Creative Corner: The Power of Taglines
October 1, 2006

As always, the Direct Marketing Association’s Conference and Exhibition has a theme. This year it’s “Customers Are on a Journey: Be the Destination!” I suppose I understand that. It’s a bit of a reach—and a command without a benefit—but at least I know what it means. Customers are looking for something, and your product should be it. It’s a tagline, and I love taglines. My all-time favorite tagline came from a tech company that wanted people to know its geniuses used their brain power to create brilliant products. So it came up with the tagline “Out of our minds.” My favorite spoof tagline was Jerry Della Femina’s

Five Ways to Make Your Fulfillment Piece Irresistible
September 20, 2006

Do you plan to generate leads through a direct mail or e-mail campaign? Will you be offering a fulfillment piece that can be downloaded from your Web site or sent via snail mail? Then you had better use a little imagination and creativity! You see, the days of telling prospects that they can get a free whitepaper are over. At least for successful companies. The whitepaper, as an offer, is so overused, tired and flat, that I urge my clients to try something different. Let’s take a look at five ways to make your next fulfillment piece so enticing that prospects will just have to request

Eye on Envelopes: 5 Trends to Watch
August 9, 2006

Self-mailers—with their eye-catching formats, flashy designs, and nearly unlimited size, dimension, and finishing options—may get a good deal of the creative attention, but for most direct mailers, envelopes are the real go-to format. In the first half of 2006, some 65 percent of all efforts received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive arrived in an envelope. In 2005 that number was a similar 64.2 percent, and in 2004, an only slightly lower 63 percent. With numbers like this, it’s easy to see why envelope creative, while perhaps not as exciting as its self-mailing cousin, is an important discipline to watch. Not only do mailers need

Market Focus: Dentists
August 1, 2006

Check Up on These Medical Professionals For some, a trip to the dentist is fraught with anxiety. In contrast, however, marketers of many stripes should look forward to reaching out to these medical professionals. Entrepreneurial and business savvy, dentists are open not only to the more obvious profession-related offers, but also to a slew of services and products that help them run their hectic business practices and personal lives. Meet the Doctors According to Fred Peterson, media relations for Chicago-based American Dental Association (ADA), there are more than 173,000 professionally active dentists in the United States. Nearly 80 percent of these doctors are general practitioners, while another

Ready, Set, Action!
July 1, 2006

What makes direct response advertising different from general advertising? One word sums it up: response. No matter what type of direct marketing media you use to target your customers and prospects, your primary objective is to generate response—immediate or delayed, in the mail or online. And it’s your call to action working hand-in-hand with your offer that generates this measurable response. That’s why your call to action should never be overlooked, under-valued or taken for granted. It plays a very important role in every mailing you send out. What, When, Why and How So, how do you make your call to action more compelling and effective

Catalog and Direct Selling: Sell a Concept
July 1, 2006

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

Lights Out Creative
July 1, 2006

Don’t think of inserts as slips of paper. Rather, to get the right creative vibe, you need to imagine your insert as a snack-size bag of potato chips, a candy bar or a pack of gum. This might sound weird, but stripped to their basic function, inserts are an impulse-buy medium—like a store checkout lane. “By and large, anything in the insert space is an impulse buy,” says Al Stanton, president of Stanton Direct Marketing, an insert media and management firm in Elmira, N.Y. Even with two-step offers, he says, inserts are meant to generate a spontaneous response to send for more information. Due to

Envelope Manufacuters Association’s Tonya Muse on Envelopes
June 28, 2006

Copywriting legend Herschell Gordon Lewis has said that envelopes serve two purposes: to get themselves opened and to keep their contents from “spilling out onto the streets.” While sound production makes the latter a simple goal, the former poses a more formidable challenge. Understanding this, Alexandria, Va.-based trade association Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) and its nonprofit research arm, the EMA Foundation, set out in late 2005 to conduct a study that would offer some insight into how people view and relate to envelopes. Since I know you love envelopes—in 2005, 63 percent of efforts received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive were envelope packages—I thought

Creative Corner: Build Your Ark
June 1, 2006

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

Market Focus: School Administrators
June 1, 2006

Marketing That Takes Smarts School is a time for growth, for expanding one’s horizons, learning to work with others and gaining knowledge. Often, it’s a complicated place, full of challenges and rules, but ultimately a rewarding experience that stays with you all your life. Not surprisingly, marketing to those responsible for school administration often is just as complex, but also rewarding for those marketers who take the time to learn about the needs and dynamics of this customer base. Reading, Writing and Everything in Between When looking at the kindergarten through 12th grade school market, there are more than 138,000 district-level administrators in the United States serving