December 2007 Issue


A New Balance

Direct marketers are becoming more proficient in vital Web strategies like search, yet they increasingly find themselves butting heads with their own affiliates who already have staked out valuable digital turf. Is it worth playing nice with affiliates? If so, how can marketers maintain healthy doses of affiliate-generated sales while maximizing incremental revenue and avoiding cannibalization of search campaigns? Such questions demand answers. The competitive search environment is leading many marketers to prefer Web affiliates that send incremental visitors—those resulting in sales or leads that otherwise may not occur as a result of marketers’ own efforts. Armed with affordable, easy-to-use Web marketing analytics packages,

B-to-B Insights: How to Succeed in Sales Letters

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,

Brand Matters: Where Are Your Brand Manners?

Your mother was right. Manners really are important. Please and thank you, common courtesy and civility—where have they gone? I bring this up as a consumer being treated less than what I would call “pleasantly” by many companies. I think you can relate. Like you, I am over-e-mailed, underappreciated, hassled and bombarded by irrelevant messages. My time is not of marketers’ concern. My past, present and future purchasing power are ignored. My money is taken without gratitude, often by people talking on the phone to a noncustomer. My stress level is increased by too many choices because companies are too lazy to edit their product

E-commerce Link: Did You Hear That?

Would you admit to having seen the movie “Gigli”? I asked that question of more than 5,000 people during my book tour for “Waiting For Your Cat To Bark?” but I can count the number of hands that went up with my fingers. Before “Gigli” was released, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were superstars. Every magazine cover seemed to feature their Hollywood romance. They were a movie marketer’s dream. They had the winning formula. Then, the movie hit the theaters. Within hours of the first showing, word of mouth spread via cell phone, IM and online reviews. When it opened on the West coast, word got

Editor’s Notes: Game On

Tongues were wagging at DMA07 in October, following Direct Marketing Association (DMA) President and CEO John A. Greco, Jr.’s announcement of the organization’s new Commitment to Consumer Choice (CCC) program. The program also could be referred to as “Consumers Compel Competition.” After all, steps that restrict a company’s ability to communicate marketing offers directly to consumers pretty much require that company to up its game on other levels to avoid a falloff in revenues. But as the DMA knows, marketers don’t have much of an alternative. Fifteen states proposed state do-not-mail registries or other limitations on direct mail in 2007, a 375 percent increase over

Famous Last Words: He Listens With His Mouth …

I am a news junkie. My take on cable and network news coverage: • Dullest newscaster: Wolf Blitzer • Best newscaster: Mika Brzezinski • Most miscast newscaster: Katie Couric • Best interviewer: Tim Russert • Worst interviewer: Chris Matthews • Most fascinating: Chris Matthews • Most irritating: Chris Matthews The Chris Matthews Enigma Chris Matthews, star of “Hardball” (MSNBC, weeknights) and “The Chris Matthews Show” (NBC, weekends), may be the smartest guy on television. He is an expert on history and politics (he was top dog on the staff of legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill for a number of years), knows everybody in Washington, and can drop historical nuggets into a conversation

Heart & Soul

Faced with increasing opt-outs and declining response rates, it can be easy for direct marketing professionals to lose heart. But not the team at Los Angeles-based Live Nation, a promoter of live concerts, music venues and festivals, owner of the House of Blues brand and operator of the Web’s largest concert search engine. Listening to the company’s Vice President of Direct Marketing Bob Frady speak about marketing activities, you get the distinct impression that “heart” drives everything Live Nation does. “We’re not just spreadsheet jockeys; we love our product and are excited about what we sell,” says Frady. “We try to transfer our

Market Focus: Hospital Administrators: Reach the Wellness Pros

Is your marketing campaign in need of a healthy dose of responsive prospects? Targeting hospital and health care administrators, with their impressive corporate budgets and high personal incomes, may be just the elixir. Hospital administrators and executives plan, direct, coordinate and supervise health care delivery. This market breaks down into two groups: Generalists manage (or help manage) entire facilities or health care systems. Specialists are in charge of specific clinical departments or services, such as nursing care, surgery, information technology, medical records or supply chain management. These professionals often are responsible for dozens—even hundreds—of employees and millions of dollars’ worth of facilities and equipment,

Nuts & Bolts: Case Study

Challenge: Reach the pre-mover market Solution: Place offers in a mover’s guide distributed by realtors Results: A 42 percent increase in conversions over SEM and direct mail efforts For many, moving is a process fraught with time-consuming chores, seemingly endless packing, unpacking, organizing and canceling and setting up utilities. For customers working to get settled so they can move on to more interesting tasks, such as finding the best running trail or deep dish pizza in their new town, services that simplify the moving process are often well-received. The challenge for marketers is, “How do you determine who is moving and when?” According to Greg Presson, CEO of

Nuts & Bolts: Database

Building a database is easy; however, making money with a database is challenging, according to Arthur Middleton Hughes, vice president and solutions architect for KnowledgeBase Marketing. At the DMA07 Conference & Exhibition held in Chicago this past October, Hughes identified five common mistakes that cause databases to fail. 1. Diving in without a marketing strategy. Hughes says developing a successful marketing strategy is a process that includes four steps: 1) Collect data on your customer’s purchases, demographics and lifestyle; 2) build a database that permits ad-hoc analysis; 3) construct a lifetime value table; and 4) determine what motivates your customers. When creating a database, marketers should

Nuts & Bolts: Fast Facts

With the buzz about Web 2.0 technologies and interactive marketing as the next new wave, marketers are asking, “What do the numbers say?” In a recent issue of its Marketing Sector Deal Notes, PetskyPrunier LLC notes that merger and acquisition activity in the marketing technology industry increased exponentially in the first half of 2007. According to the report, one reason for this year’s high level of consolidation is “activity within the interactive segment reached a pinnacle, trimming the significant gap between interactive marketing spend and online media consumption.” Deal Notes reported about 10 percent of the total marketing spend in the first half of 2007

The Redemption Sweet Spot

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