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.


Email marketing

4 Questions You Need To Ask Before Firing Off Your Email Campaign

I’ve always believed you can only call yourself an “expert” if you make your living from the very thing you claim to be an expert in. If you brew beer and make a living from it, I would consider you a beer brewing expert. But, if you make a living as an investment banker, and dabble in craft beer brewing, on the weekend, you are a hobbyist at best. Every one of the guys who contributes to this blog makes a great living from direct marketing, so we believe that qualifies us to call ourselves experts in the field of direct marketing, and as a result we are confident in handing out some advice via our blog.

In this week’s blog post we look at 4 simple questions you need to ask yourself before you fire off any email marketing campaign.

Let’s start with this – Are you doing any email marketing?

If email doesn’t form part of your digital marketing strategy, you are seriously missing a trick!

The truth is, if executed correctly, a well-thought-out email marketing campaign has one of the highest potential returns on marketing spend. And let’s face it, there isn’t a business out there which doesn’t want to get more mileage out of their overstretched marketing budget, right?

“With a return on investment (ROI) of 38 to 1 on every Dollar invested, email has the highest ROI among digital channels”
2016 State Of Email Report – Litmus

But let’s park the fact that email marketing offers crazy ROIs (as tough as that might be to do).

The real strength of email, as a digital marketing channel, lies in relationship building and customer retention, and it might well come as a surprise to you, but people actually want to receive well-thought-out and interesting email.

If it provides a great ROI, builds relationships and retains customers, why isn’t every business doing email marketing? It seems like a no-brainer, right?

Well, putting together a successful email marketing campaign can be tougher than it seems, if you go into it not being able to answer a couple of basic questions.

Sure, you can labour over the email creative, what subject line you are going to use and how often you are going to send. But, without knowing what the objective of the campaign is (and how you are going to measure it), you’re dead in the water before you have even started.

Because we are a bunch of dudes (we always like to keep things nice and simple), so we’ve narrowed our critical questions down to just 4:

  • What is the objective of the campaign?
  • What is the value exchange?
  • What is the desired outcome?
  • What are the success metrics?

Let’s look at a quick example to better illustrate the point:

BIC Insurance Brokers specialize in car insurance policies and have more than 10 000 existing clients on their books. They are looking to start an email marketing campaign to cross-sell a new life insurance offering into their existing policyholder base.

Cool, seems easy enough, so let’s ask ourselves a few questions and see if we can come up with good enough answers to push this from an idea into a campaign.

Q: What is the objective of the email campaign?

A: To cross-sell life insurance to an existing customer base

Q: What is the value exchange?

A: Existing policyholders get a reduced rate if they take up the time sensitive life cover offer

Q: What is the desired outcome?

A: To cross-sell 10% of the existing policyholder base and book 1000 new life insurance policies before October  2016.

Q: What are the success metrics?

A: 1000 new life insurance policies on books at an average premium of R200pm (R200 000 in
new premium income) before October 2016.

It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than this.

Before you get carried away with the “fluff” take some time to make sure you know exactly what you want out of your email marketing campaign.

Need any assistance with your email marketing strategy or campaigns? Drop us a line.


Marketing budget

The Moment You Realize You’ve Still Got Marketing Budget, But F#*# All Options

We’ve all experienced that harrowing moment when you realize you still have loads of marketing budget, but every channel you’ve explored has come up short (it’s time to reach for that rooi wyn and pack of styvie blues!). And clients can be uncompromising, can’t they? So what the hell do you do when you still have loads of marketing budget left in the month, but very few tricks left up your sleeve?

It’s our role as marketers to take our clients spend and get the best possible return on that money, right? I mean, in essence our job is nothing more than identifying the right target audience, positioning the correct message to that group, and then delivering the cheapest knockout message (with the most oomph) in order to drive as many people as we can towards a decision (and 90% of the time that decision ultimately needs to be a buying decision).

I mean it’s easy…yeah, right!

We all “sweat bullets” for our clients, and for the most part,we generally get it right 95% of the time. But, if I had R10 000 bucks for every time a campaign has run 100% smoothly, without any hiccups, I would have already retired on a tropical island, rocking my tie-dye vest and working on my plan to open a gin distillery.

The fact is, things seldom pan out exactly the way we want them to (in business and in life) and the smartest marketers I know are the most agile ones (and also those with the most contacts).

So back to the burning question?

What do you do if you have loads of marketing budget left and you’ve exhausted all your existing options?


I mean, how cool would it be to pick up the phone and book some budget with a channel you know delivers?

It should be as easy at that, but here is the real problem…

Marketers aren’t necessarily the best communicators or even great networkers.

The above-the-line agency guys seldom talk to the below-the-line guys. The dudes running banners and booking impressions seldom chat to the social media guys, who seldom talk to the direct marketing guys, who never talk to the paid search boys.

You get my drift?

Everybody is fighting for their own piece of the client pie (and like greedy school children, nobody is looking to share any of the cake)

Seems a little silly to me that we all face exactly the same problems when it comes to spending client budget, but yet we seldom look beyond our areas of expertise for fresh, interesting, and more importantly, potentially prosperous long-term partnerships?

Here is a perfect example of what I am getting at:

A good client of ours has a very strong relationship with a major SA telecoms company. He is a banner display dude and at a certain point last month ran up against a brick wall when it was pretty apparent he had more cellphone enquiries to deliver than days left in the month.

We’ve all experienced that sickening feeling!

So what did he do? He picked up the phone and called on a channel he knows will deliver for him.

We built a marketing plan that met his brief, executed it on behalf of him and absolutely killed it for the cellphone provider.

Banner guy needs help, so he turns to the direct marketing guys to assist. And we know we can call on him for exactly the same assistance.

We are the very best at what we do (if you don’t know what that is, click here) and I’m assuming you feel the same about what you do? If getting the best possible result for your clients is always your number one priority, perhaps we should be chatting and seeing what type of synergies exist.

Or we can just keep hitting the rooi wyn and styvie ten packs when we still have budget to spend and nobody to call.

Drop us a line if you are keen to see what synergies might exist.