People Magazine

State of the Industry-1999 (2,293 words)
January 1, 1999

Reported by Kelly J. Andrews There's no doubt the direct marketing industry is thriving. Survey after survey shows that both revenues and profits are up, and research companies predict that the future will remain rosy for years to come. However, that bright and happy big picture is made up of lots of small ones—thousands of direct marketers that each have a unique story, strategy and perspective. To find out what's happening at ground level, we conducted a State of the Industry survey that took a close look at direct marketers across the country. The direct marketers we surveyed are a cross-section of

Profile - The Utne Reader (1,651 words)
December 27, 1998

Editor's Note: This article contains information originally reported in the newsletter Who's Mailing What! and the book "Million Dollar Mailings" by Denny Hatch. In the days of vaudeville, the great performers---Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Fannie Brice----were constantly traveling across the country. Each time they appeared, they would try a new bit of business----maybe a new joke, a new dance step or whatever. If the audience responded positively, it would remain as part of the act. Fifty-two weeks later, when these performers came back to perform your town, it was basically a new act, one that had been gradually changed and perfected over the

The Great Mentors (4,982 words)
October 1, 1998

Back In the earlier part of this century, direct marketing didn't even have a name. Over the years, more and more disciples became devoted to this super-focused method of reaching and selling customers; eventually direct marketing drew enough of a following to earn its own professional association and a trade journal. However, only in the past five years has direct marketing fanned out to touch nearly every company across this country—and even the world. For those who started out in this "industry," there weren't any college classes, associations or experts to learn from. No companies ran workshops, seminars or full-blown conferences on creating effective

The ABCs of Testing
September 1, 1998

When it comes down to it, the key element that separates direct marketing from other marketing techniques is the offer. Direct marketing campaigns are meant to sell products and services; a two-step campaign may be needed to explain the offer, but the desired result is a concrete sale. That's why marketers who think they can stuff image advertising into an envelope and generate results tend to lose money on those campaigns. Since you can measure response, you can also determine which offers and mailings work best. When you get an order, you can surmise that something about the way you asked for the

When Not to Model (1,934 words)
July 1, 1998

by Arthur Hughes Many companies are using models successfully to improve their response rates and increase profits in marketing to outside prospect lists. To use a model successfully, the marketer has to have a marketing situation that meets both of the following criteria: 1. The customer response to a promotion must be significantly determined by factors that the marketer can append to a prospect list; and 2. The lift in profits from using the model must more than pay for the cost of the appended data and the cost of building and running the model. For example, if you are selling encyclopedias through the

Is It Time to Test a Freemium? (815 words)
April 1, 1998

by Dick Goldsmith They shouldn't do this to me! My mother did it to me when I was little. I'm grown-up now. It shouldn't still be happening. And yet, they still make me feel guilty. Who? The direct marketers, that's who. I didn't ask for all those cards and labels, but I keep using them. So I have to keep sending them money. A freemium is a little something extra in a direct mail package. Its purpose, of course, is to lift response. It does this by involving the reader or giving the reader guilt. It gets its name from the fact that

New Pig - Hogging the Market in Europe (1,282 words)
April 1, 1998

Can a pig fly in Europe? How will a catalog full of pig cartoons and barnyard humor fare in Europe's industrial community? These were the questions New Pig found itself asking when it decided to take its Pigalog® catalog overseas. Based on its success in the United States with its playful approach to marketing industrial cleanup products, New Pig decided to recreate the humor in Europe. This idea met the same criticism it faced when the company first set up shop in the U.S. "People told us 'you may be able to do that in America, but you can't do that here,'" notes

Gift Giving Is Big Business
February 1, 1998

by Pat Friesen Christmas and Hanukkah are over for another year. And by the time you read this, Valentine's Day will be upon us. So, what did you learn during these major gift-giving seasons that you can apply to encourage customers (and prospects) to tap you as a source of gifts for all those other gift-giving occasions, events and holidays? You should never assume a customer is thinking of you in March when her company has a big anniversary celebration and sends loyal customers "thank you" gifts…or in July when it's time to buy Cousin Sally's birthday gift. You've got to remind, encourage and

Does Your Ad Measure Up?
February 1, 1998

by Hallie Mummert ONE OF THE biggest names in mail order started their empires with nothing more than a little, black and white space ad in a magazine. Banana Republic, Lands' End and The J. Peterman Co. all looked to direct response advertising to test the appeal of their products. While their first ads were a bit less complex than the voluminous catalogs these companies mail today, the offers and copy were just as finely crafted. So, too, should be the ads you run, whether they be tests or rolled-out programs. Just as there are numerous considerations in a direct mail campaign, you'll