It Only Hurts When You Laugh
A few nights ago, I watched a TV show where surgeons, dentists, trainers and fashionistas turn less-than-dreamy people into dreamboats. They looked great, but I kept thinking, "Ouch, all that cutting, lifting and teeth drilling has to hurt."
And then, I started thinking of makeovers and you, the hard working direct marketer. Would you scream "Ouch!" if someone tried an extreme makeover on one of your programs?
We all would. Our direct marketing efforts are what we do, how we make a living. They're us! And someone's giving us a makeover—changing things. All makeovers hurt when they're about you.
"That's Not the Way We Do Things."
Well, of course it's not! That's why it's called a makeover. But you can take some solace in the fact that it's called a makeover. It means there's something valuable at the core of your program. If there wasn't, it'd be called a chuck-it-out-and-start-again.
Occasionally, clients ask for make-overs. At the start, their staff resent the process. They take it personally. After a while they relax, because they realize we're all on the same side.
That doesn't mean that all clients actually like their makeovers. Some of them really hate them, especially if it's a completely new idea. Last year, a publisher asked for a new package for an old book, and we came up with something with genuine breakthrough potential. The client review committee turned it down politely, because it isn't the way it traditionally does things.
Also last year, a small New England bank asked for a makeover, and we developed a package with an arresting visual showing a grandmother who banked with our client along with her son, Spike, and his son, Spike Jr., who didn't. The headline read "The Spikes are idiots." The client review committee had a fit, but our client ran with it, and saw response soar.
What a Direct Marketing Makeover Involves
Sometimes it's just a few basics: get rid of boring or silly words ("utilize," for instance); make sure the font's legible; break up huge blocks of type. Sometimes it's more complicated, such as a change in personality/attitude; figuring out what you're really selling; or writing about the target audience rather than the company.
An extreme makeover involves things such as your brand personality, response management system, customer service, offer strategy, acquisition package and retention program.
Here are some of the things we consider: