We’ve talked about objectives, we’ve talked about lists. Now let’s focus on the importance of great messaging in your direct mail marketing. Do you have a piece of marketing material lying around? Anything will do, a brochure, a direct mail piece, even your website. Go through and count how many times you use your company’s names or words like “I,” “we” and “our.” Now repeat the process with the words “you” and “your.” Which one is there more of?
When someone asks what you do, what do you say? Do you say you’re in insurance or Medicare or fundraising or car sales? Or to you tell them that you help give people piece of mind, help them afford good medical coverage, make a difference in your community or help people live their dreams?
There’s this idea out there that marketing must always reinvent the wheel. Every time you go to create a new marketing piece, you must start from scratch, keeping the page blank and creating something wholly new every time. Not only will that notion cost you more time and money, it’ll result in a lackluster marketing campaign.
Great marketing is really, really annoying.
Sounds counter intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, you want your business to be liked. Loved, even. But the irony is, if you execute irritating marketing well, it will be.
What makes marketing irritating, you ask? It’s the kind of marketing that’s everywhere. Everywhere you turn, there’s another message worming its way into your subconscious. It’s absolutely ubiquitous. That’s what makes really great marketing: the kind you can’t escape from.
You’ve probably heard that everyone learns differently. While there are lots of different theories on learning styles and how you can slice that pie, the simplest and most common model puts us all into one of three categories: visual learners, auditory learners and bodily kinesthetic learners. While there’s obviously some overlap—no one learns in just one way—everyone naturally gravitates toward one of these styles when it comes to taking in the world around us.
Okay, but what does all this have to do with marketing? A whole lot, as it turns out. When customers are consuming your marketing material, what they’re doing is learning. They’re learning more about the problem they’re experiencing, possible solutions and yes, of course, your company. So are you marketing to hit all the different learning styles?
“Email is the way of the future!” “No, it’s social media!” “Your website is the center of your marketing!” “Direct mail gets responses!” Everyone, usually people selling you something, wants to tell you that their preferred marketing channel is the only way to get results. And you know what? They’re right.
“Treat all customers like your best customer!” It’s the kind of maxim that sounds great on paper, but in real life, it’s not a sustainable business model. After all, you’ve all heard that maxim that 10% of your customers take 90% of your time, right? You need to make sure they’re the right 10%. That is, the customers who are truly adding to your bottom line.
Even though you both work in the same company, sometimes it feels like sales and marketing are always fighting over what’s most important. Perhaps marketing wants to focus on bringing in very specific targets, while sales would rather have a broader base to work with and qualify later. Or maybe the two departments are presenting your product in different ways, focusing on different features and benefits.
Children. Let’s all play nicely. We’re all here for the same reasons, right? It’s time to get your sales and marketing team in the same room and make peace. Grab some coffee and a box of donuts and let’s all get on the same page, shall we?
Marketing gets a bad rap. People think marketing is all about being slick and glib, about hiding the truth and always putting your best foot forward, no matter how wobbly the other foot might be. While that might be true of some marketing, it’s not true of good marketing. Before you start your next marketing campaign, whether that’s direct mail or something else entirely, you need to start by being honest.
A lot of companies make a simple mistake: They only get in touch with customers when they want something. Usually, of course, that “something” is to buy your product. There’s a place for that in marketing and direct mail of all kinds, but have you ever thought about what could happen when you get in touch with customers just because?
That might sound counter-intuitive to you; it might even sound like a waste of money. But do you ever have that friend who only calls you when they need something? They never just want to chat, never want to know how you’re doing, they only want help moving next Sunday or need you to buy candy bars for their kid’s school fundraiser. There comes a time when you start to dread their calls. A direct mail strategy that’s too focused on direct selling can have the same feel, especially if you’re in an industry where trust is key, like credit unions.