By Simon Remington
Predicting if a direct marketing campaign will succeed or fail is a challenge to say the least. There are a large number of variables at play plus external forces which can help or hinder your result.
Knowing your target market is a crucial first step. Providing your list broker with a clear brief of the right target market will dramatically increase the chance of your campaign hitting a very suitable audience. A vague and ill conceived brief is a recipe for failure.
Successful campaigns always have a clear message as to how the recipient will benefit through taking up the offer. Make sure you put yourself in your prospect's shoes and tailor an offer that will make their life easier in some way or improve the profitability of their business (for business to business marketers).
A well presented mail piece, email, fax or sms or a polite phone call might sound like an obvious ingredient. The reality is there are a lot of companies using direct marketing who do not measure up in this department and can end up doing damage to their brand. People are giving you a moment of their time in reading your letter/email/fax/sms or taking your call, never lose sight of this.
A call to action is also often present with successful campaigns. This could be in the form of an early bird or time sensitive offer. However it is presented, giving an enticement to respond quickly will help reduce the likelihood of prospects who are actually interested never getting around to contacting you.
The other often overlooked ingredient with a successful campaign is prior testing. Companies who conduct large scale successful campaigns have generally been testing lists, target audiences, offers and design elements for many years. It's rare that a first time campaign is a stunning success, DM is a numbers game and a craft that is refined and improved upon over time.