Connor Logistics – A Case for Direct Marketing on a Multi-National Scale

The Problem
Connor Logistics is a film industry logistics firm with over 45 years in business and operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Connor’s sales for logistics relied solely on Account Manager sales efforts, limiting the firm to the size and time of their sales staff. With the recent business climate changes, Connor’s yearly sales dropped by 15%, a total of $35 Million. The firm’s marketing team was only focused on creating marketing collateral for the Account Management staff with little efforts in customer acquisition marketing other than sponsoring a few industry events every year.

The Solution
Marketing Director for Connor and their CEO planned customer acquisition campaigns by targeting 250 film studios located in 4 countries. These firms held a potential revenue stream of $40 million for Connor Logistics. The acquisition campaign involved a robust variable-data direct marketing campaign that included customized marketing materials for each studio, with specific messaging that was relevant to the individual firms. Connor sent out postcards and brochure materials to key executives in every film studio, along with personalized calendars for secretarial staff. The investment in this marketing material was not cheap, Connor spent over 4 months generating the materials and nearly $2.5 Million to produce and mail it.

The Results
Connor’s Account Managers would follow up after ever marketing piece was mailed with a phone call to schedule an onsite visit with every studio. Over a period two years, 185 of the original 250 targeted studios had signed contracts with Connor Logistics. This produced a net increase in sales of $37 Million. 

Connor’s results are a clear example of the potential of personalized marketing campaigns. Studies show that personalized direct mail pieces produced using variable-data equipment raise response rates by nearly 55% over non-personalized materials.

6 Copywriting Tips For Direct Response That Sells

One of the nation’s top copywriters reveals secrets to powerful print ad, web copy or any other form of direct response copy

To define what constitutes good print advertising, or a web copy for that matter, let’s begin with what a good print ad in not:

o It is not creative for the sake of being creative.

o It is not designed to please copy writers, art directors, agency presidents or even clients.

o Its main purpose is not to entertain, win awards or shout at the readers.

In other words, you need to ignore most of what you would learn in any basic advertising class or from the big marketing agencies.

So, what makes successful direct response print ads?

1. They stress a benefit. The main selling proposition is not cleverly hidden but is made immediately clear. Example: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

2. They arouse curiosity and invite readership. The key here is not to be outrageous but to address the strongest interests and concerns of your target audience. Example: “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” appeals to the reader’s desire to avoid embarrassment and write and speak properly.

3. They provide information. The headline “How to Stop Emission Problems – at Half the Cost of Conventional Air Pollution Control Devices” lures the reader because it promises useful information. Prospects today seek specific, usable information on highly specialized topics. Ads that provide information the reader wants get higher readership and better response.

4. They talk to the reader. Why are so many successful control ads written by direct response entrepreneurs rather the top freelance copywriters and direct response agencies? Because, although these entrepreneurs may not be professional writers, they know their product, their audience and what hold their audiences’ interest. And that is far more important than copy writing technique or style.

5. They are knowledgeable. Successful ad copy reflects a high level of knowledge and understanding of the product and the problem it solves. An effective technique is to tell the reader something he already knows, proving that you, the advertiser, are well-versed in his industry, application or requirement.

The opposite approach – reducing everything to the simplest common denominator and assuming the reader is completely ignorant – can insult the reader’s intelligence and destroy your credibility with him.

6. They have a strong fee offer. Good ads tell the reader the next step in the buying process and encourage him to take it NOW.

The offer should convey urgency in order to generate immediate response and business from prospects that are ready to buy now or at least thinking about buying. Without an offer, you lose many potential customers.

In addition, strong offers increase readership, because people like ads that offer them something – especially if it is free and has high perceived value.

These are the characteristics of successful direct response advertising. “But”, you may ask, “what about general advertising?”

Well, one of the ways to make your general advertising more effective is to write and design it as direct response advertising. Applying all the stock-in-trade techniques of the direct mail marketing (coupons, toll-free numbers, free booklets, reason-why copy, benefit-headlines, informative subheads) virtually guarantees that your advertisement will be better read – and get more response – than the average “image” ad.

This approach agrees with Howard Ruff who said that everything a marketer does should be direct response, since results are all that matter, not the appearance of the ad.

How to Use Direct Marketing Online to Your Advantage

The internet is no longer just a potential to make money – that has been realised and built upon years ago. Now it is an evolution of a revolution, an unmistakable silhouette of success that stands and overshadows the real world. Everyone and I mean everyone in every busy city, town and village is wired to the internet. There are more satellites in space providing internet connectivity all over the world than there were more than ten years ago. Google and Yahoo are household names with young upstarts like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook slowly nudging themselves into place. With more than ten million people logged on at anytime and an interface that allows you to reach them in a flash – direct marketing online is big business and this article will tell you how to use it to your advantage.

With digital direct marketing, there is no limit to what anyone can do. The leads and channels that can be utilised online are too many to list down and getting to that volume has become easier and easier. Forums, chat channels, interactive video interfaces, blogs, websites, newsgroups are just some of the examples of these sort of channels. Now digital fax has also become commonplace within networks that direct marketing agents are using to enhance their efforts. With so many ways to reach out to the potential consumer and so many markets out there existing separately and intertwined – direct marketing is big business.

The product is very important. It must be designed in such a way so that it can excite one or more markets. Take for example a new sort of skin cream that has the benefits of clearing skin conditions like eczema, pimples, scars, stretch marks but also rejuvenates and revitalises skin, making it look younger and healthier. Already, you have several markets that this product can attract – people with skin conditions, teenagers with overly active pimples and acne, women above and beyond their 20′s looking to maintain their skin and metropolitan guys. This of course depends on how the product is packaged and branded but you can visualise the example that is given to you. Online, you can reach all of these markets easily, and that is the advantage the internet has over traditional means – low cost, easy access and potential to reach millions at a time.

Another advantage anyone must have is having in their hands a fresh new business list that is updated and renewed constantly over a financial year. A highly targeted business list that provides and points a direction to a market that understands and has a need for the product or service you are selling is as good as gold. It is an important feature that cannot be overlooked because it simply follows a basic tenet of marketing – selling is easier if your market is inclined to buy. It sounds simplistic but it is true. Why would anyone sell meat products to Vegans or a tennis racket to a golf enthusiast? If you can sell it – great but imagine the amount of effort one has to extend to change their minds and make them want that prime sirloin steak!

Don’t over think it. A business list focuses all your efforts and gives you a nudge in the right direction, especially if you’re involved in direct marketing online. The last time I checked, in marketing and especially selling – that is a good thing.