A little later I have a free offer for you, but first …
Years ago I used to talk about what I call the “Nod Factor”, which is essential in your messages.
I came up with this because most selling messages get one of three reactions.
- The first (and most common) is total indifference, because the message is irrelevant, stupid or meaningless, such as “T-mobile – stick together”. This gets at best a puzzled “Uh?”
- The second, almost as common, occurs when the message is boastful drivel – like “The future is bright. The future is orange” – and almost all car advertising. This gets an irritated “Oh, come on.”
- The third is what you should aim for. In it you say something the reader simply cannot disagree with. This gets the nod. And it is the beginning of successful persuasion.
Once you’ve got someone to agree to one thing you can then say something else hard to disagree with – and so on until you ask for a reply.
Having agreed to everything else, why should they say “no”?
The late Peter Drucker said many years ago:
“The perfect advertisement is one of which the reader can say, ‘This is for me, and me alone’.”
That means it gets the nod. And mass advertising simply cannot be that personal and relevant, which helps explain why direct marketing – online or off – has overtaken it.
More particularly, it helps explain why the database is so important.
I always refer to the magic crossroads, which for me is that point where what you want to say meets what you know about your prospect or customer. But first, here’s some terror for you.
Harvey McKay said in his book Swim with the sharks without being eaten alive: “Something you know about your customer may be more important than anything you know about your product”.
So even if you say something dull and unimaginative like “As an accountant” when writing to accountants you will get them reading.
As a matter of fact I have seen exactly those words increase response by 200% in a mailing to sell business loans.
Well that seems very simple doesn’t it? Just use database knowledge intelligently.
But I noticed long ago that the chief objective of any organisation with more than one department is to make it hard to do anything intelligent.
In marketing one way this is done is by making sure the people who create the messages talk as little as possible to the people who manage the database.
So today’s helpful idea is – make sure that before anything is created, database people talk to creative people.
I mentioned a little freebie at the start. It’s a list of 11 database desiderata put together by the person I consider the best practical database expert in this country.
He’s worked with everyone from American Express to Coca Cola – and I’ve collaborated with him many times over the years.
What I like about him is that he focuses quite simply on one thing: how to turn your data into money.
Unlike most stuff about databases which is pretentious and needlessly obscure, it’s easy to understand.