Targeted, Relevant, Timely: Direct Marketing Success Is About Doing It Right

I’ve been asked just about every question related to using the mail stream better, smarter and with a greater degree of success. I always lean back on three reactions a direct marketer must trigger, simply to gain opportunities: An action of “Yes, I’ll buy” or “I’m interested in more” or “Not now, but maybe later”… each are about hitting the key emotions to move the mail recipient to act. Yes, action! A.C.T.I.O.N… just like the cheer often witnessed at a sporting event, but for the DM’ers of the world… it’s bliss.

DM euphoria can be achieved by putting timely efforts into a succinct package that compels the recipient to act. So, you might ask yourself, “How can I ensure that I’m covering these elements correctly?” Thanks for asking, I’ll do my best to help you understand its importance and provide benchmarks to set your mind at ease. For starters, pay attention to the things that matter; meaning, those elements you can measure. Doing this ensures you never undermine your hunt for greater ROI.

I usually give a few descriptions of good DM. Let me begin with the one we can all relate to. Okay – you accomplish your morning rituals, shower, brush your teeth, use the restroom, and as you complete this last task you are concerned you won’t have enough bathroom tissue (“TP”, in my house) to satisfy your personal hygiene requirements.

Get my drift? Move ahead a few hours. You make the trip to the mailbox (a daily ritual that is as sacred as, well, apple-pie and Chevrolet) and low and behold there is a coupon for a free roll of TP when another of same value is purchased. Now, you happen to be a non-brand loyal who is a fairly conscience shopper and you are going to the grocery to acquire this toiletry along with some other, hmm, less important items.

The previous example is one every household can understand; whether we loathe the direct marketer or are amazed of “how did they do that?” the business of direct marketing greatly influences our buying patterns and is becoming increasingly refined and more capable of “wowing” the consumer and business mindset.

There are over 100 ways to qualify, mend or create direct marketing segmentation. Each of them extends worthy time and energy in pursuit of the DM holy land: ROI that rocks. Let’s look at some key methods:

o Targeted DM. It’s making sure the list of folks with whom you are communicating is a properly profiled audience. Not an easy feat, but obtainable through either painstaking soul searching or simple business intelligence. We should all know who our best prospects are but sometimes we don’t. There are many ways to validate, but be sure to test all theories and never stop second-guessing yourself.

Dig, dig and dig deeper to ensure that your audience is either profiled to match your existing house file or you have studied your direct competition enough and realize your selling horse products to a list of horse owners will work. Hint: Think about targeting down to the minutia. How about, age of the horse, will that help you? I Bet it will. Or, maybe household income of the owner, or, zip codes where you’re having more success than others will enhance results.

o Relevant DM. It’s knowing when the last piece of “TP” is coming off the roll. How do we know such details? Well, my example is extreme, but really not too. For example, now that POS (point of sale) data is captured at the grocery store, marketers can begin to forecast consumption of product based on the last time of purchase, time before that, and where you purchased the unit. Thus, giving the marketers a fairly good idea of when you’ll be looking to acquire more.

On the other hand, relevant DM’ers know that the household of sedan vehicles might be interested in an SUV or minivan. Why? Because our households are ever changing; everyday, each of the 220 million US consumers changes… they get rich, they get poor, they expand and they contract. And as a result, they need to buy new things and that… is… relevant.

How do we capitalize on relevance in the household to motivate a purchase for our product or service? We test hypothesis of relevance based on demographic and psychographic shifting. We look for Hotline information- not necessarily from data but from propensity or profiling.

o Timely DM. It’s being instinctual about the art. Now, how can I get timely to figure into a decision? Timely is sometimes the hardest thing to know. How can we predict the trends of a household? Much easier when we know the baby is coming and they’ve registered with everyone and everywhere, giving us delivery dates and sex details.

Timely knows that those of a multi-family dwelling unit, who earn high incomes, could or should be able to afford a house and a mortgage. So, it makes sense that new home solicitation targeted to the aforementioned market is timely. And given the right, compelling offer they will ACT.

Direct Marketing Success is about capturing the rhythm of interest by instinct & skill. It’s the nose of the DM expert or CMO who understand that he or she must use the senses of observation combined with any and all analytical information that can be added to the formula.

Marketing Tips and Secrets – Part 2

So I assume that most of you have read part one of this article and have all the techniques mastered. I am guessing they have helped you increase your sales tremendously. From here we are going to go over some of the details.

1. If you remember in the first article, I told you to always place your product into the hands of the potential consumer. But what if you have more than one product. Let’s say you have three separate products. Always start with your mid-priced item. If this person buys this item then move on to the higher priced item. If not then try the lower priced item.

2. You are going to get four types of people. The Buyers, The No’s, The lookers, and The hagglers. Never show the lookers more than two items. If they are not interested just move on. Do not get haggled; remember you are offering a great deal already. If they are not convinced of this, they aren’t buying.

3. Don’t scare people. Learn how to present your pitch in a friendly inviting tone. Be funny if you want to. Just don’t be offensive. Try to dress nice and chew gum when possible. No one likes talking to someone with bad breath.

4. To spark interest in your product Keep a display model out of the case so you can show it. For Example I was once selling calculators than unfolded with the push of a button. I would put it in someone’s hands and watch their amazement as it opened.

5. I want to leave you with a personal people grabber I use. Ask, “Have you got one yet” people will normally say, “what” and now you have a catcher ready to receive your pitch.

This is a short article; however combined with article one you will be able to find tune your marketing skills. Never give up, if you follow these methods you are guaranteed to succeed.

The First Rule of Marketing – And How You Trigger the Right Parts of the Customer’s Brain

Understanding how a mechanism works is often an essential key to make that mechanism behave in a specific way. The same goes for marketing. If you want your marketing initiatives to make an impact, your marketing messages must trigger exactly the right mechanisms in the mind of the recipient. One way of achieving this goal could be the simple “trial and error” approach, testing what works (while accepting the risk of spending a lot of money on something that might have the opposite effect), before you eventually stumble upon a method that works. Another approach could be to gain knowledge about how the human mind works – and use this knowledge to direct your messages directly at the right triggers.

One of the key differences between humans and other animals, generally speaking, is the ability to act based on rational thoughts, rather than mostly being controlled by instinct, apparent feelings and urges. If we meet an attractive representative of the opposite sex walking down Main Street, we control our urges, show respect and merely send a longing glance. A dog would have gone directly into contact, sniffing and humping.

To fully understand how the human brain works a brief introduction into anatomy is required. It is difficult to determine precisely when the brain appeared in evolution, but it is certainly not a new invention – in fact most scientists agree that it took its origins around 450 million years ago, before any animals lived on land. Our brain has evolved ever since and today it is a magnificent collection of approximately 20 billion neocortical nerve cell, which have a combined weight of 1400 grams – an impressing piece of machinery, superior to even the most complicated computer. The brain basically consists of three parts, which have not changed much, neither in form nor by function, since they were individually developed. Simplified it can be said that the construction of the brain is similar to the history of an old company, which has started out with a core department and then, as time went by, two other departments have been added. The evolutionary development of this ‘company’ has not been reviewed by a business developer – so layer upon layer have simply been added to the brain, without ever reviewing the functions of the previous ones. The newest addition is the cerebrum which handles the rational and philosophical thoughts – from religious beliefs to reflections upon the surrounding world, etc. The cerebrum is basically what differ humans from other animals – acting thoughtfully rather than on impulses (or at least; so we believe). The second-youngest part of the brain is the diencephalon, which (among other things) controls motor skills and learning – if you put your hand into the fire, you will burn your hand and you will likely have learned not to repeat the experience! The diencephalon also controls grief and happiness. The inner and oldest part of the brain is often referred to as the “reptilian brain” (basal ganglia), which handle the simplest of functions – focusing on you! You and your survival are the only topics of interest for this part of the brain. Contrary to what you might think; the reptilian brain actually controls most of how humans act. The two other parts tell the reptilian brain what they know and feel, but in many cases the reptilian brain controls the end decision – and if it does not sufficiently value the input from the other parts, it simply vetoes and makes the decision on its own. Brain scans show that the reptilian brain makes decisions in two milliseconds and makes you react rapidly to threads – while the rational parts would first need a visual impression, recognize the object, and then decide whether to flee or stay. The latter part of the process alone takes a minimum of 500 milliseconds – and that is a long time when faced with immediate threats (i.e. if a renegade truck is coming right towards you at a high speed).

The first rule of marketing!
As mentioned above, the reptilian brain is the high judge of decision making and it is only concerned with you. So if a salesman wants to communicate with the reptilian brain while selling trucks, it might not be successful to say “I think this truck is the best on the market” – as this part of the customer’s brain simply does not care what you think. Thus it would likely be more successful to say “YOU will find this truck absolutely suiting to YOUR needs”. Most salesmen enjoys talking about their product, but successful salesmen know that the customers basically does not care about anything else than themselves – so the trick is not talking about your product, but getting the customer to talk about himself. Furthermore, the trick to really excite the customer is to serve the arguments on a silver platter – as the reptilian brain screams: “What’s in it for ME?!” So if you want the customer to really participate and make a quick decision: Do not waste time thinking that he will translate a lot of information and observe an objective overview – you should rather use the word “YOU” repeatedly.

Simple choices of black and white
In addition to repeated use of the word “YOU”, it is also motivating for the reptilian brain to present the customer with simple contrasting choices like: “If you buy this truck, the sun will shine, you will never face unscheduled breakdowns, your customers will be happy, your economic stability will be saved and your business will grow – if you choose an inferior brand, you will face unpleasant problems”. A salesman often senses that a customer actually likes the product, but feels insecure and not ready to close the deal – saying, for instance, something like: “I am interested, but I think I will consider my options and wait to see what time will bring”. The persistent salesman might not let the customer off that easily, but rather try to identify the cause of the insecurity, which could be related to the expectations of the future haulage-business – and a response from the salesman could be: “No matter what you think will happen, we are able to accommodate your needs. If you think you will have many haulage-jobs, you should buy a Volvo FH with a full service contract. If you think you will have only a few haulage-jobs, you should buy a Volvo FM with a limited service contract.” – The alternatives are now black and white, easy to comprehend.

Visual stimulation
A third entry to the reptilian brain is visual stimulation. Human language is about 40 thousand years old and the written word is “only” 10 thousand years old. As mentioned earlier, the reptilian brain is about 450 million years old – more than 10000 times the age of our language. So if you really want to communicate with the reptilian brain: Do it via the eyes! If you see a text-sign saying “beware of snakes”, you might consider the risk of snakebites on a rational level, but your reptilian brain will not be acting at all. If you see a picture of a snake that is ready to attack, you are likely to be more alert than when reading the text message. If you see a video (motion picture) of a snake attacking, your reptilian brain will act! The reptilian brain works faster than the rest of the brain and it has the veto-power of decision making – and more than anything; it reacts to visual stimulation. Thus it is likely to have a positive effect on sales if the salesman can show and demonstrate a representative model of the product he wants to sell. If the customer can see it, feel it, hear it, smell it and try it – the sales effort is much more effective than if the salesman is simply telling the customer about the product.