The difference between true marketing – direct marketing – (as I’ve always reiterated) and the traditional advertising is this:
Unlike all your letters, emails, and direct response ads, the 60-second advertisements you see on TV promoting the major brands are not aimed at generating immediate sales and inquiries.
And they don’t.
There are no results to measure for the traditional ad.
These ads are designed to create brand recognition and public awareness.
They are aimed at making the public familiar with the brand and the name of the product.
There is no real way to precisely measure the effectiveness of these traditional ads.
The big corporations know they must advertise.
And they are just left hoping their ads are successful.
But there’s no real benchmark for success.
We certainly know these ads are successful for the ad agency, some of which are racking up billions of dollars in billings.
But we have no precise way of knowing if these ads are successful for the client . . . because no orders or inquiries are arriving at the office in answer to these ads.
In this sense, the traditional ad agency’s primary mission in life is not to create ads that win customers, but to create ads that impress the corporate client.
If the ad happens to be good and brings customers in, that’s a bonus for the ad agency.
But who will ever know if that’s what’s happening?
The primary mission of the traditional ad agency is to sell the client on the ad campaign, not to create ads that actually sell product.
Who really knows how all those Pepsi ads are doing?
The ads are attention-getting and interesting.
They have certainly done a great job of creating brand awareness and a hip image for the company.
I certainly like the Pepsi ads.
No doubt the ads are doing well for Pepsi and are helping Pepsi build its image around the world.
But Pepsi has no way of knowing how each individual ad is doing.
Pepsi has no idea how many sales each individual ad is generating.
Pepsi really has no way of knowing its “return on investment” for each ad launched.
The best Pepsi can do is guess.
The best Pepsi can do is ASSUME its ads are effective.
But even if Pepsi’s “building brand awareness” and image advertising method is working well for Pepsi (and I’m sure it is), there’s very little any of us can learn from this approach.
There’s no model here for the entrepreneur to follow.
“Go out and just copy Pepsi” would be silly advice for you because you don’t have a multi-billion dollar advertising budget.
It would cost you hundreds of millions, more likely billions, of dollars in advertising to create an image and a “general public awareness” of you, your company, your brand, or your product.
Then you would need to have in place a massive manufacturing infrastructure and a nationwide distribution network to make sure your product is available everywhere.
It would be enormously costly for you to follow the Pepsi “build brand awareness” and image strategy even in the smallest of local markets.
The production of these TV ads alone is a major undertaking.
This big corporate approach is of zero use to you or me.
If it were useful, you would not have gotten this far in this post.
The other approach is to sell people our products and services in one-on-one personal conversation.
That’s what salesmen do.
This is how the rest of us, who don’t have a billion-dollar advertising budget, must make our living.
But since the salesman cannot be everywhere all at once making his one-on-one presentations to prospective customers, the next best thing are the systems I’ve described here.
I believe the most powerful of all marketing tools is the sales letter.
The sales letter, for much less cost than a personal one-on-one meeting, seeks to start a conversation with your prospect with the aim of selling your product or service.
Sometimes you can sell the product on the strength of the letter alone.
Sometimes, for high-priced products and services, you just want to find out if there’s interest in what you are selling — that is, you are seeking to generate qualified leads.
Either way, the goal of your mailing is clear and the results are precisely measurable.
The Internet and direct response space ads and radio ads are also wonderful tools if used properly.
Everything you do must be “direct response”.
Remember, if your marketing is not exactly and precisely measurable, it’s really not marketing, it’s PR.
The traditional ads are PR.
This post is about true marketing — that is, showing you how to produce results that are precisely measurable.
That’s the difference between the sales letter or lead generation letter and the image advertising that Pepsi is doing.
Performed correctly, you should know to the penny how much it costs you to generate a sale.
The mission of marketing is not to create a general awareness of your brand or your product.
The one and only purpose of your marketing is to sell.
If a traditional-style ad campaign is like a nuclear bomb that hits everyone in an area, a direct mail marketing campaign is more like precision surgery.
That’s why direct marketing is still the most cost-effective advertising there is.
If you remember nothing else you’ve read in this entire post and others like this, I urge you to remember these nine points:
1) Write about what your reader wants, not about what you want.
2) You can succeed if you write a poor letter for the right list (that is to the right people), but the best letter in the world cannot work to the wrong list.
3) Craft headlines and sub-headlines that will grab the interest of your reader.
4) Persuade your reader with facts and reasons, not fantastic claims and empty hype.
5) Keep your reader’s interest with fascinating details and narrative (like the American author – Stephen King) that make it easier to keep reading than to skip what is being said.
6) Craft an offer no intelligent reader can pass up.
7) Don’t make your guarantee a boring after-thought, but instead create a super-charged guarantee that will catch your reader’s attention, like Nordstrom’s famous guarantee.
8) Give your reader good solid credible reasons for answering your letter today, not tomorrow.
9) Make sure your letter reads like a letter from one person to another, that it does not come across as mass advertising . . . even if economics dictate that you must mail a cheap non-personalized “Dear Friend” letter.
Whether you are writing to a few people or a million people, if you achieve these nine things, you will succeed.
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