10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Direct Response Campaign

Leverage strategic thinking and execution to improve direct response campaigns

10-Simple-Ways-Increase-Direct-ResponseReaching the right consumer is becoming more difficult with the increasingly cluttered media landscape. Consumers are also becoming more accustomed to marketing messages, and their filters are more discriminating. However, this challenge is also an opportunity for marketers to win customers by delivering relevance, value, and, ultimately, engaging the customer.

Here, we’ve outlined the ten simple steps to improving your direct response campaign and your perceived relationship with your customers.

1. Think globally, but execute with precision
In today’s jam-packed direct response landscape, broad targeting can alienate. Reinforce your brand relationships and deliver on value expectations with precision targeting instead. Doing so will put you at the top of the consumer’s consideration list.

2. Execute today based on what you need to achieve tomorrow
Base your efforts on what can help you grow your results tomorrow and beyond. Capitalize on what you’re doing well and expand your strategies to include more than “just more” of the same.

3. Avoiding message clutter maximizes results
Take a savvy approach to your campaign by combining technology and a range of channels as well as grassroots communications such as front-door marketing. Remember: the only real difference between alternative and traditional media is perspective: the right channel is the one that reaches the responsive customer with the right message at the right time.

4. Customers expect you to know what they need; don’t show up empty-handed
Your brand message should always be persuasive, and give customers a genuine reason to respond and a high-value offer delivered in a useful, convenient way.

5. The path to purchase starts at home
Understand what makes your customers tick and meet them early on their path to purchase. While there are many elements that influence purchase decisions, perhaps none are stronger than experiences that start in the comfort of the home.

6. Science and technology drive results, but only if you stay close to the data
Integrate data about your customer into every campaign stage and use the data to support your plans rather than reshape them.

7. Don’t waste resources: targeting is the name of the game
Use factors such as demographics, lifestyle segmentation, consumer behavior, ethnicity, and consumer buying power as the starting points in your campaign’s targeting. Don’t forget to refine your ideal customer profile as the campaigns progress.

8. Test, evaluate, and adjust – learn something from every campaign
Always be prepared to re-prioritize data points that may unexpectedly impact your response rates, such as weather, geography, timing. Be further prepared to make adjustments with secondary campaign executions, such as increasing the frequency or value of your offer or shifting resources into a less cluttered channel.

9. Tracked results validate efforts and help expand targets
Direct response campaigns have the advantage of trackability, so keep a close eye on your campaign, budget, and results. Implement tracking and campaign management tools to help you close the loop on your investment, and when results are validated, use assumptive data modeling to build on what worked.

10. Even class direct response strategies can benefit from a fresh approach
Marketing budgets are tight and campaigns need to deliver, so develop a process for every campaign. Compare channel and results and think of ways to connect media touch points to maximize your efforts.

What are some other tips you would recommend for improving a direct response campaign?

Be Direct; Bypass the Mailbox

Getting Attention with Front-Door Marketing

As the United States Post Office continues to take a beating – posting a $747M net loss in April alone – marketers have got to wonder about the long-term viability of this once stable and reliable entity to effectively deliver marketing messages.  Postal staff has been reduced, offices have closed, and changes in service may be coming soon as the USPS looks to find ways to survive losses in the billions for its fiscal 2011.

Is your advertising message getting lost in the clutter?

The mailbox is certainly finding it difficult to compete in a world where marketing messages have permeated nearly every aspect of daily life; it has sadly been relegated to the role of clutter collector. Smart marketers are responding by targeting their best prospects with offers that bypass the tired mailbox and bring value directly to the front door.  Major brands like Kohl’s, BestBuy and McDonalds have learned that front-door marketing is a highly effective tool in getting the right message to the right consumer at the right time – ensuring that messages are both delivered and heard over the noise.  A direct response discipline in its own right, front-door marketing eliminates the reliance on postal services and bypasses a clutter-filled mailbox, reaching consumers with personalized brand value.

Are you relying on outdated methods to generate customer response? Perhaps it’s time to consider broadening your reach beyond the mailbox with a more focused and effective front-door marketing approach.

Using the Front Door to Meet Cable Subscriber Goals

Front-Door Marketing Helps Increase Customer Acquisition, Retention and ARPU

Photo courtesy of redjar via flickr.com

In nearly every aspect of life, economic concerns and a rapidly evolving landscape are causing consumers to make spending choices cautiously. Yet even so, IDC’s recent report on U.S. Consumer Fixed Broadband Services forecasts consumer demand for fixed broadband services to remain strong. The market is expected to increase by nearly 13 million new consumer broadband subscriptions before 2015, even amid economic challenges for the industry. This anticipated growth is great news for cable providers, but capturing market share is clearly a tricky proposition that will take some creative thinking and smart marketing.

Leading cable providers such as Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications have leveraged front-door marketing’s sophisticated data intelligence, high-quality physical media, eye-catching creative and an attractive offer to meet a variety of marketing objectives. Front-door marketing has the ability to attract new subscribers, while working to recapture subscribers who have “cut the cord,” downgraded their service, or may be in the market for bundled services.

Consumers may be just plain tired of scrimping and saving – driving interest in minor indulgences such as affordable access to cable services for home entertainment and communication. But making cable affordable is just part of the equation. The ability to get the right message to the right audience – whether it is a limited-time offer, special pricing promotion, free trial period (premium channels) invitation, tiered package offer, or other subscriber incentive – is critical to gaining market share.

Front-door marketing is proving highly effective in this arena, delivering special offers and promotions to meet new customer subscription goals and increase average revenue per user (ARPU).  Are you efficiently and effectively reaching the consumers in your subscriber area with relevant services and ‘can’t miss’ offers?

Value Beats Ad Clutter Every Time

Front-Door Marketing Bypasses a Crowded Media Landscape to Meet Your Best Customers at Home 

With the onslaught of brand messages permeating nearly every facet of life, why do marketers think more of ‘the same old same old’ is a good idea? It’s misguided to say that the means to beat ad clutter is to just distribute more and more of it. 

Instead, why not increase the effectiveness of underused, grassroots channels to deliver value? Savvy marketers—and savvy customers—are becoming well aware of the front door as valuable real estate in this effort. No barriers remain at the front door, and newfound abilities to target effectively have evolved this channel into a conduit for brands to deliver VIP treatment that equates to value and drives response. A recent PowerDirect article in Marketing News, an online publication of the American Marketing Association, details this phenomenon and highlights the targeting strategies that are fueling highly effective front-door marketing today.

More than ever before, being heard has to do with delivering value. And achieving this demands an understanding of what makes an audience tick, and ultimately acknowledges that relevance and value are what fuel long-term customer relationships with specific products and services. Do your campaigns focus on delivering value as a priority?  What are you doing to demonstrate an understanding of what your best customers need and expect from their favorite brands?

 

Today’s Media Onslaught Causes Consumers to Tune Out

Use the ‘Less is More’ Philosophy to Break through Media Overload

Howard Gossage, one of the earliest innovators in advertising, once said that people don’t read ads. They read what interests them and sometimes it’s an ad.  The point is that people don’t inherently hate ads; they just hate bad ads that don’t bring value or otherwise matter to them.  Today that phenomenon has evolved even further, as the average consumer has become highly skilled at tuning out messages that are neither of interest nor intended specifically for them.

Image source: creativecouples.net

This increasing ability to shut down messages means that marketers need to refine their efforts rather than simply expand them.  Less is more, and more of the same simply won’t do the trick. Channels, messages and targeting all must come together to effectively reach the right audience with pertinent communication.

The ability to deliver a succinct message, respecting the intelligence and value of the audience in the process, is highly prized by marketers.  An innate characteristic of front door marketing, this singular, uncluttered channel is in line with the evolution of the ‘consumer brain.’   In fact, according to a now well-cited study by Stanford University researchers, the human brain is just not well-suited to media multi-tasking and being bombarded with multiple streams of electronic information.

Are you considering the ‘how, when and where’ factors in reaching your target audience? Using the front door may help your message stand out with value and meaning, and break through on a much more personal level.

Out of the Mailbox: Alternatives to Reaching Consumers At Home

Direct mail is a multimillion dollar business in the US and a usual fixture in most direct marketing programs. However, according to DMNews, the changing nature of the USPS and emerging customer communications technology have forced marketers to consider new alternatives for reaching consumers at home.

Despite the Postal Regulatory Commission denying the Postal Service’s request for a rate increase, marketers are still planning for higher postal rates in the future (the USPS reported last month that it is looking to appeal Commission’s decision), the cutting of Saturday home delivery, fewer Post Office branches, and the possibility that the USPS will be out of money in 2011.

What this means for marketers is that not only will direct mail access to consumers homes be more expensive, but marketers will miss out on the chance to influence consumers at home on Saturday, one of the biggest retail shopping days.

In an effort to diversify their media mix and decrease their reliance on US mail, some marketers are moving towards an online solution, which has been propelled by recent mobile commerce innovations such as mobile payments. However, Paul Vogel, president of mailing and shipping services at the USPS, warns that inboxes and social media messages are becoming increasingly cluttered.

Making the move from out of the mailbox and into the inbox doesn’t solve for the age-old problem of increasing advertising clutter. If marketers are looking for a true alternative, front-door marketing gives consumers the touch and feel of a direct mail piece, but without the clutter of the mailbox or inbox.

Change is inevitable for the USPS, and marketers should consider how these changes will affect their future marketing plans and place renewed emphasis on finding alternative options to reaching consumers at home.