I’m a great admirer of David Ogilvy’s work. He is not alone in his influence, he was one of the impressive giants on whose shoulders many of the most effective and profitable direct response marketing campaigns of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been built. The roots of his work stretch back for centuries because they are built on a fundamental principal of human psychology: people react to stimuli. The work of any business owner is to discover what stimuli your particular audience reacts to most favourably.
A Word of Warning About Effective Marketing
Some advertising and marketing actually suppresses response and reduces the sales of product. All exposure is not good exposure. “George Hay Brown, at one time head of marketing research at Ford inserted advertisements in every other copy of the Readers’ Digest. At the end of the year, the people who had not been exposed to the advertising had bought more Fords than those who had.”
The point of this? Don’t make assumptions about the factors your customers will respond positively to based on other people’s data… always do your own testing. Some ads are memorable in a negative way, that’s why you need to know your own customers, and look at their behaviour, not merely their opinion.
Seven General Principles that Usually Increase Response to Marketing
The above information is an important caveat for the following list of guidelines.
- The Celebrity Principle: research suggests that marketing with celebrities reduces response and that a personality that is closely associated with that product or service increases it. Do you want a celebrity, or a persona for your promotions?
- The Black on White Principle: studies strongly suggest that using reverse text (white text on a dark background) is far less effective than black text on a white background in terms of response. Do you really want to sacrifice response for visual appeal?
- The Consistency Principle: it takes time to build a following because you are also building familiarity, confidence, and engagement. Your job is to show up regularly (whether that his daily, weekly, or monthly) and discover what creates the most engagement and response. There is no such thing as overnight success. Are you willing to work hard and build patiently for long-term impact?
- The Physical Principle: Don’t just rely on electronic delivery of your communications. Programs and businesses that include physical products generate more long-term interest and higher customer value. Are you sacrificing long-term profitability for short-term economy?
- The Omnipresence Principle: One is a very dangerous number in any business. To maximise your ROI you should appear on as many different platforms as possible (including Journals, Magazines, TV, and Radio) with a clear offer and call to action so that your prospects become familiar with your business. Does your business appear in all the places your target audience hang out?
- The Contrarian Principle: When you blend in with your competitors by copying their (possibly ineffective methods) you lose credibility. Every business has unique characteristics and it’s your job to discover what yours are and use them to your advantage. Look outside your industry for ideas and inspiration so that you stand out from the crowd. Do you copy your competition, or do you look elsewhere?
GKIC’s Magnetic Marketing System is a great place to get innovative ideas.
In my own experience and in working with clients these principles almost universally hold true and following them will increase response. However, there are some cases where breaking the rules works even more effectively… which is why you shouldn’t make lazy assumptions and should make a practice of testing different approaches.
After all, wise innovation leads to market disruption!