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Imagine a menage a trois


of marketing strategy! 

     Growing up the son of a snail-mail lifer, and having had my first real job as a direct mail copywriter much longer ago than email even existed (and centuries before the dawn of texting), you can bet those exposures triggered a career full of direct mail. 

     Today, I do equal amounts of direct mail and email marketing.  I like the shorthand of text messaging, but not the aborted English that is its mainstay.  And I still believe the basic direct mail tenet that the more you tell, the more you sell! 

     BUT most people seem to me to be hellbent on trying to prove that there’s some colossal and magical difference between snail-mail and email marketing. 

     From my frame of reference, I see no difference strategically between the two.  Of course immediacy of delivery (and deletion) distinguishes email timelines from the historic trudging of mailmen and women through wind and rain and snow and dark of night on their appointed rounds up your walkway to your mailbox. 

     Much has also been made and can be said in favor of physically handling envelopes and contents.  And arguably the two dictate creative approaches to writing that are as diverse as those that seem to mesmerize our thumb-punching generation of teenagers. 

     So how could I possibly suggest there’s no strategic difference between snailmail and email?  To reach any significant measure of success in the use of ANY medium (yes, even thumb-punching), asking and answering the same three strategic principle questions is always and everywhere called for.  In other words, what is your thinking approach to implementing the tactics that will achieve your objectives?  Here’s the famous menage a trois of marketing strategy:

1.   Who, specifically and realistically, is your target?

2.  What, specifically and realistically, is your spiel?

3.  What, specifically and realistically, is your deal? 

     The bottom line is that regardless of whether you choose to use”traditional” (direct mail) advertising, or elect to zoom your message through cyberspace (and sophisticated marketers will often do both . . . remember: repetition sells!), you still must answer the one and only WIIFM (imaginary radio station) question in the recipient’s mind:



     If your message fails to produce the exact right response to that WIIFM question, it doesn’t matter what media you use . . . you lose!  It’s the only thing ANY of us care about when we are being “pitched.”

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