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9 Musts for a Great Direct Marketing Campaign

Aug 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Launching a direct marketing campaign is a bit like piloting an airplane: skip the preflight details and you could be making an emergency landing in some remote cornfield; overlook the basics and you could be setting yourself up for a crash. Long before you roll down the runway, make sure you haven’t neglected to address these 9 musts for implementing a great direct marketing campaign.

1) State clear, measurable, and reasonable objectives

Marketers have a lot on their to-do list. Getting new customers and increasing sales are always at the top, and also happen to be relatively easy objectives to measure.

On the other hand, big picture stuff like increasing market share and raising public awareness are too ambitious for a single DM campaign. For that kind of heavy lifting, you’ll need a far bigger, omni-channel approach including direct and mass advertising.

“Boost sales by 10%.” “Get 750 new high-value customers in Q3.” Simple, focused objectives like these will increase your potential for success—and possibly getting a big raise.

Be smart about it. Campaign objectives should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

2) Do your homework first
The best DM campaigns start with a deep understanding of the market and target audience.

Do it right by conducting primary and secondary research. Develop a S.W.O.T analysis showing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Create customer profiles and personas using in-depth data analysis.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a bit of work. But the insights you gain will help your campaign and enhance all subsequent marketing efforts.

3) Know and follow best practices
50-character-or-less email subjects. Prominent calls to action. The “golden rectangle.” Every strategy and tactic has its own set of rules. Make sure you and your marketing team know them forward and backward.

They’re called best practices for a reason: they produce the best results.

Wow! Up to 40% of a DM campaign’s effectiveness rests on the offer/incentive.

4) Incentivize response
DM experts attribute up to 40% of DM campaign effectiveness to the power of the offer. Number one, make sure you provide some kind of an incentive for recipients to take the right actions. (You’d be amazed how many marketers fail to do this.) Then make sure your call to action is abundantly clear.

5) Choose the right communications strategy
Consumers seldom jump into your pocket on a single touch or exposure to your brand. Typically, they see you on TV, pass a billboard, catch a banner ad—all of which create a synergistic effect. Multiple touches and channels almost always make your campaign more effective. But only testing will tell where your returns start to diminish.

Research suggests that the number of communications is less important than choosing the right hero touchpoint, which depends a lot on your audience. Just make sure at least one of your channels is digital.

Do digital diligence. According to one study, companies with broader digital capabilities converted sales at a rate 2.5X higher than the rest.

6) Keep it simple
You may offer 150 vacation packages. But the paradox of choice says that more options don’t necessarily mean happiness, and can instead create confusion in the nanoseconds when you have the consumer’s attention.

Do your research, know your target audience, and narrow the offerings to ones that are more likely to fire up their nerve endings. (Who wants to see Tajikistan, anyway?)

7) Make it relatable—and emotional
Innovation has spawned products and services with a million moving parts. That’s great. But to be truly effective, a campaign must demonstrate how all those parts mesh to make your audience’s lives better. And it must strike an emotional chord.

Sure, their fridge is connected to the Internet. So what? It reminds them they’re out of Chardonnay for tonight’s big romantic dinner, that’s what.

8) Stand for larger values
Hyper-competition has created a marketplace crowded like a Walmart on Black Friday. Led by Millennials’ insistence on substance along with sizzle, people are more likely to dig your offering if you couch it in a larger context.

The Red Bull Gives You Wings campaign, for example, speaks not just to the energizing effects of the drink but to personal empowerment.

Red Bull gives you wings.png
9) Brand the heck out of it
Regardless of the objective—increasing sales, cross-selling, telling people about the planned power outage—all DM communications must be tied to the brand from the word “go” and reinforce the brand relationship.

Even faced with bad news—like their lights going out for four hours—folks are more likely to stick with you if they feel you’re honest, up front, and working in their best interests.

Getting to market fast is a huge benefit. But with all the time, effort and money in play, ROI and making a lasting impression matter more.

Keep these tips in mind and there’s a good chance your campaign will soar.


Additional Reads:

Michael Walton

Written by Michael Walton

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