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Today's Marketing Cookie - A Beautiful Mistake
"How can you have a beautiful ending with out making beautiful mistakes?"
Today's fortune came from Robert Sturtevant of Boston, MA. Robert is the Director, Business Development & Client Service at Fox RPM Corp, an independent facilities, construction, and relocation project management firm. I've known Robert for many years and would be happy to recommend him if the situation presented itself. In the meantime, you should follow him on Twitter: @Robertmacs
Today's Marketing Cookie makes me chuckle because I've actually made a beautiful mistake before. CommCreative is positioned as a "unified marketing" agency, using a multi-channel approach for generating leads. While that statement is true, I might argue that it's the other way around. I think we may be more of a lead generation agency using multiple marketing channels. Yeah. The focus on leads comes first. I have to say that lead generation keeps me up nights.
While other people may dream of grinning, shiny unicorns in their happy place, I mostly have nightmares about sagging line charts, leaking landing pages, and an angry zombie salesforce begging for more leads. I toss and turn asking: Will I hit my lead numbers? Are the leads of high enough quality? How could I optimize my campaigns? What channels haven't I tried? Many times, I wake up suddenly with an idea, grab my phone on the night stand and send myself an email to investigate a new idea.
For one client, we had the lead generation program completely fine tuned. We had tested thousands of variations and developed a control, that could not be beaten. We had figured out the most effective construction for a direct mail letter and landing page combination that consistently pulled better than anything we could come up with to put against it. We knew the right placement of the text, thickness and texture of the paper, size, color, and style of the fonts, and the best call-to-action. Our refined formula eventually doubled response rates and generated a record breaking amount of leads for less money.
We knew exactly what worked, and although we continued to test, test, test, we couldn't beat the control. For the record, the sample size for our A/B tests numbered in the millions. We tested all types of new printing innovations and formats such as, pURLs (personal URLs), 3D mailings, post cards, inserts, BRC (business reply cards) and every possible envelope configuration we could find. We even tried handwritten mailing addresses and real postage stamps rather than metered postage. We tried it all.
Because I like you, I'll tell you the secret... The work horse of our direct mail lead generation program, that I have been talking about so much today was ugly. Yes. It was plain Jane, no-frills, simple, and it was ugly. We begged the marketing gods to PLEASE allow one of the beautiful concepts we tested to outshine our perfectly refined UGLY masterpiece. No matter what we did, we could out do nor beat our ugly creation and it was an absolute torment for our creative department.
One day, a new EVP of Marketing came into the company and we presented what we had been doing in lead generation. As part of the presentation, we showed the ugly direct mail that could never be beat. It was viewed as so repulsive, that the new EVP refused to allow those ugly letters to go out any longer and forced us to follow the new creative that company was using on TV and Billboards. Our creative team was absolutely thrilled to finally create something beautiful.
Did I say beautiful? The new direct mail was drop dead gorgeous! Our creative team was back to dreaming of happy unicorns and dancing with glorious merriment in their happy place, and we finally had something beautiful to show in our portfolio. However, the beautiful direct mail didn't work as well as the old tested and proven ugly stuff. Slowly but surely, my nightmares about sagging line charts, leaking landing pages, and angry zombie sales people demanding leads came true. In this case, making the direct mail beautiful, was a beautiful mistake, and the unfortunate ending of something ugly.