Recently I was presenting at the DMA 2010 conference in San Francisco, picking on a few poorly written brand ads and direct mail pieces when an attendee took issue with my critique of a high-end premium brand's effort.
Therein lies the hidden dilemma: It's not an either/or situation. Brand advertisers can work harder at making their efforts more ROI-centric, and direct marketers can offer up better brand-aligned creative to capture the magic that the brand holds.
Your advertising's main purpose is to sell your product or service. With that in mind, here are six tips that are sure to help your next direct mail piece, but may be applicable to your space ads, emails, websites or integrated campaign — getting them to work harder at selling your wares:
Tip #1: It's not about your product or service, it's about me, the recipient of your marketing message. Replace copy and headlines that focus on the company, product or service, and rewrite them to focus on the benefits that the recipient will receive.
Tip #2: Always include a well-written, response-oriented letter in your package. The brochure tells, but the letter sells. It's THE key correspondence for a call-to-action. This addition, or testing of the copy within the letter, can dramatically impact your bottom-line.
Tip #3: Add an offer and think about how to get the recipient to respond, not simply how they react or feel about your creative work. The offer or message positioning, when done correctly, will get people to respond — now! And, willingly. So take that prose beyond feeling and image and consider action, results and the bottom-line.
Tip #4: Have your outer envelope reflect the brand position and promise. If you have a high-end premium brand, use a four-color outer envelope. Tout your offer, but do so more elegantly, replacing a burst with a nicer looking circle or boxed offer.
Tip #5: Convert your creative from a no-step option to a two-step approach. This will allow you to begin compiling data that will be useful for on-going marketing campaigns as well as prove invaluable from a marketing research vantage point. The more you know about those who respond, the better you can custom-tailor your marketing messages: by segments, media, geography and the like.
Tip #6: Add credibility by employing a buckslip or lift note. Brand marketers too often consider these additions to a direct mail package as unwanted waste and/or additional clutter. When done correctly, they add value and often make or break whether or not the recipient responds or not.
Some companies that employ this fine balance between brand and direct include: Amazon, Zappos, Dell, AARP, NY Life, Best Buy, Google, Subaru, Lexus, among others.
If brand names like these can make the Direct Branding leap, so can other brands, big and small and in between.
Today, with mounting pressure to prove that marketing is ROI-positive, it's simply a wise decision to add some basic tenets of direct marketing to your brand-centric efforts. The payoff will be more effective, measurable marketing. That's something we can all cheer about.