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The Devil’s In The Details

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference in the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. I’m not talking about typos, color shifts, production problems etc. Those can be controlled and at some point there are enough eyes on the material that they will likely be found and corrected before too much damage is done, at least in the old days, before instant campaigns online became possible.

Today it’s a little different, in that with speed comes a greater margin for error, often born of impatience. Get it out there, get it out there, no matter what the cost in accuracy or efficacy. The number of eyes on the materials has been greatly reduced, as the influence and assistance of outside vendors, editors, production artists, printers, mail shop workers, shippers, packagers, truck drivers, etc have been greatly reduced or eliminated. You can now “do it all yourself” and when the mistakes surface, you have only yourself to blame.

The little things I’m talking about are those small details in the offer, those small production details like proportion and size relationships, and typography, and color selection, and all the other little elements that make up a successful mail campaign. Promo codes that work, addresses that are postal validated or permit numbers that are correct, phone numbers and web addresses that are accurate and that function correctly. And more importantly, concepts that actually sell the right product! You might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing for effect, but I kid you not, I’ve seen marketing pieces that appear to sell the wrong product. I mean wrong compared to the intent of the sponsoring organization. If you are a large manufacturer, and your product contains a licensed product or another branded ingredient under an specific arrangement, (like Laundry detergent with Fabreeze), you can stop reading here. That’s not what I mean.

I’m talking about when the marketing team gets so involved in the details required to produce the piece, nobody has taken a step back and asked the critical question “What are we selling here?” Those little elements I mentioned above can indeed have a huge impact on the outcome of the campaign (think what could happen if you’ve got 4-5 sponsors or tests and each has a different promo code, and somehow the codes get shifted mid-way or they all lead the same place and don’t differentiate – your metrics are shot, you have no idea how to assign revenue, and your test is inconclusive and invalid – not a good day to be working in the marketing department). But if your focus of the campaign is off, you’ve fundamentally misdirected the audience’s attention, diluted the impact of your campaign, and wasted potentially a lot of money. When reading the copy, those first clues that the focus has shifted will likely emerge. If you get to the end of reading the raw copy, no images, no production, just words on paper, and you don’t feel motivated to find out how to get ahold of that product, start over.

Laser-like focus is required for maximum results. Each word, phrase, image, element or choice should be selected and added because it enhances the power of the message, clarifies the intent of the piece, or aids functionality for the end-user to facilitate a sale. Editing is a subtractive technology. Good editors take the mass of information presented in the first or second draft, and selectively remove anything that doesn’t force the sale forward. What’s left should be crystal clear, high-impact, high-return marketing madness that drives sales through the roof.

Once that’s achieved, test it, and mail, mail, mail!If you’ve thought it all through thoroughly, tracked all the leads, attended to every detail, checked every phone number, web address, promo code and list parameter, success is inevitable.

The Devil’s in the details, so bold marketers, go forth and dance with the devil, knowing that solid preparation, pin-point focus, and data-driven logic are the weapons that help you control the dance!

Write in your biggest snafu due to missing a small detail, we’d all love to hear about it and commiserate with you – hopefully it was long enough ago that you can now share a good laugh with all of us.

If you found this valuable and would like to read more, pick up a copy of “The Marketing Doctor’s Survival Notes

About David Poulos

Speaker, Consultant and Author David Poulos is known as the Marketing Doctor because of his proven ability to accurately diagnose and prescribe the most effective solutions for successful business growth with absolute surgical precision.

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