The DMD Marketing Conference & Expo, officially a “forum of new ideas and technological advances” that proffers “information in ecommerce, technology, media, database, and creative services,” pulled a surprisingly large group of attendees to the Javits Center during its direct marketing mêlée on June 17-19, many of whom were lured by the promise of hearing Rudy — “America’s Mayor” — deliver the keynote. (Yes, he’s still planning to get his ms. in and published by “October, probably, maybe November.”) Most of the book-related businesses that exhibited or attended have gone the way of Time-Life Books, but there was a smattering of familiar badges. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BN.com, and a slew of people from Bookspan and Scholastic, trekked to 12th Avenue to hear experts on “Cutting Edge Ideas to Refresh Your Customer Loyalty & Retention Initiatives,” and “Is the Subscription Dead?”
Scoff if you must, but with publishers now selling off their sites, and Amazon and BN.com hacking ever deeper inroads through the business, cluing in to the vagaries of direct response, especially email marketing, is yielding increasingly mission-critical information. (Plus, some of this arcane stuff is just plain fun.) Holding forth on “Maximizing Your Email Retention Efforts,” one speaker revealed that Brooks Brothers increased registration on its site by 300% by offering a 10% discount with first purchase. And 4-7% of respondents forward information about a website when it is promoted; of those receiving forwarded email, 70% respond to the site. Moreover, store shoppers who also bought online spend $600 more in the store than those who only buy in-store. But it pays to do your homework. According to direct marketing consultant Herschel Gordon Lewis, in tests the line “Here’s one you’ll like, John,” pulled 14% better than “John, here’s one you’ll like.” Go figure. In other tests (this being direct response, there is nothing that’s not tested), text outpulled HTML when the message was URGENT, while the opposite was true when the message depended on “artistry.” Lewis also reminded his audience of the obvious: 80% of all possible consumer targets have an AOL address, so any email promotion should be sent out to some AOL addresses seeded in the marketer’s recipient list.
Speaking of letters, a postal rate hike on June 30th has made paying bills online a suddenly attractive proposition, according to a Direct Marketing Association survey. More than half of survey respondents under age 25, and 42 percent of those between 25 and 34, said the rate increase will have them searching for bill payment alternatives, such as electronic payment. That’s a bummer for the postal system, however, as “transactional mail” such as bill payment accounts for almost half of all first-class mail — which now will cost you a hefty 37 cents.
Back at DMD, and in a trip through the twilight zone, the Jungle Group announced that it had developed software that allows a company to take the best telemarketer and clone their abilities to be used throughout the entire center. As you may recall, a Random House source estimated recently (PT, 5/02) that telereps account for 10% of the field sales by dollar value. Any twins or triplets seen in Westminster lately?