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Archive for January, 2005

Why Ad Agencies Can’t Sell

January 5th, 2005 by Bob Bly

My good friend Rich Armstrong, one of the top freelance DM copywriters in the country, is no fan of big ad agencies and their creative approaches to direct marketing.

?I don?t think I?ve seen anything quite as frightening as the article in Direct, ?Hot Creatives,? in which a group of big agency creative directors were invited to sit around and talk about the state of the direct marketing business.?

Richard says that what made him tremble was:

1. Many of the folks just switched from general advertising a few years ago.

2. Direct response is a word-driven business, and a lot of the panelists were primarily art directors.

3. Only one of them seemed to know who the late, great Bill Jayme was.

4. Another of the panelists seriously talked about their plan to ?phase out the letter from direct mail packages.?

Richard concludes: ?Thank God most of the real direct marketing in this country continues to be done in-house by clients who have products to sell and the top freelance copywriters and artists they hire to help.?


Category: Direct Marketing | 32 Comments »

In Direct Marketing, Size Matters

January 3rd, 2005 by Bob Bly

Who knows more about marketing ? big marketers or small marketers?

The answer may surprise you, but in direct marketing, it?s the big clients, more often that not.

The simple reason: they mail millions of pieces of mail, compared to a SoHo that might mail only a few thousand pieces of mail a year.

Therefore, the large marketer is able to do more testing ? testing of mailing formats, teasers, copy, sales themes, lists, premiums, offers, terms, guarantees, and pricing.

These variables make a huge difference. For instance, the same DM piece sent to the best mailing list can generate up to 10 times the response you?d get mailing it to the worst list.

But here?s the thing ? you don?t know which is the best or worst list until you test.

The more testing you do, the more you learn about what works in the marketplace ? and the better your chances of lasting success.

How can a small marketer regain the edge?

I tell everyone who asks me for marketing advice, ?Look at what the major direct marketers are doing, and do what they do. They know more because they test more.?

Do more testing. Many small marketers don?t test, and they should.

Joseph Sugarman, famous for BluBlocker sunglasses, once said that he would typically test 10 new ads at a time.

Nine would be failures, but one would be a hit ? and that hit more than paid the cost of the other 9 test ads.

Testing is easier and faster online, which takes away your excuse for not doing it.

Did you know that in e-mail marketing A/B split tests, just changing the subject line has increased response 25% to 100% or more?

Or that in direct mail, you can double response by changing the outer envelope teaser and lead ? or even the format and design?

So what are you waiting for? Test it for yourself.


Category: Direct Marketing | 31 Comments »