The Kern Organization

B-to-B Insight: More Summer Reading
August 1, 2006

It was with great joy that my wife, Lynne, and I recently moved our eldest daughter, Michelle, to New York City to start her new career in advertising. As soon as she graduated from the University of Southern California with a double degree in Communications and Spanish in May, she hit the streets of Manhattan and landed her first “real” job in Hispanic marketing. She has always had a great deal of passion for the Spanish language and the cultures that accompany it. Michelle is eager to learn her new craft in advertising and direct marketing. However, as I look at this young upstart—through the

25 Advanced Direct Marketing Strategies That Lift Marketing ROI Up To 200%
June 8, 2006

This 60-minute webinar shares successful copy and design techniques; data segmentation and modeling; a demand-generation method that keeps leads flowing; and many more ideas that can improve your lead quality and drive more sales by transforming your B2C. To view this Webinar, click here.

B-to-B Insights: Test Your Way to Success
June 1, 2006

As direct specialists, we are a lucky group of marketers. Unlike the bulk of our brand-building brethren, we actually can measure what works and what doesn’t. Our ability to do this, however, is a mixed blessing. For, as frequently as it makes us feel like heroes, it also makes us feel like crawling under the desk. Working with B-to-B and B-to-C direct marketers both large and small for 25 years, it has become increasingly clear that B-to-B marketers aren’t doing anywhere near enough testing. The B-to-B Conundrum B-to-B marketers are in a quandary: Should they adhere to the traditional guidelines of testing, or yield to their emotional

Four Ways to Measure B-to-B Marketing Performance
May 17, 2006

Accountability is essential to the success of any business. Fortunately, direct marketers have the advantage of being able to measure how well their marketing programs are performing and if their sales efforts are reaping results. To get a good sense of how well your B-to-B direct marketing efforts are performing, Russell Kern, president of Woodland Hills, Calif.-based direct marketing agency The Kern Organization, suggests you look at the following four metrics. 1. Expense to revenue (E/R). “This is an accurate measure of marketing investment return,” says Kern. “This is important because it tells you if your investment actually generated revenue. … The higher the expense

B-to-B Insights Powerful Prose, Part 2
April 1, 2006

By Russell Kern In my B-to-B Insights column in the April issue of Target Marketing, I presented a baker's dozen of copywriting tips that can be leveraged to create response-generating direct marketing campaigns. But I was just getting warmed up, so here are six more prose pointers you could apply to your creative efforts for stronger results. 1. Make your headlines and subheads so compelling, readers will want to act now. People don't read direct mail, or even e-mail, in a linear fashion. Their eyes jump around, looking for information that helps them understand the value and benefit of investing more time in

B-to-B Insights Powerful Prose
April 1, 2006

By Russell Kern 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

Powerful Prose
April 1, 2006

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 you going to fix your accounting software

Put Brand in Its Place
February 1, 2006

Direct campaigns that have been designed with brand policy edicts in mind—without the proper application of direct marketing fundamentals—consistently cause a direct communication to look great but under-perform and deliver less than acceptable ROI. For example, an insurance client selling to small businesses is introducing a new brand. The brand is designed to be positive, fun, engaging. These all are great attributes for advertising. However, when using direct channels to get small business owners to pick up the phone and discuss proper coverage, historical evidence shows that fear, worry, uncertainty, discomfort and potential financial loss are what drive prospects to action. So the battle begins

A Letter to Santa
December 1, 2005

Eight wishes for B-to-B marketers this holiday season By Russell Kern Dear Santa, I'm leaving a wish list next to the cookies and milk. It's from myself and the dozens of B-to-B marketers I've worked with over the last 20 years. I know it's a lot to ask, but your distribution methods from the North Pole are so perfect! Wish #1: A clearer direction and understanding of the mission of direct marketing. Santa, all too often, we get vague direction from B-to-B marketers. They hand the direct marketing team a copy of the advertising or general campaign objectives, which are too

Direct Mail Camouflage
October 1, 2005

The power of direct mail, curiosity and sneak attacks to win new customers By Russell Kern This year, my travels took me to the wilds of Africa, as well as to the red-hot Red Light District of Amsterdam. During my travels, I saw both human and animal behaviors (of the natural kind) that revealed important similarities and lessons for direct mail marketers, both B-to-B and B-to-C. Ultimately, direct marketers are psychologists. Our job is to stimulate the mind, arouse curiosity, and deliver information that persuades and eventually elicits a positive action—a response, an order, a new customer. The Masai warriors of Africa