10 Direct Marketing Tips from Lester Wunderman

Lester Wunderman, “the father of direct marketing” and quite possibly the smartest adman ever to prowl Madison Avenue (just ask him), outlined 10 big things about today’s direct marketing during a recent interview:

Make direct marketing your strategy, not merely a tactic

Direct marketing involves precisely target-ed communication with the customer. “The objective is to be relevant, not to be personal, Wunderman says. “Personal may offend. Relevancy never will,” he advises.

Focus on the consumer, not your product

Marketers often miss the point that they should focus on the consumer’s need to be satisfied—not on the product that is for sale, says Wunderman. The “product you’re trying to sell came into being because someone needed it—or at least that’s why it should have come into being.”

Understand the true meaning of one-to-one advertising

“For the most part, there is no such thing as one-to-one, personal advertising,”Wunderman observes. The concept behind one-to-one “is that we should address the consumer with relevancy.”

Advertising and media have changed

Advertising is no longer about mere eyeball counts or the creation of fuzzy commodities like good will, Wunderman says.

Brand power

“Brand has to touch everything from advertising to packaging to customer service communications—and in every medium you’re working in,” says Wunderman.”

Building relationships

“The type of relationship I’m talking about is an ongoing continuity of satisfaction,”Wunderman says. You want to get the customer into a “zone” of satisfaction. You do so by selling the right thing to the right person at the right time; and providing service.

Today, media is a contact strategy

“Reach and frequency are out of date,” asserts Wunderman. “Treat me as an audience that is respected,” Wunderman asks. “Only true contacts can begin relationships.”

Don’t forget ‘when’

The great thing about direct marketing is that often it helps you can find out when somebody is going to be ready to buy your product, Wunderman says. “Life-changing events” that are matters of public record,such as a new baby, often trigger purchases.

Aim for share of customer, not share of market

Advertisers finally are realizing that there’s a more important statistic than share of markets—share of wallet, says Wunderman. Ninety percent of most companies’ profits come from repeat buyers, he points out.

Use your database effectively

“Creativity is creativity. What has changed is the level of information we now have available,” Wunderman says. “A company is no better than what it knows.”