The Kern Organization

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

Regular readers of this column may be surprised to learn that, although I’ve spent my entire career in marketing, I didn’t start out in B-to-B direct marketing. Yes, Russell Kern got his feet wet as a general advertising account guy! And you know what? I’m glad I did. Experience in the general advertising world has equipped me—and, by extension, The Kern Organization—­­to better balance the requirements of direct marketing with those of branding on behalf of our clients. But when it came to my own career choice, I found the requirements of B-to-B direct marketing to be considerably more interesting, more stimulating and ultimately more

Is there a Doctor in the House? How to Breathe New Life into your Under-Performing Customer Acquisition Programs
May 10, 2007

• Sponsored by: The Kern Organization • Duration: One hour Speakers: Russell Kern, CEO and founder, The Kern Organization; Denny Hatch, contributing editor, Target Marketing How many times have you launched a new direct marketing campaign and instead of ringing telephones, you are paralyzed by the stunning silence of lost lead opportunities? ”Fix it fast or fail” is the mantra you keep hearing from your sales force, and your boss. If you want to eliminate the threat of this disaster -- now and forever -- then the revival strategies presented in this session are your lifeline. Strategies covered:

B-to-B Insights: Attain Success in an Integrated World
April 1, 2007

Most marketers can recite the official chief marketing officer (CMO) mantra: “Integrate all campaigns! Speak with one voice! Deliver a brand-consistent message across all channels!” This mantra is accompanied by visions of steadily growing awareness, preference for a company’s brand, along with ever increasing shareholder value. Where mantra becomes shibboleth—for B-to-B and B-to-C marketers alike—is in its application to direct marketing. That’s because marketing organizations often don’t appreciate the subtle tactical differences between brand-building and response generation. Earnestly supporting the vision of the CMO, they routinely send their agencies on missions to create work that is fatally flawed. Not the result you had

B-to-B Insights: A Perfect ‘10’
February 1, 2007

You can’t tell from my picture, but I’m a tall person. And while I don’t play it as well as I used to, I’m fascinated by the game of basketball—and have been ever since I was small. Growing up in southern California, being a student of basketball meant studying John Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach whose teams once won 88 games in a row and captured 10 NCAA championships, seven of them in succession. Whenever “March madness” approaches, as it does now, I think of the Wizard of Westwood. Wooden told me he hates that nickname because his success had nothing to do with

B-to-B Insights: Hit the Hot Buttons
December 1, 2006

Marketers today are doing as much demand generation and lead nurturing activity as possible via e-mail and online channels. And who can blame you? After all, online is much sexier than “snail mail,” and much less expensive. But despite its old school persona, postal mail offers benefits that simply aren’t available online. Not only can it deliver different prospects from those generated electronically, but it also provides you with the space and creative flexibility to initiate—or nurture—the brand experience. And if you get your strategy right, the lead quality couldn’t be higher. All of which means that, sooner or later, you’re going postal. So you’d

40 Key Emotional Drivers
December 1, 2006

B-to-B prospects respond to the same key emotion drivers consumers do. In “Mail Order Strategy” (Hoke Communications, 1956), Victor Schwab compiled the following 40 key emotional drivers. People want to gain: Health Popularity Praise from others Pride of accomplishment Self-confidence Time Improved appearance Comfort Advancement: social-business Money Security in old age Leisure Increased enjoyment Personal prestige They want to save: Time Discomfort Risks Money Worry Embarrassment Work Doubts They want to be: Good parents Creative Efficient Recognized authorities Up-to-date Gregarious “First” in things Sociable, hospitable Proud of their possessions Influential over others They want to do: Express their personalities Satisfy their curiosity Appreciate beauty Win others’ affection Resist domination by others Emulate the admirable Acquire or collect things Improve themselves generally

B-to-B Insights: Powerful Prose
October 3, 2006

13 proven strategies to create high-performing copy. Whether you’re using online or offline media channels to drive your direct marketing, copy significantly impacts your results. Direct is about getting prospects to read your message and respond right now. While you strive to build and support your brand using high-impact formats and images, you also must deliver copy that touches the heart and head of your prospects. Here’s a checklist of 13 essential points to help you create high-performance copy. Be specific. Words are the writer’s paintbrush. Your words should paint a picture that is vivid in detail. Instead of “How many times are

B-to-B Insights: Success Is in the Numbers
October 1, 2006

Remember story problems, such as two trains heading toward one another? The problems looked so innocent and easy but usually had some tricky twist. Well, if you attempt to solve my story problem, it could mean the difference between a campaign that sizzles and one that fizzles. Come with me through the story of sharp marketer Margie and her manager Sue. Using marketing math fundamentals as touchstones, let’s see how they tackle their current marketing mayhem and ultimately succeed based on a sound, tried-and-true solution. Sue and Margie’s Dilemma Manager Sue comes down the hall to speak to her demand generation employee—marketer Margie. “Margie, we’re not going