Top Design Contest -- Direct Mail
Platinum Award: Direct Mail.
Promotions Made Easy.
Designing direct mail pieces isn't rocket science, but it sure helps to know some fundamental rules of marketing. And one of the most im-portant ones is to know who you're writing for.
Rick Lewis, president of ProForma Preferred Systems, Long Beach, Calif., never seems to have any trouble remembering who his audience is. Unfortunately, that's not always the case for everyone else.
"So often, designers design for themselves," opined Lewis, "They design for what they like, not what their clients would like."
Lewis, however, does just the opposite—and it's working. This year alone he's had a hand in seven winning entries, including Best of Show, and he won a gold medal for the commercial printing category in 1999.
Of course, winning isn't everything. Satisfying the customer is, and that depends on good ideas. But for Lewis, work is sometimes like child's play, and that makes satisfying the customer a lot easier.
"It just came to me," declared Lewis, regarding the origin of the project's concept. "You put all the pieces of the puzzle together on your desk and you say, 'What is their current product line? Who is their target market?' "
In this case, the puzzle pieces were a CD software developer (Symantec) looking to thank its customers and promote itself through a product-related Christmas gift.
The problem: In order to improve retention of the company's name in customers' minds the gift had to be something useful that would be valued as a cut above the usual promotional gear.
The solution: A musical Christmas card on a CD packed with Christmas classics and delivered in time to be used over the holiday. Naturally, the gift was a smash.
Still, Lewis' magic is really quite simple. The trick to producing winning designs, he said, is to listen to the clients' goals and study its target market then find a way to blend all those elements into one coherent design.