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10 Step Direct Marketing Campaign

Stamped lettersI’ve been working on a direct marketing project for a client recently and though I might share with you the 10 core steps we took during this campaign.

As a quick introduction, the client was a professional services firm wanting to reach out to a business audience to generate leads / appointments for a referral building campaign.

Well, here goes.

The Planning Phase

1. Setting our objectives before we started helped us to shape the strategy and tactics behind the campaign. We decided what we wanted to achieve and what success would look like which included:

  • to increase awareness of the referral programme within target audience
  • to generate X appointments with key decision makers
  • to sign-up X new partners to the programme

 

2. The next step was to define our target audiences. As the campaign was fairly specific, we identified our target by geography, company type, company size and key decision maker.  These criteria enabled us to establish their potential value of the target audience and any specific needs and requirements, essential for us in the next step – defining the media selection.

3. When defining the campaign, we had in mind a direct mail piece as being the core piece of communication. However after more careful thought about our target market, we quickly updated not only the type of direct mailer (content, format and messaging) but also the need to support the mailing with a telemarketing piece. This step was therefore about refining the format of the campaign media.

4. Once we had defined the objectives, target audience, the media selection, we moved on to timing. When would be a good time to send the mailer and when would be good to follow-up with the telemarketing.

After careful consideration, we opted to ensure the mailer or telephone calls were not received on a Monday or a Friday and all calls would not be made first thing in the morning, when our target audience is at it’s busiest. We also considered time of the year and decided to act before we hit August, the key holiday period.

Buying the Data

5. With all of the planning out of the way, it was time to acquire some data. I wanted to run a sample to test our creative and messaging before buying any data. This helped us to better refine our buying requirements, for example through clearly identifying who the core decision makers would be. As such we compiled a short data list through our own research, generating a 10% sample size.

6. Following this test we were in a good position to buy data that accurately reflected our target audience. For some guidance on buying data, I refer you to an excellent book called ‘The B2B Handbook, A Guide to achieving success in business-to-business direct marketing’.

Produced in association with the Direct Marketing Association and various professional consultancies, its guidelines include:

  • remember all charges when calculating a cost per thousand – watch out for those extra charges some data list providers add on top
  • check the recency of the data you are buying – did you know that some data lists decay at a rate of 40% each year. As such, check with the list provider how recent the data is and ensure you receive the most recent data – otherwise you may well be wasting your money
  • negotiate usage in advance – make sure if you plan on multiple contacts with your list that  you pay upfront as it can be costly if you want to buy re-use of the data – data is bought in single or multi use rates.

 

For more ideas, I strongly recommend buying the book – ‘The B2B Handbook, A Guide to achieving success in business-to-business direct marketing’.

Of course there are plenty of options for acquiring data, from in-house (i.e. your own data), to custom research (as we conducted for the test) to list brokers and data owners. Each offers it’s own advantages and disadvantages, which you ought to consider carefully before proceeding.

Executing the Campaign

7. The test campaign enabled us to identify the core messages that worked well with the mailer and the telemarketing campaign. We know as we asked for feedback from our sample as to why they did or didn’t respond. We then applied these lessons directly to the main campaign, refining our direct mail piece to a personalised letter with clear product examples. Again, for some guidance on how to structure the content of your creative, I would refer you to ‘The B2B Handbook, A Guide to achieving success in business-to-business direct marketing’.

8. We decided to fulfil the mailer and telemarketing in-house in order to save on the costs. The mailer was personalised and each one signed in ink by a company director to add the additional touch. The telemarketing was handled by the marketing department to ensure the follow-up was appropriately managed and sales scripts followed (although with callers able to be flexible as required). There are of course plenty of high quality agencies that can fulfil on both of these counts.

9. Along with running the campaign, we planned the resources required to enable effective follow-up. This included providing resources online for target decision makers to acquire additional information, training incoming call staff on how to deal with enquiries, setting up the database to be properly updated and more. This alignment ensured we were able to manage responses to the mailer and telemarketing.

The Aftermath

10. The final step of the campaign was to analyse how well we had performed. We of course looked at the response we had generated, but also what the cost per acquisition was. This is useful for comparing the campaign to other marketing tactics.

We also looked for patterns in the response rates, considering what company sizes responded better, which decision makers carried the most weight, whether any of the geographies we targeted offered a better success rate. All of which will be helpful for our next campaign. Overall it was a very successful campaign and even where we didn’t receive a positive result we learned a few lessons for next time around.

Now I know this isn’t a perfect example of a direct marketing campaign, but for small companies, it might give you a few ideas and some structure to work with. As ever I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to tell our readers about a recent direct marketing campaign – successful or not.

  • http://www.synergyconnections.co.uk Synergy Connections – UK Telemarketing

    One thing I have found with most marketing campaigns, both B2B and B2C, is very long lead times between the campaign and being able to analyse the results and ROI. With advertising, mailshots and even more immediate marketing like telemarketing, it can be months before all the outcomes have been generated.

    There are also the leads that cool off – were originally interested, but do not turn into a sale. Some of these can turn into sales years down the line if you keep in touch.

  • http://www.gatewaybizdev.com Jason Bahnak

    Great post. Two thoughts/comments:
    1. Another option to buying a list is building one via a prospecting campaign. The logic is that most of the time, even a “quality” purchased list contains 25-40% “bad data”, as these days contacts and companies change quickly. A sure-fire way to ensure you’ve got a list of quality prospects is to contact each company and identify the decision maker. This takes a bit of time and effort, but can dramatically increase results.
    2. I can’t stress enough the importance of your point # 9, follow-up. If you don’t follow up, you might as well not have launched the campaign in the first place. There are hundreds of reasons someone wouldn’t respond to a mail piece or email…so follow up to ensure they got your message, and to get the conversation moving forward.

    Thanks!

    -Jason

  • http://www.virtualedge.org Aditya

    Nice information in there. I can certainly use it in my next marketing campaign.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.salespeople.co.za/ Sally @ Sales People

    Once again a great post I have booked mark you so that I can keep on coming back as the information is really helpful thanks

  • http://www.maverick-telemarketing.co.uk Telemarketing

    Great article! Getting to market is difficult enough, but with the right guides like this is really helpful. Thanks!

  • http://www.spreadingyourknowledge.com almir

    i enjoyed reading your list of the 10 step approach it was great especially on the topic of direct marketing which by far is the hardest thing to do. But your advice has clearly shed some light on the topic and have truly been helpful as i now know how to prepare for something like this.

  • http://www.adaidm.com/general/logodesign.htm ADAIDM

    I have found that for a dental practice, dental direct mail is quite effective in finding new patients. It is one industry that is proven to benefit from this form of advertisement. It is cost effective, as well, always an important consideration in today’s economy.

  • http://www.everestcomputers.co.uk/blog/ Wireless Network Setup Guy

    Being a programmer and thinking as one, I would make a little adjustment in the linear Direct Marketing Campaign algorithm. The step 7 is a test campaign, so its outcome could be positive as well as negative. If it’s positive, then everything’s fine and we go ahead with steps 8, 9 and 10. But if it’s negative, then we’d need to review what we did wrong in steps from 1 to 6 and revise the campaign strategy.

  • http://www.melissadata.com Data Quality

    Wow! School is in session, excellent post learned so much from reading this, I even printed it out to use for future reference. Fantastic information and very well organized. Based on this post, I’m sure your client liked the work you did on their specific project.

  • http://www.yinga-vital.de Magnet Schmuck

    These are good guidelines, and i must say, it can also be used to other business campaigns besides generating leads/appointment setiing. This would be very helpful most especially to businesses who are just starting out.

  • http://www.abhinavgulyani.com Abhinav Gulyani

    great article, can you let me know what are the next steps further to this?

    how can we take this more further into extending the means of marketing?

  • http://www.nvamarketing.com Nicholl Virtual Assistance

    Thank you very much for sharing with us the information about direct marketing strategy. I believe direct marketing to be the absolute most important in marketing and advertising campaigns. If you don’t know who you are directly going to influence then what’s the point of trying to sell a product? A lot of marketers and new businesses fail to realize the importance of reviewing and analyzing data from a campaign. Some try one method and move to the next. But it takes tweaking to perfect a successful marketing campaign. Thanks again and I enjoy your blog!

  • http://www.moneymanager.com/457b Certified Financial Advisor

    Planning phase is very important.. this is where you build a future strong business.

    Those tips are good resources, thanks bookmarked it for future reference.

  • http://www.promoproductsolutions.com Vincent Torres

    Wow, I never knew that 10 Step Direct Marketing Campaign. That’s pretty interesting…

  • http://www.directmail-mbi.com/direct-mail-company.html Direct Mail Company

    The concept of advertisement and promotion is changing day by day. I think direct mail campaign is the latest concept in this field. Direct mail campaign are important for small business.

  • http://www.intensetitanium.com Titanium Jewellery

    Hi,

    woh!! very nice to mentioned such kind of tips here.It will help all of SEO guys to
    maintaining their sites as well.

    Regards
    Gopal

  • http://www.melissadata.com Consumer Mailing Lists

    Thanks for the refreshing read. Some well thought points were made. I’ll be passing the word along about your blog.

  • http://www.evancarmichael.com/Franchises/708/Wealth-By-Chance-by-Roger-Hamilton.html XL Roger Hamilton

    Wow this is an informative post. Thanks for the clear steps and useful information.

  • http://www.iunlockiphone3g.com unlock iphone

    Invisalign – I am in the 2%-5% range with this campaign, which is actually not bad for direct marketing. I find the results from the smaller, more targeted and personally researched data is often better. For larger clienbts we work on conversion at a much lower rate than 5%.

  • http://www.leadsexplorer.com Engago Team

    Good blog post.
    Instead of buying contact data, why not address only those companies that have visited your website?
    These companies are already interested, thus a higher chance of success with your mailing.

  • http://www.trollbeads-and-more.de Nicole Weeverink

    When defining the campaign, we had in mind a direct mail piece as being the core piece of communication. However after more careful thought about our target market, we quickly updated not only the type of direct mailer (content, format and messaging) but also the need to support the mailing with a telemarketing piece.

  • http://www.buyadidas.net Adidas

    Good work mate …Mostly When u provides quality business then u will get quality visitors they weapon behind this is Word of mouth …

    Good work

  • http://www.joomlarevolution.org Jim Becker

    There was a lot of good information in there. I can definitely use some of this in my next photography campaign.

  • http://www.joomlarevolution.org Jim Becker

    this are pretty good ideas…realistic and quite worth it…

  • http://www.joomlarevolution.org Jim Becker

    Great information and very detailed useful tools that I will also utilize on one of my campaigns.

  • http://www.amphasisdesign.com Kit Kat

    Yes agree analysis the return for investment is very difficult or i always wonder if it is worth the while or not.

  • http://getalltips.com Abhinav

    Its the analysis part, which is the difficult for me…How can i do analysis of results of my campaign….

  • http://www.adwords-advice.co.uk AdWords Agency

    There was a lot of good information in there. I can definitely use some of this in my next photography campaign.

  • http://www.vldpersonals.com dating script

    I find the results from the smaller, more targeted and personally researched data is often better.

  • http://www.myclairvoyant.net/ Clairvoyant

    Like others, I have had some horror stories with data brokers and I came round the opinion that it is better to gather the information I needed myself.

    Great blog!

  • http://catsaspet.com/Cat-Diseases.html Cat Diseases

    Great article. I visited in this blog and i read this article. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://www.aom3.org MP3sale

    Your post will help me a lot in the preparation process! Thanks.

  • http://www.marketingblagger.com Andy

    Hi all, I’m pleased so many of you found the post useful. Some answers to the questions then:

    Tina – I’m still evaluating the data supplier I have used and want to do so over several campaigns. As such I won’t give the name just yet.

    Invisalign – I am in the 2%-5% range with this campaign, which is actually not bad for direct marketing. I find the results from the smaller, more targeted and personally researched data is often better. For larger clienbts we work on conversion at a much lower rate than 5%.

    Green Kakapo – in terms of timeline, from concept initialisation, to data acquisition, testing and follow-up, this was completed in a little over 6 weeks.

    Andy

  • http://www.internetreadycash.com Internet Based Business Opportunity

    This is some great info. I have thought and considered some before but never implemented them before. I will now start to contribute the way needed.

    Thanks,
    Matt Belock

  • http://www.greenkakapo.com GreenKakapo

    Great post and I especially like the detailed information. The only thing missing is some sort of timeline.

    Thanks for posting,
    Mark

  • http://www.hummerh2.com/ Hummer H2

    Great information and very detailed useful tools that I will also utilize on one of my campaigns. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.bra-hotell.com Bo billigt

    Wow, that is one very extensive and good post. I’m working for a company that traditionally only have worked with net marketing, but planning on doing some “offline” campaigns soon (tech reverse!).

    Anyway, big thanks for the detailed explanation of the campaign, much appreciated!

  • http://www.envirosystemsllc.com A dust collecting fool

    You had a through and focused game plan.The tools you recommend to help the rest of us are going to be extremely useful.

  • http://www.spam-filters.stbernard.com Spam Filters & Anti Spam Filters

    These are wonderful steps. So many marketing campaigns lack organization, and planning. I’ve noticed that new business especially use very old techniques and rely on “word-of-mouth” advertising and their “secret weapon”.

    Thanks for posting!

    -Jolene

  • http://www.getitforfree.info iphone

    Thanks for this information you mentioned here, It’s very useful. You’ve done great work. Cheers ;)

  • http://www.bestsampleresume.com Sample Resume

    Great information and very detailed useful tools that one can use in campaigns.

  • http://www.thailandsworld.com/ James Andrew

    This post has lots of useful information and tips about direct marketing and I learned a lot from it. I’m sure those tips works well.

  • http://www.vexdeals.com comparison shopper

    Looks like this might be useful to me right now as I’m about to engage on a campaign to drive some leads to my new shopping businesses.

    Any tips on data/lead sources?

  • http://www.antibraces.com Invisalign

    Like Tina, I have had some horror stories with data brokers. I have found it is better to go gather the information myself. My target markets are small though.

    With some direct mailing I have done I see a small price per inquiry, but a small response rate as well. Do you mind me asking what your number was as far as sign ups? I am usually in the 2-5% range. I am not really happy with this.

    Your post will help me a lot in the preparation process! thanks Andy!

  • http://getinternetmarketingstrategies.com/ JR @ Internet Marketing Strategies

    Great information and very detailed useful tools that I will also utilize on one of my campaigns.
    Thanks,
    JR

  • http://www.bouncerland.com/ salman

    That was soo well compiled. How much do you charge your clients for such projects becuase you really work hard to market their products :)

  • http://www.dukasi.de Bernhard

    Occasionally I look here by and read the interesting and well written contributions. Today I would like to leave gladly a greeting from Thuringia in Germany!

  • http://www.a-a-photography.com andy

    There was a lot of good information in there. I can definitely use some of this in my next photography campaign.

  • http://video.yahoo.com/watch/1300604/5746411 Tina

    That’s a nice post on direct mail Andy.

    If you don’t mind me asking, where did you purchase your leads from? I’ve had horrible results with some data brokers.

  • http://marketing.postedpost.com/ Direct Marketing

    You also have the option of requesting and electing that we not share your personal information with any third parties for direct marketing purposes. Direct Marketing