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You’ve Got Mail (or Do You?)!

You’ve Got Mail (or Do You?)! published on No Comments on You’ve Got Mail (or Do You?)!

Remember that audio prompt from the early days of AOL? Boy, how things have changed…and how e-communications have inundated the marketing mix. And it’s not just email anymore. It’s Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of social media.

But for now, at least, email still seems to reign. Not fully great or remotely tangible, yet it remains a viable advertising option…uh, somewhat.

Email is fast, cheap, and easy. Heck, in per-addressee cost, you can blast out all sorts of messaging for 1/10th a penny on the dollar, compared with traditional direct mail promotion costs.

Does it work, though? And do its social media cousins work for your business?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Depends on way too much to detail here (e.g., market, product, offer, audience, locations, et al.).

The thing is though, where’s the memorability? And more on that, where’s the “openability”?

Think about the latter.

How many emails do you get each day that if they don’t automatically go to your Junk or Spam folder you then delete without reading? If you’re like me, the answer is plenty.

Yet if you’re like too many advertisers, you don’t see the disconnect when you look at how to promote your product or business. You generally ignore all the unsolicited e-come-ons that try to cram your Inbox, but you often turn to using the same kind of uninvited emails to advertise your offerings. Do as I say, not as I do?

This then leads us to tangible advertising…and the programs that can and do make them work. And that raises the issue of “surprise” and, more importantly, “curiosity.”

Be honest here. Are you ever surprised to receive some e-pitch? And are you ever curious enough to open the email or, even worse, click on some embedded link (yep, the fear of being hacked cannot be downplayed)?

Now what if snail-mail (or FedEx or UPS) delivers an envelope or box that obviously contains something dimensional? Do you “delete” it into the circular file? Or do you open it, if only to see what the heck is inside?

And if you do open it – like the average person most certainly will – do you then toss the enclosed item in the trash bin? Or do you keep it, whether or not you care diddly about the offer, pitch, etc.?

Chances are that you keep it, even if the promo item is stupid-laughable. But you still keep it, and therein enters “memorability” for the advertiser…and memorability that derives from the openability of the mailing.

Direct marketing experts will tell you that the #1 challenge in any direct mail promotion is to get the target to open the mailer. A dimensional marketing program can get those mailings opened and, yes, remembered.

Every day 24/7, you’ve got email. Ditto for your customers and prospects, and ditto for the ease of hitting .

But an actual physical envelope that has something “lumpy” inside? Would you trash it without opening the package? Would your targets do likewise with this new-is-old-is-new-again version of “You’ve got mail”?

You Don’t Like It?

You Don’t Like It? published on No Comments on You Don’t Like It?

Advertising is not an exact science. The industry loves to coin terms and phrases that make it appear to be such, but that’s just part of the ad biz’s perpetual hype and ongoing effort to make marketing seem like it’s not a crap shoot.

Sorry, ad folks, but that’s the truth. All the research and data and focus groups and theories and more can never guarantee a successful campaign. The best you can hope for is putting the best odds in your favor. But even so, the chances are that your initial roll-out may come up snake eyes.

That said, then, one huge gamble that too many ad campaigns risk is not “playing” from the target’s side of the desk. Concepts are approved or disapproved on the basis of personal proclivities and propensities and not on whether they would appeal to the intended audience.

Years ago, I was part of a creative team that was charged with developing a campaign to promote a new subsidiary of an international electronic products distributor. At one point during the project, a vice president criticized the colors we’d chosen, saying he wanted the main color to be purple.

Experience and preliminary talks with our target channel audience told us that purple would not work, but he was adamant. And why? Because purple was his wife’s favorite color. So purple it was.

When the first pieces of sales literature hit the channel, the reaction was a resounding “YUCK!” All the printed materials were quickly recalled, the project was killed, and the “purple” vice president took an early retirement.

So what does this have to do with the headline of this article?

Many decision makers will look at promotional products that are recommended for a program and say they don’t like them. And why? Just because THEY don’t.

They’re thinking from their side of the desk, not from the perspective of the target audience. Their decision comes from personal preference, not from marketing.

Have you ever been guilty of this? Odds are you have. You’re only human, after all, and your personal likes and dislikes are bound to have an influence.

The trick (and it isn’t always easy) is being able to separate your heart from your head. You may not like this or that trinket, but will your target audience?

And conversely, even though you like something, that doesn’t mean that your prospects will. Indeed, they may hate it.

With advertising in general and promos specifically, try to put yourself in your target’s chair. This tactic applies not only to your selection of tangible advertising products but to how you evaluate a proposed marketing campaign.

After all is said and done, you’ll still be rolling the dice. That’s just the name of the marketing game. However, the more you can think from the table and not your hand, the better the chance that your promotion won’t crap out.

Maybe you like purple. But will your R.O.I.?