Stress DM Fundamentals, Says Grey Direct CEO

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NEW YORK -- There's a lot of bad advertising out there, but it would improve if companies focused more on testing, ROI and other DM fundamentals, Grey Direct CEO Lawrence Kimmel said yesterday.


"The masters of communication are frequently in the direct marketing industry, and they're so unrecognized," he said in his presentation, "It's Time to Stop Wasting Client Budgets," at a breakfast meeting hosted by the John Caples International Awards and the NYU Center for Direct and Interactive Marketing. Kimmel recently was elected new general chair of the 25th annual John Caples International Awards.


It doesn't take much to fix things, Kimmel said, citing work Grey did for a client in the financial services industry.


"We looked at their control and said to change two lines of copy," he said. "It increased response 65 percent."


For another client, Grey tested with two different subject lines in an e-mail campaign. One beat the other by 23 percent.


Though direct marketing has been inappropriate for many companies, technology is changing that, Kimmel said, because a mail piece can be produced, printed and mailed so much faster. E-mail marketing offers response rates in a matter of minutes. And the combination of the two can add extra lift, Kimmel said, citing another Grey client who used direct mail and e-mail separately. Its mail response rate had been 1.62 percent, and e-mail had been 0.32 percent.


"We combined the two, and response jumped to 3.5 percent," he said. "People need to be reminded of the communication."


So why is there still so much bad advertising?


"People haven't learned from experience," Kimmel said. "You can't break the rules before you've learned them."


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