensive. Which is why so much useless data is collected.

In the old days that never happened — it cost too much. Today it costs so little. Which is one of the reasons there is a privacy issue. Some few get a hold of "personal data" and misuse it.

How you use what you have is a completely different issue than gathering it in the first place. Common sense should prevail. It was Mark Twain who said; "The most common thing about common sense is it isn’t very common." Which is certainly applicable in database marketing, decades after Twain penned these words.

So, we have problems in how to use what we know about our customers and prospects. How to use it effectively, efficiency, profitably. And safely.

Whatever "system" you have today — soon it will be out of date. Systems are NOT the issue. No matter the system it is people who market, not machines. And people make mistakes. Just as people make genius decisions, develop marvelous creative and dream up outstanding offers. No, it is not the machines. Yes, it IS people.

Where do direct marketers have the most to learn? Well, the foundation of any successful direct response marketing campaign is a short list of just 4 points:

#1). First is Audience. The people. You MUST send your message to the right people.

"List" or audience is about 50% of the success of every DM program. This knowledge is as old as direct marketing itself. No one disagrees the right audience is key. Send your message to the wrong people and you will not meet your goals and objectives.

#2). Next is Offer. There is absolutely no doubt a program with an offer will beat one without. And offer is a reason for your prospect or your customer to say "okay, I’m interested in your message ... talk to me."

An offer is a reason for your audience to consider doing business with you — now. And an offer is a must if you expect maximum results. Offers add 30% to the value of your DM program. An offer is so important that many times you test offers more frequently than your list or creative.

#3). Creative is third on this list. And any experienced direct marketing creative director, copy writer or art director will tell you without #1 & #2 clearly defined, they cannot do their assignment well. It becomes a gamble without a clearly defined audience and a sound offer for that audience. Which is the very reason creative is 10% of your DM success, and not more. This is not to say creative is unimportant. I would never say that. Yet, without an audience to address and an offer to get attention you do not have a program. Period!

#4). Four is a "new" thought in this formula: the media. Which tool do you select to present your creative message to your highly selected audience, presenting your heads-on offer? Is it mail? Television? Print — newspapers or magazines? Maybe radio? The Web? Is it telecommunications tools of telephone and facsimile? Frequently it is a combination of tools — if so, what selection do you make?

Although we always talked media, many times it was more or less "just decided." Not any more — it needs a place at the table ... with a value of 10% of your total success. So the new Direct Marketing formula for the decade ahead looks like this:

40 = Audience
30 = Offer
20 = Creative
10 = Media

That’s it. Easy to talk about. Simple to think upon. And still ... difficult to do.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

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