What do you do when the direct marketing campaign you are delivering comes up short? If you lived in the movie world you’d go to the MIB (Men In Black) set and pick up the flash light that erases memories and shine it in your client’s eyes. If you live in the real world you might be inclined to think you should be off looking for another client, but that’s not usually the case. Here’s why. Most of all, your client wants to be viewed as a success and while this campaign wasn’t a success your client selected you as their vendor and so your client is vested in your success as well. Blaming the vendor for a poor campaign doesn’t make your client look good. What he or she needs is good analysis of what went wrong and solid recommendations of what to do going forward. And who is in the best position to provide that info? You.
Setting the right expectations (good or bad) upfront is a critical part of the third component in the S3 selling process – expanding the relationship. Here are 3 things you can do.
1. Be proactive. If you are managing or have access to the results as the campaign unfolds be the source of information for your client for what’s working and what’s not working. Evaluate the impact of some problem and try to deliver the bad news even before the client knows. Being proactive will win a lot of brownie points and they will be in sharing mode. Nobody wants to be surprised.
2. Every campaign should include a post mortem analysis. It’s best if you lead the analysis and examine how each of the 4 key factors affected the campaign outcome. Offer to call a couple prospects on the list and get their response to the campaign. Finally, You should make recommendations on how to adjust the campaign going forward.
Questions to Ask
· Was the target market identified correctly?
· Are the names on our list really the buyer?
· Is the list up to date?
· Did they receive the piece?
· Did we address the pain points?
· Was the offer compelling?
· Did we miss the buying window?
· Did the creative communicate the key benefit of the product for the target audience?
· Was the piece persuasive?
· What was the call to action?
3. Testing. If you put your toe in the water and it’s really cold don’t jump in. One of the great benefits of digital printing is there are no huge set up costs, which makes it easier and more affordable to test. You want to manage your media dollars carefully. You can do that by testing small lot sizes of 1,000 or 500 or even 200 pieces. You are not testing for response rates with the small lot sizes; rather you are testing for failure. If you send out 500 you should get at least 10 responses. If you don’t get any or only a couple you need to make adjustments before continuing. Direct marketing is not an exact science so testing and adjusting should be viewed as a normal part of any campaign.
In summary, be proactive in supplying your client with information and analysis about every campaign. Always include a post mortem analysis along with your projects and test before you spend all the media dollars. Setting the proper expectations at the start of the campaign and following these steps you’ll be able to set the proper expectations with customers and recover from an occasional bad campaign.