Guerilla Insights Into Direct marketing
By Jay Conrad Levinson
Direct response marketing is a lot
different from indirect response marketing, although guerrillas like it
best when the two are teamed up. The first is geared to obtain orders
right here and right now. The second is geared to obtain orders
eventually. Although a fair amount of standard, indirect marketing
often is necessary to set the stage, to make prospects ready to buy,
and to separate your company from strangers, it's when you initiate
direct marketing that you first taste blood.
As you well know, we are living in the
Age of Information, most of it very easy to obtain. But information is
hardly enough for a guerrilla. And information is not insight. It's the
combination of information and thought that leads to insight and it's
insight that's going to make you a stand-out in the direct response
The first insight for you to absorb is
that direct response marketing either works immediately or not at all.
Unlike standard marketing which changes attitudes slowly and ultimately
leads to a sale if you go about things right, guerrilla direct response
marketing changes minds and attitudes instantly and leads to a sale
instantly if you go about things right.
When it works, you know it. You don't
have to sit around and wonder. You don't have to wait months and months
for your message to penetrate the mind of your prospect. Your
time-dated direct marketing offer either results in a sale right now --
or it doesn't.
To succeed with direct marketing in any medium, remember always:
- Your offer is omnipotent. The best presentation in the world has a major uphill battle if you make a weak or ordinary offer.
- The market to whom you direct
your message can make or break your campaign. Saying the right thing to
the wrong people results in no sale.
- What you say and how you say it
is easily as important as to whom you say it. Talk in terms of your
prospects and how your offer benefits them.
- Carefully planning every cent of
your campaign for maximum profits requires as much creativity as your
message. Guerrillas excel at this.
- The more that people have been
exposed to your other marketing, the more readily they'll accept what
you offer with your direct marketing.
Some principles of indirect marketing
apply to direct marketing. You must still talk of the prospect, not
yourself, and you must make a clear and cogent offer. But from that
point on, direct marketing is a whole new ballgame. And its one that
you can win with the insights of the guerrilla.
Stupid mistakes in horrid abundance
have been made by otherwise bright companies when testing the direct
response waters. Fortunately, guerrillas can learn from these blunders,
making those waters a bit safer. Listing them would take an endless
series of books, but it's worth your time if I make a start by
providing insight into ten of the most notable:
- Failure to attract attention at the
outset dooms many brilliant campaigns before they have a chance to
shine. Envelopes, opening lines, mail subject lines and first
impressions are the gates to your offer. Open them wide.
- Not facing the reality of a
direct marketing explosion relegates your attempt to the ordinary,
which means the ignored. Guerrillas say things to rise above the din,
to be noticed and desired in a sea of marketers.
- Focusing your message on
yourself instead of your prospect will usually send your effort to
oblivion. Prospects care far more about themselves than they care about
you. So talk to them about themselves.
- Not knowing precisely who your
market is will send you into the wrong direction. Research into
pinpointing that market will be some of the most valuable time you
devote to your direct marketing campaign.
- Mailing or telephoning to other
than honest prospects wastes your time and money. If you make your
offer to people who don't really have a need for your offering, they'll
be an incredibly tough sale.
- Initiating direct response
marketing without specific objectives gives you too hazy a target for
bullseyes. Begin by creating the response method for your prospects so
you'll know what your message should say.
- Featuring your price before you
stress your benefit will be telling people what they don't want to know
yet. First, your job is to make them want what you are offering, then
you can tell them the price.
- Concentrating on your price
before your offer is wasting a powerful selling point. Even if your
price is the lowest, people care more about how they'll gain from
purchasing. Give your low price at the right time.
- Failing to test all that can be
tested is a goof-off of the highest order. Test your price points,
opening lines, subject lines, envelope teaser lines, benefits to
stress, contact times and mailing lists to know the real winners.
- Setting the wrong price means
you've failed in your testing and your research. Guerrillas are
sensitive to their market and their competition, testing prices and
constantly subjecting them to the litmus test of profits.
As direct response vehicles become
more sophisticated and prolific, guerrillas have the insight to zero in
on the exact people to contact, so as not to waste time or money on
strangers. Successful mailings to strangers net as high as two percent
response rates. Successful mailings to customers and qualified
prospects net up to ten percent. Precision leads to profits.
About the Author:
Levinson is the creator of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books -
the best selling series of business books in history. He is also
responsible for some of the most successful ad campaigns in history,
including *the* most successful in history: The Marlboro Man. Jay is
responsible for countless small businesses becoming huge household
names. Learn how he does this in his latest book: "Guerrilla Marketing for the New Millennium"
Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved
THIS ARTICLE IS REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR. The author is not affiliated with KMAnet or Contensive. This article is reproduced for education purposes only.