Direct Selling: Picture Perfect
January 1, 2007

Close your eyes and think of a Pottery Barn catalog. Or Lands’ End. Or J. Jill. Can you picture them? Chances are, you have a clear and distinct image in mind. You know what the photography looks like because all of these brands have established a certain style and “look” that is unique to them. They’ve achieved this over time through consistent execution of their defined styles. Pottery Barn, for instance, always shows a warm and inviting room consisting of the various pieces of furniture and accessories sold in the photo spread. It allows you to picture yourself in that perfect environment. Lands’ End, on

Battle of the Banks
January 1, 2007

In the past year, Bank of America has secured more than a few No. 1 positions. First, in early 2006 it purchased MBNA, making it the largest issuer of credit cards. Next, it acquired U.S. Trust from Schwab, garnering the title of largest private bank in the United States. And then, just a month ago, it scored a victory that CEO Kenneth Lewis has been aiming for since taking the company’s reins in 2001: Bank of America passed rival Citigroup to become the largest U.S. bank based on market value. These developments have prompted financial expert Michael Sivy to predict that the Charlotte, N.C.-based

Orkin’s Rob Crigler on Branding Challenges in SEM
December 20, 2006

According to various Internet analytics firms, Google pulls in anywhere from 40 percent to about 80 percent of Web searches, giving it the muscle to do as it pleases online. Part of that rule-setting process includes allowing any marketer to bid on any search term, regardless of whether the word is a competitor’s company or product name. It’s no wonder then that big brand marketers are concerned about online cannibalization of their trademarks. Robert Crigler, director of interactive marketing at Orkin, the pest control company, discussed the ramifications of this SEM challenge and suggested a couple lines of attack for brand marketers interested in fighting

Three Ways to Consider Color in Your Marketing Campaign
December 13, 2006

Could the way to your prospects’ wallets be through their stomachs? Well, perhaps not literally, but when it comes to deciding which color combinations will resonate with an audience, John H. Bredenfoerder—president-elect of Color Marketing Group (CMG), a nonprofit organization for design professionals, and design director for Cincinnati-based brand consultancy Landor Associates—likens the process to the delicate balance of seasonings a chef uses to create a palate-pleasing dish. “I like to refer to color as the ‘Spice of Design.’ It lets us customize our designs to our target’s specific wants and needs,” he says. Here, Bredenfoerder offers three ways to think of color as

Six Vanity Phone Number Do’s
December 5, 2006

Vanity phone numbers, such as 1-800-FLOWERS, can pull more responses and generate more leads when consistently used across channels. Laura Noonan, vice president of marketing and corporate communications with 800response, a provider of vanity numbers and related services, offers six tips to ensure you’re using your vanity 800-number as effectively as possible. 1. Lather, rinse n’ repeat. We all read the back of shampoo bottles and laugh at the obvious instructions to “lather, rinse and repeat.” But, this is great advice when you think of it in other contexts—ones that may not be so obvious. For example, make sure you feature a vanity phone

Editor’s Notes: Direct and/or Brand?
December 1, 2006

Donny and Marie Osmond, sibling stars of one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid, proclaimed that she was “a little bit country” while he was “a little bit rock ’n roll.” As a youngster, I hadn’t the foggiest idea what this meant the Osmonds were “mostly,” but it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the skits and songs. When it comes to direct marketing and branding, no such ambiguity has been tolerated. I’ve heard time and again that branding tactics dilute the efficacy of direct response campaigns and thus must be avoided like the returns counter at a major department store the

The Branding Byproduct of SEM
November 29, 2006

Search engine marketing is about getting your rankings increased, working your way to the top of the search engine results, and boosting your number of qualified leads. Branding is about making your company’s name a household word, getting customers to react instinctively to your product, and engendering trust. Two completely separate marketing campaigns, right? Not if you’re smart, says Michael Stalbaum, CEO of UnREAL Marketing, a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in Narberth, Pa. “If you think about it, branding is nothing more than getting your company’s name associated with an action,” Stalbaum says. “In the case of SEM, you want that action to

Editor’s Notes: Trends Not to Ignore
November 1, 2006

When I was editor of Inside Direct Mail, I kept my eye out for trends in the mailstream. And there have been many to see throughout the years: vouchers, double postcards, repositionable notes, oversize efforts, billboards, magalogs. But mailstream trends aren’t the only ones worth noting these days. Cultural trends also can be worth consideration when crafting direct marketing messages. Given that consumers expect advertising and marketing to reflect their personal tastes and lifestyles—even their particular aspirations—copy and imagery must keep pace with these developing trends. A whitepaper on mega-trends from brand consultancy Hiebing crossed my desk a few months back, and it identified eight

Niman Ranch’s Steve Kerford on ‘Going Direct’
October 11, 2006

Niman Ranch sells direct-to-consumer pork, beef and lamb—products that don’t usually lend themselves to direct marketing, least of all online sales. But Niman Ranch has had tremendous success (projected 2006 revenues of nearly $100 million) doing just that. Target Marketing got Steve Kerford, director of online sales for Niman Ranch, to reveal a few of those marketing secrets for this week’s Q-and-A. Not surprisingly, Kerford says selling meat direct to consumers involves a little sizzle, and a lot of steak. Target Marketing: How did Niman Ranch begin the branding process? Steve Kerford: Back in the 1970s, when [San Francisco celebrity chef] Alice Waters opened her restaurant Chez

The New Vanguard
September 9, 2006

Every industry has its luminaries—pioneers whose names become synonymous with the techniques or products they developed. Ed Burnett, Ralph Lane Polk II, Richard Benson, John Caples, Leon L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Jeff Bezos and, of course, Lester Wunderman come to mind. But not every trailblazer operates in the white-hot spotlight. Many conduct brilliant work day after day for their companies in relative anonymity. That is, until Target Marketing decided to nose around and find those professionals who are setting new standards for direct marketing performance. With the help of our Editorial Advisory Board and other key industry figures, we’ve selected eight exceptional direct marketers who