by Dawn Kresslein
It is easy for direct marketers (and in my case sales representatives/new business developers) to get wrapped up in their usual approaches of reaching out to their target audience. Often times, we repeatedly use the same strategies, without questioning the effectiveness of these strategies. It is possible that our approaches are successful, but the question is: are they as successful as they could be?
In his Commercial Marketing CRM Strategies and Practices presentation at the May DMAW Monthly Luncheon, Andy Hogan, Director, Direct Marketing at LM&O Advertising, got me thinking about this question. Perhaps my approach is good, but could it be better? He reminded me of the clear-cut steps that can help all of us become successful.
Andy presented a case study of one of LM&O Advertising’s clients – the Army National Guard. He began the presentation by outlining the problem, solution and outcome of the direct marketing strategy. The outcome alone speaks for the effectiveness of the approach Andy reviewed throughout the rest of his presentation: the Army National Guard has been successful in meeting its response goals and connecting qualified leads to local sales reps. The worthwhile strategy that Andy and his team implement is very straightforward: Research, Creative Strategy, Media Placement, and Follow-up/Results Analysis. Recognizing his audience, Andy focused his presentation on direct mail, but this strategy can be applied to various forms of marketing.
The first step, research, is the foundation that supports the other 3 steps. It is your opportunity to get to know your target market – who are they, what are their interests, what are their dislikes, what would inspire them to make a decision, what do they already know, what do they not know, how can you catch their attention and any other information you may find pertinent.
The second step, creative strategy, is primarily about what you are going to say to your target group – developing the design and message that will catch your prospect’s attention and compel them to seek out more information.
The third step, media strategy, is primarily about how to reach your audience and how many touch points will be involved. Will you use direct mail, print advertising, social media, or telemarketing (inbound and/or outbound) – all of the above, a mix of the above or just one of the above?
The final step is processing the results and following up on leads. There seems to be 2 parts to this step. Now that you have your results, do something with them! Analyze them – figure out what worked and what may not have and use this knowledge for future strategizing. The second part of this step is how quickly you follow-up on a lead. The sooner you follow-up, the more likely you will beat your competition.
The conclusion is simple: research is important and necessary; it drives your creative strategy, media plan, and indirectly, your results. Andy’s presentation and his team’s strategy should not go overlooked. To be successful, every direct marketer and business developer must consider incorporating these strategies and practices into their overall marketing approach.
Dawn Kresslein is Senior Account Manager at INTEGRAM, a full service communications company specializing in targeted, time sensitive direct mail and email production.