The five most important factors that you have to worry about when creating a direct marketing campaign are, in order of importance, target, offer, format, creative and timing.
1. Targeting. Targeting is about 7 times as important as other factors in a direct marketing campaign. The “who” is the most important aspect of creating and launching a successful direct marketing campaign. Locating and targeting the right prospects in the right way is absolutely critical. Sometimes, we as marketers spend more time worrying about the product than we do about the audience and this is absolutely backwards. The consumer, the prospective buyer or responder is number 1 and the more you know about the “who” the more likely your promotion is going to produce the desired results.
2. Offer. The Offer is about 2.5 times as important in a direct marketing campaign. The Offer is the whole proposition and incentives that you offer to generate a response. The Offer is made up of your product/service, your pricing strategy, your service and support proposition and any incentives you might include to get the reader/viewer to respond or buy.
3. Format. The Format is about 1.5 times as important in a direct marketing campaign. Format includes the medium and the physical shape, size, etc., of your advertisement. Choosing the right format is dependent upon a lot of factors including who you are trying to reach, what media are likely to be the best to reach them, and what media are going to allow you to present your message most effectively. Once you’ve selected the appropriate medium, you then have to select the appropriate physical characteristics. If mail, it is going to be a brochure in a number 10 envelope with a letter and BRC or a self-mailer or large format flat or dimensional mailing. The format is affected by cost factors as well. What can you afford to spend on the format and achieve your breakeven or desired financial results?
4. Creative. Creative is about 1.35 times as important in a direct marketing campaign. These are the words, pictures…the bits people tend to get excited about. In direct response advertising, the words are the most important part of the creative. Copy is first whether it’s in print or spoken words. The design, including pictures, is there to support the copy.
5. Timing. Timing is important, but is the last on the list of a direct marketing campaign. It varies from market to market. It can also vary from industry to industry and product to product. When do you mail, when do you launch your broadcast campaign can depend on both internal and external factors. For example, there are better times of year to mail certain types of B2C and B2B campaigns. Factors such as elections can impact the results of a mailing. As a rule, you never want to mail into an election. Email messages may do better at certain times of day or the week depending on the audience and the offer. There are some industry norms for launching direct response advertising campaigns depending on the medium, but in all cases it is best to test to find the best times to launch these activities.
Even though these factors are axiomatic for direct marketing, all successful marketing campaigns should consider and address these factors, because they are just as important for all campaign types.