How Harry Potter Taught Me a Lesson or Two About the Value of P
By Lois K. Geller
Last Saturday night, I went with a friend to see the Harry Potter movie. I had read the book and was looking forward to getting away from work and being entertained.
It was fun and it gave me some insights and lessons about direct marketing …
1. Harry Potter is supposed to be a children's movie, but it strikes a chord with many different groups of people. I sat in a packed Manhattan theater at 8 p.m. and the only kids in the theater were on the screen. There were seniors, teens, couples, singles, groups of people of every race and every demographic.
I thought, Wow! We spend so much time looking at vertical groups when maybe there is some potential to attract a mass audience.
About a month ago, I had lunch with the circulation director of a major monthly magazine. He explained that its target market was people who traveled, were extremely intellectual, not at all interested in popular culture and scorned consumption. As he was talking, I thought "someone like me wouldn't be interested in his publication"—but I actually read the magazine and love it! But based on those characteristics, they would never send me an invitation to subscribe! Sometimes, in narrowing our target, we can narrow our opportunities.
Often, when our agency is called in to develop a new mail package, the control has been around for years and is fading. We're asked to come up with a new direction. We also get called frequently on branding assignments. However, we are rarely called in to find new markets and new media. Considering that at least 40 percent of the success of any program is attributable to lists, companies might well benefit from bringing in outside consultants to re-assess their target market assumptions. Some of the most impressive response rate increases we've seen have been the result of our re-evaluating lists and making new target market recommendations.