Following the 40/40/20 Rule in Direct Marketing

Last week, the FEI tribe learned how intelligent SEO tactics can increase O-site traffic and consequently improve sales. This week, the tribe shifts from a micro- to macro-marketing focus with a discussion on the important 40/40/20 rule for direct marketing campaigns. Remember, fire = print.

Org angrily slapped a piece of mail on the conference room table.

“My name is not Arg!” he roared.

“Apparently, nobody involved with this direct mail campaign bothered to run a merge/purge or any other data cleansing exercise to improve recipient accuracy,” Marka said. “Speaking of which, list creation and management is one component of the 40/40/20 rule.”

“Which is what?” Org asked, starting to calm down from the mail blunder.

“The 40/40/20 rule identifies the three main components of a direct marketing campaign and quantifies the importance each one plays in its success,” Marka explained, as she started writing on the whiteboard.

• 40% of your time and resources should go toward your list/database.

• 40% of your time and resources should go toward creating the most compelling offer you can.

• Only 20% of your time and resources should be focused on the creative.

“Think about our last few direct mail campaigns,” Marka said. “Where did half our time and resources go?”

“Into creating a nice design,” Zoot replied.

“And how did that turn out?” Marka asked.

“Response rates have been falling over the past six months,” Zoot admitted sheepishly.

“My point exactly,” Marka said. “Balance is important for marketing success. A direct marketing campaign crafted and implemented with the 40/40/20 rule in mind will be more effective. Let’s talk about how we can put each component of this rule to work for FEI.”

Back to the whiteboard for Marka:

40% | The List: Keep It Clean and Up-to-Date

“Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date in-house mailing list will help ensure our promotions arrive at the right address with the right information,” Marka continued. “List ‘cleansing’ activities include merge/purging and de-duping at the resident, household and individual level to remove duplicate contact information.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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