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Agrimarketing : June 2008
June 2008 ¦ AgriMarketing 49 A s most people know, the American Association for Retired People (AARP) is a positive advocacy organization for people age 50 and over. So if you receive a direct mail letter from the AARP asking you to join their selec- tive yet beneficial club, you most likely will give the letter its due attention. Unless you are 30. Doing a quick search on the Internet, one can find tales of direct mail campaigns gone awry from the AARP, as individuals some 20 years before the target mark receive invita- tion letters. Now, due to its strong brand presence and reputation throughout the country, the AARP can withstand a few direct mail gaffes. Could you say the same about your brand? Direct marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your current or future customers. While it can take many forms and serve many purposes, there are certain key elements to any successful direct marketing campaign. 1. Know Your Customers. Blanket- ing the entire universe is a direct mail notion of the past. Targeting is the key for today. Whether your cur- rent customers are defined by region, age, income level, agricul- tural product, the time of year they purchased, etc., this information will help you determine what makes your audience tick, and how you can more effectively market to them in the future. 2. Assess Your Data. By knowing the key attributes — or data points — of your current customers, you can use those to build out your database and identify future targets. A CASE STUDY Like many organizations utilizing a direct-marketing strategy, BASF’s customer and prospect database con- tained valuable data points, espe- cially related to ag brand usage, loy- alty, and customer demographics. However, the company struggled with obtaining “year on year” data on a consistent basis. By partnering with Successful Farming Data Services, which main- tains more than 2,800 data points on its customers, BASF was able to aug- ment its ag demo information with additional prospects obtained from the Successful Farming database using analysis and brand data. “A little collaboration can go along way,” said Cheryl Dahlquist, Director of Database Marketing Ser- vices for Meredith Corporation. “The direct-marketing sophistication of agri-businesses is growing expo- nentially, and companies are putting that skill to use to positively impact their bottom line.” 3. Creative Execution. Nearly as important as assuring your data points are on target is developing a creative strategy that will get results. Investing in direct-mail creative ser- vices with a proven direct marketing company can help ensure your mes- sage rises above the clutter. Working hand-in-hand with your direct mar- keting partner, you can determine the key parameters, such as the cre- ative package and its messages. What is your product? What is the benefit? What is the unique offer to this audience? What is the call to action? 4. Response Capturing. A major strength of utilizing a direct-mail campaign is the ability to insert a variety of response tracking mecha- nisms. Whether utilizing a promo- tional code, a coupon, a unique Web site landing page, or a specific e-mail address and toll free number for each campaign, customer data received from these vehicles can be used to determine the success of the campaign, as well as how your tar- get audience prefers to respond to direct-mail offers. 5. Analyze & Improve. Once the response data is captured, the final step in the process is a thorough examination of the results. Analyz- ing each segment of the campaign can help determine its independent successes, and areas for improve- ment. For example, if the response rate was positive but actual sales were low, that could mean the call to action and messaging were on target, but the offer or coupon may need to be tweaked for this audience. Remember, while the goal of every campaign is a strong response rate, each campaign offers a learning opportunity to make the next direct- marketing initiative an even bigger success. AM FOCUS ON: DIRECT MARKETING FIVE KEY ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL DIRECT MARKETING CAMPAIGN by Paul Kluding, Meredith Corporation
July August 2008
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08