The Kern Organization

Best of TM 2011: How To Engage the QR Code Prospect
September 12, 2011

Provide value. Be relevant. That's what the mobile prospect wants. They don't have time to waste, so they want to be served content, offers, surveys, etc., that matters to them. The concept of using the phone to get something in return is not new, as "text to win!" SMS campaigns have been very successful. It's the same trigger for QR codes.

USPS Searches for More Advertising Mail
June 2, 2011

The US Postal Service literally guaranteed the effectiveness of integrating direct mail into marketing campaigns when it launched a postage-back assurance program in mid-May to attract the business of large marketers. The USPS is conducting the “Mail Works Guarantee” to convert large advertisers into direct mail marketers and to counter the large yearly drops it is seeing in First Class mail.

Offer Content B-to-B Buyers Want (and Don’t Want)
April 21, 2010

Now that buyers can use the Internet to research solutions, communicate with peers to get insider insights and remain somewhat anonymous during the interest and even consideration phases, B-to-B marketers are tasked to adapt their approaches to fit this new B-to-B prospect.

5 Ideas for Better B-to-B Mail Campaigns
October 28, 2009

New media sources might be multiplying like rabbits, but it's comforting to know the tried-and-true best practices of direct marketing tend to perform no matter the channel or medium.

4 Questions to Ask About the Self-Mailer
December 17, 2008

Amid tighter budgets and higher postal rates, more direct mailers are pondering whether or not to test the self-mailer format. "I think direct mail budgets (and client requests) have been trending toward smaller, more cost-efficient formats for some time, well over a year," states Steve Penn, CEO and executive creative director of Penn Garritano Direct Response Marketing in Minneapolis.

B-to-B Insights: How to Succeed in Sales Letters
December 1, 2007

As a columnist, my job, more or less, is to let you pick my brain every other month. And while I’m more than happy to oblige, I do think a bit of full disclosure is in order. Frankly, much of what currently resides in my brain—or at least much of the stuff that relates to direct marketing—has been shamelessly picked from the brains of others—from John Caples’, from Victor Schwab’s, from Stan Rapp’s and many, many others. Over the years, a healthy percentage of my spare time has been spent reading the writings of direct mail’s “grand masters.” Then reading them again. And in some cases,

B-to-B Insights: What Are We Doing Here? (Part Two)
October 1, 2007

In my June 2007 column—before taking a break to unload my summer reading list—I started to talk about the aspects of B-to-B direct marketing that appeal to me. Since the folks here at Target Marketing sensibly allow me only a finite number of column inches each month, I didn’t get that far in Part One. So I’m back with more of what I love about this business. And if you’re still reading along with me at the end, then I guess you love it, too. I Think My Roots Are Showing I come from a family of physicians. So it’s no surprise that the science of

B-to-B Insights: Even More Summer Reading
August 1, 2007

It’s that time of year once again. It’s time to get out in the sun, have some fun and maybe do a little reading, too. Most of America, of course, will be poring over a John Grisham legal thriller or immersing themselves in Khaled Hosseini’s successor to “The Kite Runner.” But you are not most of America. You’re a dedicated direct marketer looking to build your skill set and, ultimately, your bank balance. And I’m here to help with my third annual listing of what—along with the sunscreen—you should stuff into your beach bag. Since I finished compiling last summer’s reading list, I’ve come across great

10 Tips to Up Your Outer Potential
July 25, 2007

In his session, 34 Market-Tested Strategies for Revitalizing DM Performance, presented at last month’s DM Days New York Conference & Expo, Russell Kern—founder and CEO of The Kern Organization—revealed a few of his favorite copy and design secrets to help you get your package past the first line of defense. Consider the following tips as you contemplate your outer envelope strategy. • Use a near-perfect handwriting font. • Call out or show multimedia interactive devices—CDs, DVDs, etc. • Inform prospects they’re pre-approved. • Show the prospect that the package is from someone important and that he should not discard it. • Create involvement using

Three Ways to Use URLs in Direct Mail
June 6, 2007

Like other misunderstood newcomers, the use of URLs in direct mail was not too long ago a novelty item that companies liked to trot out with pride for their customers, but had yet to figure out its intrinsic value. “I started seeing [URLs] in direct mail in the mid-90s. It was before the bubble, so everyone was so enamored of the idea of having a Web site, but didn’t quite know where they were going with it,” says Neil Feinstein, director of creative strategy at New York City–based True North Inc., an advertising agency that specializes in direct marketing, print and Web design.