Letters, Week of January 12, 1998

Don’t Leave Response Mechanism Out of the DM Mix

Martin Gross presents an informative sociology-based diffusion model to illustrate how new ideas spread from their source to users (“Spreading the Word: How to Create Maximum Acceptance for a New Idea,” Dec. 8).

Although it brings up many good points for direct marketers to consider, the most important piece of the puzzle it leaves out is a mechanism for the user to act on the new idea.

The article ignores the significance of instituting an easy-to-use response mechanism, outside of one vague reference during discussion of the evaluation stage of acceptance, “He obtains more information. He decides to try it.”

Again, as this is a sociology-based model and not a marketing-based model, direct marketers should consider how the user would go about obtaining more information or “test-driving” the product or service.

All of our experience points to the critical importance of a response mechanism in advertising — our specialty being vanity 800 numbers, which have been shown to increase customer response to advertising by 25 percent or more — in order to facilitate a positive, active response from a prospect moving through the stages of acceptance of a new idea.

Without one, the most researched and thorough marketing plan can self-destruct.

Marketers choosing to implement some of Gross' ideas in building a direct mail package should keep in mind that unless some type of easy-to-use response mechanism is part of the mix — whether it be vanity 800 or a mail-in response card — advertising aimed at promoting acceptance of the new idea might take flight, but miss the target.

David Greenhaus


Response Marketing Group

Burlington, VT

Web Fulfillment Isn’t a Problem for Everyone

Hmmm, Web-based companies can't do fulfillment (1988: The Year of Fulfillment on the Web, Dec. 22)?

Let's see. We are one of the Web's largest retailers and we process thousands of packages a day. We take orders until midnight Eastern time for next-morning delivery in the United States and delivery within 48 hours overseas. We maintain a 120,000-square-foot warehouse located at Airborne Express' hub in Wilmington, OH.

Sounds like pretty good fulfillment to me. Especially for a company that was founded with $28,000.

If existing direct marketers are so much better at this than Web start-ups, why are the most successful Web-based retailers all Web-only retailers such as Amazon, CD Now, us, etc?

Also, I find it a bit odd that a publication that writes so much about the Web has not a single e-mail address of a single editor in its publication. Nevertheless, we enjoy reading DM News and love the Web coverage … most of the time.

Darryl Peck


Cyberian Outpost Inc.

Kent, CT


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