How many of these 11 creative traits do you have?

creative traitsBoost Your Direct Marketing Creativity
- Part 2 -

In my previous post, I talked about the 3 levels of creative mastery in direct marketing.

And I said that if you’re seeking long-term success in this industry, you should aim for the Third Level, where you strive to find a balance between technique and creativity, between the tried and the new.

This time, let’s take a look at the traits of a truly creative professional working on the Third Level .

Despite what you might think, we are all creative to some degree. You. Me. Your accountant. Your hairdresser. The kid who bags your groceries. Everyone.

Creativity isn’t something you’re born with. It’s not some mysterious aura that hovers around wild-haired writers and artists. And it has nothing to do with how smart you are. In fact, research has shown that once you get beyond an I.Q. of about 120 (which is fairly average), intelligence and creativity are not correlated.

So you could be a genius and display little creativity. Or you could be perfectly average in intelligence and wield amazing creative powers.

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The 3 levels of creative mastery in direct marketing

creativity in direct marketingBoost Your Direct Marketing Creativity
- Part 1 -

We direct marketing types are well-known for our reliance on “proven” techniques.

Our books, trade magazines, and club meetings overflow with zillions of hints, commandments, rules, warnings, tactics, and all manner of well-organized wisdom.

That’s why many people in the advertising industry — much of which thrives on ultra-creative, out-of-the-box ideas — consider us rather old-fashioned and conservative.

And that’s just fine with me.

Because we have a different job to do than our brand advertising brethren. We’re looking for immediate and direct response. We’re going for instant return on investment. Our massive technique tool box allows us to make sales, generate leads, and raise funds in predictable and measurable ways.

But while we can chide our chums on the brand side about being too creative, they certainly have every reason to chide us for not being creative enough. While they often don’t follow any rules at all, we often follow too many.

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Great quotes on the wild, weird, and wonderful world of advertising

advertising quotationsThe definition of a good quotation is “truth well-stated.”

Good quotes can be wise, amusing, irreverent, opinionated, even contradictory, but each sparkles with a diamond of truth.

Personally, I believe that some of the most instructive and entertaining are those that criticize, complain, or poke fun. Thus, these gems:

“Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn’t sell much of anything.” -David Ogilvy

“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” -Howard Luck Gossage

“The six phases of every project: 1. Enthusiasm; 2. Disillusionment; 3. Panic; 4. A search for the guilty; 5. The punishment of the innocent; 6. Praise and honor for the nonparticipants.” -Anonymous

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9 direct mail “devices” to quickly boost response

direct mail devicesOne of the primary advantages of using direct mail is your ability to “divide and conquer.”

Your letter delivers a personal message and makes an offer. Your brochure demonstrates features and dramatizes benefits. Your order form calls for action and eases response.

Each piece performs a specific function and, because each is dedicated to that function, does a better job than a mailer attempting to do everything simultaneously.

With that in mind, consider what else you might want to accomplish in your direct mail package. Then consider testing an appropriate insert or involvement device that can boost response enough to offset the additional cost.

Here are just a handful of ideas:

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How to start getting sales leads the easy way

Rube Goldberg cartoonIf I could sponsor a national conference on sales lead generation, I would simply fill a room with Rube Goldberg cartoons, herd everyone in, and lock the door for a few hours.

No speakers. No booths. No buffets of cold ham and limp green beans.

And you know what? The effectiveness of lead generation in this country would skyrocket. People would be closing more sales than their companies could handle.

Once I settled all the copyright infringement suits from displaying ol’ Rube’s artwork, I would be rich. I would be hailed as the Peter F. Drucker of sales leads.

Oh, well. I can dream, can’t I?

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14 offers to increase profit and generate sales inquiries

direct response offerspart 4 of a 4-part series

We’ve been looking at offers because offers are the heart of direct response advertising.

In fact, I’ll remind you yet again, there are three absolute requirements if you want to do direct response. You must:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

If you’re not doing all three, you’re not doing direct response.

So far we’ve looked at 14 offers to raise response and lower risk, 17 offers to reduce price and increase urgency, and 13 offers to improve terms and provide services and bribes.

Finally, we’ll look at 14 offers to increase profit (specifically dollars per sale) and generate inquiries for multi-step sales.

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13 offers to improve terms and provide services and bribes

direct response offerspart 3 of a 4-part series

In this series, we’re looking at offers.

Back in part one, we listed three things you must do to create effective direct response advertising:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

Then we looked at 14 offers to raise response and lower risk and 17 offers to reduce price and increase urgency.

Now we’ll consider 13 offers that improve terms and provide services and bribes.

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