Cover Story: 35 Top Tips of 2012

The year's best and brightest ideas from Target Marketing's direct marketing experts

To close out the year, the Target Marketing editorial staff reviewed all the content from the magazine, Today @ Target Martketing e-newsletter and blogs in 2012, hunting for some of the best marketing ideas and tips from our top experts to share with you.

. Most businesses think charging for an app will boost a bottom line. Apps should be free. You wouldn’t charge someone to visit your website, would you? But that doesn’t mean an app can’t help drive sales. A robust app offers online catalogs and order forms, digital coupons and calendars of events to drive customer orders.
Scott Hirsch, Appsbar

“5 App Tips for Small Businesses,” April

. When you face the same problem, need or application repeatedly, you develop your own procedures for solving it. Package these as a product with both a clear title and a written description of what the service entails. This description, which you will use in email and other promotions, can be written as narrative paragraphs and/or in bullets.
Bob Bly, freelance copywriter and consultant

“At Your Service,” February

3. Buyers don’t really want to talk to vendors until somewhere akin to 70 percent of the way down the road, at the stage of writing RFPs and getting quotes. By then, the possible solutions and the specifications are already set. … So B-to-B marketers have to think differently today. First, you need to take an active role in the early stages of the buying process, to ensure your solutions are front and center, and that you are in the game of influencing buyers as they educate themselves online. Second, you must gain access to each member of the “buying circle” so you can understand their needs and interests and deliver relevant messaging to them as they move from stage to stage in their buying journey.
Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy

“The B-to-B Buying Revolution, and Five Ways Marketers Need to Change Their Game,” April 30

4. Traditional methods of reaching contacts may not work with high-value leads. Instead, develop and test ways to nurture these leads over time. For example, someone who won’t agree to a meeting may be open to attending a webinar. If an industry trade show is approaching, perhaps the contact will agree to a brief meeting at your booth or hospitality event. If you cannot reach a prospect, consider another avenue. We’ve done campaigns where we target the prospect’s administrative assistant. To break through the clutter, we sent an Edible Arrangement to ensure the admin remembered us when we called.
Jenny Vance, LeadJen

“The Care and Feeding of High-Value Leads,”
Sept. 24

5. Since B-to-B brands often sell a service, solution or product that’s not easily demonstrated in a video, there will be reams of product information to convey, white papers and/or case studies to read. And who declared they have to be all text and dull, dull, dull? Whether you’re targeting IT managers, security administrators, hospital executives or CFO’s, no one asks you to present your information in the dullest way possible.
Carolyn Goodman, Goodman Marketing Partners

“B-to-B Marketers Gone Wild!,” June 15

Creative and Copywriting
If you are a marketer and a presidential assassination, tsunami or a massacre occurs just as a long-planned promotion is taking place, wipe the slate clean. Eat the losses. Move on. Whatever positive results you have are gravy. And unmeasurable.
Denny Hatch, direct marketing consultant and author

“The Publishing Craps Game,” October

7. Don’t stress about writing the perfect opening sentence [when starting a direct mail letter]. If it doesn’t come to you right off the bat, just start writing. There’s a really good chance you’re going to find the perfect opener buried in your second or third paragraph. I speak from experience.
Pat Friesen, direct response copywriter and creative strategist

“Copy Starters,” March

8. Once you’ve outlined your plan and understand your audience, it’s time to incorporate a strong call to action in your marketing piece. Don’t be passive. The key word is “action.” Ask for what you want, but more importantly, tell customers what’s in it for them.
Lois Brayfield and Matt Fey, J.Schmid & Associates

“The New Call to Action,” August

9. When planning an integrated marketing campaign, you need to be mindful of the customer’s experience … When exposed to your message in each of the channels, will the target feel that your brand is presenting itself in a consistent way? Even though there are now more media channels in the marketing mix, consistency of message is critical to drive marketing objectives (awareness, interest, desire and action).
Carolyn Goodman, Goodman Marketing Partners

“The Big Qs of 2012,” January

Data and Personalization
0. The job of the marketer is not to define segments, but to understand how individuals in communities segment themselves. Rather than enforce artificial divisions based on what the marketer thinks, the better approach is to understand segments that occur naturally.
Tim Watson, Emailvision

“Segment Experiments,” January

11. Someone needs to be out there speaking with all members of the business team and being aware of ALL their thoughts. Each unique perspective … must be considered in the data processes and addressed in discussion. Who has this role in your business?
Geoff Wolf, J. Schmid & Associates

“Behind the Curtain,” November

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  • Bill Loeber

    I ran across a great book recently that changed my whole view of "how to persuade". The book is "Pitch Anything" by Oren Klaff. Although he focuses on presentations and face-to-face pitches, the same principles apply to marketing messaging designed to persuade or convince (is there any other kind of marketing messaging?). I won’t spoil the read for you all but the main point is to first get past the brain’s "gate-keeper" which is the reptilian fight-or-flight brain. If you can’t get past that, then all the logic and spreadsheets in the world will not work. The reptilian brain fears and rejects new ideas that it is not familiar with, so the trick is to find the emotional hooks to bypass it, then bring on the numbers. I use it all the time now and it works like a charm to move people from one state of thinking (skeptical) to intrigued and available for your message.

  • davidchev

    I like this one: #14, "What are you willing to pay for a new customer?…"