Network Marketing Company

How to determine what is real and what may not be when choosing to join a network marketing company?

If you’re new to the internet or been online for sometime now, you’ve done your research on network marketing companies because you’ve heard of people making money online or you also tried a few businesses and heard the tales of scams. Rest assure that it is quite normal to be a bit skeptical.

Here is your chance to learn what this all means. It may not be as simple as black and white in recognizing the downside of any company online since most business are automated and the folks that created these business are completely behind their computer screens. No face to face human interaction chances of learning more than they need you to know. All thanks to the new age web. The reality today is that there is no way one person can know everything there is to know about selling, recruiting and leadership. The complexness and ever-changing nature of the world around us makes that impossible.

There maybe some network marketing companies that don’t have the building blocks or what it takes to hold longevity for their company and the folks that join their business model, all the same, there are far more companies that are well-intentioned. So how do you separate the corn from the husk?

Whenever you approach a company that perks your interest or someone has recommend, always keep an open mind. Never judge a book by its cover. Encourage pure intention, your own intuition [self guidance or gut feelings], and some key points, you will be guided in the right direction to help make an educated decision.

After you get through the hype, advertisements, and testimonials, do your homework.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

How long has the company been around – if the company has been around for 3-5 years, you know that they have already ironed out many flaws in their system.

Research the company’s track record. Hear what others are saying about the company. Take the good and the bad. Keep in mind [some people that are giving info] on the company may have issues with the company but it could mean that it was an isolated situation. Example, if you purchase something from a store and you took it home and didn’t like it, it doesn’t mean that it’s the company’s fault or the product is wrong, it just means you didn’t like it or it doesn’t work for you. One size does not always fit all.

Get your questions answered

Since network marketing is all about recruitment of potential partners in the business, you would want to contact the person whose website you receive the information from. Naturally after you’ve explored the site, opted in and exhaust all of the information that is automatically available to you.

If the site doesn’t answer all of your questions, you will want to get yourself on any of the live company hosted calls. Contact the site owner by phone or email and request more information about the company and the business. Many consultants will gladly assist you and get you the information you are seeking.

When you are satisfied with the information received about the company, their marketing system, trust your inner feelings to guide you in the right direction. Go with it. If you have a great deal of determination, drive and desire, aim in this direction, keep on going. No one business is better that the other, it’s how you feel about it that makes all the difference.

Rory Singh is a Home Business Development Coach and Professional Marketing Consultant

One of the worst things anyone can do is to try & live on a fixed income especially during uncertain times. The best way to thrive during recession is to increase the power of your income 10 fold via passive income streams

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Marketing That Cannot Be Ignored, Turned Off, Or Deleted – It is Possible! 7 Ways to Make it Happen

For companies big and small, you have begun on your journey to attract new clientele, to sell more products, and to keep your current clients loyal. Welcome to the ever-changing and quite complex world of marketing. I hope to make it easier on you by pointing out these seven ways to stand out above your competitions marketing clutter. And get this…it’s neither expensive nor difficult and you can start immediately!

1. Create a direct mailing piece that won’t find its home in the trash can. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “Every U.S. Household gets six pieces of junk mail per day”. That means junk mail produces over “one billion pounds of landfill every year! ” Instead of contributing to this sad phenomenon, try sending an odd-shaped or bulky package or envelope that will be placed on your prospects desk. For example, I had an idea of mailing a Chinese take-out box and inside included a fortune cookie that read “The future of your company looks promising, with our help.” It included my company’s logo under it, and on the back side of the fortune it read “Lucky number:” and it was really my direct phone number. So you see, a direct mailing piece needs to be creative and unusual in order for you to stand out from the flat mailings… then you are sure to get some attention!

2. Create a fun and interactive Tradeshow booth to attract attention & remain memorable. 83% of tradeshow attendees have buying power, according to Merchant Circle. That’s a huge number of potential clients passing by your booth because you look and sound identical to the 5,000 booths surrounding you. So how do you create a fun and exciting booth environment? Well, start with the basics similar to when you were a kid. GAMES! You liked games when you were 5 and admit it…you still like games. For example, at a professional Medical device tradeshow, I suggested to one of my clients that they set up a Plinko game. Depending on where the Plinko piece ended, the player had the opportunity of winning a branded prize or a USB drive loaded with the company’s information on it. In no time, the company would not only be drawing a crowd of people around their booth who wanted the next chance to play, but they were also receiving the opportunity to speak to their prospects and pass out information in a fun way!

3. Take the opportunity to satisfy current clients in an unexpected way. We are all victims of being sold an item with great customer service and by the sales person who has great concern and care for you, until the bill or invoice comes. And then you’re just another client who owes money. Instead, try sending a branded thank you gift, or a hand-written appreciation letter along with the invoice. After all, it’s just one more opportunity that you have to satisfy and “wow” your current clients that you or your competitors probably haven’t been taking advantage of.

4. Take advantage of your client’s personal information. Compile a list of all of your client’s birthdays and send them a gift that is useful to them near their special day. But don’t forget to include your logo or brand information on the item, so when they are using your gift all year round, they’ll never forget for a second who or where they got it from.

5. Get your current clients to help you grow your business. Referrals are hands down the greatest compliment any company can receive. Let your customers know that if they refer a client that makes a certain amount of sales for you or your company, they will be greatly rewarded. For example, I suggested to one of my professional beauty supply clients that they set up a dining rewards program. If one of their current happy customers refers them to a friend who spends over $5000 in products, they will send their client branded gift card of any amount to one of 10,000 restaurants of their choice. The same can be done with branded movie tickets, music downloads, cell phone skins, and much more. So in the end, the client is super happy that you appreciate them and you are happy because you have just increased your sales!

6. Drive clients and prospects to your website. A web button with a 3 port hub is an innovative way to keep your company’s name on top of anyone’s desk and in their mind. Your clients/prospects use the hub for their own needs and when they think of your company or need to visit your site…they simply push down on the button and the internet browser automatically takes the client to your website!

7. Use apparel to advertise your brand. Gone are the days where you would hand out a plain bulky white t-shirt with your logo in the middle and hope that people would wear it. Vintage shirts and all-over branding are extremely popular right now. If you are unaware of it…get into the game! We now have the ability to create custom t-shirts for all sexes using your brand as the focus. Try using your logo in a modern, colorful design or printing on odd parts of the shirt. Prospects and clients love to sport a shirt that is cool…but little do they know; they’re sporting your brand too!

I challenge you to try using at least one of these techniques and see how it will affect your business relationships or how it will increase sales. Whatever it is you decide to do with marketing, stay open minded and optimistic! The marketing world is constantly changing. Good luck.

Karen Silvers is an Account Executive and Tradeshow Specialist in the promotional products and marketing industry. She works for one of the top 10 promotional marketing companies in the U.S. Mentored by another extremely successful A.E. in the company, she started as an intern, then moved to Business Development manager, and then to Account Executive in under one year, a groundbreaking concept in this particular organization. Her biggest strength is relationship building and creating promotional marketing programs specifically to fit the needs of a project or client. She currently specializes and assists companies in creating the highest ROI for tradeshows and events.

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Power Boomers Use Self-Directed IRAs

Many of us (yes, myself included) are in the baby boomer generation. But how many of you are “Power Boomers”? A Power Boomer knows what investments he wants in his portfolio and is not at the mercy of Wall Street. They know there are alternative investments available that can provide a diverse portfolio and allow them to invest in assets in which they have a broad knowledge base.

A self-directed IRA allows Power Boomers to invest in non-traditional assets. There is quite a variety available:

REITs (Real Estate Investments Trusts)
DSTs (Delaware Statutory Trusts)
Commercial and Residential Real Estate
Land
Oil and Gas Investments
Mortgage Notes and First Deeds of Trust
Private Placements
Tax Liens
TICs (Tenants in Common)
Promissory Notes
Judgments/Structured Settlements
Car Notes
…and more
A widespread premise of alternative or non-traditional investments is that they are often anticipated to have a correlation with traditional investments therefore increasing the diversification of an investor’s portfolio.

Power Boomers are savvy investors that understand and want first hand knowledge of where their retirement money is going. With current layoffs and early retirement the 401(k) rollover market is growing at a rapid pace. This is Power Boomer money and will more than likely be invested into assets well known and understood. This generation will not settle to sit back and wait for the market return. They will take action, investigate and make power moves. Due diligence is easily performed when the investor is familiar with the asset.

Self-directed IRAs are a growing trend among smart investors. Disillusionment in the past year has brought with it a desire to be in control and know where retirement money is really going. With a self-directed IRA you make the decisions and choices as to what investments you deem proper.

Investing retirement money, i.e. IRAs and 401(k)s, in alternate investments requires a custodian that will allow these investments. Most major custodians will not. Even though they tout that they will allow a self-directed IRA it is normally still bound by the investments they offer. Power Boomers need a custodian that will cater to their special investment requirements of a self-directed IRA.

Provident Group was founded as a self-directed retirement plan custodian who prides itself on providing our clients with complete and innovative retirement solutions. Our clients want to be free to control their financial futures, we provide them the tools to realize those dreams…tax-deferred or tax free.

At Provident Group, we believe that you can still build a company on old-fashioned principles: honesty and integrity coupled with knowledgeable professionals. The Board of Directors is a seasoned group of professionals who specialize in helping you accomplish your goals. Our strength lies in providing our clients with the educational tools they may lack to make informed decisions about their financial future, as well as the types of investments that are available to them.

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Levels of Marketing Activity, Part II

Levels of New Market Development

A. Passive

Passive here means broad spectrum media ads which stimulate the front runners – who are the gasoline for the engine of the movement of any new product from “new” market development until it becomes a commodity. These are the TV or newspaper ads that stimulate enough people to act. This stimulus/response takes a little selling, but, is a lot easier than direct sales, and is a little harder than merchandising commodities.

B. Active

This is direct sales. Direct sales means that you called (or mailed to) them directly and went for a “yes” or “no” without them being predisposed in the first place. Direct sales is the most difficult to achieve, but is also the most rewarding when successfully accomplished. Because price is not an object.

For example: Media ads for new windows – Once there is an inquiry, a professional sales person is sent to “close” a sale. This is a skilled and highly paid professional. But even harder and more high-paying is the non-response selling of a new product or service. Getting an appointment on a new product (generating leads) is a chore in itself.

Secondly, sales of perceived value are lower in close rates than media response leads, but the control of the number of responses and sales is much greater. You are not dependent upon as many exterior conditions being favorable (seasons, inflation, etc.).

Mail order also falls into this last category. To be “good” at marketing any one of the above levels does not necessarily mean much with the other categories. Do you have inexpensive “passive” promotions? If you are selling an unknown product or service, are you describing what “problem” you are going to solve, or, how you are going to enhance their life from the status quo?

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Internet Traditional Marketing

The lives of people around us have been revolutionized by the internet, changing our business and marketing strategies. Marketing is not limited to internet marketing. There are other marketing avenues like print and digital marketing. Since each business is exclusive and requires unique plans, at the end of the day to remain profitable you should think of combining these three marketing mediums, by balancing their good and bad elements.

Internet Marketing:

On the internet, marketing through search engine has been proved to be inexpensive, when compared to the traditional print marketing or direct mail marketing. If your website finds a place in the main page of search engines you are likely to be assured of increased web traffic. Thus by optimizing search engines, through keywords you can generate traffic, build links and turn partly this traffic into customer base. Remember, a person searching through keywords is a potential customer. This driving of traffic towards your website is the best part of internet marketing, but the bad part is that all the traffic doesn’t mean buyers. It remains in your strategy how to hold and turn this traffic at least partly into your clientele.

Traditional Marketing

Print media which has been the backbone of US marketing and economy for long time has been gradually taken over by the internet marketing. Postal departments in US have been reporting loss of revenue in recent years, as people move from mailing to electronic communication. Moreover in the traditional print marketing, there are costs involved like paper, envelopes, postages etc., which is certainly much more than that of internet.. In the traditional marketing sphere, there are some things which continue to attract us, which are being utilized by the traditional marketing people. The tussle between traditional and internet marketing isn’t limited to the cost factor, even as some people still find direct mailing is a better option. Everyone to his/her own choice!

It is here that the role of digital marketing comes in. How about combining the strengths of internet and print media? For example, let us assume a business with merely three sectors of marketing, selling its products to females in the age group of 20-30; families with two or more kids; and to senior citizens. Now each sector acts differently. In the print media marketing, it would be difficult for a small company to reach these three groups with three different types of marketing strategies. If you treat them equally, without targeting the individual sectors, you may be losing your customer base. Imagine what happens if a female receives a direct mail communication offering a discount on a senior’s diaper! But the digital print marketing has got over this hurdle to a great extent by developing ability to provide for specific groups individually in their marketing literature. Yet, it remains expensive.

When asked which indeed the best marketing medium is, you should say a good mixture of all these mediums is the best. Such a combination should form part of our marketing plans. Considering we are catering to different groups, you should plan your marketing strategy accordingly. If your business is wholly localized, you may not need internet marketing at all, because you are not interested in world market. Instead you will do well to build you local base through print media like direct mailing. But if you expand into a retailer of goods, you can opt for internet marketing, which will then become inexpensive. But you would by now know that whatever the marketing media you choose, the strategies remain the same. You can build clientele only by getting people to visit your facility, whether it is a website or a localized outlet.

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Using Database Marketing for Better Direct Mail

From a consumer point of view, the amount of data companies can retrieve on a person can be frightening. From a marketers’ point of view, it’s amazing. Now as never before, you have an incredible wealth of information you can use to make your marketing truly personal for each and every customer. And it’s probably easier than you think.

Let’s take the example of auto refinancing. It’s a hot, growing industry right now and direct mail is a popular way of getting attention. But how can you make your piece stand out? One great way is to put a picture of the recipients’ own car directly on your direct mailer. All right, maybe it’s not exactly their vehicle sitting in their driveway, but working with a car dealership or even records from the DMV, it’s easy to determine what make and model they’re cruising in. Add in a picture library and a glorified mail merge, and suddenly you’ve got a piece that will stop people in their tracks. It shows that you don’t just market to people like them, you’re speaking directly to them and understand the challenges they’re going through. It shows you cared enough to find what they drove. It shows you have what it takes to get the job done.

As a marketer, the real challenge isn’t getting the data. The real challenge is determining what data is most important to your customers and delivering it to them in a way that’s helpful, powerful but not creepy. The questions you must ask yourself are, “how can I quickly show people I care about them? How can I show that I have a unique handle on their needs and the resource to help them?” Once you’ve figured that out, then go about finding the right databases and purchased marketing sources that’ll let you find that information.

Remember, whenever possible, you should include a photo or other image, the more personalized, the better. For instance, if you’re selling mortgage modifications or home refinancing, you can get access to Google Street View images of the home in question so their house is right there. If a customer has made a major purchase from you in the past, include a picture of the latest and greatest model of that particular item to show you remember what they bought and want to help them make it even better. It’s about taking small steps that make a big difference.

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7 Top Benefits of a Direct Marketing Franchise

Looking for a business to business franchise opportunity that provides multiple revenue streams and monthly repeat business potential? A direct marketing franchise, combined with your previous sales and general business experience and your passion for building business relationships within your local community, puts you at the helm of your own marketing consulting empire.

As a franchisee, you work with local business owners in developing cost-effective, customized marketing solutions that helps your client grow their business. You’ll assist your client in creating top-notch offers that will drive targeted traffic to his location. At the same time, you provide your clients with the valuable, effective tools that will maximize the return on their advertising investment. 

An attractive feature of a direct marketing franchise is the fact that you, the franchisee, are provided with all of the necessary ingredients to operate a thriving business, including the design, creation, and printing of the marketing pieces and coupons. Some franchisors furnish you with exclusive ad-building software, allowing you to create custom ads right on your laptop. So, no, you don’t need to be an artist to succeed. 

Several direct marketing franchises are well-known for their fantastic training and support which they provide.  They typically start with an intensive one to two weeks initial training at the company’s headquarters.  Then, you’ll be provided further “in the field” training at your location by a member of the franchisor’s training department, along with ongoing support via intranet and teleconferencing.

Here are some of the key benefits of partnering with a direct marketing franchise business:

Low initial investment and fast start-up. You can be in business for under 40k.

Home Based. No need for a brick and mortar location, as a home office works perfectly. This saves you tens of thousands of dollars. 

Flexible lifestyle. As a B2B franchisee, you’ll be working traditional business hours, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. 

Assistance in generating clients. You’re provided with highly effective lead generation techniques and appointment-setting strategies by the franchisor.

Relationship-driven business. Not only will you enjoy the prestige that comes with building business relationships, you’ll generate even more business from the referrals you’ll receive from your satisfied clients. Free leads!

Multiple income streams. Ability to offer a wide variety of marketing solutions to your clients that are tailor made for their unique business challenges.

Repeat business.  Once you demonstrate the effectiveness that your advertising and marketing strategies have had on their bottom line, your clients will naturally be calling on you for additional campaigns.

Direct marketing franchises are a very necessary business type.  All businesses that want to profit and thrive need guidance with cost-effective, successful marketing strategies.  Truthfully, most business owners are more than willing to invest in an expert that can show them how to bring in new customers and grows the business.  

Contact me and we’ll talk about specific franchise opportunities that fit your background and interests.

Register for your Free Franchise Consultation.  The Franchising Authority will help you find your perfect franchise!

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How To Simplify Your Business With Direct Email Marketing Software

Email marketing is in demand these days. People use this essential marketing tool proficiently to promote their business or products. Furthermore, email marketing services could be used to retain your customers and attract new ones. If you have just started your business even then you need to add e-mail marketing tool in your tool kit to promote your business and products to get sales leads.

On the other hand, sending mass email could be a problem if you do not use direct email advertising software. If you are using free web-based email accounts to run your promotional campaign then just think how many efforts you need to put in to send customized emails to your target customers. And, if you use “send to various” option or you send e-mails to your mailing lists then there are many chances that your customer either does not unfold your mail or the server of internet service provider blacklist your email address.

Therefore, to run an email campaign successfully, you must use professional email marketing services or direct email marketing software. There are different mass email software companies available in market on the internet. Even some websites permit you to send mass e-mails via their gateway and some of them facilitate you to send your emails or run e-mail marketing campaign through your desktop and even from your personal website gateway.

However, due to improved security by the ISPs many emails do not pass through their email filters and, hence end up in junk folders. In this type of case your marketing campaign can just go waste. You spend a lot of money on running your campaign and in return you will get nothing. To avoid these conditions, you should only pay money for trusted and reputed e-mail software.

So, here are the points to remember before selecting direct email marketing software:

1. Only get software from a reputed email marketing company because your campaign is a very necessary investment to carry you tremendous sales leads and therefore, you must not compromise on the marketing software. It must give you easy to use interface to manage your customer’s contact details, mailing list, automatic and customized replies to the e-mail queries. Buying this kind software is definitely a better investment.

2. Use personalized e-mailing services because some businesses use collective or reseller versions of these services to save the charges acquired. No doubt this type of service offer you economic email advertising medium, but they produce a negative effect on your intended audience. So, you must purchase independent email software for successful results and full control.

3. Use highly developed software according to your needs because there is a lot of software available in market, but you should perform some research and buy the one that matches to your needs. Advanced software permits you to articulate email campaigns and different information program. They work the best to personalize your campaigns for your customers and target audience.

Therefore, using services of reputable email marketing company for sending emails, it is likely to run an efficient marketing campaign through the online resource of communication. Start-up businesses which have no reputation in the market should make use of this service. Email service will help them accomplish a larger part of the demographics, so that they are able to generate awareness about their product or services in the brains of the customers.

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Six Factors That Determine Direct Marketing Success

In real estate they say the three most important factors contributing to success are location, location and location… but you’ll agree that location is meaningless if the price is too high… and appropriate price may be meaningless if mortgage rates are not favorable… if zoning is wrong… if occupancy is questionable…

As you can see, success in business is dependent upon numerous and different forces coming together at the same time. It’s not enough to have one or more factors working for you… the slightest overlooked detail can make the difference between success and failure.

This is true in every business… multiple conditions need to exist simultaneously in order to make a “deal” right… If any one of those conditions don’t work, the entire deal can blow up… In Direct Marketing, there are six key general factors that determine the probability of success. Your individual situation may require more than the six basics… and only you can determine what those additional factors may be… but two thing are certain…

1. Without these six factors all working for you simultaneously, the odds of success are severely threatened, although marginal success is possible.

2. With these six factors all working for you simultaneously, the success achieved will be greater.

If you try to boil it down to a single sentence try this one on for size… Offer the right products (or services), through the right media while using the strongest unique selling propositions within an environment that is proven to be most conducive to prospect involvement as measured by test results.

How’s that for a turn off. It’s enough to make many novice and even some experienced marketers throw their hands up in disgust and walk away from the entire premise.

But if we break it down step-by-step you’ll find that “eating this elephant” can effectively and efficiently be achieved… one bite at a time.

1. The Right Products (or Services) – NO business can survive without the right product (or service). Years ago it was not uncommon to find the sale of product using mail, space, broadcast or the web was to “dump” overruns, close-outs, “last years” items, “off-brand” products that never made it to traditional retail… but today direct marketers offer quality products at fair value. Clearly there are those who are dumping closeouts… but today they make it very clear… even use it as a “Unique Selling Proposition”.

2. The Right Media – Some experts say half the success of a direct mail promotion is based on the list used. The same is true of the list used to entice traffic to a web page, or the list that results from the enticement copy used in click through ads… for that matter, the publications that house the ads, whether they be magazines or newspapers or the stations used in broadcast… coupled with the time of day (or night) the ads are run.

3. The Strongest Unique Selling Proposition – Nothing is more important to the success of a direct marketing promotion than the offer and the offer must be housed within a Unique Selling Proposition. You can have the right product (or service), the right vehicle to distribute the offer, but without the right Unique Selling Proposition (offer), you’ve got to overcome the natural skepticism that every prospect has. Remember, your approach to them is an interruption, an assault on what they where doing when they became enticed by your solicitation.

4. The Environment Proven To Be The Most Conducive To Prospect Involvement – This is the style used to deliver your Unique Selling Proposition. There’s no limit to what you can do. In direct mail, for example, you can send everything from a postcard to a DVD… a four page letter to a 32 page (or larger) tabloid that looks like a newspaper or magazine… in broadcast you can deliver your USP within a shopping channel, a 30 second spot… even a one hour infomercial… and on the web, well, you can have a simple landing page with short copy… long copy, a mixture of copy, slides and voice… a complimenting or free standing video presentation… even a live “chat” with an agent to help walk the prospect through the last steps in the sale.

5. The Test – With all the variables the chance of doing the wrong thing is more likely than doing the right thing. While you may rule out many of the variables due to your own thoughts, budget limitations, time factors or any other reason you can come up with, measured tests are what will lead you in the right and most profitable direction. In direct mail you can scientifically test headlines, USP, format, lists and so on. In print, regional ads give you the ability to test an audience without having to pay for the entire circulation… and you can test one ad against another in different segments of the same circulation. Newspapers give you the ability to run different ads in different parts of the country at the same time to see which format, USP, Headline, etc. is best. And, with different landing pages set up to alternate feeds from the same click through ads, you can tell pretty fast what combinations works best.

6. Test Analysis – It all comes together with the analysis of results achieved. Direct Marketers don’t look for “long term results”… they need to live long enough for those long term results and an ad that doesn’t pay it’s own way is tantamount to a slow, lingering and expensive death. The interpretation of the test results is crucial since misinterpretation will result in the wrong conclusions. An ad needs to pay for itself. If it breaks even you’ve got something to work with, to try further testing, to adjust several of the components discussed earlier and try again. If it doesn’t pay for itself you want to know what was wrong, you want to learn from the ads that lose money… to avoid making the same mistake again.

Once these six factors are tested and understood, you’ll come up with the single most effective ad… and you’ll have a mathematical formula that tells you for every dollar you put in you’ll get back that dollar plus a specified amount… Some think that’s it… but that’s just the beginning!

Because now you’ve got your “Control” ad… Now you can “roll-out’, now you can justify use of more expensive media… larger mailings, higher circulation, more click through ads… although you need to constantly watch and analyze the results of each of your efforts with the Control… and cut your advertising as soon as you see declines to the point of break even… but now you’re ready to Challenge the Control… which means you develop a new ad… test it in the same manner you tested to achieve your Control… your objective is… Beat The Control. If you don’t beat the control, you’ve got an ad that may generate massive results for years to come… and if you do, the money comes in faster than you can count it!

The process is a discipline and the discipline never stops. Test, adjust, test some more, establish a Control, Challenge the Control and never, never rest on your laurels.

At this point some advisers may say “Good Luck, My Friend”… but if you follow these disciplines, luck will have nothing to do with it.

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A Short Course on the Strategy of Direct Mail

In direct mail marketing there’s a major difference between strategy and tactics. Yet most people don’t take the time to consider the difference. Unfortunately, when they allow both to mean essentially the same, these companies not only fail to hit the target, but they harm their mission. This holds true whether one is talking about business in general, or direct mail. The mission today is to focus on direct mail strategy. So here goes…

There are four basic concepts or definitions to consider: goals, objectives, strategy, and tactics. Let’s take a close look at each.

Goals And Objectives

When people think about a goal, they think about winning. So, the goal is that place toward which players of a game try to advance in order to score points. The goal is the destination where something (such as a journey or race) ends. It’s that far off, distant prize. Even if you can’t yet see it, you can picture it in your mind’s eye. And you have the resolve to get there, no matter what. So, think about a goal as a destination, an end, a mission, a purpose, or a target. The goal is what a plan is intended to help you achieve.

When professional direct mail organizations work with clients, they often find it helpful to separate goals and objectives. The goal is the big mission; the objectives are the steps along the way that are necessary (if not imperative) in order to reach the bigger goal. In a military sense, you can think about the ultimate goal as winning the war. Then, think about objectives as individual skirmishes and battles along the way that take you step by step to your goal.

In a business sense, your goal may be to reach $2 billion in sales. You obviously can’t do this in a single step. So, you look at more manageable objectives, such as opening more stores, creating an online store, merging with a smaller player in the industry. When goals and objectives are quantifiable or measurable, you can reach them more easily than when they are not. To be the “best” or “most convenient” can’t be measured. You can, however, reach $2 billion in sales, open nine more stores, be online with the new website by October 1st, and so on.

Strategy

Strategy is the overall master plan to help you reach your ultimate goal. It is an elaborate and systematic plan of action. To borrow from military science once again, it deals with the overall planning and conduct of a war. So strategy is the action, approach, blueprint, grand design, method, plan, program, slant, story, or system that you put in place and that allows you to reach your ultimate goal.

Let’s say you have your goal. You have looked at the numbers. You know what objectives you need to achieve in order to attain your ultimate goal within a specific period of time. How will you accomplish this?

1. You will need a highly focused commitment to marketing.

2. You will need a massive campaign that dominates the industry and target market.

3. You will need consistent messages — a core story that identifies you and your unique selling proposition, and that positions you as head and shoulders above your competition.

4. You may also need a slogan that people can relate to and remember easily.

Avis “tried harder” for years. FedEx has always “been there when you absolutely, positively had to have it there overnight”. And Wal-Mart is “always slashing prices”. (And you thought slogans were just for fun?) These companies created a strategy to support their goal. And they stuck with their strategy. Just as a general can develop a strategy for fighting a war, the general knows that he must be able to change and adapt that strategy when conditions change. The key is that once you have your strategy developed, you stay with it.

Tactics

Tactics is another term borrowed from the military. A tactic is a road map or recipe for attaining a particular objective. When the foot soldiers are out on maneuvers, what the commander is saying is that he has specific activities that are necessary in order to advance toward the ultimate goal: to win the war, take the hill, hold the line, and so on. These maneuvers, or tactics, support the overall strategy for the war. But it is not the only activity that he will need or use. In fact, he will use many individual tactics to support his strategy.

So, from a marketing standpoint, tactics are those activities that you will employ at various times to support the marketing strategy and to communicate your core concept to your intended audience. Newspaper advertising, direct mail, television, radio, telemarketing, email, radio, yellow pages, coupons, trade shows, one-on-one selling, tie-in partners, and so on, are each marketing or advertising tactics. The key is that the tactics you choose must always support the strategy.

The problem comes when people separate tactics from strategy. Tactics that are casual, unplanned, shoot-from-the-hip activities — although worthy in and of themselves – may not support a comprehensive, fully focused marketing strategy. And each and every message that appears must convey the primary strategy. When the salesperson from the local business directory runs into your store and says, “You need this. This is great!” before you say “Yes,” you must determine if this tactic supports your strategy. If everyone else in the directory is running discount coupons and you don’t sell on price, it doesn’t support your strategy. You don’t belong there.

Obviously every situation is different. But one thing is for sure: When it comes to effective direct mail planning and deployment, it is often easier to see your strategic and tactical opportunities when you have an experienced guide to lead you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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