Philly Phundraising Phollies
Meanwhile, I offered to find a data modeler to determine who his good members were so we could find more like them and I would write and design a package. I told him that offer and lists were key and that it was imperative to find a good list broker that specialized in this field.
A couple of weeks later, I took him through the WHO'S MAILING WHAT! Archive to show him what other institutions around the country were doing that might give him some direction. Successful direct mail is often not pretty. My early mentor, Lew Smith, had a three-word dictum: "Neatness rejects involvement."
Seattle direct marketing guru Bob Hacker reduced Smith's dictum to two words: "Ugly works."
"It doesn't matter whether you like or dislike direct mail," I told him. "You cannot judge good direct mail; it judges you."
If a mailing works, it's successful. It's then up to us to figure out why people responded.
How do you know if a mailing works when direct mail is the second most secretive of marketing techniques (telemarketing leaves no paper or electronic trail)?
If a mailing is received more than once, you know it's successful. It's a so-called "control" that's making money.
As former US News & World Report circulation Director, Dorothy Kerr, once said, "To be successful in direct mail, see who's mailing what, study those mailings that keep coming in over and over again, and then steal smart.
I assured him that I wasn't going to walk in and tell him and his people what to do. Rather, we would look at what others in his field were doing across the country and use those for guidance.
I culled a bunch of duplicate mailings from the Archive for him to study—maybe 40 or 50 from museums, zoos and arboretums across the country. These were duplicates and ipso facto successful. I dropped them off his offices along with a couple of my marketing books so he could get a sense of what this business was about.