Direct Marketing Award Winners

And the winners are... the direct marketers whose 2010 marketing tactics reflect the lessons learned during 2009.

We recently received an email from the KCDMA (the local chapter of the Direct Marketing Association) notifying us that our three entries in their 2010 AMBIT competition are all winners. The awards ceremony is still more than a month away, so we’ll have to wait to find out the exact trophies we’ll be bringing home (we’re going for the gold!)

The notification email made me think back to last year’s big winners, and the direct marketing lessons each one represented. Unlike many competitions, which focus more on the aesthetic value of entries, the DMA competition is heavily-weighted towards actual results, such as response rates, ROI and revenue generation. So, the top awards of 2009 recognized direct marketing campaigns that really made a financial impact for businesses. Here are two lessons learned from 2009’s winners:

1) Bulky direct mail gets past gatekeepers

As Sprint’s Best In Show winner illustrated, direct mail marketing with substance (read “size”) can help you get your message past gatekeepers and make an impression on the decision makers. Like other bulky mail successes, Sprint’s “PB&J Wireless Integration” campaign made up for a high cost-per-piece with incredible response rates. The key to making a bulky piece like this worth it’s weight? Make sure your marketing database is clean and targeted and your piece is eye-catching and memorable.

2) Personalization and targeting increase purchase rate

Mail Print’s Most Innovative Solution award winner was one several entries that highlighted how personalized marketing can increase response rates. However, I think it was singled out for the Most Innovative Solution award because of the 5% purchase rate it achieved. The awarded campaign for the new Gladstone Community Center used personalized direct mail and PURLs (see our Portfolio for samples) to generate leads from a highly-targeted list. The key? Create a profile of the most likely purchaser of your product and service, and use demographic and geographic list selection to build a marketing database of people who match this profile. Then, market to them with highly-relevant messaging.

I’m looking forward to watching this year’s ceremony to see how many companies parlayed the lessons learned at last year’s competition into their past year’s initiatives. What direct marketing lessons did you learn during 2009, and how are you implementing them during 2010?

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