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Three Basic Truths for Any Marketer

Production Solutions

I’ve always been one to embrace change. I believe all change is ultimately good, regardless of how it is packaged. I firmly believe we grow as professionals…as people…when we look at change as an opportunity rather than shun it from a place of fear.

Well, the excitement of change is at hand at Production Solutions. As our digital division, PS Digital grows, so does our team of experts… And, as the team grows, so does the opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge with the direct marketing industry.

So, over the next few months, we will be showcasing the wisdom and perspectives, tips and ideas of my team of PS Digital experts here in The Right Hook blog, starting this week with Kim Roman Corle. Doesn’t that name ring a bell for many of you who have been in the industry for more than 15 years? That’s because Kim was an industry innovator, having started her own production management firm back in the day, when outsourced direct mail production management was a fledgling service.

Kim recently joined the PS Digital team after spending the last decade as a marketing executive in the high-tech industry. She has written an eloquent post about how important it is to embrace change without losing sight of past learnings…so appropriate, given the exciting changes on the horizon with my business and blog. Please embrace change with me…enjoy Kim’s post and don’t stop reading The Right Hook blog… you will still be hearing directly from me, from time to time….

It’s been a long time since I chatted with this industry and yet it seems like yesterday. Years ago (many, many years) I owned a direct mail marketing production agency specializing in nonprofit and political fundraising. These were the days before the internet or what we then called the “world wide web” was used for marketing…before social media, before scanners, before texting.

I remember when I bought my first fax machine and how much money I could save in courier fees (I am not kidding, we used to print off copies of everything we created and then we would courier proofs to clients for approval). Change was happening, that was for sure, but it came slowly and was easier to absorb, unlike the lightning speed changes we experience today.

Now, it seems that you need a team just to keep up! Social media platforms continue to evolve, apps are everywhere and technology has now made a play in the theaters with the release of Her. I use every tool I can to stay on top of trends, even engaging admins from Fiverr to do research on new marketing tools or uncover the best shopping carts for mobile marketing.

And yet, no matter what the technology or industry, we marketers can use the same process for any tool we embrace. The same methodologies that have proven successful for nonprofit direct mail address label packages are true for retail Facebook promotions. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the new and lose sight of the basics. It’s also dangerous, because it can cost time, money and ultimately impact results.

The basics were taught to me by several leading marketing executives who looked at marketing as a business, as something to hone and refine rather than something to jump into head first. I was taught that testing was the golden rule for everything. “Test everything as you would want to be tested” …meaning never assume what you think is right – prove it with results.

They also drummed into me the notion of communications – be consistent in tone, look, “feel” and in visual representation. They shared that one must never deviate from this guideline as it breaks down the brand. This focus surely was the reason for my success as the Senior VP Marketing Executive of a company of 1,600, where I built and established a leading technology brand among system integrators. As basic as this sound advice may seem, it is often overlooked, especially when it comes to brand usage on multiple platforms.

And then there is the copy, or what I like to refer to as the “positioning.” Always focus on benefits, never, ever just sell. Never. This always made sense to me because it offers the prospect, the donor or the client something of value. And it works time and time again.

So, there you have it – testing, branding, and benefits-driven copy – the principles that helped build some of the nation’s largest nonprofits and that were used by all of us “back in the day.”
It’s odd when you think that these simple basics still make the difference in success for a Pinterest campaign or an integrated email test, but they do because they work. And they will continue to work, no matter what new technologies may come our way.

Embracing change becomes that much easier when we realize we don’t have to start anew each and every time; we don’t have to figure out how to make a tool work and how we should brand our client. We can reach back and keep using what has worked since marketing began its illustrious journey…the very basics that many before us tested and discovered and shared.

Aren’t we the lucky ones?