Blog Activity

  • VP Marcom Solution Sales, Retail Vertical (Print, Data, Digital)

    based in Toronto West, Ontario, Canada
    Monday, December 15, 2014

    We are a leading communications management company covering print, digital, campaign and enterprise environments across North America. Our unique consultative approach quickly identifies our client’s most valuable activities and builds differentiating strategies to maximize their marketing and communication efforts. As a strategic partner we commit to shared goals and is there every step of the way to set and track performance as we plan, create and implement tailor made solutions that create long term value. 

    We have 1,700 employees in 31 locations across Canada, in addition to our recent expansion in the U.S.  We work across a wide range of sectors including Financial Services, Retail and Consumer Goods, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Not-For-Profit, Government, Energy and Distribution.  The business solution offerings include Outsourced Document Management, Digital and Transactional Print Management, Document Process Outsourcing, and Print Solutions. 

    My client is looking for a highly motivated Vice President Sales, Retail. 

    The ideal candidate will have: 

    1. Demonstrated success selling enterprise level Marcom solutions. Large, conceptual, multi-year contractual deals (millions+ of dollars). Integrated projects that could include any or all of: marketing communications, document process outsourcing or large scale print/communications management outsourcing. 

     2. Demonstrated success in building, coaching and leading high performance sales teams. 

     3. Experience in helping to shape the solutions and value propositions that win. 

     4. A rolodex of senior retail contacts that will accelerate results in this vertical.

    This person will bring a:

     1. High degree of empathy, coupled with enough ego to want to always win.

     2. High degree of business acumen, evidenced by the ability to do c-suite discovery and leverage the learning to build an ROI based business case or proposal.

     3. Great communication skills and well developed emotional intelligence.

     4. Experience with transformative projects and loves change. 

    Compensation: Commensurate with experience, but with an aggressive “performance” incentive.


    Karen McCarrol
    Trimark Consulting Group
    (416) 698 2243

  • Tim Kennon - DMCNY Member Profile


    May, 2014

    1. Your company has been an active supporter of DMCNY.  To you, what are the benefits of involvement in our club?

    If you don’t give back, you can’t move forward.  The DMCNY is the heart and soul of the direct marketing community in New York City.  As a direct mail vendor, we need to be connected with that community as a sponsor, supporter and member, so we too have heart and soul. 

    We enjoy bringing clients to the DMCNY luncheons for the educational benefits they gain and the opportunity for them to meet and engage with each other.  If there is a better way to educate and entertain our clients, we haven’t found it yet. 

    2. Tell us the story of your career.

    I was selling mutual funds in 1986, and a friend asked if I would come into business with him.  I visited his lettershop, and didn’t quite get it, so I said no.  He asked again a year later, and I decided no wasn’t an option. My family was growing, and I needed more income potential.  I joined the company and then bought it outright five years later from him and his dad.  The company was already 36 years old and had a very good reputation.  They wanted $36,000; $1,000 for every year they ran it.  Fair enough!  Yes turned out to be the correct answer, and I’ve been saying it ever since.  I’m in my 25th year with the company, and we have grown the business twenty times over.  It beats the heck out of selling mutual funds.

    3. You help your clients be successful marketers.   What ideas or tips have you learned from working with them recently that you can share with our readers?

    That’s right! We learn everything from our customers. They make us a better company.  We help them execute their marketing plans, and in direct mail marketing, execution and timing is the key to success.  We listen to them carefully, offer constructive feedback, make sure all the details are planned and communicated, and then we produce it. 

    Our clients are creating targeted, personalized direct mail with lots of versioning and lots of color.  We use digital print so they can use variable language and graphics that fit a specific segment or individual.  In the last few years, our customers started asking for handwriting.  So we purchased five Autopen machines.  Everyone opens a handwritten envelope, and it’s the first item they open.  Response rates are on the rise, and everyone is delighted.

    4. What are your plans for your business in the next 12 months?

    Last year we were a bit overwhelmed during our September through December period.  It’s always our busiest, but this time it was 30% busier than the previous year.  We did it, but by Christmas Eve we were all spent.  We’re purchasing some digital envelope equipment for the smaller projects to speed up the process and turn-around time.  When you need 2,500 full-color Thanksgiving card envelopes today, and it’s November 22, offset print just doesn’t cut it. 


    We’ll also be adding additional membership card printers, since that business is booming.  Digital color print is constantly growing, so we are installing an Indigo printer over the summer to meet the demand for the fall. And most importantly, we are looking for two more very good people to fit in, learn the business and become a part of the team.  Our clients like us for what we do for them, but they love us for who we are.



    Postings caught up with Tim Kennon, a loyal DMCNY advisory board member and supporter.  Reach Tim at

  • Convert Your Customers to Fans


    September, 2014

    How do you compete in today’s marketplace where selection and price have become amorphous? The answer is simple. Compete on customer service.   You can, because so many other companies are still lousy at it. 

    Don’t believe me? Go compare your competition’s policies, hours, procedures, tools, even their tone of voice.  Do they say to customers “you must do this” in order to qualify for care?  Do they give customers multiple ways to solve a problem? Do they make it easy? Do they make it fun? My bet is there is opportunity for improvement. 

    My advice is that you strive to create Raving Fans, every day. Here’s how.  

    1.    Fund customer service from marketing.

    Since Raving Fan creation is your prime goal, treat any related expense as a marketing investment.  Spend X; get Y, with a profit of Z. We know this. With customer care, here’s how this thinking works: Spend X (some amount of extra care), get Y (turning them into a repeat customer and Raving Fan who will evangelize for you), with a profit of Z (higher number of repeat sales, more referrals, and a healthier 12-month file). 

    2.    Keep customer service onshore.

    Your goal in customer interactions is to create Raving Fans. What kind of investment is it when customers get frustrated due to cultural and language differences? Offshoring will reduce – not enhance – that opportunity. In the end, it’s not cheaper.  So don’t go offshore. You’ll be sorry. And so will your customers. 

    3.    Invest in the new tools.

    Don’t wait for a new customer service tool to “prove itself” before you adopt it. Get ahead of the curve, and take a serious look at everything that comes along:  Live chat, video chat, ratings and reviews, user-generated content, CEO-email response, Facebook monitoring, Tweets.  Every shiny new object deserves your consideration, as a way to differentiate.  

    4.    Measure the impact.

    Measurement can be by statistic, like conversion rate.  Or it can be by customer feedback, like usage rates.  No matter how you measure – do it. Don’t make investment decisions by the seat of your pants. You’ll be wrong some of the time; but worse, without metrics, you’ll miss opportunities to expand on something you didn’t know was working. 

    5.    Hire the best.

    Here’s a golden rule on hiring: Always replace a departing service person with someone who’s at least two levels better. Not someone who’s “just as good.” That way you’ll always be increasing the quality of the staff who regularly touch your customer.  Why does this matter? Because these are the folks who are representing your company. Hire the very best, always hire better, and empower them. It won’t cost you any more. And it will improve your bottom line results, customer retention, and sales conversion.



    Brad Wolansky
    Brad Wolansky's picture

    Excerpted, with permission, from Raving Fan Creation, by Brad Wolansky. Wolansky is President, Consumer Direct, & CMO of Yankee Candle, a division of JardenCorporation.  Reach him at   

  • Silver Apple Recipients Reflect on 2014

    Chief Marketer Asks…What Was the Best of 2014?

    October 29, 2014 by Beth Negus Viveiros

    For a look back at the year that was, and a look ahead to 2015, Chief Marketer turned to recipients of the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s 2014 Silver Apple Awards, which were presented at a gala on Nov. 6. The Silver Apples recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to worlds of direct and interactive marketing, during a career spanning at least 25 years.

    Tim Kennon, President, McVicker & Higginbotham

    Favorite campaign of 2014: I love the Old Spice TV ads.  They make the product cool again.  I’m no longer ashamed to admit I’ve been using it my whole life.

    Who missed the mark: Geico’s “Did you Know” ad campaign is disappointing.  They aren’t funny.  They run too often.

    Biggest trend for 2015: In 2015 all advertising will be done through direct mail.  The post office will make a huge profit and postage rates will drop drastically.  Direct mail service providers will all get rich.  Just wait.  You’ll see. 

    If you could start again… Start over?  That’s a scary thought!  And relive my many mistakes?  I’m so fortunate to have made it this far.  I wouldn’t want to tempt fate with a start over.

    Jim Fosina, Founder/CEO Fosina Marketing Group

    Favorite campaign of 2014: Apple iPhone and the phone/camera as an essential lifestyle. This is direct to consumer and subscription marketing layered in with critical retention at its absolute best.

    Who missed the mark: Esurance made their primary value proposition saving 7.5 minutes. Is that really that important on such an impactful expense as insurance? Time isn’t always about money.

    Biggest trend of 2015? As social platforms get better and at leveraging their databases, this can only evolve as these companies successfully harness how to reach and engage one to one marketing at higher levels.

    If you could start again…. I’d do nothing different. I began my career by staying ahead of consumer purchase behavior and continue to rapidly adapt.  This is truly quite the ride!

    Pam Larrick, CEO, Javelin Marketing Group

    Favorite campaign of 2014:    The ALS ice bucket water challenge, which generated over $80 million. It was engaging at so many levels. Watch, do, challenge, give, share.

    Who missed the mark: I don’t understand how a product named FruitWater can be launched with a lot of fanfare and have no fruit in it at all.  What’s the point?

    Biggest trend of 2015: Companies will embrace the concept of “doing good and doing well.” Customers have spoken and they will choose  brands who are making a difference.

    If you could start again… I have been very blessed. No grand plan, just one step leading to another. And those early steps spanned a lot of ground including healthcare, politics and public TV, all leading to my first job at Ogilvy Direct.

    Debbie Roth, VP/Sales & Marketing, Japs-Olson Company

    Favorite campaign of 2014: The non-profit sector always has powerful campaigns such as The Wounded Warriors Project and look how fun the Ikea BookBook is.

    Who missed the mark: It’s hard to say. It’s been a great year for marketing.

    Biggest trend for 2015: I am sure it will be a surprise and I am looking forward to 2015 to see what develops.

    If you could start again… I came to marketing in a non-traditional manner and enjoy every facet of it. I would do the same all over again.

  • 3 Essentials of Cross-Device Direct Marketing


    September, 2014

    We’ve seen astounding changes in consumer media behavior lately. Digital research company comScore reports that 51% of a person’s total digital media time is now spent on smart phones and tablets. The always connected consumer creates new challenges and VAST new marketing opportunities for direct marketers.

    Just as PCs required different marketing strategies and techniques from DRTV and direct mail, so too does the growth in mobile require us to rethink our strategies and tactics. Fortunately, “going cross-device” needn’t feel daunting if you remember three simple principles for doing it right:

    1.  Start with a 360 view of the consumer.

    With digital we can effectively observe consumer behavior in unique ways. But most targeting solutions base their decision-making solely on a person’s PC activity. Given that PCs now represent a minority of total time spent on the Internet, it’s easy to see how PC-only data results in an incomplete customer profile.

    Granted, it is more difficult to track mobile activity owing to issues with cookies in mobile applications and 3rd party cookies in Apple’s iOS operating systems. But technology has advanced, and the best solutions providers can now combine a user’s PC, smartphone and tablet activity into a single, rich customer profile. By analyzing such profiles you can pinpoint ideal target audiences as well as each person’s stage in the buying process.

    There’s something else to consider. Most people think about running integrated PC, smartphone and tablet campaigns when they think of “cross-device.” Such campaigns have been proven highly effective.  But you can also use your 360 cross-device data for targeting and then execute your advertising in just one channel, like PC or mobile. This can be a good way to get your feet wet before you commit to broader creative development and media buying.

    2.  Connect with Users on Their Terms

    Marketing success is all about right person|right time|right message. In digital that means that you need to ensure that the message you deliver comes to them when they are most likely to care about it, and that the desired action is conducive to the strengths of the device they are using.

    Different devices have different interactive strengths. Phones are great for on the go. PCs for content creation. Tablets for viewing content. Make sure that you leverage the strengths of each device in the messages you deliver. For instance, give people ways to find a store in a mobile ad. Rely on PC for online sales, because people are more likely to make purchases on this platform due to easier data entry. Showcase product shots and videos in tablet executions.

    3.  Use Every Campaign as a Learning Opportunity

    Direct marketers are all about metrics and results. Reporting is essential to doing cross-device right. But you should also be learning about the specific cross-device behaviors of your particular customers with each campaign. The more we understand our audiences, the better we can design our programs to perform. 

    Doing cross-device right requires techniques that are a departure for many direct marketers. But the results are worth the change. My company recently conducted testing that compared single device campaigns with cross-device campaigns that used a 360 customer view. The results showed enormous increases in both engagement and conversion rates. 

    With figures like those, it makes sense for you to “take your brand cross-device” ASAP. 


    Kurt Hawks
    Kurt Hawks's picture

    Kurt Hawks, General Manager, Mobile, for Conversant, Inc., spoke to DMCNY members at our May luncheon.  Reach him at

  • DMCNY Announces 2014 Mal Dunn Leadership Award

    Direct Marketing Club of New York Bestows 2014 Mal Dunn Leadership Award
    To Bruce Biegel of Winterberry Group

    -Biegel recognized for his cutting-edge media & trends research in integrated marketing and his leadership in data-driven marketing-

    NEW YORK, September 9, 2014 – The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( will present today its 2014 Mal Dunn Leadership Award, sponsored by Alliant, to Bruce Biegel, senior managing director, Winterberry Group, at a special luncheon on Thursday, September 11. The Mal Dunn Leadership Award recognizes data-driven marketing professionals for their exemplary service to the field.

    "Bruce has earned our industry’s respect as the leading authority on media trends, forecasts and how to capitalize on the changes sweeping the marketing landscape," said DMCNY Club Advisor JoAnne Dunn, president and chief executive officer, Alliant, a leading provider of audience targeting and marketing optimization solutions. "The Mal Dunn Leadership Award – named for one of our industry’s visionaries – recognizes contributions to our field and to the advancement and practice of data-driven marketing. Bruce’s leadership in developing and publishing actionable research, plus his participation in association, education and industry activities, make him a worthy recipient of this honor.”

    Biegel is a featured speaker at many industry conferences, and presents his annual forecast of general media and digital-direct media spending and trends each year at DMCNY’s January luncheon.  He also is a member of the Direct Marketing Association Board of Directors and serves as co-chair of its Innovation Awards. [Editor’s Note: A full biography follows below.]

    This is the 39th time that the award has been presented dating back to 1972 (originally called the DMCNY Leadership Award and renamed for Mal Dunn in 1994), and past recipients include Lester Wunderman, Lee Epstein, Emily Soell and Matt Blumberg, among others.  The award will be bestowed today at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s September 11 luncheon:

    About Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Director, Winterberry Group

    As Winterberry Group's senior managing director, Bruce Biegel leads the firm's consulting practice and establishes its strategic and operational agenda. A seasoned executive with more than two decades of hands-on experience in building businesses from the ground up, his diverse responsibilities have included strategic and business planning, financing, global multichannel marketing, technology development and support, legal coordination and financial management.

    At Winterberry Group, Bruce has led more than 120 engagements over the past eight years, serving a wide range of marketers, agencies, direct and digital marketing service providers and many of the private equity firms who are investing in the sector. Among others, these include assignments for Acxiom, arvato Services (the global marketing services division of Bertelsmann AG), eCircle, Capital One Financial Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co, Court Square Capital, KRG Capital and KKR.

    A DMCNY Silver Apple award winner, he currently serves as a member of the Direct Marketing Association's board of directors and executive committee, its Education and Thought Leadership Advisory Community, its Data Community and as co-chair of DMA’s annual Innovation Awards. Bruce is a frequent, in-demand speaker at major marketing industry conferences and symposia. Speaking engagements include Direct Marketing Club of New York, major events of the DMA, the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) annual conference, the 4As Transformation Conference, as well as events tailored to the direct mail, print production and digital media segments of the industry.

    In addition to his role at Winterberry Group, Bruce serves as a senior advisor to its parent investment bank Petsky Prunier LLC and serves on the board of directors of V12 Group Inc.

    Prior to joining Winterberry Group in 2002, Bruce served as a director and CFO of IMXI, owner of ThinkDirectMarketing, where he was president, chief operating officer and co-founder. Earlier, Bruce served as a consultant to leading Web services integrator iXL Holdings as part of its iXL Ventures group. From the late 1980s through mid-1990s he served as director and executive vice president, sales and marketing, at VideoFax Systems, a marketing technology company he co-founded focused on place-based media. He began his career at Kidder Peabody as manager of international telecommunications.

    Bruce received a B.A. in history and international relations from the University of Pennsylvania with corresponding coursework at the Wharton School in management and marketing.

    About Direct Marketing Club of New York
    The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( has served the direct marketing field since its founding in 1926 – and today encompasses all facets of integrated data-driven marketing across all media categories. Serving the Greater New York region through its luncheons, networking and website, DMCNY is a leading source of current education and information in the field of measurable marketing.  DMCNY also provides substantial financial support in the form of scholarships to New York City colleges and universities where direct and interactive marketing are taught.

  • B2B Email Best Practices


    May, 2014

    The ad tech industry is abuzz with emerging technologies and new techniques, but email marketing remains one of the most important tools in the B2B marketer’s toolbox. The cornerstone of today’s business communications, email goes out at the rate of over 122 billion messages every hour, and 68 percent of marketers say that email marketing is vital to their business. 

    That said, email marketing in 2014 is not the same as it was in the ‘90s. Here are current best practices for B2B marketers looking to leverage email for customer engagement, acquisition, retention, CRM and more. 

    Make subject lines count. The subject line is the very first interaction your customers have with your message, so craft it carefully to encourage them to actually open the email. It should be short, benefits-driven and compelling. Self-service email provider MailChimp recommends 50 characters or less, and—though your grade school composition teacher may cringe—don’t waste valuable space on unnecessary punctuation. We’ve also found that capitalizing the important words lifts engagement, and that recipients are 22 percent more likely to open emails addressed to them by name. 

    Content is (obviously) key. This may sound like a no-brainer, but your email’s content should also adhere to certain best practices. Keep it clear and concise. Also be sure that it actually delivers on the promise of the subject line. And keep the salesy stuff out of it. It’s a marketing message, but don’t beat users over the head. Don’t focus only on yourself; asking questions within the body of the email message has been shown to boost customer interest and click-through rates. 

    Go with eye-catching creative. This also sounds obvious, but many B2B marketers eschew color and design elements in favor of a more “professional looking” black and white, text-heavy message when, actually, a little color goes a long way toward capturing interest and driving action. We don’t recommend neon green letters and flashing banners, but we’ve found that orange and red are colors that pop, especially for Call To Action buttons. Also, those buttons are more likely to get clicked if they are placed either at the beginning of the message, the end, or both.  

    Test, test, test. Who cares how beautiful or compelling the email is if it never actually makes it to the inbox? Be sure to regularly test delivery rates to avoid getting stuck in spam filters, which can be even stricter for some corporate domains. Also, regularly conduct A/B testing to optimize campaign performance and surface any issues.

    Go mobile. Your B2B prospects are doing business on their smartphones and tablets, so if your design isn’t optimized for mobile and responsive to action via mobile devices, you’re way behind the curve. This is no longer optional. 

    Email is still one of the most effective ways to engage on a one-to-one basis with B2B customers and prospects, but it is important to understand how your B2B audiences use and respond to email in general in order to actually begin that dialogue and maintain it over the lifecycle of that customer. Keep your communications concise, benefit-oriented, eye-catching and device-agnostic and you’re sure to reap the rewards of this tried and true channel. 


    Erik Matlick
    Erik Matlick's picture

    Erik Matlick guides corporate strategy and vision as CEO at Madison Logic.  Reach him at

  • Direct Marketing Club of New York Announces 30th Silver Apple Award Honorees in 2014

    Direct and Interactive Marketing Leaders Share Honors at Annual Gala on Thursday Evening, November 6, 2014, at New York’s Edison Ballroom, Times Square


    NEW YORK, August 21, 2014 – The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( announced today the recipients of its 2014 Silver Apple Awards, now in its 30th year. The Silver Apples recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to the growth and practice of direct and interactive marketing, during a career spanning at least 25 years. A gala to celebrate honorees – the premiere event of DMCNY’s full slate of programming, professional development and networking activities – will be held Thursday evening, November 6, at New York’s Edison Ballroom. 

    The Silver Apple 2014 honorees include:

    • Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman & CEO, OgilvyOne Worldwide
    • Tim Kennon, President, McVicker & Higginbotham
    • Pam Larrick, CEO, Javelin Marketing Group
    • Tim Litle, Founder & Chairman, Litle & Company
    • Lon Mandel, President, SMS Marketing Services
    • Debbie Roth, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Japs-Olson Company
    • Dawn Zier, President and CEO, Nutrisystem
    • Corporrate:  Fosina Marketing Group (Danbury Ct)

    "These individuals and our corporate honoree represent what’s best-of-the-best in our field," said DMCNY Club President Pam Haas. "Dynamism, professionalism, marketing prowess and giving back – Silver Apple honorees truly are ambassadors for our discipline of integrated marketing. This being our Silver Apples’ 30th anniversary, we know it’s going to be an exciting event with a great turnout – and to honor these individuals and organization recipient in this way, it shows the camaraderie that lives throughout our community. The honorees are joining an elite group of direct and digital visionaries, many of whom will be in attendance.”

    The 2014 Silver Apple recipients were chosen by the Club’s past presidents. The recipients must have at least 25 years’ experience in the business, a commitment to volunteerism and leadership, and a record of vital contributions to the growth of the industry.

    This year’s event marks the 30th anniversary of the award, and a special gala will be held in Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom, at 240 West 47th Street near Times Square in New York on Thursday, November 6, 2014, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET.  Registration is available at

    Since 1985, a total of 220 individuals and 18 companies have received DMCNY Silver Apples honors – with this year’s seven individuals and one corporation set to join this group.

    Each year, the Silver Apple Award event also serves as a key fundraising event to support New York-area programs and scholarships for college-level educational curricula and content in direct and interactive marketing. Ticket sales are underway and space will be limited to 30 tables. For pricing and availability contact Stuart Boysen, executive director, DMCNY, at, (516)746-6700; or Chris Montana at or 845-627-6600, ext. 216.

    A full listing of winners’ biographies is available here:

    About Direct Marketing Club of New York
    The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( has served the direct marketing field since its founding in 1926 – and today encompasses all facets of integrated data-driven marketing across all media categories. Serving the Greater New York region through its luncheons, networking and website, DMCNY is a leading source of current education and information in the field of measurable marketing.  DMCNY also provides substantial financial support in the form of scholarships to New York City colleges and universities where direct and interactive marketing are taught.

  • What You Need to Know About DRTV Today


    February, 2014

    Today, $150 billion of consumer products in the U.S. are sold through DRTV, and between 20% and 40% of TV households buy from DRTV.

    1.    So, what is DRTV? And what's the difference between DRTV and regular TV? 

    Direct response television is a form of marketing used to generate responses from prospective consumers, as a direct result of the marketing campaign. DRTV is often broken down into three subcategories: lead generation, product direct sales, or service direct sales. The difference between DRTV and traditional TV is as simple as a URL or 1-800 number. Media that has been designated DR based on the presence of a URL or 1-800 number can be purchased at a discount, versus standard TV advertising (brand advertising), thus ensuring media efficiencies. On average, DR prices are 30-50% lower.

    2.    Who uses DRTV? 

    Chances are you've seen the old “yell-and-sell” infomercials, with pitchmen like Billy Mays, but those days have passed, and DRTV has taken on an entirely new tone. Today, it's used by more brands than you probably realize: Estee Lauder, American Express, L'Oreal, Bose, KitchenAid, Capital One, Hanes, Keurig, Vanity Fair, Dyson, Garnier, Fab, Travelocity, Playtex, ShoeDazzle, Maybelline, and many more.

    3.    Why DRTV? 

    Direct response television is a highly effective customer acquisition medium that offers broad exposure to build your brand while driving response and measurable sales. Tracking and measuring performance can be drilled down to the level of individual airings, allowing brands to cost effectively reach a segmented audience based on daypart, channel, location, or type of programming.

    4.    What should I know before considering DRTV?

    Step one is getting to know your customers and their journey. It is mission critical to know where your customers spend, what they watch, and how they are influenced by various media: print, radio, TV, direct mail, out-of-home, mobile, and social. Use data-driven insight, research tools, and emerging technology to create a holistic view of your consumer. Recognize that the overarching goal of DRTV campaigns is to either push continuity programs or drive to retail—or a combination of the two. Not only are these the areas that hold the greatest potential for profit, they are crucial to developing a business model that remains effective at scale.  

    5.    Give me a few hints! What are the keys to success?

    One major key to success is creating a seamless customer experience between TV, online, and retail, by streamlining messaging, creative, and in-store signage. To do so, you must surround customers with relevant messaging to ensure a frictionless path to purchase. In addition, establish metrics and benchmarks that ensure a clear line of sight to success. Savvy marketers will consistently test their campaigns to not only mitigate risk but constantly optimize campaigns to drive the highest possible level of ROI, retail impact, and scalability. 


    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith's picture

    Monica C. Smith is founder and CEO of Marketsmith, Inc., and a recent luncheon speaker at DMCNY.  Reach her at

  • Pre-testing: A Better Way to Beat the Control


    February, 2014

    The A/B split test is as fundamentally sound, as it is slow, expensive and inefficient. 

    Direct mail testing—even for high-volume mailers—means putting a finite number of possible tests in market.  These tests are either incremental changes or wholesale redesigns.  The former usually assures incremental gain/loss, and the latter requires a lot of risk and reputational capital.    

    Truth is, the vast majority of tests fail.  For two reasons.   
    1)   The control is hard to beat.  It benefits immensely from something your test package can never have—exposure.  Your target audience, however large, is still finite.  You mail the same people over and over.  Even non-buyers are exposed to the control. 

    2)   Coming up with a test, or 10 tests or 100, for a single campaign is like searching for a needle in the haystack.  The number of possible test packages is infinite, and you are forced to choose an imperceptibly small percentage of them to mail.    

    In split testing, the odds are against you.  With a complete redesign, the odds are even more onerous.  The A/B test will tell you if the new package test wins or not.  But it cannot tell you why.  Perhaps there are components within the complete redesign that are clear winners, but are getting drowned out by the weaker elements.  

    So, what is a better alternative?  Look no further than the consumer package goods industry for an idea.  CPG marketer do lots of in-market testing, also lots of product development work in advance.  By comparison, the direct marketing world does very little. 

    The methodology now available to direct marketers is sophisticated, but simple and intuitive.  In short, It is an online testing program through which your target audience evaluates thousands of different direct mail package ideas in mere minutes.  

    The secret to its success, and why this pre-testing matches up with live test results so well, is the ability to replicate real-world choice and decision making by:

    1-  Showing the target audience concepts, packages or offers holistically, just as they view them home. 

    2-  Asking the target audience answer one question—overall preference—within a few seconds, the same amount of time you get before your package is thrown in the trash.  

    Behind the scenes is very sophisticated statistical modeling to answer the question we really want to know, which is Why?  You end up with scores for every single test element, which may encompass 30 or 40 different component parts of a direct mail package (OE, letter, buck slip, reply form) and, in turn, thousands of package combinations.  

    The business upside is four fold:  
    - Test exponentially more ideas in a radically shorter period of time.
    -   Put fewer tests in the mail, and at higher volume, to get to rollout faster.
    -    Find out exactly what impact each component has on preference and response.  
    -  Test big ideas, those that would never make it in the mail unless you have empirical proof they can work, in a low cost, low risk environment. 

    A/B split testing method has been around for decades, and yet direct marketing has changed dramatically, with more channels, better targeting, better production methods and now, a better way to beat the control.


    Chris Locker
    Chris Locker's picture

    Chris Locker is EVP of marketing and strategy at The Consumer Voice, in the Minneapolis area.  Reach him at