Blog Activity

  • The Marketer’s Book of Genesis


    January, 2013

    Call it a marketer’s Book of Genesis: Objectives beget strategies beget tactics beget concepts beget execution. A project brief yields a creative brief, which inspires a breakthrough concept and then delivers results-generating executions. At least, that’s the way it should be.

    Unfortunately, in our rush to market and our infatuation with showing off our use of the latest technology, we sometimes skip some steps. So let’s review the importance of following the process. 

    Step 1: Define Your Marketing Objective.  You’d be surprised how many clients say their marketing objective is to make money. Of course. But making money (or, better, improving profitability) is a business objective. A marketing objective is specific to the task of communicating with the people who can give you their money, and the more specific the better. Your objective might be something like acquiring new customers, or renewing members, or changing consumer opinion, or driving traffic to an online or offline site. A marketing objective has a measurable result. 

    Step 2: Develop Your Marketing Strategy.  While objectives are what you want to achieve, strategies are how you’re going to achieve them. Strategies are often confused with tactics. It is a strategy to “test promotional offers,” one tactic of which might be a free trial; a strategy to “appeal to young adults with a push-pull approach,” whose tactics might include using Facebook; and a strategy to “test direct mail formats” might include tactics like dimensional mail. 

    Step 3: Write a Project Brief. There are likely to be many individual projects required to fulfill the marketing strategy. In an ideal world, each should have a project brief. After all, to fulfill on introducing a new product line, you may be sending direct mail to prospects and email to current customers, but these projects will have entirely different requirements. So the Project Brief will describe all the elements of the marketing strategy – including the USP, target audiences, features and benefits – and it will provide the specific details about the assignment, including the media, budget parameters, timing expectations, any brand mandatories, relevant calls-to-action, and so on. It is a “facts and stats” document.   

    Step 4: Write a Creative Brief.  This may at first seem redundant to the Project Brief, because it should reiterate many of the same elements. But while your Project Brief might identify “thick soles” as a feature of your hiking boots and “keeping feet dry” as the benefit, your Creative Brief will re-address these attributes from the perspective of the target audience and in terms of the recommended media. If your audience is college students, you’ll want to tell them that thicker soles are the latest trend in hiking gear and that wet feet get smelly, and you might recommend reaching them on Facebook or through a branded style blog. But if you’re trying to sell to their parents, you might be better served with an email touting the durability of thicker soles and the reduced risk of catching cold. It is in the Creative Brief that you and your creative team start to shape the messaging and its delivery. 

    Here, too, it is important to remember the difference between strategies and tactics. It is a creative strategy to build an interactive microsite for your microbrew. It is a creative tactic to post a flash-animated drinking game or beer-infused recipes. 

    And, finally, Step 5: Know the Difference Between a Concept and an Execution. It’s standard practice to ask a creative team for at least three concepts for a new assignment. But remember that the difference between a concept and an execution is like the difference between a strategy and a tactic. 

    A concept is about an idea, which is much harder to come by. Changing the position of elements on the page or changing the color of the background is a variation in execution. So be bold enough to dig for real ideas, and savvy enough not to throw them out just because you don’t like green. 


    Penny Vane
    Penny Vane's picture

    Penny Vane  is the name-on-the-door at Vane&Friends, a marketing and creative services consultancy.  A past Silver Apple winner and past president of DMCNY, she has 30-something years of experience in b2c, b2b and non-profit sectors.  Reach her at

  • DMCNY, DMFA and FIT’s Direct and Interactive Marketing Department announce a breakfast series

    Best Practices from Marketers and Their Agencies

    DMCNY Spring Breakfast Series:

    Tuesday, April 16

    • Integrated Marketing to Increase Revenue from Existing Donors
      Care 2 — Clint O’Brien | Agency Partner: Epsilon — Rob Reger


    Tuesday, April 23

    • Session 1: The Art and Science of Using Facebook Data in Business
      Facebook — Kirstin Frazell, Industry Lead, Solutions Planning | Agency Partner: SankyNet — Paul Habig
    • Session 2: RESCHEDULED (formerly April 9th)
      Integrating Offline Channels with Digital, Email, and Social Media
      Doctors Without Borders — Amanda Clayton | Agency Partner: M&R Strategic — Liz Ertner

    It’s About Delivering Measurable Results

    If it was easy, we’d all do it. But orchestrating the work-horses of digital marketing — digital display, email, and social — is still more art than science. In a remarkable series of 90-minute breakfast presentations, DMCNY gives you a chance to immerse yourself in three powerful case studies packed with ideas you can use to embrace the best practices that deliver digital results.

    Agency-Client Partnerships

    Meet the clients — and the agencies — that are harnessing data and creative to deliver big on their digital strategies. This is a great opportunity to dig in deep, meet with experts, and unwind the secrets of omnichannel marketing for your own organization — or your clients.

    Register today for one, two or all three sessions!

    Event Sponsorship: 

    Event Sponsor: MeritDirect
    April 16 and 23
    Includes light breakfast 8:00am
    Session 1: 8:30am — 10:00am
    $40 per session
    $55 per session
  • Turn Your “Follower” Relationships into Business and Profit


    January, 2013

    Branding and dialogue are excellent first steps – but they don’t pay the rent.  

    To me, customer acquisition is getting somebody to buy from you for the very first time. Customer retention is getting a person who was bought from you at least one time to buy from you again. 

    Branding is getting your product or service to be a part of the decision set when members of your targeted market segment want to purchase the product or service you sell.

    Today, with an emphasis placed on gaining social media "followers," or being "liked," or in some other way engaging with your online suspects, prospects and customers, we need to understand that these efforts cost money and must be measured in terms of revenue and renewability. 

    Consider the amount of thought and effort put into understanding how you can improve your results from a direct mail campaign by just one or two tenths of a percent. You test offers, formats, headlines, and so many others variables in a structured fashion where you can measure and attribute results to tested variables. Consider how you test different mailing lists, and segments of lists to maximize your results.

    It is important to put the same effort and pay attention to the same details when engaging with your followers and other "fan-based" constituents.

    Closed mouths don’t get fed

    Many businesses today are handling their "followers" with kid gloves. They seem to be hesitant to use time-tested techniques to commercialize relationships.

    It is important to recognize that your "followers" chose to initiate a relationship with your business. So you can consider them real prospects, and many of them may already be your customers. You have the opportunity to grow your relationship with them.

    Ask for the order

    A good place to begin is by segmenting your "followers." First, find your customers by matching transactional data. For everyone you can’t identify, ask them how they perceive of their relationship. You can do this directly with a poll, or a survey, or using more subtle tactics. 

    Some marketers will express concern about alienating people in the delicate world of social media. To me, the reality is people will either want to solidify their relationship with you or they won’t. History dictates some of these people will never buy from you. The ones who truly have an interest in your company, products and services will respond to your efforts. This will empower you with knowledge you can use.

    Now you should be on familiar ground. Now that your “followers” are organized by segment, develop strategies for each segment and work your magic.

    Cultivating your “followers” has significant advantages

    Your cost to develop new customers from these prospects will be lower than a traditional acquisition effort since the names are essentially free, and there is already some basic bonding between you and them, which bodes well for anticipated response rates. 

    For retention, or getting your “following” current customers to buy again, social media represents another touch point where you can make an offer, with the added advantage of enhance customer insight from your interactive dialogue.  This makes me wonder: Should we create a new model called XRFM, where a person’s “expressed interest” might prove more predictive than RFM alone?  

    Once you recognize the value of commercializing relationships with your “followers;” once you realize that a good number of them will be responsive to your efforts; and once you accept the fact that many “followers” are going to never become customers; then you will be able to test the value of marketing to the “follower” segments and calculate whether your branding efforts to attract and engage “followers” are significant to your business.


    Myron Gould
    Myron Gould's picture

    Myron Gould is a Professor of Marketing and Management at New York University, and consults on business planning and strategy development. Reach him at, or on Twitter @nyuprof or @bplanwritercom.

  • Kim Upshaw – DMCNY Member Profile


    January, 2013

    I-Behavior, now a part of the WPP family, was an early and innovative player in the world of cooperative databases.  Postings’s Ruth P. Stevens spoke with Kim Upshaw, i-Behavior’s Business Development Director, and a recent addition to our club’s roster of members. 

    Tell me about your career.  How did you get into direct marketing in the first place?

    My career in direct marketing started after college, when I responded to an ad in the New York Times for a position at the Lake Group, the list brokerage and management company in Rye, NY.  At the Lake Group, I worked on prestigious accounts like Hearst and Bon Appetit. From there I went on to work in brokerage at the Coolidge Company in NYC for a short period of time, when I was recruited to work at Hearst as assistant manager in list marketing.  I was able to make significant contributions to the bottom line, and was eventually promoted to director of list marketing at Hearst, where I successfully grew revenues for many years. Upon leaving Hearst, I worked briefly in sales at the United States Postal Service, until I moved in 2011 to I-Behavior, a growing data and analytics company, where I am responsible for driving membership in the cooperative database among the non-profit and publishing verticals.

    What’s going on at I-Behavior?  Any new products, success stories, things our membership should know about?

    The I-Behavior Data Cooperative continues to grow, resulting in even greater depth across a variety of verticals.  We attribute much of our success to the continuing multi-year investment in modeling enhancements and system capabilities along with the best client services team in our industry.

    In May, we launched I-Behavior in the U.K. to bring data cooperative and digital audience solutions to companies there.  Our U.K. clients are experiencing the benefits a cooperative model provides in making marketing more efficient. 

    In September we launched Zipline, I-Behavior’s data management platform. Zipline brings companies the tools to find new ways to monetize their data; reach more customers through alternate channels; and experience improved targeting in their online and offline marketing campaigns. 

    I-Behavior customers can now reach consumers on Facebook. Through a partnership with our WPP sister company, Xaxis, I-Behavior is excited to offer our customers the opportunity to promote their offers to modeled digital audiences on Facebook. 

    Now that you’ve been a member of DMCNY for a year, what would you say are the benefits of club membership?  

    The DMCNY provides lots of benefits to its members through networking receptions and luncheons. These events have given me the opportunity to learn about innovative trends in the industry and to network with top industry executives.  

    What do you see as some of the challenges and new directions where our industry is headed?  

    One big challenge we face is determining how to use the many new data sources available from social media. This trove of “big data” can provide additional data points once it’s been validated.  But for now, companies have not yet figured out how to discern what’s fact or fiction in this self-reported data. 

    Another challenge we face is getting companies to allocate sources back to the right channel. Many marketers are still using “last touch” to assign credit to a sale, and this may not be the best approach. Direct mail continues to lead the charge in closed sales.  But mail is often not getting the credit it deserves. For many mailers, direct mail continues to be their best medium. A new direction some companies are beginning to employ in multi-channel marketing is allocating the sales by percentage across all channels. This seems like the best approach, so far. 

    Interview conducted by Ruth P. Stevens.  She is a B-to-B consultant and educator, a past president of DMCNY, and current editor of Postings. 


    Kim Upshaw
    Kim Upshaw's picture

    Kim Upshaw, i-Behavior’s Business Development Director, and a recent addition to our club’s roster of members.

  • 2013 March 14th Luncheon Followup

    Additional Links: 2013 March 14th Luncheon Presentation

    The Magille Report by Ken Magille:

    Want to make more money with your email program? Simple. Send more of it.
    That was the gist of the message Dela Quist delivered in a wide-ranging presentation last week to members of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.

    eM+C by Melissa Campinelli

    When it comes to email marketing, marketers have to free themselves from the fear of being perceived as spammers and go ahead and send more email messages.

     This was the main message delivered by Dela Quist , the outspoken and unconventional CEO of email agency Alchemy Worx during his keynote address last week at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s March luncheon at the Yale Club


    File attachment: