Alan Rosenspan's "Improve Your Response"
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
How can you find exactly the kind of companies you're looking for without having to buy and de-dupe multiple lists?
For the last several years, I've been working with iMarket Inc., which was recently acquired by Dun & Bradstreet, and is now known as D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions.
D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions gives you access to the D&B list of over 13 million U.S. businesses, updated monthly. But that's not what makes them unique.
The unique part is that you can select exactly the list you want before you purchase it. There are no minimum quantities, and once you buy the list, you can use it as often as you like.
For example, you can start by looking at a list of all the businesses in New York.
Then you can ask the software to eliminate those with under $10 million in sales.
Then you can ask the software to eliminate those in certain categories. And by the way, D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions goes way beyond the standard SIC codes (Standard Industry Classification) so you can find exactly the kind of businesses you want.
Once you've defined your list, you can purchase the data right on the site You can even select the level of information you want from simple business names to contact names, fax and e-mail information, etc.
Plus D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions further enhances your ability to target with specific selects on the businesses. For example, you can choose to select only those companies who are growing by 15% or more a year.
And once you buy the names, they're yours for an entire year so it's easy and affordable to do multiple mailings or campaigns.
D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions can also take your house list and update it, adding all new and changed information. You can also use them to find other customers or even markets that look like yours.
They also offer 50 free leads and two free company lookups when you register at http://www.zapdata.com/offer.asp?vcode=LZD4713301
Several years ago, I was working for a large direct marketing agency, and we needed to hire a proofreader. I wrote an ad with the following headline:
Proofreader Wanted for Rapidly Growling Direct Marketing Agency.
If you didn't get it read that again slowly.
The copy was rife with errors, and we asked people to "correct this ad and send it back to us with your resume." We received hundreds of responses and I won a Silver Echo Award from the DMA.
To my knowledge, it's the only classified ad that's ever won an Echo!
But now I have a challenge for you. It's a creativity test that I've given in my last seminar.
The winner will receive a free copy of my new book, Confessions of a Control Freak, a $35. value plus coupons for three Free Pints of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream! However, we must receive your entry by March 15th to qualify.
The answer which generated over 15,000 responses! will appear in my next newsletter.
The research company Roper Starch measures advertising readership, and compares the relative effectiveness of different ads. They've studied thousands of advertisements and came up with a fascinating statistic.
Advertisements that includes a coupon generate 13% higher readership than ads that don't.
Regardless of what the coupon says.
The coupon itself seems to alert the reader. It says "we've got something for you!" And even if you're not sure what, you usually pay more attention to the ad.
And that's precisely what the Reply Card should do.
It shouldn't be designed to cleverly blend in with the rest of the direct mail package. It should stick out like Yao Ming in a Volkswagen convertible.
Here are 7 ideas you might want to try for your next Reply Card.
The Creative Strategy Form I use is probably a lot similar to the one your company or agency uses...
...with one exception.
I have a special section called "You Know You Need It When..."
This helps you identify the "early warning signs" that a prospect could benefit from your product or service. It can help you choose the right list or media. You can even use it for creative. Let me give you an example:
I did a package for a high technology company to engineers. They know they needed our product...
...when they often had to switch between incompatible tools
...when they had to go back and re-design everything when one element changed
...when they couldn't incorporate new technologies into their designs
And even...when they felt that competitors were adding features faster than their company
I turned these into questions and used them on the front of the envelope. My goal was to have engineers read them, nod their heads and say, "These are exactly the problems I'm having. Maybe this new software can help solve them." It was very successful.
How do people know they need your product? What's happening in their business or their lives that would indicate to them that they need a change?
If you can answer those questions you might create a much more successful program.
And by the way, if you'd like a copy of my complete Creative Strategy Form, just e-mail me at Arosenspan@aol.com
I don't just write about this stuff I actually use it. Here's how I applied this technique for my own company with a recent mailing.
The cover of the brochure asked these three questions:
If you answered "yes," to any of these questions you know you need Alan Rosenspan!
In the past few years, I've had the good fortune to interview some of the leading thinkers in direct marketing.
These interviews have been published in direct marketing magazines in Australia and New Zealand, but never in the U.S.
What I'd like to do in this newsletter is share the highlights of one of them with you.
He has the world's perfect job he's paid to think.
John Groman helped found Epsilon, one of the world's largest and most sophisticated direct marketing agencies in 1969, and has long been regarded as the guru of fund raising.
I interviewed John in his kitchen, and while we were talking, the Vatican called.... they want to consult with him on a fund-raising project.
Your interviewer was properly humbled.
Alan: John, the Republican Party was one of your early accounts. What did you do for them?
John: Back when Ronald Reagan was president, I had just married and had met my father-in-law, who was a Republican, and I realized that there was no procedure in the US to enfranchise voters.
You basically went to the polls to declare the party for which you wanted to vote. You could change at any time.
So nobody owned the customer or what I call credentialized the relationship.
Alan: What does that mean?
John: It means two things, basically. First, you have to anthropomorphize the relationship and make it real.
Second, you have to make the customer know that they're in a relationship. Like American Express does, where they use the "Member since..." on the card. You not only know you have a relationship with them, you know how long it's been.
Alan: So how did that apply to politics?
John: The political parties had never really given their members the proper credentials, such as membership cards, bumper stickers, etc.
So we created the Ronald Reagan Presidential Task Force, which was really a fan club for Ronald Reagan. We mailed 30 million packages, which was unheard of in prospecting. These were very expensive, closed-face stamped packages, including a 7-page letter inviting people to pledge $120 to the task force.
We enrolled over 200,000 people, who paid every month for memorabilia, like an American flag, a lapel pin, a medallion, the first time that premiums of that nature we called them "collectibles" were used in politics.
Alan: In your opinion, what makes a superior direct marketer?
John: The extraordinary people I've met over the years have a fascination, almost an addiction to the results.
Seeing what they did, and what worked. It's sort of like betting at a casino, with an important extra: you can learn from your previous bets.
Learning allows us to jump right out of the probability curve into the sureness curve.
At this point, the telephone rang again.
It could have been the Pope. It could have been George Bush. It could have been my wife who I was supposed to meet 15 minutes ago. The interview was over.
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Thank you, and I wish you all the best.
© Alan Rosenspan & Associates