Grant Johnson

While our human nature likes to be entertained, are we losing sight of the core reason most advertising and marketing is created? To sell more of our products and/or services. Research suggests that 50 percent of people tune into the Super Bowl just to watch the ads, and recent research by Communicus, a Tucson, Ariz.-based research firm, divulged that 80% of Super Bowl ads don't increase sales. Even worse, almost 60 percent of the ads the firm tested didn't even increase purchase intent, but they do entertain

Every direct marketing entrepreneur, manager, copywriter and consultant—even before the days of Claude Hopkins, J.K. Lasser, John Caples and Max Sackheim—had their own rules, "secrets" or "discovered truths." Dick Benson tested, modified and codified those rules that applied specifically to direct mail, especially in publishing, making them his own, and added others that came out of his client work and newsletter business. So, how do these hold up today?

What's been at the heart of direct mail's success over the years? Measurability and testability. The primary reason direct mail is, and has been, one of the most successful forms of marketing is our ability to test and measure everything from envelopes, postcards and messages.

Asking direct mailers about whether or not they use social media in their marketing strategy is a bit like asking anyone in their 30s, 40s or 50s if they've seen the movie The Social Network. "I've heard it's good, but haven't gotten around to it." So, are many direct mailers taking advantage of this popular, yet unproven form of communication?

Rather than trot out his own campaigns, Grant Johnson, creative director and founder of Johnson Direct, presented many third-party examples, both good and bad, of marketing—direct mail, brand advertising in magazines, email copy, etc.—that related to his topic: "Lucky 13: Proven Tips and Tricks for Making Your Copy More Measurable in All Media."

The direct mail test is making a comeback in 2010. After the May DirectMarketingIQ webinar, Direct Mail Testing in 2010 - Copy, Offer, Lists, Formats, Personalization and More, two prominent direct marketers—Grant Johnson, founder and president of Johnson Direct in Milwaukee, and Steve Cuno, founder and chairman of RESPONSE Agency in Salt Lake City—took on questions that you might have yourself before testing your next campaign.

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