A Great Myth of Direct Marketing Why You Should Not “Go Easy” on Your Customers

One of the most commonly debated topics in direct marketing is how much and how often one should market to a customer or potential customer. The most common answer is: Enough to make sales but not so much as to become annoying.

This is not true. More importantly, it is the wrong question.

Like every other semi-science, direct marketing is awash with “proven facts” that are bogus. One of these is that information publishers should give their customers at least as much non-promotional education as advertising.

You can find studies that support this position, but they are almost always small and specific. And that means they are unreliable.

I was once in love with marketing “rules” and tested every one that appealed to me. What I found out after thousands of tests to millions of customers was that there are very few rules that you can rely on. And even those, you cannot rely on 100%. But one of the rules I believe you can trust is that there is no limit to how often you should market to your customers.

For some, this defies logic. Advertisements are inherently annoying, their thinking goes. So if you want to have good relationships with your customers, go easy.

There is a simple fact that undermines their reasoning: The average American consumer sees more than 500 ads a day. (That number must include billboards and radio and television ads, as well as every internet ad that pops into view.) The number of ads that they actually notice might be 20% of that… but it’s still 100 a day!

Think about that. And let me ask you this: How many of the ads that you see every day do you remember?  READ MORE

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In Personality Plus, Florence Littauer argues that there are four basic temperaments:

  1. Popular Sanguine
  2. Perfect Melancholy
  3. Powerful Choleric
  4. Peaceful Pragmatic

She also argues that knowing your temperament and those of others you interact with enables you to live a fuller, freer, richer life.

I don’t like these sorts of ideas, but I tested myself and found that my strongest tendency is as a Powerful Choleric with secondary Popular Sanguine aspects. It turns out to be scarily true.

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Damian, the director of Off the Rails, a movie I co-wrote and produced about a time in my life, is winning the argument I had with him. The movie has a good plot, great music, and great cinematography, but I told him that I thought there were several “cringe-worthy” moments in the movie that hurt it badly.

Damian assured me that I was overreacting.

The movie’s European premier was in Liverpool in October. It was a small festival, but it had some good films competing with ours. I was surprised when Damian told me that Off the Rails had won best actress and best feature film.

Since then, it’s been accepted for a half-dozen other festivals and is up for awards in half of them. So that’s promising.

The US premier is at the considerably larger Miami Film Festival (March 3 through 9). Festival producers selected it as the opening film and are showing it twice. It was given a nice writeup, too: “Off the Walls is a spirited and energetic comedy tinged with the warm afterglow of nostalgia, and is easily one of the most feel-good movies in this year’s Festival.”

Not bad, right?

It will also be shown at the Woodbury Film Festival in Salt Lake City (March 8), at the Phoenix Film Festival in April, and in St. Petersburg, Florida, in April.

Am I too pessimistic? Too critical?

I don’t know. But the evidence is piling up against me.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, GO HERE.

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