Blazing New Trails Takes NERVE
Strike Out on Your Own
So, how do you have a creative breakthrough? There are three or four things you need to do.
1. Decide to do something new. Refuse to be a follower. Just make sure you understand how direct marketing works.
2. Get into your target audience's heads. It doesn't matter what you like, what your bosses like—what anybody else likes. Ask:
>What do the people you're writing to like?
>How do they think?
>What's important to them?
We work with a marketer of Apollo space program collectibles. We talked to a space-commodities collector who recommended we get a NASA spokesperson to give our collection credibility. That changed our direction.
3. New ideas aren't born fully-grown, so don't abandon them. If it makes you nervous, that's good.
Our creative director was told that a time-share client couldn't do a radio commercial because the legal text was obligatory and too long. It would bore people to tears. He turned the legalese into song lyrics and had a chorus of lawyers sing it. It was hilarious.
4. Forget about budgets at first. Just come up with an idea.
Internet guru Seth Godin looks at things differently when he fills Web orders for his new book, "Purple Cow." He sends them out in a milk carton that has purple spots on it. It gets people talking. Once you get the idea, you can figure out how to do it with your own budget.
The idea is to go somewhere no one has been before. Do something unique. Restrictions on telemarketing and spam mean more companies will be going back to direct mail. Now's the time to jump out and be unique.
You can be first. Just make sure you test.
Lois K. Geller is president of Mason & Geller Direct Marketing, a full-service direct-response agency in NYC. She also is the author of "Response: The Complete Guide To Profitable Direct Marketing," and is a speaker at industry events. She can be reached at email@example.com