Friday, January 21, 2011

Rules Of Mailing Engagement

To get the most out of a direct mail campaign it only makes sense to manage it to produce a maximum response. Yes how many times in the mad rush to meet some real or imaginary deadline. When we do that to ourselves we only end up using limited resources and not having your front and back end set up to get the best in ROI possible.

So when reviewing the last few direct mail programs I have put together for clients I came up with a few rules to be a basic guide to get the biggest bang for my clients buck:

Rule 1: Know What You Want. Just because you do have a marketing plan, you do have a marketing plan don’t you; I won’t even ask right now if it IS written down. Again just because you have a marketing plan and goals does not mean that everyone knows the baseline of expected results from any part of your plan. Then even if you have a lowest denominator or expected results is it based off of facts or just a simple assumption? Did I say a guess? So can you answer these 3 questions?

a) How many people or companies are you trying to talk to?
b) How many people or companies responded in your last 1 or 2 campaigns? If this is your 1st do your best.
c) Did each of your last 1 or 2 campaigns let you grow as you wanted or anticipated?

Rule 2: Know what you want to happen. You need a plan not just a plan of action but a plan that gives you direction. Why are you doing a direct mail attack? What are your expectations? What is your anticipated response rate? What are your revenue goals and how will you track it? So 3 basic questions to ask yourself are:

a) What is the revenue goal for the campaign? You might call it revenue per address, revenue for area, revenue per customer type. But you need a monetary goal.
b) What are the profiles of the customers you are targeting? Are you going after the “usual suspects?” or are you venturing out into uncharted waters? Can you pinpoint the top people or companies in your data base? My suggestion is to divide your list up into the parts, 1) Those who do not spend on a regular basis or in larger dollar amounts. 2) Those who do spend on a regular basis or large dollar amounts. 3) The rest. c) What can you offer each of these groups to tickle their interest enough to take action and respond?

If all you have done with your customer list is to segment it out by spending patterns you are really only half way there. I take my hat off to you if you have done that because 75% or small and medium size businesses don’t even to that but now do yourself a favor and go the rest of the way. Some customers might have different credit cards for buying different items to better manage their spending. Others will break down for you in different ways perhaps by geography. Point is the more you can profile your customers or prospects the better off you are.

Rule 3: Zip+4 and More. This is one of the easiest ways to get into the socio-geographic profiling methods you can use. As you take and study your customer base you might just find that certain areas buy more than others. In a quest to greater understanding of your market the more that one certain zip code buys from you the more you want to penetrate into it. This is not brain surgery. Taking what you already know about a customer or an area and applying that information into your marketing attack is only common sense. How you talk to this group as a whole can help you to talk to them as individuals as to who and what they are, after all they do live in the same general area.

a) Factor analysis. In using the key vafiable of a socio-graphic indicatkion and taking those results into yoru database you can emblilish your now existing data
b) Cluster your analysis. Focus in on the groups that now exist in yoru database. What is the same about them? What do they all share in some way? Do you care what characteristics they share or is it meaningless to your company?
c) Discrimination analysis. Find the different factors that separate the group. Again does it make a difference or not? Does it help you in the prediction of their buying habits or not?

When you then take that information with Zip+4 postal information you might be able to narrow down the possibility of new customers. We have seen cases of a dirct mail campaign going from under a 0.5% resoponce rate up to over 3.5%

Might this give rise to you using variable data for geographic market segmentation?

Larson Notes & Satire: Ya ya I’m a mean heartless business person looking to take money out of your pocket. Maybe, but maybe not. It costs me money, more money than I take in to run a marketing campaign on a one shot deal or to push out a telemarketing campaign on a 3 week trial basis. You might think I am a picking your pocket but think again. I put and most companies (unless you’re a lawyer that seems to charge for even sharpening a pencil) have a given about of non chargeable time and effort to take in a new account. Go on and think about it or retrace your actions and steps when you get a new customer. What do you do to get their account set up that you don’t or can’t bill for? So don’t tell me I am stealing your money for a 3 or 4 week telesales program. I want you not for 4 weeks as a customer but for life!

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!

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