The Secret To Successful Direct Marketing

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I’ve written about this before (and here) but it’s worth repeating. If you’re a business who markets to other businesses, and your list of highest priority customers is less than a few thousand, one of your best marketing tactics is going to be direct marketing – that is, making something and sending it directly to that person. Of course, the problem is most direct marketing sucks, and therefore it’s both a waste of time and effort for the marketer and a pain in the ass for the person receiving it.

What we do differently is to build assets that a) don’t suck, b) are highly targeted to the prospect and c) have some kind of genuine utility.

The theory is that if you send someone something in the mail (or even better, have it couriered) and it looks or feels unusual, perhaps bigger or heavier than most things that arrive in the mail, there’s a good chance it will a) get through the gatekeepers and b) get opened.

Once it’s been opened by the target, you hope they will read it. You hope they will think about it. You hope they will act on it (eg go to a website) or pass it around the office for others to look at. And you hope that when the client (ie MY client) phones their prospect up a week later to request a meeting, the prospect will remember the marketing asset and feel obligated to reciprocate the value inherent in the asset by giving the client some of their time.

In other words, you hope it will do its job!

So recently we designed and produced this vinyl map of QLD for our client Enable Advisory, a small team of coal mining consultants in QLD. It’s A0 size, printed on vinyl, so it will be more sturdy than a paper map and can be rolled out on a boardroom table whenever it needs to be consulted. The map is overlayed with data about coal mining sites across the state. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, you can read more about Enable’s Coal Tenure database on their website. The map was sent out to their prospects in a black tube with Enable logo on it. The idea was that the asset not only would build brand awareness of my client, but would also provide an enduring asset for their prospects that they will hopefully keep in the corner of their office or in the boardroom to be consulted over the years. And every time they consult it, Enable’s brand gets another bump.

The feedback from their prospects has been very positive.

Is doing something like this expensive? Well, it’s going to be more expensive than producing another shitty 4 page brochure like everyone else’s shitty 4 page brochure which will end up in either the bin (probably unopened) or stuffed inside a filing cabinet somewhere. But it’s not *that* expensive. The budget you apply to this kind of project obviously depends a lot on what the lifetime value of a new client is for you.

If you’re only going to make $2 from a new client, forget it. But if you’re going to make $100,000 out of a new client over a period of a few years, then it’s worth investing in some effective marketing.

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