Sales Tips: Chet Meisner’s Comprehensive Guide to Direct Marketing
A trillion-dollar industry poised for even greater growth, direct marketing is a discipline that produces results companies want to achieve, but it continues to be misused and misunderstood. In his new book, “The Complete Guide to Direct Marketing: Creating Breakthrough Programs That Really Work”, Kaplan Publishing, Chicago, direct marketing expert Chet Meisner demonstrates the process of creating highly effective direct marketing programs from strategic development to execution to measurement.
The 320-page comprehensive primer covers the strategic role direct marketing plays in overall marketing programs; how to buy lists and manage data effectively; common rules for multi-media direct marketing; and the impact direct marketing can have on a company’s sales and profitability. Included are actual case studies from well-known companies, and more than 50 charts, illustrations, tables and other graphics.
In one section, Meisner offers his rules for direct marketing design. They include the following:
• Make the copy easy to read.
• Start with the response area and design around it, so it is immediately obvious what action recipients must take.
• Unlike most advertising, art is subordinate to copy in direct marketing, so adhere to a 75 percent copy, 25 percent graphics guideline.
• Understand the limitations of the environment by asking production questions before building creative ideas around it.
• Don’t bury phone numbers or other calls to action.
• Make it easy for recipients to fill out coupons, fax forms, etc.
• Avoid color (especially screens) behind body copy, which can reduce readability by as much as 70 percent.
• Avoid reverse body copy which can be difficult to read.
• Use simple type styles.
• Don’t use justified or condensed type, wraparound shapes (especially on the left) and skinny shapes.
• Understand and use copy blocking to maximize the flow of the sales pitch.
• Use plain formats when appropriate, which are always cheaper and sometimes stronger.