The Direct Marketing Center presents:
Direct Response Articles
9 response-boosting forecasts for 2008!
1. The 2008 elections will generate the largest advertising blitz in American history
The 2008 election is the first time since 1928 that there won’t be an incumbent on the Presidential ballot. Both parties are vying for their candidate to win and they’re going to spend big to do it.
The result? Between the primaries and the November elections, the political arena will generate the largest ad expenditure in history.
This development is significant for the direct marketer. It’s essential that you plan your postal mailings and Internet campaigns to avoid getting lost in the election marketing maelstrom.
Stay out of the mail 30 days before the primary in any specific state. And later in the year, make sure you mail by August at the latest. Mailing in September and October virtually ensures you’ll be lost in the mailbox.
The same goes for your email campaigns, however, you have a little more leeway. Make sure you blast any email campaign or launch any Internet campaign by mid-September at the very latest.
If you’re thinking of a direct mail or Internet campaign and aren’t sure of the best way to attack in this crowded election year, call me at 310-212-5727. I’ve created successful campaigns through eight Presidential elections and I can help you maximize your profits and avoid wasting dollars.
2. Home shopping sales will increase in 2008 as consumers desire greater savings and shopping ease
With gas prices at incredible highs and the ease of ordering products and services online, home shopping is red hot. Consumers love not having to jump in the car and race to the mall, when delivery is cheap or in some cases, free.
If you haven’t experimented with catalogs, magalogs or tabalogs now is the time. While everyone knows what a catalog looks like, some marketers still haven’t experimented with the magalog and tabalog.
Typically 16 to 24 pages long, they feature one central article spotlighting the dramatic need for your product or service, along with several supporting sidebar articles. With great direct response copy, your prospects will be drawn into the article, giving you an excellent opportunity to make a full pitch for your product or service.
Take advantage of the red hot home shopping trend. Call me at 310-212-5727 and ask for a copy of my article “How to Get Amazing Direct Marketing Results with Magalogs!” It outlines how effective a strategic magalog campaign can be.
3. “Image” advertising will suffer this year as consumers tighten their belts, only purchasing items they are truly motivated to buy
With some economists worried about an economic slowdown in 2008, it will be essential that your ad and marketing copy drive your prospect to act. For this reason, using direct response copy and art will be critical in 2008.
To insure the sale, focus your messages with a clear USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and benefit-based, “you”—directed copy. Every ad needs to tell your prospects how you’ll make their lives better. If they’re swept up in effective direct response copy, your sales will soar…even in the face of a slower economy.
If your piece isn’t using copy and graphics which motivate your prospect to act (and act immediately) your piece may be instinctively tuned out, weeded out or simply ignored.
Review your current online and hard copy materials. Make sure you’re using solid direct response copy, not antimarketing copy written by editors and techies
Check out the Creative Direct Marketing Group website (www.cdmginc.com) for tips on crafting effective direct response copy. We have a library of copy tips that can help you double or triple your response
4. Viral marketing will no longer be a novelty, and it will take its place alongside traditional direct mail, email and broadcast advertising
The Simpsons Movie campaign and WillItBlend.com proved that viral marketing in all its forms can be a potent tool when part of a larger campaign. This year, expect more marketers to make their campaigns interactive and viral.
For example, last year The Simpsons Movie not only used traditional advertising, it temporarily transformed several 7-Elevens into Quik-E-Mart stores and launched a website where you can turn yourself into a Simpson (simpsonizeme.com). Both stunts got people talking, and to visit the sites and stores and built awareness. The website also collected email addresses for more marketing possibilities.
In 2008, smart marketers will engage prospects by pulling them in with a two-way marketing approach, rather than the usual one-way conduit.
Make sure your site has “Send to a Friend” or “Click to Forward” links on all of your pages and emails. You’ll quickly spread the word about your product and you’ll get a built-in “testimonial” to boot.
Check out FawnsSecretStock.com to see a viral video my agency created for a client. The video is now on over two dozen video sharing sites and increased the views of the video into the tens of thousands.
5. Retail advertisers will launch aggressive direct marketing campaigns to augment slowing in-store sales
2007 taught retailers that direct response advertising is an essential part of any successful campaign. In 2008, smart retailers will augment in-store sales with direct marketing sales.
For example, last year Black & Decker created several direct marketing campaigns, which allowed them to test and tailor national ad campaigns before a major in-store launch. The direct marketing campaigns allowed them to judge which products had the best potential for success as well as “pre-promoting” major in-store product launches.
This year you’ll see many retailers taking the same approach, cutting out the middleman and driving prospects to the Internet. Expect direct sales to dominate in 2008.
If you sell retail goods, experiment with different direct mail formats as part of a multichannel approach. From coupon postcards that drive prospects to the web, to catalogs and magalogs, experimenting with different mailing formats can dramatically increase your response. Try an oversized tabalog or 6x9 envelope mailer and stand out in the mailbox.
6. Marketing explosion: international direct marketing opportunities will multiply in 2008
India and China’s economic growth showed no signs of slowing in 2008. Last year, India’s GDP (gross domestic product) grew at an impressive 9.4% pace and China’s middle class is growing at a blistering rate, creating scores of households with high amounts of disposable income.
As emerging nations grow, their businesses grow. Limit your marketing prospects to stateside sales and you miss out on massive profit opportunities.
Recently, my agency took the stateside campaign for an investment service called VectorVest and adapted it for the German marketplace with tremendous results. If you’re only selling stateside, see if any of your products or services can be adapted for international sales. The profits could be immense.
An interesting note: international buyers tend to be more loyal than U.S. buyers. Once you’ve gained their business, it’s easier to keep them as customers. And remember, American products still set the gold standard worldwide.
English is understood in most of the world, but make sure your copy and shopping cart are applicable to both domestic and international prospects.
Some websites have small clickable flags that change the page language for different countries. If you decide to translate, make sure it’s done properly. Poorly translated pages will depress your response.
Do you have local contact numbers? International customers won’t be able to access your U.S. 1-800 lines. Make sure to have local telephone and fax numbers.
On a side note: although fax use has declined in the United States, faxing is still a widespread practice in much of the world. Make sure your fax lines are in operation 24/7.
Your email and websites should have SEO for international buyers. Remember to think about what terms your international prospect is searching for.
7. Consumers will respond to valued-added informational marketing like never before
A value-added approach in your marketing may be the difference between a sale and a toss in the garbage can (or a quick delete). In 2008, informational direct marketing is the vital key to outstanding response, as well as maintaining the interest of prospects and clients.
In a value-added approach, your prospect receives valuable information during the sale, and it positions you as the authority on a subject, building credibility in the eyes of your prospects. You’re now perfectly positioned to help them with your product or service.
On the web, the same principles apply. If your online copy is sales hype, you’ll be clicked into oblivion. Worse, you’ll actually be training your prospect to ignore you. This year, smart marketers will incorporate valuable information into every sales piece.
Check your email communications. Make each communication valuable by adding tips, strategies and advice. For example, a nutritional supplement company might include an article on “9 Health Tips for Busy Professionals” in their sales pieces.
8. Direct mail marketers will need to speak up in the face of increasing “do not mail” service threats
Congress is still threatening national “do-not-mail” lists to stifle direct marketers, but even more worrisome are several companies like GreenDimes and 41pounds.org who are launching consumer services to stop direct mail.
Direct mail marketers have always supported options like the DMA’s “opt-out” lists, but these new renegade companies seek to make a profit off of demonizing direct mail…even though a recent poll shows many consumers want the valuable coupons and offers they receive through direct mail.
Write your senators and congressman and tell them a “do-not-mail” list would cause massive job loss across a number of industries like paper manufacturers, printers, USPS workers and thousands of businesses across the country.
If you mail frequently to the same lists, consider a small “opt-out” passage at the end of your sales piece.
9. The USPS will finally be forced to release the monopoly of letter delivery to private carriers
This month the Federal Trade Commission ruled that the Postal Service’s legal status puts it at a competitive disadvantage. And that releasing the USPS monopoly would help cut costs in the organization and the country. They therefore suggested Congress should consider relaxing the USPS’s monopoly on mailboxes and mail delivery.
This is welcome news for direct marketers. If Congress follows the recommendations of the FTC, competition will lower costs and encourage innovation in the mail delivery field.
Every direct marketer should contact their senators and congressmen and urge them to follow the FTC’s recommendations to repeal the private express statute that prohibits postal competition. .
Also, postal rates are expected to climb in late spring. Do your testing and marginal mailings before the postal rate increase in late Spring 2008. If you need help getting in the mail faster, call me at 310-212-5727.
2008 looks like it will be a great year for direct marketers. If you’d like to explore new marketing opportunities, or are looking to boost your profits, give me a call at 1-310-212-5727 or email me at
Let’s talk about your business goals for the New Year. My team and I at Creative Direct Marketing Group can help you achieve all your business goals in 2008.
Craig Huey is recognized as one of the worlds leading experts in direct response
marketing. He is the winner of 78 major marketing awards for breakthrough campaigns that led to multimillion-dollar sales.
21171 S. Western, Suite 260, Torrance, CA 90501
Tel: 310-212-5727 • Fax: 310-212-5773