Cuts in marketing budget? Find out what you should be spending time and money on to get more response
When organisations are faced with having to make cuts to their expenditure spend, quite often one of the first things to get the chop is the 'marketing budget'. Rather than being seen as an important income generator it's seen as a cost, and just as our counterparts in the commercial sector were faced with having to do more with less in the last two years, now our marketing will have to work much, much harder, and achieve a better ROI than perhaps in years previous.
The main feature and indeed benefit of direct marketing is that it is about getting a response. It is an interaction, a continous dialogue between you and your customer or supporter.
So what should we be concentrating our efforts on?
The well documented hierarchy of factors that have an impact on your reponse rates are:
|Possible lift on response|
|The list (target market)||x 6|
|The offer||x 3|
|Timing (in relation to the customers needs)||x 2|
|The creative (the copy)||x 1.35|
|Response Mechanism||x 0.5|
So as you can see from above as important as good copy-writing is, if you are not sending the right offer to the right person, at the right time, in the right channel then it won't matter if you have the master himself Drayton Bird writing your copy, the chances are you will not get the response you are after.
The list /data is the most important factor as to whether you will receive a good response to your 'ask'.
The importance of clean, correct data
Therefore the most important (and often the most neglected) factor to success in direct marketing is to concentrate our efforts on our lists and target market. Who is most likely to be interested in not only buying from us once, but to buy from us again and again? As it's this long term relationship with a customer/supporter we should be striving for. And once started, like any relationship we need to work hard on maintaining it – which all comes to down to the data we hold, and how we use it. If a customer has given you their precious personal data then use it. There is nothing worse than receiving a mailing from an organisation you have a relationship with, and being addressed as ' Dear member' or 'Dear valued supporter'.
Research by TGI/Royal Mail earlier this year found that 50% of people would not open a piece of direct mail addressed 'Dear Occupier' and 33% of people would not open a mailing if their name was spelt wrong. 33%! Add to this the 5-10% of gone aways and before the respondent has got to even opening your letter you have narrowed down your market to 50% of the people that you sent it to. Which also means 50% of your marketing spend has just been thrown the drain.
If you are marketing to people at work (B2B) then keeping your data up-to-date is even harder, with an estimate that one fifth of this data decays each year. Email accounts close, or just become ghost accounts. Direct mail pieces head straight to the bin as 'Steve in IT' left five years ago. Moreover if you have large email lists and keep sending emails to these closed accounts, or get a high number of bounce backs you could be black-listed as a spammer by Internet service providers.
When you think of it like this, then spending time collecting, validating, cleaning, and de-duping your data is money and time well spent – but do YOU do it?
Other related blog posts:
How integrating your marketing will lift response to your acquisition campaigns
New to writing copy? Seven top tips to guarantee responses to your direct marketing.
How to write email subject lines and tweets that work
Discover how earning trust and building your reputation is the new 'online' currency.
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Claire Rollinson, former Enterprise Manager, discusses all things marketing.