Target Marketing April 2009


Best-in-Class Marketers Focus on Multiple Lead-Nurturing Campaigns

If direct marketers want to weather the current economic downturn, they need to create multiple, relevant lead-nurturing campaigns. According to a November 2008 report from Aberdeen Group, only 16 percent of the total leads deemed as “sales opportunities” close, leaving marketers to handle the remaining 84 percent of qualified leads; the difference between a best-in-class company and an average company is how those leads are nurtured.

Does Your List Measure Up?

As direct marketers, you know “the devil is in the details.” Being able to drill down on results is important to determine future strategies. Then you can fine-tune your results, target better and reap the rewards.

Dumb It Down!

People love talking about themselves. Many years ago, I had a client who mailed consumer surveys, which were happily filled out and returned by the zillions. All kinds of questions were asked: on toothpaste, leisure activities, travel, vehicle ownership, hobbies and interests, auto insurance, etc. Much of the information the responders revealed was highly confidential, especially in the area of health.

Rational vs. Emotional

There are two schools of thought concerning marketing to business and technical buyers.The first school says, “Copy should be as short as possible, direct and to the point. Bulleted lists are better than sentences and paragraphs. Don’t do any selling. Just give business buyers the facts, data and specifications they need to make intelligent decisions about buying your product. No need to state the benefits. They already know they need the product and why. You just have to convince them your brand is superior to other products you compete against and your product satisfies their applications’ requirements.”

Subscribing to Hearst's E-mail Philosophy

So House Beautiful and Popular Mechanics don’t have much in common other than their parent company, Hearst Magazines of New York, right? Well, no. As it turns out, readers of both magazines—as well as other Hearst titles, including Country Living and Good Housekeeping—are interested in being environmentally conscious if it’s affordable. So Hearst targeted each magazine’s subscribers in a six-part “Earth Month” e-mail campaign. Recipients responded by heading to Hearst’s in droves. There, House Beautiful readers could learn how to save on organic food while Popular Mechanics subscribers could research the “10 Most Fuel-Efficient 2008 Vehicles.” Meanwhile, the print magazine subscribers were helping drive traffic on the “green Web site for regular people” by clicking through and accounting for 25 percent of’s April 2008 traffic.

These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

Shoes can be a consumer tax deduction, right? OK, maybe not. But has other contingency plans for the endurance run through this beleaguered economy.

Think Sideways

It’s time to get out. Out of your cubicle. Out of your home office. Out of your company’s groupthink. Out of your industry’s bigger groupthink. Just get out. It’s time to get sideways. You’ll be amazed at what a little outside thinking can do to rattle your inside perspectives.

Update Your Virtual Mullet

Tom Chu and Dominic Leung, owners of Luster Forever, found themselves in need of an extreme search engine optimization content strategy makeover. The partners launched their jewelry Web site in July 2008. Chu, previous owner of another successful site,, created the design. Leung wrote the initial copy. They worked with a consultant to nail down the target market—fashion-forward women ages 18-35. The partners even traveled to China and hand-picked hard-to-find pieces.

USPS in a Pickle Again

Two years after headline-making postal reform, here we go again. The U.S. Postal Service witnessed a headline-making drop of 9.5 billion mail pieces in fiscal year 2008, which contributed to a net loss of $2.8 billion. But having to pay $5.6 billion to prefund its retiree health benefit fund was the major hit that made the USPS management’s aggressive cuts of $2 billion from annual operating costs practically disappear into thin air. And with no relief in sight, Postmaster General John Potter has stated the organization is on track to post a revenue shortfall of $5 billion in fiscal year 2009.

Your Data Holds the Key

It’s a pretty simple formula: Drive customers from high-cost channels like call centers into a low-cost channel like your Web site and save money. You likely will lower the cost to serve, give customers what they want and create a winning scenario for everyone. One problem—that’s generally how it works in a textbook but not in the real world.