I launched Freaking Marketing in January 2006 to help direct marketers get past the usual bullshit and do kickass work.
Over the past 199 posts we've talked about a good chunk of the Big Stuff: research, positioning, concepting, offers, segmentation, and too many other topics to list.
But there's really just one variable that consistently makes or breaks direct marketing campaigns, and that's data.
When I was a kid in this business, a mentor shared this maxim: send a so-so presentation to a great list and you may turn a profit, but send a great presentation to a shit list and you're automatically dead.
At the end of the day, direct marketing is largely a mathematical exercise.
Yes, marketing will always be a business of ideas. And one idea can transform a business or an industry. But ... you'll never accomplish much if you don't efficiently connect with your targets.
You need to find more customers like your best customers, extract the waste from productive list segments, and leverage your knowledge of the customer base. That's direct marketing.
I know some of you haven't been doing predictive modeling and customer profiling because of the upfront cost. Even if the short-term ROI is huge, some employers simply won't pop for it if it costs real money.
Here's something even those irrational bosses will love. Nancy Arter and Suzanne Obermire of RRW Consulting are now offering B2B and B2C marketers customer profiling services for as low as 500 bucks.
Disclosure: I love what these women are doing. In fact, they're new Mothers of Invention partners.
By the way: RRW stands for Red Red Wine.