Lois Geller

Lois Geller
It's Who You Know

I'm a big fan of social media. I jumped on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., but it didn't occur to me until recently that social media could help direct marketers by leveraging influencers. In other words, I was a purist—I was communicating on social media for the pure joy of talking to people, meeting them and learning. I didn't think about it as leveraging anyone, but there is something to be said for targeting respected followers and encouraging them to recommend you.

Creative Corner: Build Your Ark

A couple of months ago, two engineers dropped by our office to talk about a lead generation program for their consultancy business. “Things are slow,” said one of them, “and we might have to lay off some of our staff.” So we asked questions and learned about how they made their money, got an idea of their budget and then we went to work developing a program. I called them a week or so later to set up our next meeting and they asked if we could postpone for a while because they were up to their elbows in a new project that had just

Lost Opportunity

Banks mystify me. They should be great one-to-one direct marketers, but they’re just not! It’s not only the stilted letter copy printed in mouse type, “my eyes glaze over” offers or the stock photo brochures with more legal disclaimers than actual selling copy. It’s the staggering mismanagement of information. Better yet, complete ignorance of information that, with minimal effort, could make them lots of money. When we were getting ready to move from New York City to Hollywood, Fla., banks were the first companies notified. My assistant Kate sent about 50 letters to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and brokerages, and I figured I’d get

Spin a Yarn

Our Relationship Begins When You Tell Me a Story! This past November, I flew to New York City for the Silver Apple Award ceremony. My friend Murray Miller of American Express was among the individuals being honored, and my friends at Boardroom/Bottom Line received the Corporate Apple Award. After each award, the honoree said a few words, well actually a lot of words, which is OK with me. It struck me, as it does every year at the Apples, that long-time direct marketers all seem to be great storytellers. I think that’s one reason the ceremony always is packed. We like hearing their tales

Blow Up Silos!

By Lois Geller Build your marketing strategy around the customer's perspective. Not long ago, when you drove through the American countryside you saw tall, windowless buildings, usually attached to barns. They are called silos and farmers used them to store grain. You don't see many grain silos anymore. They disappeared because there are better ways of storing silage to make it more accessible. But silos do still exist in offices: vertical organizational structures—fiefdoms, really. These silos need to go, too. They're too inaccessible, and silo A never has the foggiest idea what silo B is up to. Recent Silo Experience A few

It Only Hurts When You Laugh

By Lois Geller A few nights ago, I watched a TV show where surgeons, dentists, trainers and fashionistas turn less-than-dreamy people into dreamboats. They looked great, but I kept thinking, "Ouch, all that cutting, lifting and teeth drilling has to hurt." And then, I started thinking of makeovers and you, the hard working direct marketer. Would you scream "Ouch!" if someone tried an extreme makeover on one of your programs? We all would. Our direct marketing efforts are what we do, how we make a living. They're us! And someone's giving us a makeover—changing things. All makeovers hurt when they're about you. "That's Not

Creative Corner: Technology Is Great

... until it eliminates the human factor. This past year, Mason & Geller relocated to Florida. Why’d we come? Well, we have clients down here, and I’m closer to my 93-year-old mom. We also cut our office overhead by about 70 percent. Then there’s the weather, the beaches and the laid-back lifestyle. Except for hurricanes, it’s been great. We all miss New York, but we’d be crazy to go back. Why didn’t we make this move years ago? Simple. We didn’t have the low-cost technology—or the low-cost air travel—that lets us work in an out-of-the-way marina in Hollywood, Fla. Now, with clients all

Creative Corner Lessons You Learn From Non-Profits (1,224 word

By Lois Geller Labor Day makes me think of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. As a child, I would watch solemn faced, call in my pledge and eagerly wait to hear my name on the local TV feed of the show. The operator taking the call would ask if I wanted my donation to be announced on the air and I always did. The excitement would escalate as the numbers grew on the tote board. Viewers knew what Jerry's final number was—the dollar amount he was trying to raise—and we hoped he would make his goal for that year. The real

Creative Corner-Play the "Be Your Own Customer" Game (1,128 wor

By Lois Geller When you live every aspect of your business from your customers' perspectives, you can't help but thrill them and prevent potential trouble, even before they complain or defect. There are many examples of companies that need to play the "Be Your Own Customer" (BYOC) game. Here are just a few. Last month, one of our clients, a hotel owner, was in our office discussing the response to a specific direct mail program. I suggested we dial his hotel's 800 number to get first-hand knowledge of the customer experience. I made the call and inquired about rates and availability for a

Creative Corner- In Bed And Buying The lessons from HSN and DR

By Lois Geller I've been sick for three weeks with the dreaded flu. How do I pass the time? Daytime TV leaves a lot to be desired. CNN gets tedious, and Oprah doesn't come on until 4 p.m. I've been spending my days watching Home Shopping Network and infomercials. Not only do I watch ... Have Flu Will Charge! My first purchase is an IGIA ionizer hair dryer. This amazing contraption is supposed to dry my hair in half the time, with absolutely no breakage! The enthusiasm of the salesperson is remarkable; she really gets me excited about the product. When she offers