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How to Solve Direct Marketing's Five Biggest Problems

by Russell Kern  |  
December 11, 2007

What does a brand manager have that a direct marketing manager doesn't?


Most advertisers know that brand building is a gradual process, that they may have to invest years—slowly building awareness and steadily improving the perception of a company, its products and services—before seeing significant ROI.

Direct marketers, on the other hand, do not live in this wait-and-see world. A week, maybe two, after a campaign drops, the verdict is in. And if that campaign appears not to be working, it either gets fixed, pronto, or the DM agency—and perhaps even the DM manager—gets fired.

To avoid being shown the door, the DM manager needs to know how to swiftly solve direct marketing's most common and costly problems. Hence this article.

Missing your response, cost per acquisition, cost per lead or ROI financial targets?

The first place to seek a solution is your offer strategy. Do that by asking these questions:

  • Have you committed DM's most common sin: trying to tell too much?
  • Have you tried to accommodate the product manager by selling the features of your product instead of focusing on the benefits of your offer?
  • Do you have an offer that is so compelling, so unique, and so valuable that a reader is going to stop dead in his tracks and respond, right now?

A simple enhancement for a weak offer would be to add value through aggregation of content. Create an online resource center equipped with guides, business value tools, Web seminar archives, and links to other resources.

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Russell M. Kern is president of Kern Direct Marketing (, an agency specializing in integrated sales lead generation.

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