Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The Human Side of Direct Response

As an advertiser, I feel like I’m a pretty decent salesman. I sell ideas internally. I sell them to clients. Then, I take what clients make and I sell it to people who need it.

However, there’s another side of advertising that’s more about buying than selling: demand generation.

Some might argue that demand generation is still selling – selling the asset to the client who is buying it with their contact info — and this is true.

But many companies forget how valuable their prospects’ time is. They ignore the fact that these people are probably already being bombarded with sales messages. All said, contact information is arguably much more valuable than the white paper, video or webinar they are purchasing with it. Especially when you factor in how many companies abuse their leads instead of nurturing them.

This insight makes demand generation a very difficult game in today’s ultra-connected and message-heavy world.

Woe isn’t me.

Okay, I can hear all of you out there rubbing your fingertips together, playing the world’s smallest violins just for the copywriters. Knock it off.

It was with these laments that I went to @MrBtoB himself,  Rick Segal. He offered me this advice:

“Don’t think of it as creating messaging for direct response. Think of it as creating messaging for engagement.”

And you know, he’s right! Since hearing this, there’s been a little more pep in my demand-generation step. If I think of demand generation as another element in the larger conversation we’re trying to have with our customers’ customers, it becomes much easier to get into their heads and give them something they will respond to.

In other words, I can start to talk to people like they’re people, and not just an email address on a list.

But we advertisers and you marketers need to work together to make this humanly relevant approach to demand generation successful. Here at the agency, we need to adhere to best practices for email and direct mail, respecting our targets’ time and schedules. Inside the brands, you should create or source relevant, timely assets that will not only make people feel like they got some value, but also build on your trustworthiness as a thought leadership partner.

If we can do this, we can turn the business of direct response into one that inspires ignition instead of one that makes our customers consider self-immolation.

Barrett Condy is a senior copywriter at gyro

Follow him @barrettcondy

Originally published at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network


One Comment

  1. Demand generation is everything but selling. The act of selling is based on the very presence of demand and is more so a tug of war in terms of how strong the seller is, in terms of convincing the buyer or the consumer, versus how tough the buyer or consumer can be. Demand generation in my opinion is about creating a willingness to associate…and this requires that the copywriters speak directly to the customers customer and not speak on behalf of what the customer or marketeer, and sorry to say, account management and creative, feel would topple their agenda! The value chain of good advertising is what it is…a value chain; each chink is a value and the onlky value that speaks directly to the market without any leeway for change is that of the great copy writer.

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