Response Boosters

The Price Is Right … or Is It?
October 1, 2008

Similar market pressures impact consumers' perceptions of the value of virtually every product or service, yet many direct marketers change their prices infrequently, if at all. [...] do you need to cut prices in order to win more orders from cash-strapped consumers, or do you need to raise prices to keep up with rising costs? (Which reminds me, I need to send in the $50 rebate on my cool, new phone before I lose the rebate slip or the UPC, or forget about it entirely as the marketer is hoping.) Other effective ways to reduce the perceived price include installment billing and, in the case of subscription marketing, per-issue or per-month pricing. A classic example of reducing the perceived price in consumer marketing is selling automobiles based on monthly payment. Author of "46 Ways to Raise Prices without Losing Sales!," "The Tao of Pricing" and "Pricing Psychology Report," Jensen has discovered many instances when test results defy conventional wisdom and create profit-building opportunities. Of all the variables that go into the success or failure of any marketing campaign, price is perhaps the easiest to test - and often proves to be the easiest way to boost profitability.

3 Tips for Lifting Response and Profits
August 27, 2008

These are tough times for direct marketers across the board. Postage and paper costs continue to rise, the economy is sluggish and response rates are falling as consumers become more judicious with their purchases. Customer files are shrinking, and marketers are taking a hit. Jason Riccardi, vice president of global circulation management and database marketing for B-to-B and B-to-C direct marketing solutions provider MeritDirect, describes this shriveling consumer base problem as a "leaky bucket" in his whitepaper, Three Ways to Lift Response and Profitability. He goes on to illustrate that the "water inside is your customer file … more and more of your customers drip away." In order to maintain size, explains Riccardi, marketers must fill the bucket just as fast as the water drips. Here are three tips he offers on just how to keep that leaky bucket full.

6 Ways to Optimize B-to-B Free-Content Offerings
July 9, 2008

Whitepapers, and other free B-to-B information-based offerings, identify prospects’ problems and offer data and suggestions to help them decide on a solution. “When people can read in a paper about a problem that they’re having, it builds an affinity between the business and the prospect,” says Michael Stelzner, executive editor of and author of the book “Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged.” In a down economy, more and more companies are offering free content to gain mindshare. “If you are lagging, and your competition is out there providing lots of rich content to the customer base, you’ll probably

Rev Up Your Response
May 1, 2008

While I’m not an advocate of adding extraneous elements to mailings for the sake of being clever, I’ve learned to appreciate the response-generating value of bells and whistles, gadgets, and gizmos when used appropriately.

Energize Your Offer
May 1, 2008

If you want to improve results for your promotions, your offer is one of the first places you should look to make changes. Offers are central to direct marketing. Strip away the techniques, formats and tactics, and you’re left with people accepting or rejecting offers.

Six Tips to Reel in Unused Gift Cards
February 1, 2008

For the fourth straight year, gift cards were expected to be the top gift purchase this holiday season, with 69 percent of consumers planning to buy them, according to the Deloitte & Touche 2007 Annual Holiday Survey.

The Redemption Sweet Spot
December 1, 2007

The overall decline in coupon redemption rates in the U.S. and Canada raises a question as old as coupons themselves: What prompts a consumer to redeem? For an ICOM Information & Communications analysis of coupon redemption drivers, a data pool was assembled that allowed the research to break down coupon redemption trends across a variety of market segments, including health and beauty, food and beverage, and apparel. Information was derived from a 20-year database assembled in the course of designing 6,300 targeted direct mail programs and issuing 425 million coupons to 28 million U.S. and Canadian households. Coupon variables that were analyzed included expiration, value, volume

Five Strategies to Turbocharge Your Postscript
July 18, 2007

It always floors me how many so-called “experts” leave money on the table by forgetting to use a postscript (or P.S.) in their letters—or paste a drab blob of drivel at the end of a rock ‘em, sock ‘em pitch. A hard-hitting P.S. is your last, best chance to ring the KA-CHING bell! Sales equals money, which equals more work for the copywriter, raises for the marketing manager, happy senior execs and owners ... well, you get the picture. Online and off, testing the P.S. is easy and darned near free. Here are five strategies that work: 1. Add a bonus offer, restate your

Fulfillment: At Your Request
July 1, 2007

A sure way to fire up results for your fulfillment program is to look for opportunities to better serve your leads during their information-gathering process. If two-thirds of consumers have reported they feel unsolicited marketing materials are not relevant to their needs, according to Yankelovich research from late 2005, can you imagine the level of expectation for respondents who have requested further contact? By applying old-fashioned marketing strategy and leveraging today’s technologies, marketers can turn lead-generation data into customized fulfillment kits that are both more appealing to the recipient and helpful at moving the conversion process along. Data on Tap All customization processes start by assessing the

Shorter Surveys Make the Grade
June 20, 2007

If the gurus behind childhood-education mainstay Schoolhouse Rock have anything to say about it, three is the quintessential magic number. However, for marketers looking for just the right amount of questions to include in a survey, the “magic number” requirements become considerably more business-savvy than the lyrics to a pop song. When enticing prospects to willingly provide information about themselves and/or their feelings on a product or brand, nothing turns a person off more than something that feels like homework. According to survey tests done by Bob Roberts, manager of marketing research for Babcox Publications, an Akron, Ohio–based B-to-B publisher, surveys with an exhaustive