True Confessions – That Dinosaur will Hunt

We recently hosted our quarterly Lunch & Learn, and as always, the speakers and topics provided a cornucopia of marketing morsels.  Titled True Confessions – Real Life Stories of Marketers in the Digital Age, it actually turned out to be more of a something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue– type event.

All in attendance seemed to be in agreement that marketing communications – the art of telling a story, promoting a product – is certainly an activity that is borrowed.  It’s nothing new really.  It’s just that now, there are so many more techniques available that allow us to be more effective in how we do it.

Brian Bush of Stephens Inc. opened the presentations with the discussion of something old.  And no, it had nothing to do with Brian himself.  Brian told the story of how Direct Mail, that dinosaur of direct marketing, is leading to success with his target market.  Here are some of the nuggets he shared:

  • Because of its strong brand awareness, Stephens has never really felt the need for a direct marketing campaign.  So this direct mail approach was certainly a new endeavor.
  • Along these same lines, because of the Stephens brand and image, Brian said that many investors believed that they did not possess the wealth necessary to be worthy of being a Stephens’ client.  Takeaway point: There is often a disconnect between how you perceive your brand, and how prospects perceive your brand.
  • Brian also shared that the first approach to the carefully selected database was a direct mail campaign that drive respondents to landing pages (pURL campaign).  While it did have some success, more respondents preferred to contact Brian via phone or email, rather than online. Takeaway point: Know your audience and learn how they prefer to communicate.  Today’s marketing tools allow you to do that quite effectively.
  • Because of the lack of response to the actual PURL campaign, that particular response mechanism was eliminated in future mailings.  Takeaway point: Measure your results, not only to repeat methods that are successful, but to eliminate those that are not.
  • Finally, Brian touched briefly on the design aspect of the marketing pieces.  While a flashy, engaging, even humorous approach was briefly considered, it was decided to use a more corporate conservative approach.  In today’s volatile stock market environment, an even-keeled, serious tone is more effective.

Or, to put it another way, Greg Henderson (@jgreghenderson), summarized this takeaway point best with a tweet:  Old rich guys do not like color on their mail.

So while some may consider direct mail to be a dinosaur of available marketing channels, for Brian Bush and Stephens Inc., it still is causing folks to take notice, and react.  And that is what good marketing does.

Up next in our True Confession series, we will learn how Jason Brown (@jbrown935) of The Communications Group used something new to attract attendees to its client’s trade show booth.


Paul Strack, CustomXM


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