Lois Boyle

For the fourth straight year, gift cards were expected to be the top gift purchase this holiday season, with 69 percent of consumers planning to buy them, according to the Deloitte & Touche 2007 Annual Holiday Survey.

No, you didn’t accidentally open a science journal, and no, this isn’t an article about Einstein’s theory of relativity. Instead, it’s an explanation of why so many direct mail efforts simply do not work. They lack relativity, the ability to relate to their audience, or for that matter, offer any relevance at all. This theory isn’t about the continuum of space and time but about cause and effect. Simply, when marketing to a target audience, if you deliver a relevant message in a relevant format in a relevant presentation, your chances of achieving a desired response will grow exponentially. This all sounds simple, right? Then

By Lois Boyle As consumers, many of us appreciate the efficiency and "quick read" that a postcard provides. As marketers, we appreciate the cost-effectiveness of a postcard, especially when it works! The postcard format, unfortunately, must work especially hard to compete with its sister formats, the more elaborate solo mailings and catalogs. You literally have seconds to grab a recipient's attention and explain your offer—and that's no easy task with the limited space a postcard provides. So, how can you create a postcard that will stand out in the mail and motivate customers to respond? To answer this question, ask yourself the following

By Tracy A. Gill When it comes to direct mail design, all generations were not created equal. Today's youngsters, Generation Y, have outpaced the baby boomer generation in terms of size, and already have shown themselves to be prolific spenders, but their inclination toward all things Internet is a barrier to making them a huge direct mail market. The demographically desirable, educated and wealthy Generation X also has yet to grow its direct mail legs, and its smaller size means larger challenges for mailers looking to capitalize on the spending power it yields. As they age, the baby boomer and mature generations are

By Hallie Mummert Master of Multichannel Marketing If Richard Thalheimer was a different kind of person, he might be inclined to stick out his tongue at the big-box electronics and department stores that carry his company's line of product designs. After all, it was only a decade ago that these retail giants were copying The Sharper Image's merchandise mix of outside brands as well as its store layouts, diluting the strength of the company's message and stealing market share. But the same entrepreneurial spirit that drove Chairman and CEO Thalheimer to launch the company in 1977

Make It Difficult For Your Customers to Say No By Lois Boyle What is good, better, best? It's a selling technique that merchandisers have used for decades, most notably Sears, Roebuck and Co. Correctly presented, it gives customers the ability to purchase the item that most closely fits their needs and their budget. When well executed, it enables marketers to upsell and increase the average order size. For example, imagine three stereos all providing a quality sound system. Two of them have the added feature of loading up to 12 CDs at a time, but one is clearly the market leader with

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