Letters to the Editor
The Tug of War Persists
At the outset let me state that Brian Carroll’s article, “What’s a Lead?” (November 2006) is one of the best [pieces of] writing I have read in recent time.
I head the marketing [department] for a $200 million company and am directly responsible for marketing for the Americas revenues. The Americas geography of my company contributes over $100 million in revenues to the corporation, and my team supports the sales efforts in lead generation and branding.
I could not agree more with your points on the tug of war [between sales and marketing] and was able to relate to every point/step mentioned there. Over the years, the process has been positively refined for the organization and has helped close many deals, but still the chicken/egg situation of who is right (sales/
marketing) persists. The dependence and success/failure is mutual between the sales and marketing teams.
My team uses almost all avenues mentioned in your feature to drive branding and qualifying prospects on lead-generation and make them sales-ready. However, the appetite for sales to make them more sales-ready makes me wonder: Why not [let] the marketing team run the last leg of the sales-cycle as well?
The consolation part of reading your story (I have made all my team members read the article) is the knowledge the world of sales/marketing is equally adoring, and the answer to the question of “What’s the lead?” is still evolving and at this point still holds an opinion status.
Vice President, Strategic Planning & Marketing (Americas)
Thanks for Telling It Like It Is
Just read your article, “Shooting Ourselves in the Foot (Again)” in Target Marketing about the Caples Award call for entries (November 2006, Famous Last Words). Hurray. Thank you for writing that. I got that same, stupid piece and was appalled our industry had sunk so low. Do you think that was designed by a committee? Who said, “Never underestimate the power of one really stupid person in a group”?
Colusa Casino Resort
I applaud your critique of the shameful creative approach to this year’s Caples Awards direct mail, and I remember well the equally loathsome effort that ran in the early 1990s. In both cases, my first reaction was the same: How ironic … Caples proved that benefits were always more powerful than intrigue in headlines. Don’t these people know this? I had the pleasure of meeting John Caples in 1978 at the tail-end of his career and the beginning of mine. His “Making Ads Pay” inspired me to pursue a career in direct marketing, because it placed results ahead of “creativity.” It always puzzled me why he would lend his name to an award that honors creativity rather than results. If someone started a petition to get his name off these silly awards, I’d sign first. They do his legacy no good whatsoever.
Thanks for telling the truth.
When I received this year’s Caples Call for Entries, I found it extremely offensive and vulgar; certainly not professional in any way.
Yes, it caught my attention, only because it looked so sloppy. If that was the type of creative the Caples judges were looking for, then I wanted no part of it. I trashed the mailing.
I’m a professional. I wish to be approached by those within my industry as such. Thank you very much for exposing this type of mailing for what it is—pure trash!
Frances S. Edgar
Nitterhouse Marketing Services
I run the in-house creative agency for World Savings—25 high-powered creative professionals with experience from big, international ad agencies and direct marketing agencies. I can’t tell you how completely offended we were to receive the Caples Award Call for Entries this year. After reading it in astonishment, we decided we were too good to be evaluated by any organization that let something like that out, and did not enter any of our advertising.
It’s so nice to see that there are still people who value good direct marketing, and aren’t afraid to expose trash for what it is.
As a devout reader of “Tested Advertising Methods,” which I consider the greatest book written on direct, I am convinced John Caples would be sickened by what his awards show has become.
Thanks for shining a light of truth on the matter.
EVP, Fundraising Division
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