Your marketing efforts are under attack! They are costing more to produce and getting lackluster results, right? Your efforts must be stepped up in order to survive. In most cases, every marketing effort your company has produced could have been stronger, more strategic and garnered better results. Almost every time the culprit that keeps you from stellar results can point back to the kickoff meeting.
No, you didn’t accidentally open a science journal, and no, this isn’t an article about Einstein’s theory of relativity. Instead, it’s an explanation of why so many direct mail efforts simply do not work. They lack relativity, the ability to relate to their audience, or for that matter, offer any relevance at all. This theory isn’t about the continuum of space and time but about cause and effect. Simply, when marketing to a target audience, if you deliver a relevant message in a relevant format in a relevant presentation, your chances of achieving a desired response will grow exponentially. This all sounds simple, right? Then
Does your catalog need a makeover? Chances are, your catalog may not need an extreme makeover, but perhaps just a few tweaks that will increase overall response. Here are four questions to ask yourself to determine which ailments your catalog may be suffering from: 1) Are you doing everything possible to differentiate your brand and merchandise concept? Have you sprinkled branding elements throughout your catalog that truly differentiate? 2) Are you taking advantage of powerful data, such as your square-inch analysis? A SQUINCH will help you place products, define themes, emphasize key price points and provide an overall creative guide, if used wisely. 3) Have you emotionally
Selling items to customers is a craft most direct marketers understand. It’s about selling key benefits with an alluring presentation that resonates with a target audience. But anyone can sell a product. Great direct marketers understand that selling an item, as a part of an overarching merchandise concept, is a critical tool used to engage a customer and eventually create brand loyalty. What Is a Merchandise Concept? Simply stated, it’s a collection of products and price points that own a unique brand personality and represent a highly defined need that resonates with a core, target audience. Notice the word “brand.” Your merchandise concept and your brand
Some direct marketers spend thousands of dollars creating and placing space advertisements only to find their money ill spent. Can space ads be a successful part of your marketing mix? Possibly, but only if you avoid the pratfalls of failed efforts. This medium is worth testing, but how can you learn their secrets and execute successful space campaigns year after year? By breaking down the anatomy of the space ad and building a smart campaign inside and out. Strategy: The Bones of the Space Ad While creative is an important component, a successful space ad must begin with solid bones. Long before the
By Lois Boyle As consumers, many of us appreciate the efficiency and "quick read" that a postcard provides. As marketers, we appreciate the cost-effectiveness of a postcard, especially when it works! The postcard format, unfortunately, must work especially hard to compete with its sister formats, the more elaborate solo mailings and catalogs. You literally have seconds to grab a recipient's attention and explain your offer—and that's no easy task with the limited space a postcard provides. So, how can you create a postcard that will stand out in the mail and motivate customers to respond? To answer this question, ask yourself the following
Techniques to help your products come alive on the printed page Selling a product through the mail is a true art form when it’s executed correctly. While it’s true that many direct marketers successfully sell products with minimal representation of the product, consider how much more response might be garnered if a product were to come alive on the printed page. Direct marketers have to compete against their retail sisters in an unfair playing field, since retail allows customers to pick up, touch, feel, try on or even sample products. You can create products that are three-dimensional in nature using the right creative techniques.
Techniques that increase response, average order and overall profits Many direct marketers unwittingly leave money on the table with every transaction. One transaction at a time, it may not seem like much. Collectively, it could mean thousands of dollars robbed from the bottom line. Here are five techniques that not only will increase your average order and add to overall profits, but in many cases also increase overall response. All five should become part of your all-around merchandise and creative strategies. Cross-sell Before the Checkout Most successful direct marketers already know the value of cross-selling on the telephone or online, but few take
Should you try both formats? In the annals of great direct marketing companies, fortunes have been made selling with both catalogs and solo packages. Both formats have their place in direct marketing and each serves a specific purpose. Unfortunately, many companies (especially startups) misunderstand the criteria for these formats and make critical strategic mistakes when using them. Likewise, seasoned direct marketers may forget the benefits of one or the other format, ignoring potential profits. Let’s explore both formats and why each of them should be considered in your marketing programs. What Makes a Catalog? A common mistake among start-ups is the belief that the company has
18 ideas to build loyalty by thanking your customers We’ve all been taught to be polite and to say thank you when people go out of their way on our behalf. So why is it that many companies have not transferred this desirable characteristic to their marketing plans? Think about it. Your customers have trusted you. They’ve chosen to spend their hard-earned money with you—even in times of economic hardship. Have you taken the time and energy to thank them? Really thank them? For a thank-you to truly resonate, consider the following: • It must be relevant and specific. The more generic your
Find creative gems in a SQUINCH. Successful catalogers know how powerful a square-inch analysis (SQUINCH) can be, but few analyze anything beyond a merchandising plan. In truth, once the data has been placed into a SQUINCH format, incredible nuggets can be gleaned from different reports that can shape your creative efforts. The following is a checklist of the obvious and not-so-obvious gems waiting to be found in your SQUINCH. The Obvious 1. Build powerful cover treatments by taking advantage of your best-selling products, especially those that garner high demand. With seconds to grab attention and draw customers into your catalog, use best sellers on
Make It Difficult For Your Customers to Say No By Lois Boyle What is good, better, best? It's a selling technique that merchandisers have used for decades, most notably Sears, Roebuck and Co. Correctly presented, it gives customers the ability to purchase the item that most closely fits their needs and their budget. When well executed, it enables marketers to upsell and increase the average order size. For example, imagine three stereos all providing a quality sound system. Two of them have the added feature of loading up to 12 CDs at a time, but one is clearly the market leader with
By Lois Boyle and Steve Trollinger Last month we discussed five major pitfalls for catalog marketers, the problems that arise if your catalog business stumbles into any one of them, and how they can be avoided. This month we pose several questions focusing on five pitfalls and how they relate to the catalog core competencies of merchandising, creative and marketing. Ask these questions of your own catalog. As a refresher, the five pitfalls are: - No obvious road map—having no long-term plan for marketing or financial performance. - Lack of systems/controls—not having the systems to effectively execute the direct
By Lois Boyle and Steve Trollinger Are you avoiding these common pitfalls? What a ride small catalogers have had in the last two years! For those of you still around, you know what we're talking about. Competing with the "big guys" has become tougher than ever. Smaller budgets, limited resources, higher costs to mail and a weak economy all have contributed to a tough, competitive outlook. It's the small catalogers with systems in place that allow them to manage adversities that are riding out the storm. In this two-part series, we first will outline the pitfalls trapping small
By Lois Boyle Powerful Pagination Deciding what goes where in a catalog is the foundation designers use to build a catalog "store." Whether or not designers are involved in the process is not as important as making sure they're provided with a pagination plan that has a structure best suited to customer needs. The art of pagination is no easy task. Fortunately there are guidelines catalogers can use. Pagination Tools A powerful catalog presentation has a strong merchandise concept and leads readers through the book, maximizing the opportunity for multiple purchases. To do this, it's important to first understand how readers process a catalog.