Have you ever noticed that some businesses will jump at virtually any occasion to promote their goods and services? Last month, everything seemed to be about the Super Bowl. There were Super Sales and Super Offers everywhere you looked. Of course then came all the Presidents Day Extravaganzas in which George Washington and Abraham Lincoln made pitches for their favorite cars and furniture stores.
This month, we’re already seeing ads and promotions for March Madness. Newspapers will be full of them. Your television set will proclaim them loudly. Yes, even direct mail pieces will show up in mailboxes with March Madness offers as companies try to ride on the coattails of the excitement surrounding college basketball’s biggest event.
But when it comes to direct mail, maybe the madness has nothing to do with basketball. Maybe the madness is thinking that a sporting event is somehow going to motivate people to buy a car, or some furniture, or whatever it is that your company offers. What if your prospects aren’t even fans? Why would tying a promotion or a mailing to an event like the NCAA championship move your audience to action?
Here’s something else to consider. One of the most important things marketing can do for your company or organization is to differentiate you from your competitors. You want to stand out (for the right reasons). You don’t want to be part of the herd. Jumping on the March Madness bandwagon doesn’t help you accomplish that.
What will help to set you apart? Here are two ideas:
Don’t take the easy way out. Piggybacking a direct mail campaign on an event or a holiday doesn’t take a lot of thought or effort. It’s also fairly easy to sell to your boss. After all, if everyone else is doing it, there must be something to it, right? If you really want your direct mail campaigns to succeed, you should do the hard work of coming up with a solid, well-thought-out direct mail strategy. Make specific plans for what you want to accomplish. Here’s a helpful post that outlines 4 critical components of a direct mail strategy.
Know your audience and tailor your direct mail efforts to that audience. It’s easy to assume that “everybody loves basketball.” The problem is that not everybody loves basketball (not even in March). Yes, the tournament in March draws a huge audience—but is it your audience? Spend time thinking about who your audience really is and what it is they want to know. Create a profile (some call it a persona) of who your ideal customer is and what kinds of messages will appeal to him or her.
Instead of falling into the trap of creating one more “March Madness” campaign, turn things on their head and work on your own “Stop the Madness” campaign. It’s harder, but it will pay off. And if you need help with the process, we can help!