I’m a branding guy. I don’t play favorites with strategies and tactics?when it comes to building a brand for a client. If direct mail, radio or TV advertising is an appropriate way to go and the client builds brand awareness and has a positive ROI I’m all for it. Results are important to me and my clients.
What kills me and what I just don’t understand are these word of mouth companies that are so laser beamed in on set tactics that only include word of mouth. Why be so pigeonholed? Here’s a case in point.
Brains on Fire (a self proclaimed word of mouth marketing company)?owner Robbin writes:
Direct marketers actually celebrate 3% response rates. Do that math: If you send out 500,000 TARGETED direct mail pieces that means that 485,000 are totally useless. Trash. WHAT is that really about for goodness sake?
Basically she’s saying that direct marketing is not a sustainable way to engage a customer/prospect. ?I say that any one tactic isn’t great but an integrated branding strategy is. And to eliminate any one tactic is just shortsighted. Direct marketing is a proven tactic if done correctly. And what if in that example that 3% resulted in a $100,000 profit? Is it a crappy tactic then? Aren’t we ultimately in business to help our clients make money? Sure we all want our customers to be passionate about us and tell all their friends and family but developing a marketing?tactic that produces profits is still a desirable outcome. Isn’t it?
Dovetail that with the fact that many people save a direct mail piece to follow up later. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard “we’ve been collecting your direct mail”? Too many times to count. That’s brand awareness. Sometimes it takes more than one direct mail piece to get a client/prospect to move.
Some of?our best client?relationships have come from a prospect receiving a direct mail piece from us. For many years Brand Identity Guru mailed out something to customers and prospects as part of an integrated campaign. We were very targeted. We’ve made millions of dollars on direct mail. Our response rate?is about 8% (in Robbin’s mind we wasted 92%). Our retention of these clients is over 95% and?we’ve built a passionate relationship with them. Doesn’t that count for something?
A 3% return most likely will obtain a great return on investment. Direct mail, advertising are still great tactics if done correctly. Then a relationship can be kindled.
Some of the best brands in the world do great advertising and direct mail (Hello, Apple and those Mac vs. PC spots). Don’t poo poo traditional stuff because most do it wrong.
Here’s what works, an integrated branding strategy. Part of that?could include word of mouth, relationship building, search engine optimization, etc?But not selecting tactics like direct mail is shortsighted in an overall strategy. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone but it’s also not wrong for everyone.
She then goes on to say:
I also hate the terms ?target market? or ?cost per acquisition?. Your customers are real live human beings, people! People with passion, lives and dreams.
I love the term target market because it excludes all those that your brand doesn’t identify with. Of course they’re real people but they’re the right real?people and understanding that is half the battle. The biggest mistake companies make is trying to be everything to everyone. Identifying the right people (targets) is the best thing you can do for your brand. Why waste any valuable marketing dollars?
Starting a relationship can happen in many ways. Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to do it and traditional advertising may or may not be the correct way. But to broadly say that direct mail or traditional advertising?can’t start a meaningful relationship is wrong.
Inspiring customers and prospects to celebrate your company can be accomplished in many ways. As a branding guy I like to look at the big picture and then choose what’s best for the client. I like to remain open and not pre-judge what tactics to use.
What do you think?