I've just returned from the DMA Annual Conference in Chicago, and I wanted to share some quick things with you while they're still fresh in my mind.
John Greco, the President & CEO of the DMA opened the conference by welcoming the 12,000+ attendees with the message that "Direct marketing is booming!"
Over 50% of all advertising expenditures are now in direct, and direct marketing now generates almost $2 trillion in sales every year.
So the good news is – we're all in a thriving and growing business.
John also announced a number of important new initiatives by the DMA, including a Commitment to Consumer Choice program. (For more information, visit www.DMACCC.org)
And also "The Green 15" – a new program that will recommend and implement environmentally sensitive business practices for DMA members.
On a lighter note, the DMA hired out Union Station in Chicago for the ECHO Awards, which were hosted by Howie Mandel (star of the TV show, Deal or No Deal.)
Howie began by saying, "A lot of my friends have hosted the Oscars and the Emmys...so I asked my agent to get me something on a major station.
"I had no idea it would be a train station..."
All the best,
The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) in the U.K. sent out an extraordinary mailing.
The envelope had something stiff inside it – and the message read, "Try breaking this envelope in half."
Once you did – and how could you resist? – the envelope opened and you saw a pencil that had been glued on to the top of the letter.
The message was poignant: "That's how easy it is to break a child's arm."
A powerful message – and it worked extremely well for this worthy cause.
True North won a Gold Echo for its launch of the Peter Pan DVD. The company developed an application that takes over your entire computer screen "magically."
Tinkerbelle wanders all over your screen, and sprinkles pixie dust, and then brings you to a Peter Pan icon. Click it and you can view a trailer of the movie and place your order.
It's a great example of just how exciting and effective web marketing can be.
Simply go to http://www.truenorthinc.com/PeterPanEntry and prepare to be amazed.
The Direct Marketing Association of Malaysia won the USPS Gold Mailbox Award for a charming mailing to generate entries for their annual award show.
They sent out a box mailing, which included all the elements of a miniature circus – including circus animals.
The mailing was sent to the 15 agencies that do interactive and direct marketing in Malaysia, and each one was personalized.
For example, the outside of the box read "The Greatest Show on Earth featuring...
"An out-of-this-world performance by the outstanding OgilvyOne Group"
"A stirring showing by the wondrous Wunderman Troupe"
The mailing generated over 196 entries – the best ever for the Malaysian DMA. Another demonstration of the power of personalization.
Nancy Harhut is always one of the most popular speakers at the DMA Conference – and with good reason.
Her session on the psychological factors that influence response was not only one of the best-attended at the event, but far and away the best.
The reason why is that Nancy gave dozens of specific techniques – and things you could put to use right away.
For example, she talked about "Authority Figures" – and how people tend to look to them and respect their opinion.
You can use this by:
Nancy has graciously agreed to share her presentation with you. Simply e-mail her at NHarhut@hhcc.com
Herschell Gordon Lewis gave his usual impressive presentation on the power of persuasive writing.
Here are some of his key points:
A. Repetition makes a claim contagious.
For example, here are several ways of saying the same thing.
"Save 10% Monday to Friday"
...is not as strong as:
"Save 10% Monday through Friday"
...is still not as strong as:
"Save 10% every single day from Monday through Friday"
...is just not as strong as:
"Save 10% on Monday"
"Save 10% on Tuesday"
"Save 10% on Wednesday"
"Save 10% on Thursday"
"Save 10% on Friday"
B. Active writing beats passive writing every time.
For example, instead of writing, "A reply from you would be appreciated..."
You might want to write, "We really do want your reply."
C. Illustration should agree with your selling message, not your headline.
For example, if your headline says, "Our product will make you stand on your head" – don't show someone standing on their head.
It doesn't advance your selling story.
As I'm sure you know, Herschell has written over a dozen books on writing, each one of them filled with little gems that can add power and persuasion to your copywriting. I'd highly recommend any one of them.
Imagine looking under your Christmas tree and finding...
... a Triton personal submarine that can dive down to 1,000 feet and provides a high-density acrylic bubble so you can view everything around you!
The cost? Only $1,440,000 (without tax) but it includes free delivery to your secluded cove anywhere in the U.S.
Yes, it's that time of year again – and the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog just arrived at my house. It's full of some of the most ridiculous, expensive, and unusual items you can ever buy – assuming you can afford them. They include:
Why do they show these things? I can't imagine they sell any of them – but it creates a great deal of public relations interest.
And it encourages people to go through every page of the catalog, saying "Look at what those crazy rich people are buying!"
In my seminars, I always stress that you need to do things differently to attract attention – Neiman Marcus does a great job.
I also gave a speech on Creativity that was well-received.
I pointed out that creativity has nothing to do with the ability to write, draw, paint or play music. It is the art of problem-solving.
And you can apply creative thinking to every aspect of your life and your direct marketing programs.
I'm sure you've heard of taking advantage of "Creative License" – it's like "Poetic License."
Taking that one step further, I handed out an actual "Creative License" card that you can whip out and show to others. It gives you the right to be as creative as possible.
However, the best part of the speech for me was afterwards.
An older man in a t-shirt came up to me and said, "I just want to tell you that your speech was wonderful. I've listened to a lot of speakers, but your message meant a lot to me."
I asked who he worked for, and he said, "I'm the sound technician...."
I've written an article about this subject that I would be happy to send you, if you e-mail me at ARosenspan@aol.com
Another point I made in the speech is that you are a creative person – but it's not your fault.
You were born that way.
As Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up." A recent experiment by The Washington Post brilliantly illustrated this idea.
Joshua Bell, one of the world's most talented and renowned violinists, was in Washington to examine a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin.
The question the Post posed was:
"How would people react if one of the finest classical musicians in the world, played some of the most elegant music ever written, in a public place - L'Enfant Plaza - in the middle of rush hour?"
The Maestro played for 43 minutes, during which time over 1,000 people simply passed him by, either not listening, or not realizing what they were listening to.
Some threw a few coins or bills into his violin case and hurried off to work.
The only one to truly appreciate what was happening was a 3-year child, who pulled his mother over to listen. His mother quickly led him away, but he kept twisting around to listen.
His mother admits, "My son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."
The old maxims are true. Listen to your inner child. Stop and smell the roses. Try to appreciate the beauty and magic around you.
My next public seminar is our two-day Creative DM Strategies, which will be held on November 12th and 13th at the Hilton Dallas/Park Cities hotel.
We cover a lot of practical and useful information that will all be included in our 140+ page workbook.
We also invite attendees to bring a sample of their control, or a package they are working on, for a Direct Marketing Critique. This often leads to many useful and valuable suggestions and ideas.
For more information (or to register) please visit www.dmacreativedmstrategies.org.
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