Don’t Try This at the Office
Smart marketers, sales teams and business owners recognize the opportunity to develop a direct mail piece that exclusively promotes a single product — an item with a strong margin and an identifiable target audience.
Usually the item has a high price point and specific benefits for the buyer — as well as a surplus of information that necessitates more space than a catalog page realistically can accommodate.
If identifying the opportunity is that easy, how quickly do you become a victim of either yours or a colleague’s best intentions? If you’re unsure, here are mistakes to avoid when implementing a single-product mailing.
Mistake #1: Don’t Forecast Demand
A targeted solo mail piece should yield double-digit response rates, which means you must plan carefully for the increased demand. A business-to-business (b-to-b) cataloger was trying to reactivate previous customers by using a solo mailer (a direct mail piece featuring a single product). The offer was a free trial on an expensive product.
Unfortunately, the organization failed to forecast the immediate influx of calls after the mailing, and was unable to accommodate customer requests. This example of unintentional sabotage could have been avoided by staggering the mail dates for the direct mail piece.
Mistake #2: Don’t Pay Enough Attention to Costs
A cruel reality of any b-to-b cataloger’s marketing plan is the advertising expense-to-sales ratio. David Ogilvy, who is considered to be the father of modern advertising, once said, “50 percent of my advertising works. I just don’t know which 50 percent.”
The advantage of cataloging and direct mail compared to Ogilvy’s general advertising is the ability to track response and build break-even analysis. With any promotion, solo mailing or catalog, developing the financial break-even is an important decision-making tool.
Recently a senior manager at a catalog company wanted to mail product samples to previous buyers with the hypothesis that if customers tried the new and improved product, they’d place orders immediately. The catalog manager randomly determined a quantity of 50,000. The product samples required special packaging and First Class mail. Upon receipt of the break-even analysis with a very conservative response rate, the investment of $200,000 choked the project to a halt.