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Direct Mail Effectiveness —Farquharson/Tedesco

November 2010

Cash registers ring, are you listening?”

We know three things. One, the holiday season is coming up (please pass the eggnog); two, the upcoming postal rate changes will give the direct mail industry an even bigger headache; and three, oodles of promotional clutter always get in the way of our selling messages being seen and heard. 

Don’t cower under the Christmas tree yet! There’s a time-tested formula called the 40/40/20 rule that offers proven guidelines for direct mail campaign creation. Campaigns run according to this principle are likely to have a greater impact on more prospects, and your customers will have a very merry Christmas 2010 (and 2011…and 2012). Without further ado, we present Tedesco and Farquharson’s 40/40/20 Direct Mail Rule.

Developed by Dr.’s Tedesco and Farquharson after years of laboratory studies (OK, years of managing successful direct marketing campaigns), the 40/40/20 rule is a handy guideline for understanding the three main components of a direct marketing campaign, as well as just how important each aspect is to the campaign’s overall success:

• 40 percent of your time and resources should go toward developing your list/database;

• 40 percent of your time and resources should go toward creating and paying for the most compelling offer you can imagine; and

• Focus only 20 percent of your time and resources on the creative.

Heresy! The leader of a 15-year-old design and marketing services agency like Tedesco is advocating only 20 percent of effort toward the creative? Yep, you betcha. See, the purpose is sales growth.

Think back to your last direct mail campaign: Did you pour half your time and resources into creating a beautiful design? If so, how many calls did you get from enthusiastic prospects saying: “Your offer was OK…but your promotion just looked so good, I had to take you up on it?” 

Yeah, Farquharson didn’t think so. Next time, try to cut your time spent on the creative down to 20 percent. If your habit is to focus on design at the expense of everything else, rest assured you’re not alone. In our experience with direct mail campaigns, typically months go into the creative. Then, at the last minute, someone says, “We’re about ready to go to press. What’s the offer and to whom are we going to send it?” 



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