Contact Us

The Direct Response Vortex…Mother of the Big Idea!

Production Solutions

Getting that steady or dramatic lift in a campaign’s response rate or average contribution can’t come from just one magic bullet.

Next big idea

The Direct Response Marketing industry and specifically those in offline and online fundraising continually search for what is known as the “Big Idea.”

The next “Big Idea” can be…that package look, that message, that strategy, that premium or all the above, that provides a dramatic or steady lift in a campaign’s response rate or average contribution.

It is of such interest that several direct marketing associations have an awards category called…The Big Idea.

There have been direct mail packages…telemarketing scripts…DRTV episodes…online subject lines and dialogues that have caused new life in a campaign or succeeded in causing a spike in response such that it became a stand-alone Big Idea.

As the conference season begins, I can’t help thinking about the next Big Idea.

The next Big Idea… how fascinating, and yet how frustrating.

I liken it to mining for gold or winning the lottery or discovering the Holy Grail.

It’s not an easy task.

Personally, I think the next “Big Idea” is a crap shoot. It’s really holding out for something that I feel really does not exist.

There is no, one, single silver bullet…hence there is no one Big Idea.

There is, however, a direct response VORTEX that fosters the ability for a package (or a whole campaign) to stand above all others, or is consistent in obtaining a high response or average gift.


The Vortex is not one single creative idea, but the intersection or confluence of several variables that always affect the success of any campaign.

Here are the variables that make up the perfect confluence that can give rise to the next Big Idea:

1. Teamwork and planning. One kickoff meeting of ALL players involved in the campaign to establish clarity of roles and expectations. A two hour meeting in the beginning saves so much time and money throughout the campaign.
2. Creative. Solicit creative suggestions and ideas from several sources. No one on staff or subcontracted can CONSISTENTLY provide the best in creative ALL THE TIME.
3. Strategy. One really needs to mine with your list broker and/or your internal data base manager to really identify your target market. Testing is a must but you really, really need to read the data and interpret the information…and then have confidence in the results. Doubt is detrimental here!
4. Execution and production. Suck it up intermittently and pay what you perceive as “expensive” services to receive the best in your creative fulfillment. Always looking for cheap pricing/legacy pricing is not going to get you the Big Idea. The new premium…the new dimensional…the incredible pop-up…the personal touch in personalization is not cheap. Stop being so myopic or provincial!

Let’s face it folks. Nothing goes big without some risk. Nothing goes big without all hands on board and the right crew who knows their role. Nothing goes big with mediocrity and routine.

Sure, I’m ready for the next Big Idea… but first, you’ve got to create the breeding ground by creating the Direct Response Vortex!