"Guerrilla Insights Into Direct Response"
by Jay Conrad Levinson
Direct response marketing is a lot different from indirect response
marketing, although guerrillas like it best when the two are teamed
up. The first is geared to obtain orders right here and right
now. The second is geared to obtain orders eventually. Although
a fair amount of standard, indirect marketing often is necessary
to set the stage, to make prospects ready to buy, and to separate
your company from strangers, it's when you initiate direct marketing
that you first taste blood.
As you well know, we are living in the Age of Information, most
of it very easy to obtain. But information is hardly enough for
a guerrilla. And information is not insight. It's the combination
of information and thought that leads to insight and it's insight
that's going to make you a stand-out in the direct response arena.
The first insight for you to absorb is that direct response marketing
either works immediately or not at all. Unlike standard marketing
which changes attitudes slowly and ultimately leads to a sale
if you go about things right, guerrilla direct response marketing
changes minds and attitudes instantly and leads to a sale instantly
if you go about things right.
When it works, you know it. You don't have to sit around and
wonder. You don't have to wait months and months for your message
to penetrate the mind of your prospect. Your time-dated
direct marketing offer either results in a sale right now -- or
To succeed with direct marketing in any medium, remember always:
- Your offer is omnipotent. The best presentation in the world
has a major uphill battle if you make a weak or ordinary offer.
- The market to whom you direct your message can make or break
your campaign. Saying the right thing to the wrong people results
in no sale.
- What you say and how you say it is easily as important as
to whom you say it. Talk in terms of your prospects and how
your offer benefits them.
- Carefully planning every cent of your campaign for maximum
profits requires as much creativity as your message. Guerrillas
excel at this.
- The more that people have been exposed to your other marketing,
the more readily they'll accept what you offer with your direct
Some principles of indirect marketing apply to direct marketing.
You must still talk of the prospect, not yourself, and you must
make a clear and cogent offer. But from that point on, direct
marketing is a whole new ballgame. And its one that you can win
with the insights of the guerrilla.
Stupid mistakes in horrid abundance have been made by otherwise
bright companies when testing the direct response waters. Fortunately,
guerrillas can learn from these blunders, making those waters
a bit safer. Listing them would take an endless series of books,
but it's worth your time if I make a start by providing insight
into ten of the most notable:
- Failure to attract attention at the outset dooms many brilliant
campaigns before they have a chance to shine. Envelopes, opening
lines, mail subject lines and first impressions are the gates
to your offer. Open them wide.
- Not facing the reality of a direct marketing explosion relegates
your attempt to the ordinary, which means the ignored. Guerrillas
say things to rise above the din, to be noticed and desired
in a sea of marketers.
- Focusing your message on yourself instead of your prospect
will usually send your effort to oblivion. Prospects care far
more about themselves than they care about you. So talk to them
- Not knowing precisely who your market is will send you into
the wrong direction. Research into pinpointing that market will
be some of the most valuable time you devote to your direct
- Mailing or telephoning to other than honest prospects wastes
your time and money. If you make your offer to people who don't
really have a need for your offering, they'll be an incredibly
- Initiating direct response marketing without specific objectives
gives you too hazy a target for bullseyes. Begin by creating
the response method for your prospects so you'll know what your
message should say.
- Featuring your price before you stress your benefit will
be telling people what they don't want to know yet. First, your
job is to make them want what you are offering, then you can
tell them the price.
- Concentrating on your price before your offer is wasting
a powerful selling point. Even if your price is the lowest,
people care more about how they'll gain from purchasing. Give
your low price at the right time.
- Failing to test all that can be tested is a goof-off of the
highest order. Test your price points, opening lines, subject
lines, envelope teaser lines, benefits to stress, contact times
and mailing lists to know the real winners.
- Setting the wrong price means you've failed in your testing
and your research. Guerrillas are sensitive to their market
and their competition, testing prices and constantly subjecting
them to the litmus test of profits.
As direct response vehicles become more sophisticated and prolific,
guerrillas have the insight to zero in on the exact people to
contact, so as not to waste time or money on strangers. Successful
mailings to strangers net as high as two percent response rates.
Successful mailings to customers and qualified prospects net up
to ten percent. Precision leads to profits.
Jay Conrad Levinson is the creator of the Guerrilla
Marketing series of books - the best selling series of business
books in history. He is also responsible for some of the most
successful ad campaigns in history, including *the* most successful
in history: The Marlboro Man. Jay is responsible for countless
small businesses becoming huge household names. Learn how he does
this in his latest book: "Guerrilla
Marketing for the New Millennium".
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