Talon Mailing & Marketing, Inc.
561 Acorn Street, Deer Park, NY 11729
Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing August 2003 Newsletter:
By Michael Borkan
Telemarketing, Fax Advertising and Email Marketing may not be dead but as Bob Dylan once sang.... "The Times They Are A Changin".
Approximately 30 days ago our federal government announced plans to start collecting people and phone numbers for a national do-not-call list. The new system is to be run jointly by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. In the first three days over 13 million numbers were put on the list. More than 14 million people who are on various state versions of the do not call list are being transferred to the federal program. FTC officials estimate that the national list could grow to 60 million.
The program takes effect October 1, 2003. Telemarketers who call those on the Do Not Call List could be fined as much as $11,000 per call.
According to the Direct marketing association, marketers spent $80.3 billion on telemarketing in 2002. Before the federal government announced sweeping changes last month, the DMA had expected that expenditure to grow to $104.8 billion by 2006. Now it's likely that much of that money will wind up in other advertising mediums such as direct mail, internet-based marketing and traditional media advertising.
Many Telemarketers Are Exempt From The Do-Not-Call List
Many states have their own do not call lists and telemarketing restriction laws. Each state has exempted groups such as real estate agents or fundraisers. The new Federal Do Not Call List will create a minimum standard of who is exempt. If a state has more stringent limits that's fine, but states are not allowed to create legislation to go below the federal standards.
The following industries are exempt from the National Do Not Call legislation: Political organizations, politicians, charities, telephone surveyors, and insurance companies. Remember these exemptions are not set in stone since individual states do have the option to further restrict industries.
Proposed Laws for Email Spam:
Spam and what to do about the growing problem has been all over the news lately. Two states, Colorado and Missouri are considering the creation of "do not e-mail" registries patterned after the statewide "do-not-call" lists that restrict the activities of telemarketers.
Legislation introduced in each state would create a central database of residents who don't want to receive unsolicited e-mail and would allow consumers to sue marketers who ignore their wishes.
New York Assemblyman Charles Nesbitt is sponsoring a bill in New York to create a do-not-email registry. Modeled after New York's successful do-not-call list, the no-spam registry would require marketers to omit email addresses that appear on it. Marketers who do not comply would be heavily fined.
Businesses which already have a relationship with a customer would be allowed to send e-mails without being subject to the fines as long as they act upon client's requests to be opted out of future email blasts.
New Rules For Fax Advertising:
The Federal Communications Commission is in charge of regulating fax advertising. Marketers have been able to send fax advertising only to consumers with whom they had an existing business relationship.
There is an $11,000 per violation penalty when sending faxes to non clients.
According to new more stringent rules an existing business relationship will not be enough and marketers will need to obtain express written consent (including a signature) before sending faxes.
The new rules will take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register which should take place sometime in late July.
Restrictions are Pushing Marketers Back to Traditional Direct Mail.
Companies who have used telemarketing, email and fax to market their products will be hampered by these new restrictions. The new telemarketing laws, combined with consumer backlash over email marketing (yes spam) are encouraging marketers to emphasize traditional direct mail advertising. According to the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail in 2002 was a $49.1 billion industry. Although impossible to predict, it looks like the new laws will keep direct mailers even busier in 2003.
By Lee Marc Stein, President, LEE MARC STEIN, LTD.
Most direct response writers have learned the importance of presenting benefits instead of listing features, of asking for response, and of positioning the product or service they’re promoting. Many, however, commit less publicized sins of commission and omission which can be equally harmful to response.
1. Being too logical and neat. This sin occurs most in business-to-business mail, but there are evidences of it in financial services marketing and elsewhere. It happens because writers forget that people respond with their hearts, not just with their heads. A direct mail package or print ad is not simply a linear sales presentation. When you try to sell with 100% logic, the resulting creative product lacks the warmth and emotion that engages the reader. The concomitant of neatness is lack of surprise. There is no love handle for the prospect to grab.
2. Ignoring alternatives to the product or service being promoted. This sin arises when writers have not done the necessary homework. The result is a "generic" sell. The marketer doesn’t implicitly answer why his or her product is more beneficial than what the prospect is currently using. When alternatives are not discussed and convincingly dismissed, the prospect’s natural inertia blocks response and a sale.
3. Overestimating the intelligence of your audience. Most copy gurus justifiably warn about underestimating intelligence. However, a misjudgment on the other side can be just as detrimental to results. Most of these glitches occur in efforts to business, professional or technical audiences. Copy often begins "in medias res" – without the background that allows readers to get up to speed. Prospects are so lost in technical gobbledygook that they don’t understand what is being sold, how it can help them, and how to get it.
4. Operating on an unvarying decibel level. In a world of never-ending crescendos, direct response writers must orchestrate carefully. Unmitigated blares of trumpets throughout direct mail packages or print ads succeed only in getting prospects to install permanent ear plugs. Violins must be blended with trumpets, whispers with shouts, bold claims with quiet assurances. Even in a short business-to-business letter, commands and innuendo must be skillfully woven: too much command creates resistance; too much innuendo loses the prospect in the shadows.
5. Failing to sell prospects on reading the advertising. Copywriters have two missions. The major one is to sell the product or service and to generate response. (In lead generation, the major mission is to sell the prospect on taking the first step.) However, first they must convince prospects about the value of the advertising itself. In other words, provide an answer to "Why should I bother reading this? What’s in it for me?" Failure to accomplish this mission is not a failure to attract attention. This glitch occurs after gaining attention, and is a much deeper problem. In classic direct mail, if the envelope serves as the attention-getter, it is the content of the Johnson box or first paragraph that tells prospects why they should be interested enough to read on.
6. Burying the differential advantage. One step above the writers in the "this widget has 23 bevels, 114 screws" school are those who have learned it’s a good thing to turn features into user-benefits. But they haven’t learned that it serves no purpose to throw 50 benefits at the prospect at once, not that all benefits are not equal. Even writers who know to look for primary and second benefits unfortunately have not learned (or don’t and never will have the instincts) to distinguish between primary and secondary.
One major reason for this glitch is that the writer is working in a vacuum. There is no marketing plan, positioning statement, or creative platform. No one has taken the time to determine what the hot button really is… what advantages the particular product has over its direct or perceived competitors… and why, for example, for a particular product, saving money is not nearly as important a benefit as saving time.
7. Using testimonials in the wrong way or to the wrong market. It was Milt Pierce who first suggested adding "C" (for credibility) to the old "AIDA" formula. A classic way to do that is with testimonials. But be careful how you use them. Don’t replace your selling thrust with testimonials; use them to augment your thrust. Don’t use the ones that read as if they were written by you; use real ones, ones that are believable to your particular audience. Testimonials may actually harm response if your target is top-level executives or leaders of any type. "Pioneers" are not often influenced by other people’s opinions and may resent that kind of approach. If your prospects are "emulators," however, testimonials can be extremely effective.
8. Getting tired. You’ve written a marvelous opening paragraph… your enthusiasm carries you to the bottom of the first page… your sub-heads are grabbers… and then something happens. Perhaps you’ve run out of story, or shot your proof points, or haven’t found a good way to close. So you tail off "not with a bang, but a whimper." Who cares? You know how strong your opening is, you know you have the right benefits and tone. Who cares? Prospects do! They can sense when your enthusiasm begins to flag, and it leaves a sour taste. They think "Maybe this is like their product. It works when I first get it, then loses its energy." For any who doubt that prospects care about the last page of a letter, just plant a typo and watch the mail.
© 2002 Lee Marc Stein, Ltd., 41 Executive Drive, Hauppauge, NY 11788, Phone: 631.724.3765 Fax: 631.724.6202
LEE MARC STEIN is a direct marketing strategic and creative consultant with over 35 years of experience. You can read more of his articles on www.leemarcstein.com. You can contact Lee directly at email@example.com.
Talon would like to welcome the following new clients this month to our growing roster of clients:
· Intellidyn - Data integration / warehousing, analytics, modeling channel integration and performance assessment.
· Bronner's Christmas Wonderland - World's largest Christmas store visited by millions of people; over 50,000 items.
· US Cavalry - Military and Adventure Gear
New Mailing Lists Housed at Talon (we house over 600 mailing lists)
· Z Journal - Magazine for IT management professionals using IBM zSeries & S/390 Systems
· Noboss - The National Organization of Business Opportunity SeekerS
· Wizard Industries - Data & Document Security; Monitor and Security Software
· Lazervac - Household and Hardware products
· Vertical Markets - Online sales & marketing products.
· Jewish Guild for the Blind - Donors List
· Sports Section - One of the country's largest sports and memorabilia company.
Mike's Favorite Links:
Here are some links you probably are not aware of:
Did you know Talon offers the following services? Click on the links below to see samples.
We are giving away two tickets to the Yankees and Mets! To win be the first telephone caller (please call don't hit reply or email). Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 303. One set per winner and you must make arrangements to pick up the tickets. All games will have fantastic seat locations.
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To learn more about our company, please visit our web site: www.talonmm.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 303.