When Counter-Intuitive Marketing Works

In business, the quest to move forward and be progressive is endless. Successful executives are always looking for the next great thing, pursuing new product innovation, fresh marketing channels and untapped opportunities.

This drive to forge ahead creates growth and fuels progress. And sometimes, it leads us to lose sight of what works. All this forward motion makes it easy to overlook – or even shy away from – tried-and-true techniques. They become old school, passe, so yesterday.

Take Off the Blinders

When you catch yourself dismissing a tactic simply because we’ve “been there, done that” it may be time to think again. Have you ever been so busy moving forward that you don’t realize your best path is behind you?

Direct mail is a perfect example. We’re in the digital age, so many marketers (and the executives they report to) eschew traditional marketing tactics. The conventional thinking is “Why send junk mail that no one reads when you can use email or social media to connect?”

We convince ourselves that digital methods are more measurable, have higher response rates and cost less. All of this can be true. But that doesn’t necessarily mean digital will yield the best return on investment (ROI) for your campaign.

Go Beyond Digital

As more marketers have adopted the opinion that digital is the only way to go, direct mail rates have fallen drastically. That means that mailboxes – especially those of B2B decision makers – are not bursting with marketing materials. In fact, there is a lot more clutter in a digital inbox compared to the physical mailbox these days.

That means that a well executed direct mail piece can stand out, get opened and generate responses. While your promotional email lands in the spam folder or gets deleted without being opened, your letter may actually be read.

Wain Kellum, CEO of cloud-based phone service provider Vocalocity talked about this in a recent presentation in Atlanta. According to Kellum, “Our best lead source right now is direct mail.”

The trick? Kellum citied three key factors to Vocalocity’s direct mail success: using a highly targeted list, customized messaging and testing to see what works. All three are essential to any effective direct marketing campaign. Here’s why:

Targeted Mailing List – To get people to open your mailing, you must be sure it lands in the right hands. It’s wasteful and damaging to your brand to send to people who are not high quality prospects. Spend the time to cull your list to the most viable prospects.

Customized Messaging – Segment your mailing list by industry, functional role or area of interest so you can send messages that appeal directly to your buyers. Use imagery and terminology that resonates with buyers and shows you understand your market.

A/B Testing – There is always room for improvement, so A/B testing is essential for refining your approach. Instead of sending to everyone at once, use smaller batches and compare factors such as two image options or headlines. Pick the one the works best, and run another test.

The results speak for themselves. With direct mail as part of its marketing mix and a consistent focus on exceptional customer experience, Vocalocity realized annual revenue growth in excess of 60% for the past four years.

Look Behind You

Looking to the past for cues to future success may seem like counter-intuitive marketing. Really, it is sound business strategy to consider diverse options. You don’t need to abandon everything that used to work just because it’s no longer popular or the crowd is moving in a different direction.

Sometimes, its smart to go where everyone isn’t. Take advantage of the space and creative freedom afforded by the departure of the masses to generateĀ interestĀ and attention. You can fight less and win more when you find a niche that still has value but has fallen out of fashion.

Use these unconventional opportunities to differentiate your business and gain competitive advantage while the rest of crowd is staring straight ahead.

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