Bob Hacker

Bob Hacker
Six Things You Need to Know About Internet Marketing (790 words

By Bob Hacker, The Hacker Group You hear it everyday: "The Internet has opened up a whole new medium for direct marketers. Web and e-mail are cost-effective ways to reach millions for only a couple of cents a hit." Especially with last November's mail-based terror attacks, e-mail is growing in popularity and effectiveness. But, there are still ways to screw it up that can torpedo your program if you are not aware of them. Here are the six things you should be aware of as you strategize, write, design and execute your next (and every) Internet campaign. 1) Most users are still using dial-up

10 Tips to Avoid Direct-Response Disasters

By Bob Hacker This quarterly column's purpose is clear: to help direct marketers avoid mistakes that can crash program performance and threaten their career trajectory. Following are 10 tips that can help. 1. Keep program objectives simple and focused. Working toward a single objective typically will generate the highest response. If the objective is to generate a lead, for example, concentrate on that singular objective. If it's to get people to register on your Web site, focus on that, and move all subsequent requests and sell-through offers to later communications. If you ask recipients to do too many things, they'll do none of

Clicks Don't Cut It! (1,214 words)

by Bob Hacker By April 2000, reality returned to the world of e-business. The dot-com frenzy pooped out overnight and now we all know that shooting gerbils out of a cannon will no longer convince anybody to buy a company's products, services or hyped-up stock. Now, just like the rest of us, the online world is going to have to show Wall Street and Main Street that it can make a profit. This reality shift should be very good for direct marketing since many companies will have to shift their investment spending away from advertising-centric brand building and toward an experiential branding model—first drive

The 10 Commandments of B-to-B (917 words)

by Bob Hacker B-to-B marketers continue to shift considerable resources toward direct marketing, both online and off-line. The rationale is a nearly universal mantra: The good news about direct marketing is that it's measurable. But measurability is a two-edged sword, and there's a dangerous flip side to the direct marketing promise: The bad news about direct marketing is that it's measurable. When programs work, everybody takes the victory lap. When programs fail, the program manager takes the fall, no matter how much "help" he or she receives from other team members. Much of the help others give is personal opinion, rather than professional judgment.

The Battle of Brand vs. Direct (1,220 words)

by Bob Hacker Brand is now presented as the holy grail of marketing—"brand it and they will come"—with general advertising agencies the self-proclaimed Delphic oracles of brand stewardship. That one-size-fits-all marketing prescription is too simplistic and very misleading, particularly for direct marketers. The first part of this article addresses the issue of brand and how it relates to a company's success. In this case, we'll define success as the ability to increase revenue and profit, since no CEO would spend a dime on advertising, promotion, direct marketing, public relations—or the people who manage these functions—without some expectation of positive return on investment (ROI). In

It's Not the Gift That Counts-It's the Box (578 words)

by Bob Hacker Computers can hear us and cars can talk back—why not a mail package that sings? Our client, VERITAS Software Corporation, liked the idea and so did we. The result is an eye-catching dimensional mailing. VERITAS faced an unusual challenge. As a provider of data management and storage solutions for large enterprise systems, the company's sales path typically follows a multi-step, relational process. And because many of its customers need multi-faceted solutions, VERITAS is willing to invest heavily in prospecting to targeted clients. It has a strong success rate in sales prospecting by using corporate gifts and entertainment programs. While high-end gifts

IBM's Personal Touch (711 words)

by Bob Hacker A hometown newspaper editor once told me the key to his success was remembering that people like to see their names in print. It's true in our business, too—and a recent record-setting program for IBM Printing Systems proves the point. The new IBM InfoColor 70 uses digital technology to produce variable-image four-color printing that can knock your socks off. We designed our program strategy around that fact—and took full advantage of the opportunity to show prospects their names in print. The Target Market IBM Printing Systems' target customers fell into two segments—printing companies that actually run the presses and agencies whose

Fight Brand Tyranny! (774 words)

by Bob Hacker The current marketing mantra is "brand." Virtually every marketing publication and conference features articles, discussions, seminars, workshops, roundtables and speeches about the overriding importance of brand. The new marketing field of dreams: Brand it right, and they will come. I would propose that this singular emphasis on brand, at least for direct marketers, is at best simplistic and at worst heresy. The Great Escape Until the 1960s, advertising agencies were held accountable for sales. In the mid '60s, however, agencies were able to convince their clients that they should be held accountable for awareness, and perhaps brand preference, instead. Measurement

Six Ways to Avoid B-to-B Marketing Irrelevance

by Bob Hacker In the January 18, 1999 issue of Advertising Age I ran across this chilling statement by Editor in Chief Rance Crain, "Advertising's failure to produce results is reaching epic proportions … advertising can't be counted on to deliver upward sales momentum when it's most needed." I was reminded of a session I attended at an AdWeek seminar. I sneaked into a new business development seminar for general advertising agency principals. The seminar leader started with the following question, "Do your clients still think advertising works?" The agency presidents agreed that their clients still believed in advertising. His next line was, "Good,

Easton Press - Reverse Engineering (1,104 words)

by Bob Hacker This analysis of Easton Press is based on reviewing only four control packages and without the benefit of seeing any list segmentation or program performance figures. Targeting is inferred from product definition, copy platforms and appeals. The Basic Business The first thing we see is that the business is based on a few fundamentals that don't change: • The content always appears to be of high intrinsic value because of the author and/or the subject matter. • All titles are presented as "limited" or "special" and use exclusivity and "fear of loss" to build value. • The titles are

The Multi-Step Sales Process

by Bob Hacker How a product's price and complexity impact which strategy will work in multi-step selling, there are three key drivers many people ignore when they plan their campaigns. 1. The real price of the product. 2. The prospective buyer's perception of product complexity/utility and price. 3. The number of steps in the selling system required to close the sale. Part 1: Basic Strategy In the first part of this article, I will prove why failure to understand how these three drivers can affect program strategy can ensure failure. A client came to us with a selling strategy to sell a product