Creative

Five Strategies to Turbocharge Your Postscript
July 18, 2007

It always floors me how many so-called “experts” leave money on the table by forgetting to use a postscript (or P.S.) in their letters—or paste a drab blob of drivel at the end of a rock ‘em, sock ‘em pitch. A hard-hitting P.S. is your last, best chance to ring the KA-CHING bell! Sales equals money, which equals more work for the copywriter, raises for the marketing manager, happy senior execs and owners ... well, you get the picture. Online and off, testing the P.S. is easy and darned near free. Here are five strategies that work: 1. Add a bonus offer, restate your

Creative: When You Only Need a Tweak
June 27, 2007

When you have a control package that’s performing near or on budget, you may not want to risk testing a completely different approach. You should, however, test “tweaks” to the control package that have the potential to generate small increases in response/profitability. Theoretically, a series of successful tweaks will add up to a major improvement in your program. There is, however, a danger in tweaking. It results from misunderstanding the difference between a tweak and a substantive (and possibly damaging) change to the control package. Here’s an example from the world of publishing. The control package is comprised of a promotional outer envelope; a four-page, 8½˝

Make the Golden Years Your Gold Mine
June 20, 2007

Breaking down the section of society that collectively has reached its golden years is no easy feat. While many know this group by one all-encompassing name—the 50-plus market—“There are a gazillion different segmentations,” laughs Kurt Medina, president of Medina Associates, a Rose Valley, Pa.–based consultancy that specializes in marketing to this niche. When considering these folks in the broadest sense, however, he narrows down the “gazillion” into three general categories: • Pre-retirees: These folks are of the baby boomer generation, around 52 to 62 years of age. • Active retirees: Those who have retired. But Medina notes that it doesn’t have to mean “retired,”

Benefits Revisited in the Age of Hype
June 13, 2007

Copywriters always have operated on the principle that benefits are the guts of any promotion. We know our prospects don’t care about the products we’re pitching. The only thing they want to know is, “What’s in it for me?” But with thousands of overhyped ads assaulting people daily, consumer skepticism keeps growing in direct proportion to the hype. Credibility is stretched razor-thin. As veteran copywriter Clayton Makepeace observes, “Pure benefit leads don’t work as well as they once did because they scream, ‘Hey, this is another AD! Read this so I can SELL you something.’” With the deluge of me-too messages promising to help us save

Nuts&Bolts: 5-minute Interview With National Wildlife Federation’s Anne Senft
June 1, 2007

With the online environment morphing at light speed, direct mail may seem like a stable but stagnant channel. But that’s certainly not the case for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), a Reston, Va.-based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for future generations. Anne Senft, senior director of membership marketing at the nonprofit, recently took a break from her busy schedule to explain the effect consumer trends have had on NWF’s copy, design and overall messaging strategies. Target Marketing: What key consumer factors have shaped your direct mail program recently? Anne Senft: The one that’s making us nervous is the aging of the

Six Ways to Overcome New HTML E-mail Design Challenges
May 2, 2007

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Vista, the largest update to the Windows operating system since Windows 95. Simultaneously, the company introduced the newest version of its Office suite, which includes Microsoft Outlook 2007. Although widely anticipated for its many new features and enhancements, Outlook 2007 now uses only the Microsoft Word HTML engine for composing and rendering e-mail messages, instead of also using the Internet Explorer engine previously employed for displaying HTML e-mail. The result is that Outlook 2007 no longer supports a variety of design techniques that are commonly used in HTML e-mails, affecting their creative interactivity and functionality. These include: * No Flash

Five Tips for Stronger Letter Leads
May 2, 2007

On the whole, direct mail letters have become shorter as the years pass and audiences favor information they can absorb quickly. While graphics have taken on more prominence in direct mail, copy is still the main tool marketers use to impart product features and benefits, as well as to close the sale. Letter leads are just as critical to the success of a direct mail package today as they ever have been. To ensure your opening sales pitch is in top form, consider the following suggestions from three top copywriters: * Cut out any extraneous words and phrases, and make sure you use short, action

Six Ways to Overcome New HTML E-mail Design Challenges
May 2, 2007

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Vista, the largest update to the Windows operating system since Windows 95. Simultaneously, the company introduced the newest version of its Office suite, which includes Microsoft Outlook 2007. Although widely anticipated for its many new features and enhancements, Outlook 2007 now uses only the Microsoft Word HTML engine for composing and rendering e-mail messages, instead of also using the Internet Explorer engine previously employed for displaying HTML e-mail. The result is that Outlook 2007 no longer supports a variety of design techniques that are commonly used in HTML e-mails, affecting their creative interactivity and functionality. These include: * No Flash

Special Report: Hispanic Marketing
May 1, 2007

More than 41 million Hispanics call the United States home, and a little more than half of these consumers go online. Despite the clear opportunity in marketing to Hispanics online, only about $150 million of the $16 billion total online advertising spend is dedicated to targeting Latinos, says Lee Vann, founder of Captura Group. This is surprising, considering research from Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research shows two-thirds of online Hispanics have been using online channels for more than five years. William Fleming, CEO, MotionPoint, agrees that online marketing has lagged behind its offline counterparts in service to Hispanics. “People are used to walking into

Culture: More Than a Language
May 1, 2007

One of the most prominent topics in direct marketing today is ensuring that messaging to customers and prospects is relevant. As it relates to Hispanic marketing, cultural relevance has been trumpeted as the key to opening the door to this consumer group and keeping it open for effective customer retention. To get a better handle on what cultural relevance means to direct marketers, Target Marketing spoke with Sonya Suarez-Hammond, director of multicultural marketing insights at Yankelovich Inc., a consumer research firm in Chapel Hill, N.C. Target Marketing: What information can help marketers ensure their communication with Hispanic audiences is culturally relevant? Sonya Suarez-Hammond: Culturally appropriate marketing