Monday, March 22, 2010

Database power in Direct Mail and VDP - introduction

A manual for taking your marketing efforts to the highest peaks of professional achievement. This is intended for the astute small business owner who understands the importance of top-notch marketing efforts. Likewise, it is also intended for the marketing manager under pressure to release complex deployments, and is being held directly responsible for the success (or disaster) of his / her campaigns.







Hello, my name is Dan Banici and I am the owner of Option Quest, a business brokerage company. We help business owners present and sell their healthy, profitable businesses. In this profession I have been privileged to see and analyze the inner mechanics of hundreds of companies from dozens of industries. It became transparently obvious to me that most Direct Marketing efforts are under the expectations of those who run them, when measured strictly by results. Likewise, only a handful of companies seemed to be immune to the "direct marketing misfortune", and these successful efforts have certain elements in common, which will be analyzed here.






You will be introduced to a method I have helped to coin back in 1999, when working as an MIS Director for a New York firm with Fortune 500 clients. As a matter of course back then we would sit with the best marketing minds of these companies to find ways in which technology and automation could give our efforts an edge in the marketplace. Later on, I have adopted and improved many of these same principles, and found an affordable way to offer these essential success elements to any company, so that any serious marketer can benefit from them. The system is called by its' acronym, V.I.P.E.R.2 It means:






Virtual Incentive Personalized End-to-End Response-booster






The scientific methodology of the VIPER2 system has helped companies large and small run better campaigns with significantly higher response rates than any other method known, used, tried or tested. That is why similar methods are consistently used by the strongest players in the Direct Marketing game. It is a multidisciplinary process, and for that reason we offer it as a complete service. You should know your business well. We don't expect you to learn this in order to be able to use it; however, if you'd like to and are so inclined, we could teach it to you.






This is a manual and step-by-step guide for taking your marketing efforts to the highest peaks of professional achievement. "Good enough" is no longer acceptable; the common availability of mail merge and VDP software make even your most ambitious direct marketing efforts, even when you put a lot of work into them, seem "unspectacular" because your audience has come to expect similar high standards. What you need is to differentiate yourself through something exceptional. Just like a 10th of one second is the factor responsible for Olympic Gold, so the very best in direct marketing are those who show that extra edge, which no one else can touch, and as a result they harvest the rewards of champions in the form of higher response rates.






That factor of excellence must be more than just your mailpiece or your web design. Consoling ourselves with statements such as "I don't care how many respond, I am doing it only for exposure and brand recognition" is just another way of saying "I have no clue how to make this work". The Incentive Server VIPER2 platform will give you the extra edge you seek. However, you cannot settle for mediocrity in the other aspects of your campaign just because you decided to use the VIPER2 system. VIPER2 is not a magic pill. It simply helps hard working, disciplined marketers increase their response. If you gain 10% higher response using our system, but then lose it because you select a cheaper paper, an ordinary envelope, a less attractive incentive, then you haven't really gained anything, have you?






What separates the top performing campaigns from the huge mass of failures - today just as it was 50 years ago, is innovation used as the backbone for appeal. Some improvements have a fleeting impact, others have a more permanent one. It is the more permanent kind we will discuss here. The VIPER2 method creates and delivers incredible impact by its' very nature. It is like a solid skeletal framework on which you can build amazing campaigns using your own creative genius, time and time again!






What it does:


It grabs the attention of the recipient with end-to-end personalization.


It establishes you as a solid authority to be trusted, not a mediocre shop.


It maintains their attention with the promise of instant delivery of promised incentive.


It delivers a "more than expected" experience with Online Personalization.


It reduces friction with form pre-population or complete form elimination (just ask us how).






It then delivers warm leads instantly to you, so your best sales people can close a sale before they even decide whether to accept your offer or not.






Testing is primordial in Direct Marketing. We can help you perform Split or Multivariate testing, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Testing for those factors that may affect response rates is very important prior to a large campaign.






However, it is better to run no test at all, than to test for the wrong factors.






Think for a moment: if you knew ahead of time of a system that could DRAMATICALLY INCREASE the response rate to your mailings, every time you run a campaign, would you not want to use it? To find out what works you need to run tests, and tests cost a little money. But they cost much less than running unprepared campaigns with no results, and remaining without a clue as to why they fail so badly. The market response data you collect from testing becomes your most valuable company asset, to be guarded under lock and key: knowledge that puts money in your pocket every time you use it. Some companies use surveys to test a market, or at least to get their opinion on a subject. Testing whether a person would buy is not the same thing as testing whether a person says that they would buy.






The VIPER2 method is the ideal platform for testing the various factors which can influence audience response to your offer. It is also incredibly affordable when compared to any method that claims to give you similar advantages. To date we know of no other method that has all these features, since at least one key element of our program is not implemented by any other program we know of. Furthermore, those programs that deliver a small portion of what we do under the Incentive Server VIPER2 program will cost you expensive servers and people who know how to operate them. Because we have the machines and the people, your cost to simply choose to do it is minimal, affordable, and can be negotiated with other services. It costs you much more (in lost responses) every time you don't use it.






This book is intended for the astute small business owner who understands the importance of top-notch marketing efforts. Likewise, it is also intended for the marketing manager under pressure to release complex deployments fast, and is being held directly responsible for the success (or disaster) of his / her campaigns. Welcome, fellow marketer, to the best hands-on marketing course you have ever read, and an experiment that you will actually perform for yourself, step by step, and not just read about.






By now you're probably wondering what VIPER2 stands for. It is an abbreviation for the first half of our proven procedural formula, Virtual Incentive-based Personalized End-to-end Response-booster, and on our blackboards, where it is permanently printed, it looks like this:






R=2m+3p+2(v-a)+2(i-f)


where






R= response


M= motivation to act now


P= end-to-end personalization


V= clarity of your value offering


A= anxiety to take action


I= incentives and bonuses used in your campaign


F= frictional elements of campaign






What you will learn here is not difficult, and for knowing it you will become that exceptional marketer with the ability to reach across many disciplines and deliver campaigns like the big companies, time and time again. For less than the cost of a cheesy Flash website, you can have a top-notch campaign infrastructure that establishes you as an authority in your industry and delivers great results from your direct marketing efforts. Sometimes, taking time or procrastinating comes at a much higher cost, especially when trying to run a business. Certainly, sending a large mailing knowing completely well that the response will be poor, is a perfect waste of money. Yet so many of our friends do it, because they don't know any better.






When you find it convenient, just call us to prepare a VIPER2 campaign for you; we welcome your projects, and we deliver our work fast. Some of our clients want the whole thing done by us (printing, mailing, landing pages, collecting and delivering leads), while others just need their data prepared and sent to their mail or fulfillment house. Others still use us for our state of the art campaign forms and lead management system. We are flexible, and one 1/2 hour free presentation can help you decide which of our enhancement services would serve you well and complement those aspects that you already do well by yourself.






No matter what platform you currently use to keep track of your clients & prospects, or to generate your letters / emails and send them out, the VIPER2 system you will learn here can (and will) help you where it really matters: getting a higher rate of response out of your campaigns.






This book is intended to break some of the barriers which are currently holding you captive into less than ideal performance; with some ingenuity on your part, you can take the framework we give you, and based on it you can then build truly exceptional campaigns of your own. So the next time you get that "Capital One(tm) Credit Card Offer" in the mail, take the time to look carefully at its' complexity of design and function. Know that it has cost them a fortune to design, and another fortune to develop and keep such integrated systems running. Then breathe easy, for you will be able to do the same thing and better, with just the knowledge you will gain out of this book.






Once again, welcome to the marketing course that will transform your business; the direct marketing solution you have always searched for and never quite found is actually here. We have made a great effort to write this technical book in such a way so that anyone can understand it. Volumes of theory and arcane coding procedures were dropped in favor of simplicity, so you can get started "as you are". That is why we offer it as an affordable service. You need not learn anything new to benefit from it!






As a business owner myself, I know that I would rather throw a few bucks at a problem than spend days on end trying to find ways to do it myself. Sometimes you have to ask: "what is my time worth?". If your employees just sit in front of a computer on a slow day, and you have them help to stuff envelopes, that is smart. If you need to go from Manhattan to Queens and drive around through Brooklyn and take one of the bridges (45 minutes detour) to avoid a tunnel toll, please add the gas and your time, and you will realize how the tunnel is cheaper.






So it follows, you should ask "how much is an hour of my time" and you will see how that together with the success of your campaigns, makes our fees not only affordable, but as some of our clients call them, "indispensable". If your time is important to you, we can "walk the talk" and prepare affordable VIPER2 direct marketing campaigns for you, so you can concentrate on running your business instead.






This manual has a lean and easy to follow process.


And when you get stuck, as we all do at times, we are just a call away.


Hopefully you run into a problem we've encountered and you will get an easy answer.


Or you run into a new one and we'll resolve it together.






As you progress, try to take our suggestions on software, campaign hosting, etc. It will save you countless headaches, that you may otherwise have to face and resolve if you take the "intentional stance". We suggest systems that we are familiar with, and if you use them, you can indeed count on our support. We may not be able to help you if you use platforms we are not familiar with.






It is required that you focus, devote attention, and that you stick to what we give you, and follow the steps correctly. You will then see incredible campaign results almost immediately, which you can then easily replicate to other campaigns or expand.






Even better, by the time you go through all the chapters hands-on, you yourself will also be a coveted expert, with knowledge to spare. You see, the secret to direct marketing success is not in any "magic formula" or "number of steps". Our revelation of success happened when we spared no expense and put together the best minds and tools in programming, marketing, statistics, name list management and project management. It all then became clear: the secret to getting better results is just making it abundently clear to the campaign recipient that you are better than the next guy. Not by telling it, but by demonstrating it. People don't rationalize how easy it was to buy from you. They just feel it subconsciously. That ease and comfort is not something you can point to, it is rather the absence of friction and anxiety, and it will bring them back the next time. You on the other hand, need to understand how it works to be able to replicate it into future campaigns.






OK, so the next secret is this: let the marketplace see you are superior, don't tell them, do not boast. When you narrate a lot, you are on your way to writing a really bad novel. When readers draw conclusions out of the captivating action, they will love you, and curse you for not being able to put the book down and go to sleep. Never boast - SHOW, don't "tell" is the golden rule. When you use VIPER2, your level of professionalism is implied and explicit in a very modest fashion, making your offer that much more desirable. People see how advanced your infrastructure is, and how gracefully you handle every interaction with them. Most experts agree that excellence coupled with modesty is an offer most people "cannot refuse".






By slashing the normal implementation costs of such an advanced direct marketing system, any serious small business owner or manager can now afford exceptional campaigns, especially in light of these benefits.






Enjoy the increased response rates, whether the response you seek is a sale or a lead to grow your mailing list. Just think VIPER2. If you run direct marketing (mail, email, fax, SMS, even PPC) without VIPER2, you are actually throwing your money away.

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