Open up your creativity

What is Creativity? It is the ability to solve a problem, see something that others do not see, represent a commonplace thing or notion in a new or novel way. It is the ability to spot an ‘angle’ – some unexpected or beneficial attribute that has the potential to produce a desirable outcome. It does   →

What exactly is Database Marketing?

Small businesses don’t always have a Marketing Plan. And when someone suggests Database Marketing, they often ask:”What the heck is Database Marketing?” or, if they know what it is, “Isn’t Database Marketing only for the big boys?” The answer is No. You do not need an expensive system to set up a Database. You can   →

The 5th level of competence

I was talking to a Sales consultant recently, and he was asking me about my special skills. It’s a conversation I have had before, when I was exploring the skills of a friend or colleague. Now the boot was on the other foot. At some point I said, “I don’t know what I know.” I   →

How to avoid some common mistakes in email

As you know, these days much of our business correspondence is conducted by email rather than the conventional ‘snail mail’. Unhappily, certain conventions have been lost or overlooked in the process, and can get in the way of doing business, especially when there are cultural differences involved. TYPICAL PROBLEMS: • Sloppy layout • Poor spelling   →

One answer to the long or short copy debate

Should your sales letter be long or short? Is it true that the more you tell the more you sell? Or are people too busy to bother with long letters? The answer may surprise you. It arises out of a significant shift in our reading habits, a shift that makes the appearance of a letter   →

The language of lies

In marketing by mail and email, there is an unfortunate tendency to use language to deceive, confusing manipulation with persuasion. Those who do so use weasel words (terms that imply or suggest more than the reality), and even lie outright. My email inbox regularly receives examples of verbal deceit. There is one chap who sends   →

One of the main reasons why sales letters fail

This morning I received a prospecting letter from an insurance specialist. They want me to switch my home insurance to them, and they have a good proposition, but it’s poorly put. On the first page there are 11 short paragraphs, no less than nine of which begin with either “I” or “We”. It’s a common   →

How to influence response to your mailings

The level of response to direct mail is one of the most shocking facts in advertising.  A few years ago, the Direct Marketing Association surveyed 1,122 industry-specific campaigns and came up with an average response rate of 2.61 per cent. That’s a failure rate of over 97 per cent! The figures for 2010 are not   →

Basic Direct Marketing

I was talking the other day to a close friend who has a successful business in the service sector. Because of my background in direct marketing, she was asking my advice on a mailing she was planning. She was intending to send out a tri-fold leaflet with a covering letter. Pretty standard practice among SMEs.   →

Self-serving advertising can cost you dearly

  The advertising industry’s magazine, Campaign, is running a series on the history of advertising in various objects.  No. 18 is Strand cigarettes. By a sheer coincidence I was talking about it (and the ad campaign) only yesterday. Written by a brilliant copywriter, John May of S H Benson, the commercial featured a Frank Sinatra   →