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STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

Direct Mail Strategy & Execution

Topics
Strategic Applications for Direct Mail Strategic Planning

Strategy Considerations
Creative Execution

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When to use Direct Mail as a strategy


To produce an immediate and identifiable order or inquiry To generate leads for field sales follow-up To sell directly to prospects without using dealers or retailers To reach a target audience other media cannot cost-effectively reach When a personal communication is desired When precise timing or frequency of contact is essential When a highly controlled distribution is required To communicate detailed product information To build and refine mailing lists

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When to use Direct Mail as a strategy


To follow-up on inquiries from other channels (Trade Shows, Web, promotions) To build long-term customer relationships from short-term sales To test product potential, price, packaging To determine prospect profiles When you need to show measurable ROI on your marketing spend

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Direct Mail Planning

Plan your work, and work your plan

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Why write a Direct Mail Plan?

Document your strategic framework Involves key functional groups in the total strategy Identify measures for success Brings focus to messaging and creative execution

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Components of the Direct Mail Plan

Introduction Product/Service Assessment Market Potential Marketing Environment Strategy Implementation Plan

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Introduction

Who requested the plan? Who were the authors? What is the purpose for the plan? Summary of data for the plan What desired data was not available?

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Product/Service Assessment

Physical characteristics Scientific or technical aspects Emotional aspects Features-Advantages-Benefits Positioning: current mindset/perceptions to overcome

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Product Assessment: example

Describe a pencil

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Product/Service Assessment

Physical description
Its yellow Theres black lead inside a wooden tube Theres a point on one end Theres an eraser on the other end

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Product/Service Assessment

Technical description
What kind of wood is used How is the lead made? Country of origin of the rubber eraser Manufacturing process Types of pencils offered by the manufacturer

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Product/Service Assessment

Scientific description
How many times can it be sharpened? How many words per single pencil? How much longer will it perform vs. competition?

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Product/Service Assessment

Emotional description
Security of being able to erase mistakes Peace of mind knowing it wont leak or smear Impress friends with your practicality, frugality

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Product/Service Assessment

Ultimate benefits
Fame for writing a screen play Riches for writing a brilliant business plan Romance for writing a touching love sonnet

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Positioning an overview

Defined: Positioning is not what you do to a product. Its what you do to the mind of the prospect. You position the product in the mind of the prospect.
Seven-Up: the uncola Avis is #2 in car rentals: We try harder

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Positioning an overview

Todays overcrowded marketplace


40,000 products in a supermarket 52 versions of Crest toothpaste Consumers get an average 3,000 messages a day Over 20 million telemarketing calls daily Average 150 pieces of mail per month

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Positioning an overview

How do you take a position owned by your competitor?


YOU DONT!

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Positioning an overview

Positioning in a nutshell:
Reposition competitor by focusing on a category benefit not owned by them Create a new category in the marketplace Be first to get into the prospects mind with a category position

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Market Potential

Sizing the universe Customer/Prospect profile Demographic/Psychographic data Results of previous research or marketing efforts Changes in product, price or positioning needed to appeal to other markets

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Marketing Environment

Competitive situation analysis Competitive media use and messaging Media Options integration opportunities Media cost, timing and testing factors SWOT

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Marketing Environment
SWOT Analysis Model

Review your core competencies and differentiators Strengths, Weaknesses: internal environment (operations, technology, product innovation, customer service, etc.) Opportunities, Threats: external environment (economy, government regulations, industry trends, technology, etc.)

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Marketing Environment
SWOT Analysis Model

External Assessment: Who are our key customers, competitors, suppliers and other external stakeholders? What are their driving concerns? What opportunities/threats do these driving concerns pose?
Internal Assessment in light of external findings: What are the critical cross-functional processes in the organization? For each process, what are the strengths/ weaknesses?
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Strategy
Objectives: Strategic, Financial, Marketing Strategic options/alternatives & criteria for selecting them Recommended priorities for strategy and tactics

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Strategy
Objective Setting Guidelines
Purpose: Characteristics:

To define the intent, the means and the expected results of a strategy or initiative

Specific Quantifiable Time bound Consistent with Company strategy Business performanceoriented Drives strategic decisions

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Strategy
Objective Setting Guidelines
Establishing Specifics: Quantitative Measures:

What sales performance have we achieved historically? What is possible to achieve? What are the corporate expectations?

Share of market/wallet New sales revenue Upsell/Cross-sell revenue Retention rates/revenue Profitability (ROI; marketing cost of sale)

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Implementation Plan
Campaign outline (tactics that support objectives) List: segmentation and target audience Creative concept and offer Budget Timeline Metrics

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Review: Components of the DM Plan


Introduction Product Assessment Market Potential Marketing Environment Strategy Implementation Plan

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Strategy Considerations
Integrated Direct Marketing Analysis Tools Database Marketing (RFM & predictive modeling) Testing Wundermans Commandments

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Wundermans Commandments
The consumer, not the product must be the hero Communicate with each customer/prospect as an audience of one Answer the question Why should I? Create relationships Suspects are not prospects Know and invest in each customers lifetime value Encourage interactive dialogues Share of loyal customer, not market share, creates profits

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Three pillars of Direct Mail strategy

The offer The list The creative execution

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Last word on strategy: Execution

A mediocre strategy with great execution always beats a great strategy with mediocre execution!

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What you need to know about creative


Direct Mail Formats

Post Cards Advantages: Cost effective Gets attention without opening an envelope Effective traffic builder Disadvantages: Limited space Not a sales driving device Junk Mail association

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What you need to know about creative


Direct Mail Formats

Self Mailers Advantages: Relatively inexpensive More profitable than envelope packages Effective for promoting seminars/publishing offers Disadvantages: Lower response than envelope packages Junk Mail association

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What you need to know about creative


Direct Mail Formats

Classic Package (letter, brochure, reply card, envelope, lift note) Advantages: More personal More selling space Higher involvement & response Disadvantages: More expensive More complex more ways to go wrong

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Envelopes

The job of the envelope is to get opened not to sell

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Envelopes
How consumers look at an envelope First, they look at their name Second, they read teaser copy Third, they look at the return address Forth, they look at the postage Last, they look at the back

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Envelopes
Tips for getting your envelope opened

Get the name right Use the name in more than one place Use high-impact, provocative teaser copy Highlight the offer Make your logo/corporate identity visible Use a stamp vs. metered or indicia Consider hand addressing Add color Use Fed Ex or Western Union Faux Fed Ex Consider dimensional package
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The letter

The job of the letter is to SELL

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The letter
Hot spots on the letter

The Johnson Box/headline The signature The P.S. The first sentence Sub headlines Hand written points Bullet points A second color

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The letter
Tips for increasing involvement and response Start with the prospect, not the product Make the opening line short and compelling Tell a story Fire your biggest shot first benefits Make it look like a letter, use typewriter font Focus on readability Use a Johnson Box or headline teaser Write to one person Personalize the letter and message Sell with emotional appeals Tell the reader what to do; ask for the offer Use a P.S.
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The brochure

The job of the brochure is to inform. It provides the answer to the question, Why should I?

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The brochure
Techniques for higher impact Use numbers in headlines to add credibility Put captions under photos Use pictures of people to add a human touch Use charts to convey detailed information Include a Q & A section Include competitive comparisons Use testimonials or product reviews Use a quiz or test to involve the reader Always link product features to customer benefits Make it easy to understand at a glance Include a call to action and 800 number
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The order form The order form must be able to stand alone, must be easy to use, and must contain all of these elements:
The offer The terms/payment options The response options The benefits of what youre selling The guarantee

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The order form


Techniques to increase response Use the customers voice Evoke good feelings about using the product Provide several ordering options Overcome skepticism with solid guarantee Put in a photo of the offer Personalize the order form/card Use the word free Drive greater involvement with: Yes/No/Maybe check off box Stickers Brief questionnaire
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The offer

The offer represents the total selling proposition that attracts attention, builds interest and motivates action

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The offer
Tips for success Make it relevant to your audience and product benefit Offer something they cant get anywhere else Dont sell the premium, sell the offer Give your customers the best deal Assign a dollar amount to the offer Put a deadline on the offer Offer a gift with inquiry, trial, order Offer price discounts on product bundles Offer information: research, idea kits, etc. Offer trade-in discount or rebate Offer a personalized gift/mystery gift
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Presenter
John G. Olson
Principal, clarion|creative

Past President, Midwest Direct Marketing Association


B2B Marketing Consultant Copywriter & Content Marketer Blog: marketingawesomeness.wordpress.com Twitter: @John_G_Olson Email: john.olson7@comcast.net
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