Well, as I discussed in last month’s issue, I now have two titanium rods in my back secured with titanium screws. The surgery went awesome, just as expected!
As I mentioned, if you determine your date, do your homework, ask the difficult questions required to make you feel comfortable in any buying situation (as mine was a $181k new spine), then follow your gut, I don't care your position: inch by inch, over time, you will win.
First—Ask for samples.
Live, proven, not "mock" samples. Show me something that has been test-driven in multiple markets and has a case study before I see it. Don’t be a guinea pig for a marketing company.
Second—What makes the offer compelling?
What makes the consumer engage and respond…really respond? What makes interactive mail really interact with the person reading it? Check for the variable data, also known as the personalization, on the piece and its products (such as credit cards); this is what truly attracts the second layer response. Does the mail piece have interactive parts such as a live call center where the consumer calls in and their name is already in the database when they put in their PIN? Is the piece packaged properly to confine the offer so the consumer at least believes it, or is it a "self-mailer" with a product and offer just hanging out there? Is the piece sophisticated or easily duplicated? These are just a few things to look for on the mail piece.
Third—Where are you sending the piece and what is the real action plan?
Take the long way home, no shortcuts. Ask for a full geographic and demographic analysis of your market and whom your mail piece will be targeting. Social profiles, drive times, topography, etc. are all invaluable. Saturation postage is the best thing created since sliced bread in the late thirties, but it too sucks if it gets stale. Freshness is the key!
The first sale should never be the best. Patience and test piloting ZIPs must be applied to connect the proper consumer with the right message. Once the commercial circle is determined, go to work on your market, car deal by car deal, to capture every inch that's yours. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the deals just aren’t coming and it's not getting better; that’s when it’s time to find a new marketing partner. If you find a company that has satisfied the above requests, there is only one more step:
Fourth—Check the company’s credentials before doing business with anyone!
Start at the top, and don't stop until you feel comfortable. Background check, everything, even their financials. In this business you are who you say you are, now prove it: not in a bad way, just hold the company and their people accountable, the good, the bad, and the ugly, get it out. No company is flawless, but at least you know who and what you’re working with. And in return, expect them to look into your backyard; if they don't, that may worry you a little as well. We’ve all had that customer that will buy any car you put in front of them and pay any price until you run their credit. "Darn! I knew that was too good to be true!" We have all had those! Likewise, if the company says "Yes, I can do it and for that price and we are sending in our A team! Blah blah blah…" something smells fishy. That old saying our parents taught us "you get what you pay for" just might be true.
If you follow these core principles, do a staffed event or buy direct-response mail and by chance it doesn’t work; if you can tell me honestly with a good soul it still failed, we will do 5,000 of our best mail piece absolutely free. No questions asked.
I'll see you in the gym in about three months…
David Jeansonne is the president of Traffic Jam Events. For more information, please visit www.trafficjamevents.com or feel free to contact him personally at 866-677-3702.
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