John Wanamaker came up with one of the greatest business quotes ever in my opinion, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Back in the day there were only a few big advertising methods, print/newspapers, TV, radio and catalogues or direct mail.
While receiving a Montgomery Ward or Sears Catalog was not the sexiest form of advertising they were one of the early adopters of “direct response media.” Eventually these catalog type of operations transformed into direct mail and direct response marketing, mostly through print.
Over the decades however direct response media has certainly grown and expanded in to other types of media especially the internet and all things electronic like e-mail. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why direct mail eventually surpassed TV in media dollars spent on advertising, it surpassed it because it is measurable on a much more granular level than TV. You can customize the “media” to individual consumers, 1:1 marketing.
With multiple different measurement points or multiple variables (think multivariate testing) we can finely tune the offer, finely tune the customer profile who we are sending the offer to, finely tune the tracking of the responses and when we do this we can ultimately know what works and what does not work.
Knowing what our customers like and don’t like allow us to determine where we need to spend our advertising dollars. Like Wanamaker implied, he wanted to spend his advertising dollars on the half that generated the results for him.
If you are reading this you are probably familiar with cookies and website tracking with unique visitors, basically we know who you are and where you have been…..but we don’t know who you are when you visit us from a website search query for the first time. We have to take a few guesses and ask the user to register on the site or sign up for our newsletter or take some other specific form of unique identifier direct response trackable action.
Sprint.com is taking direct response media to a whole new level by asking the user who they are by category before they enter the site. Actually when they enter the site they are entering 4 different customized sites, 1 for each type of visitor:
Just Browsing Sprint.com
The opening message says: “Welcome let us know a little bit more about you so we can help you better.”
This is direct response media on steroids. There is not a better opening to a business….period. The guy who wrote this is nothing short of genius. Tell us who you are (which gives the business the ability to direct target the customer or non-customer and whether they are personal or business) and oh by the way it is for YOUR (customer) benefit if you tell us who you are.
In this Sprint.com example it only shows the “on-page” direct response example but there are literally dozens of other direct response opportunities that they can deploy after the users come into the website. As a direct response website consultant I would make sure that they are collecting e-mail addresses for continuity programs. I would make sure they get their cell phone numbers for SMS Text promotions. I would add a drip campaign sequence to collect all of their unique identification information so we can consistently provide them with multi-channel communications. This about adding them as fans to Facebook and followers on Twitter the points of contact are endless.