B-to-B Insights: Attain Success in an Integrated World
What are the underlying drivers of direct marketing? They’re offer, targeting, cost/contact and copy strategy rolled up into one. Direct marketing is an offer delivery medium. It’s about what the recipient will receive—information, a gift, a discount—by engaging in the desired behavior. If the offer strategy is right, low impact creative won’t hurt. If the offer strategy is wrong, no amount of high concept brand-integrated creative will save the day.
In fact, brand-integrated creative is often part of the problem. Business people and consumers these days have neither the time nor the inclination to figure out high concept direct. They look at a piece of direct communication—e-mail or postal, print ad or banner—and instantly ask themselves, “What’s in this for me?” They won’t put forth the effort to understand your beautifully created, brand-integrated package. So in conveying the value of your offer, the clearer and easier to understand you manage to be, the better your results will be.
Results, immediate and tangible, are the name of the game in direct marketing. This is not to say that results don’t matter in branding. Of course, they do. It’s just that accountability of above-the-line investments is much more amorphous than it is with direct response. In branding, a company ponders things like changes to aided and unaided recall, trying to figure out whether its multimillion-dollar investment was well spent.
Direct marketing measures everything to the penny. We measure cost-per-response, cost-per-registration, cost-per-qualified lead and cost-per-sale. Our ability to do these things is a big part of direct marketing’s appeal. On the other hand, it gives us absolutely no place to hide. Either our campaigns work and deliver the requisite numbers or we’re toast.
The table below illustrates the continuum of communication vehicles and their applications to brand and response. Notice that, as the media channels become more one-to-one, the offer content needs to increase to achieve maximum effectiveness. As the offer content increases, the probable range of the cost-per-sale decreases.