Finding balance between good design and brand should be easier than finding Bigfoot
I’ve been in the creative design industry for nearly 20 years and have spent much of that time developing direct marketing for print, mail, POS, digital, and TV. Proving that results-driven creative can look, sound, and BE amazing is what inspires me to bring my A-game to work every day.
But I’ve had my share of close encounters with some pretty scary Sasquatch-like “mythconceptions” over the years. Here are five personal favorites that I’ve had the pleasure of dispelling. Be alert! And let me know if you’ve had any sightings of your own.
Myth #1: Ugly Sells
If your marketing is ugly and it’s working, chances are it has other things going for it like clarity of message or a compelling offer. Even when the strategy is to feel cost-effective, unpretentious, or “official,” the work should still be clean, well-conceived, and attractive. That’s not just an opinion: it has been proven in testing we have done for clients in multiple industries over the years. There’s no room for ugly design in this world. Good, intelligent design enhances EVERYTHING it contains.
Myth #2: No One Wants To Read Anymore
We read just as much copy (maybe more) than ever — we just do it differently than before. And when we find content that we deem worthy, we read. We scan our phones while we kill time. We consume content across multiple devices, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and read infographics. And yes, we still read mail. I have clients who are currently mailing very successful programs with long-letter copy. Let your target audience dictate how your message plays out. Consider how and where it will be read. Make your copy relevant and interesting, then showcase it with a clean font, sufficient subheads, numbered or bulleted lists, and good spacing that makes it inviting and not daunting, regardless of length.
Myth #3: A Good Offer Is Irresistible
“$0 down and 60 months interest-free!” “Special offer!” “Free gift!” You may have a great opportunity or differentiator to entice your prospects, but that’s not necessarily enough. Remember that the decision to purchase is often an emotional one. So how will a consumer FEEL about your creative? This is when understanding the needs, wants, and habits of your target audience is most important. Your message should appeal to both the logical side — with clear offers and benefits — AND the emotional side using color, imagery, and copy that shows some personality. Consumers will buy from companies they trust, but they often prefer the ones they also like.
Myth #4: Direct and Brand Don’t Get Along
Some direct marketing programs seem to exclude branding entirely. This always surprises me. Brand advertising is crucial in setting up your company, product, or service as something the consumer wants to have a relationship with. Brand cohesion can add credibility to your message. But think beyond your logo. Find a unique way of applying your brand color, typography, or copy tone in your direct marketing piece to become a positive extension of your brand and also drive great response. Read how DMW Direct can leverage these strengths in an ActionBrand™.
Myth #5: Always Follow Best Practices
For me “best practices” falls into the buzzword category. Old- and new-schoolers alike seem to throw it around (a lot). Of course, these practices exist for a reason. They’re a starting point — a baseline of proven techniques — but our efforts shouldn’t stop there. Question how and why they’re used. Do they make total sense for your creative, for your audience, right now? Direct marketing is all about cracking into a consumer’s mindset to drive an action. If you create with conviction and you have sound, informed reasons to suggest a departure from the “tried and true,” you can drive up response and win out over that sticky control. In doing so, maybe you’ll be the one to discover the next NEW best practice.
Make Your Direct Marketing Legendary – Don’t Succumb to the Myths!
You’ve likely encountered these or similar opinions about direct marketing creative. Sometimes we recognize them but say, “I know it’s not really right, but given this circumstance it’ll be okay.” We make excuses to justify making poor choices. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re successful despite succumbing to some of these myths, then something else is likely compensating – for now.
If you have other Bigfoot-sized myths to dispel or would like to know how DMW Direct can bring a fresh approach to your direct marketing efforts, please let us know! And check out some case histories demonstrating how our clients have built their business with “myth busting” response campaigns.