The Problem With Direct Response?

13 replies
This author says branding is measurable and, "The case for direct response marketing is logical: Why waste money on lots of fuzzy concepts when you can directly spur sales and get clear, measurable results? Unfortunately, the results aren't as clear as they might seem and branding isn't as nebulous as direct response advocates often claim."

Branding Strategy Insider | The Problem With Direct Response Marketing
#direct #problem #response
  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

    This author says branding is measurable and, "The case for direct response marketing is logical: Why waste money on lots of fuzzy concepts when you can directly spur sales and get clear, measurable results? Unfortunately, the results aren't as clear as they might seem and branding isn't as nebulous as direct response advocates often claim."

    Branding Strategy Insider | The Problem With Direct Response Marketing
    You need to point Mister Cohen to that.

    Not to pre-empt Alex's reply...but he might point to this -
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    The case for direct response marketing is logical: Why waste money on lots of fuzzy concepts when you can directly spur sales and get clear, measurable results? Unfortunately, the results aren’t as clear as they might seem and branding isn’t as nebulous as direct response advocates often claim.
    Secondly, branding metrics are as measurable as anything else. Many corporations regularly track their brands and can access brand data as easily as they do sales data. You can be sure that successful, profit oriented enterprises wouldn’t continue to do so unless they had clearly established a link between the two.
    I've been saying for quite a while that DM and branding go hand-in-hand. This whole "one is better than the other, because..." conversation is exhausting. You can take the time to create a branded direct response campaign that utilizes the fundamentals from both marketing approaches.

    Here's something to think about:

    DM tends to always start out with some sort of agitation to a problem. And it's a tried-and-true technique that consistently gets results (when done right.)

    Going in this direction tends to knock people of their emotional equilibrium, which the equivalent to putting a prospect into the sympathetic state.

    You're essentially stressing your prospect out - so you come across as a knight in shining armor when you unveil the solution to the pain you've stimulated.

    Branding on the other hand tends to go after developing trust and building a reputation that puts you at ease. In a sense, their trying to activate the parasympathetic response by projecting credibility (and even pop culture appeal) - so you almost blindly believe whatever claims they're boasting.

    Can you do that in DM?

    Yes.

    But it's not typical.

    Again...

    Why not integrate DM and branding into one approach that takes the meatiest techniques from each philosophy?

    My take.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    I've always seen Branding as a type of marketing focused on mass appeal products. Things people know they want but haven't gone around to get them. Things people don't really think about every single day.

    Like phones, computers, cars, tires, fast food, soda, college...etc.

    Example; Once I run out of deodorant, walk down the isles and compare SPICE with another brand, I'll think about those youtube commercials and go with spice.

    Some brand involves science, like the recent 5 hour energy campaigns... so when Im feeling tired and have to choose between coffee and 5he while waiting in line, I'll go with the latter.

    But that's as far as it goes. I think branding could be summarized as something for people to talk about.

    When it comes to a more personal, problem or NEED that people MAY OR MAY NOT know they have then it's all in direct response. Because it's the MOST EFFECTIVE WAY to sell this type of prospect.

    Edit...

    Something else to add is this talk about measurable results for brand commercials. I think that's funny.

    Usually the measurable result is based on the NEW thing the company has added to their product line. To see if they're new bacon vegetable burger was a hit or miss. To see if their newly designed truck or car sold anything.

    Besides, it's kind of hard to say an agency did good because of a commercial. Why? Because more commercials focus on the product. And if it's actually something people want, then it's a hit.

    The whole thing about branding, in fact, the HUMOR in branding is when they try to be creative for the same product/service. Because things get way out of hand.

    Now, if you want to say - "Why does apple have so many fans?" - I think it's all in positioning of the entire company.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
      Banned
      Originally Posted by DavidG View Post

      I've always seen Branding as a type of marketing focused on mass appeal products. Things people know they want but haven't gone around to get them. Things people don't really think about every single day.

      Like phones, computers, cars, tires, fast food, soda, college...etc.

      Example; Once I run out of deodorant, walk down the isles and compare SPICE with another brand, I'll think about those youtube commercials and go with spice.

      Some brand involves science, like the recent 5 hour energy campaigns... so when Im feeling tired and have to choose between coffee and 5he while waiting in line, I'll go with the latter.

      But that's as far as it goes.

      When it comes to a more personal, problem or NEED that people MAY OR MAY NOT know they have then it's all in direct response. Because it's the MOST EFFECTIVE WAY to sell this type of prospect.
      That's deep, man.
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidG
        Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

        That's deep, man.
        Not sure if sarcasm or sincere.
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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by DavidG View Post

      I've always seen Branding as a type of marketing focused on mass appeal products. Things people know they want but haven't gone around to get them. Things people don't really think about every single day.

      ....But that's as far as it goes.
      That's a pretty superficial portrait of branding. Why would you go with the recognized brand over the unfamiliar brand after thinking of all those YouTube videos and commercials and print ads? It's because they have managed to engender some sort of trust with their messaging that resonates with you. Something familiar with a level of quality you can rely on? You're much more likely to spend a buck or two extra (or thousands depending on the product) if you perceive it's less risky an investment than something you don't know and haven't tried.

      Plus branding is so much more than mass-produced products. Think about things like "black tie service" or the Genius Bar at Apple stores. Those are service-based and the branding leads to a certain level of expectations on the part of consumers.
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidG
        Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

        That's a pretty superficial portrait of branding. Why would you go with the recognized brand over the unfamiliar brand after thinking of all those YouTube videos and commercials and print ads? It's because they have managed to engender some sort of trust with their messaging that resonates with you. Something familiar with a level of quality you can rely on? You're much more likely to spend a buck or two extra (or thousands depending on the product) if you perceive it's less risky an investment than something you don't know and haven't tried.

        Plus branding is so much more than mass-produced products. Think about things like "black tie service" or the Genius Bar at Apple stores. Those are service-based and the branding leads to a certain level of expectations on the part of consumers.
        Exactly. You're absolutely right...that's positioning.

        All I'm saying is that when it comes to branding, it's really only for things in mass appeal.

        When people are aware of their problems and solutions, branding comes in and grabs the sale.

        No matter how hard I try, I won't sell you SPICE through mail. But if you opened up a slim jim that says... "Read this Or Die" then you might pay attention and even purchase the product that's going to save you from the ignorant med establishment.

        THEN I can "brand" myself by building trust with you with my news letters...etc.

        Am I wrong?
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        • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
          Originally Posted by DavidG View Post

          Exactly. You're absolutely right...that's positioning.

          All I'm saying is that when it comes to branding, it's really only for things in mass appeal.

          When people are aware of their problems and solutions, branding comes in and grabs the sale.

          No matter how hard I try, I won't sell you SPICE through mail. But if you opened up a slim jim that says... "Read this Or Die" then you might pay attention and even purchase the product that's going to save you from the ignorant med establishment.

          THEN I can "brand" myself by building trust with you with my news letters...etc.

          Am I wrong?
          Positioning is a piece of the puzzle, not something you can separate out entirely like that.

          I'm not sure if you were referring to your Old Spice comment with your mail comment, but a quick Google search for "mail order spice" turned up plenty of companies and questions about ordering spices through the mail on forums. And if they can sell Old Spice through commercials and videos, they can do the same with still images in print ads or with careful wording in sales letters.

          I remember receiving sample size mailers of Axe body spray for men...at the women's college I attended. I didn't buy any, but we sure drove all the ladies in our hall nuts spraying this man-smell up and down the hall and watching them come out searching for fresh meat.

          Also, I'm not opening up a Slim Jim that says "read this or die". That just sounds wrong.

          There is not just one way to sell, nor is there only one way to brand a product. And it's simply not true that only certain physical things can be branded.

          Check out the following:
          Oprah, Ellen, Steve Harvey - each personal brands. Not down with the TV talk show host commonality? Try Obama and Romney. There is an subconscious mental association with each of these names - their messages went out on radio, video, online, in print, and via email.

          The "For Dummies" series of books - also a brand, and you know exactly what to expect from each book in the series. Granted this fits neatly into your "mass appeal" products argument.

          Merry Maids or the Geek Squad - not a physical product. Each are services (granted, these are nationwide, but there are countless local services in each area that have strong branding too) that come with a certain set of expectations that they've carefully cultivated through branding. In LA, I remember hearing ads for plumbers that smell good. Could he sell that through print ads and flyers just as well as through radio? You bet.

          Positioning is only a part of marketing and brand building. Without the other Ps, it's just you trying to convince someone that this 1 dimensional picture you painted is really 3D.
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          • Profile picture of the author DavidG
            Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

            ...
            Positioning is only a part of marketing and brand building. Without the other Ps, it's just you trying to convince someone that this 1 dimensional picture you painted is really 3D.
            The slim jim "Read this or Die" promotion did MILLIONS because it got down to the deep emotion of prospects. VERY successful promotion

            Read This Or Die

            I'm not saying there's only one advertising channel for DR and for Brand Advertising.

            Informercials and Radio are great DR spots... and you see a lot of Brand Advertisement in Vogue magazines and newspapers.

            Here's my point...

            Lets say you have Diabetes... you wake up every morning, your feet are cold and you're FORCED to eat healthy or lose a leg. You miss your foods and you're getting tired of all this health crap.

            So then you check your inbox and there's a promotion that says... "Had ENOUGH?" you're likely to keep reading because it starts off in your current state of mind.

            The promotion says you don't have to be forced to eat vegetables, that drinking 8 cups of water might be bad, eating steak is good...etc.

            Then it starts selling you a news letter, where you can find out more about ways in getting rid of the dependency on crappy foods...etc.

            You'll probably convert.

            The prospect may or may not know they are feeling a problem. They are struggling and have a need... but they don't know a product or service is out there to help them.

            I personally think direct response is the most EFFECTIVE way to sell to this type of prospect. And by type, I mean their stage of awareness.

            Okay so now, the whole example on Spice. Yes, they mailed to you - but you didn't purchase. And if you did, the promotion was short and to the point.

            It's self evident, it was a coupon and it was convenient. People talk about it on the forums, you hear about their youtube commercials....

            Maybe they're good. Who knows right?

            The key distinction is that it DOESN'T REALLY MATTER. Instead you used the sample to trick and have fun with your colleagues.

            Same thing with Geek Squad... I don't care. When my computer breaks down, I know there are options. And I'll probably get geek squad.

            Politics? I don't care neither. I see a bunch of ads and everyone says the same thing, but ultimately it won't matter until it effects me. And if they adress that properly in each ad, then I'll consider my options.

            What about TV personals? Well, if I'm bored and don't really want to get into another promo until tomorrow, I might check out what Steve Harvey has to say about marriage... I HEARD HE WAS GOOD.

            And I only purchased a Dummies book when I had trouble in Calculous.

            But that's as far as it goes. It doesn't mean that they don't sell... because they do and probably more than any DR product will.

            All I'm saying is that no one ACTS the SECOND they read a bill board or a 30 second ad.

            Brand advertising is MOSTLY for mass, everyday consumer products/services.

            Now, just to reinforce another thought... DR is all about emotion. Start where the prospect is at and then carry on to their desires.

            I saw a TON of that for these past recent political campaigns. AXE does real well by marketing that you'll be a hero and draw all the women in the world...

            These illusions are good psychology. But they aren't the same as DR. In fact, that may be another difference... DR has to be as accurate as possible.

            While brands are vague about their image. Which can get way out of hand.

            And it cost too much money for DR products/services to try and brand themselves and hope the mass will buy.

            P.S - "Had Enough" was a real promo that also did millions. I think there's a different version of it right now.
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            • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
              Originally Posted by DavidG View Post

              The slim jim "Read this or Die" promotion did MILLIONS because it got down to the deep emotion of prospects. VERY successful promotion
              Maybe we're thinking different slim jims here. I'm picturing vague meat-like products with Randy Savage screaming at me. I'm definitely NOT opening that if it says "Read This or Die".

              I've heard about the mailing though. Haven't had a chance to read it.
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  • One big reason that direct marketing advocates like to s*** on brand marketing so much is because David Ogilvy, one of the biggest names in brand marketing, specifically said that direct marketers know sales psychology better than brand marketers do.

    The thing is, in spite of all that, most of Ogilvy's work still falls squarely in the realm of brand advertising... Short 15 second commercials, funny characters, high-end magazine ads and all that. He just incorporated direct marketing principles into his brand work.

    There's no denying that many brand marketing campaigns have been effective.

    Just look at Apple's "I'm a mac/I'm a PC" ads, or Samsung's "the new thing is already here" ads. Those CLEARLY generated a lot of sales for those companies.

    Anyway, I basically think that what Mark said is true. Branding and direct marketing go hand in hand. Both have their advantages, so why CHOOSE one when you can effectively use BOTH in a single campaign?
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  • I also think it is a blend. Even a simple 3-step Dan Kennedy letter sequence has branding elements. Remember Giorgio, the Official Romance Director?

    "A Confidential Letter to the Husband of the House from Giorgio
    — Romance Director, Giorgio's Italian Grotto

    “She may be waiting …just anticipating …things she may never possess …but while she's waiting, try a little tenderness…”

    April 16th

    Dear Husband,

    Women are different than we are. (Vive le difference!) YOUR loving wife needs, wants, and deserves SPECIAL ATTENTION maybe more often than you think to give it to her.

    You are busy. Preoccupied with work. Aggravated with that dumb-dumb that you have to deal with every day at the office. Tired..."

    Kennedy, Dan S. (2012-01-01). The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales (Kindle Locations 1815-1820). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

    Here's Kennedy's take on branding.

    Is Dan Kennedy Anti-Brand? The Surprising Answer | Small Business Marketing Blog | Glazer-Kennedy Insiders Circle
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0mdxcsjifu...ough_Tab-r.pdf

    That's the "Head Enough"

    And here's Jim Rutz - "Read This Or Die"...

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/izmjrm15ec...im_Rutz_Ad.pdf

    Great promos to study.
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