Email marketing

Two Reasons Why Your Direct Marketing Campaign Isn’t On Fire

As a species we’ve come a long way. Not that long ago we were dangling from trees, sniffing our armpits and now we are planning to set up camp on Mars. But here is the truth of the matter – as much as we are constantly evolving, some things just remain the same. We have all the information in the world at our finger tips, but a lot of human decision making in the 21st century is still instinctive, and failing to tap into that, as a marketer, is indeed the most EPIC of fails.

Humans make instinctive decisions because that is how we are hard-wired!

If your direct marketing campaign isn’t on fire, you are failing to pull one of two levers, that have been around since man was swinging a club and dragging his knuckles on the ground:

  • The fear lever
  • The greed lever

Are there two emotions that get you to move quicker, than fear and greed do? I don’t think so. Remember how quickly you got off your ass to get another helping of dinner last night? And how quickly did you move when you received a late payment notification from SARS?

Greed and Fear.

Before we evolved into flabby couch potatoes, ordering take-out from Apps, the world was a much more cruel place. Survival of the fittest was the name of the game. If you didn’t move fast enough something would eat you up (plain and simple). And if you didn’t make sure you maximized every meal opportunity (ate until your stomach was about to explode) it might have meant that you wouldn’t make it to your next meal.

That extreme harshness we, as a species, had to endure in our earliest years, fine-tuned and hard-wired some internal emotion triggers that will remain with us for a million more years.

So as marketers why aren’t we always tapping into that?

If we know fear and greed are the strongest of human emotions, why do we still push out lukewarm direct marketing campaigns? It’s because we are getting lazy.

Let me better illustrate my point:

A life insurance company is looking to promote its product via email, so they do what every other life insurance company does and they put all the “amazing benefits” of the product into a stock-standard email creative.

Unfortunately, what they fail to realize is that 99% of people they are targeting couldn’t care about their snazzy new life insurance product.


Because it’s life insurance (and in the eyes of the consumer it’s all the same)

So what happens when the email campaign goes out? The results are iffy, at best, and the client walks away feeling disgruntled about the money they spent.

Perhaps a strong emotion like greed should have been the starting point when putting the marketing campaign together.

Instead of making the life insurance product the focus of the campaign, what if we started with an offer that was too good to be true, and we pulled the greed lever? Or perhaps the fear lever? Or perhaps both.

What if we said that if you took up the life insurance product you would get the 1st 3 months free – Get cover today & only start paying in January 2017.

Or perhaps,

Sign up before the end of the month and we will waive all medical exams.

Talk about fear…Who wants a needle in the arm before their life cover is issued? Saving on premiums takes care of the greed emotion. No medical underwriting clearly takes care of the fear emotion.

Perhaps we should add them together for a knock out life insurance campaign?

If you want people to move, scare the hell out of them or give them an incentive.

Or don’t and burn more marketing budget. Your choice.

Until next time.