Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear Upset Client

What is the dumbest thing you have seen/experienced/ heard about in Direct Marketing? We want to hear about it! Leave us a comment at the bottom!

Dear Upset Client,

I am truly sorry that your latest mailing produced abysmal results.

Yes, I’m pretty sure that the post office has delivered your mail. It’s been 3 weeks. No, they wouldn’t have any reason to hold 50,000 of your letters hostage.

I know that you were hoping this package would produce the same results as the weekly mailings we have been doing for you. Sorry it hasn’t worked out that way.

Yes, I know that you and your staff need this income to keep the doors open and the lights on.

Yes, I know your kids need new shoes for school.

Yes, I know this is painful for you.

But what I don’t know is What exactly were you thinking??

You took a package that has worked week in and week out for months and you changed it. No, that’s not strong enough.

You took a package that was working and you jettisoned it completely.

You changed the copy. You changed the graphics. You changed the offer. You changed the teaser. You changed everything you could change about a letter.

I assume you were bored and wanted a change. But not every change is a good one.

Just ask the geniuses behind New Coke.

Maybe your new partner, the important lawyer, felt he needed to make an early impact. And wow! Did he ever! You’ve gone from 100 mph to dead in the water.

Yes, I’m sure he’s a smart lawyer, but he truly doesn’t understand diddlysquat about marketing. You wouldn’t go to me to ask for help with injunctive relief, would you? What the heck is that, anyway? Why would you go to him to “help” with your marketing?

Even if he wanted to shake things up a bit, flex his muscles, and make changes, maybe it would have been appropriate to be more cautious. Does his money make you beholden to him? Does he understand “No”? Can you say “No” and make it stick? We women have been battling this problem for generations. Lots of luck.

By the way, if he ran his lawyering the way he ran your marketing, he’d be in jail and you’d be out of business. Seat-of-the-pants doesn’t even start to describe his ham-fistedness.

Maybe we can regroup.

I know we’ve talked about testing before. That’s how you ended up with the format that was working so well for you.

But if it was working so well, why did you so radically change the format? You didn’t just “tweak it a little” you threw the baby out with the bathwater!

You should test. Make changes incrementally. Take baby steps.

Here’s a brief refresher course on testing. Please share it with your new partner.

Start with an absolute base of knowledge on previous performance. Know how your previous mailings were doing. % returned. $ generated. Cost per lead. (You have kept those records we talked about, haven’t you?)

When you want to test a new format, take a small percentage of your weekly mailing—maybe 5 or 10%--and send the new format to that limited number.

Keep track of how many you mailed…% returned and $ generated, etc.

Compare the old “control” piece against the new “test” piece. If the test piece did appreciably better, next time mail a larger percentage of the test piece. Maybe 25%.

Keep track of how many you mailed…% returned and $ generated.

Repeat several more times until you are absolutely convinced that the test piece is doing better than the tried-and-true control. Then pull the plug on the old control. The test package now becomes the control.

In time you’ll want to develop another package to test. Take the steps above and repeat…with statistical evidence to back you up and with caution every step of the way.

The response you’re currently getting (or more precisely, not getting) is the public voting with its feet on your new presentation.

Like dirty gym socks, it stinks.

And speaking of feet, maybe your new partner, the lawyer, can buy your kids the school shoes they need.

Baby steps.

What is the dumbest thing you have seen/experienced/ heard about in Direct Marketing? We want to hear about it!

43670 Trade Center Place, Suite 150, Dulles, VA 20166
Phone: 703.996.0800 | Fax: 703.996.0888 | 1.866.365.2858 | sales@paulandpartners


Eric Martin said...

Oustanding post and spot on!

Jose Bernstein said...

How 'bout YOU tell him no? How 'bout YOU manage his expectations?