In the 1960s renowned media and communication theorist Marshall McLuhan stated, “Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century.” And like all great art forms, advertising has changed and adapted as time and society has demanded. Just as the Romantic Movement and the works of Ansel Adams or differing facets of a larger creative body, so direct marketing is an element of the multifarious contingency of marketing. Art has impact; it communicates a concept or evokes an emotion. Direct marketing has a similar purpose, does it not? It strives to represent the principles and products of one’s business, hoping to evoke a specific response from the target audience. However, unlike art, which is characterized by nebulous and fluid concepts of standard and success, the impact and success of a direct marketing campaign is easily measureable. There are three common ways to determine how effective a direct marketing plan is.
The first is the cost per acquisition, which is found by using the total number of responses received to divide the cost of providing your mailings. This is a great way to determine if the cost required to secure a client is in keeping with the projected profits your business will receive. Secondly, you can determine the impact of your campaign by calculating the cost per piece of advertisement. This directly correlates with your cost per acquisition. Assessing your total mailing cost and calculating the price per mailing allows you to find the cost per piece. And finally, you can determine the rate of response – finding the percentage of potential clients who actually responded to your mailings. Through the implementation of these three steps, one can calculate the overall effectiveness of the specific direct marketing campaign.
Ultimately, the combination of creativity and specific measurability is a powerful one. As with any business, it is vital to always assess the efficiency and effectiveness of ones practices. And the steps mentioned above are a practical way of doing so. But is it not also important to use the impersonal statistics to help create a more personal marketing strategy? Just as with art, at the heart of direct marketing is the ability to reach out and impact individuals. How does your direct marketing strategy reach your client base? How does your advertising embody the elements of an art form?