What Is the 40-40-20 Rule of Direct Marketing?

The Most Important Part of Your Marketing Campaign

Marketing expert Ed Mayer developed a principle of marketing design which states that 40 percent of the success of a marketing campaign is based on reaching the right audience, another 40 percent is based on the offer you are making, and the remaining 20 percent is based on various other factors such as presentation and format.

The list. We all know that reaching the right people is the key to any marketing campaign, but who are the right people? The first step in finding the right people isn't selecting the lists; it is creating an audience profile.

Creating an audience profile(s) can be much tougher than finding lists. And if you can't develop a detailed profile, how can you begin to find lists that match that profile?

The offer. The direct response offer is one of the most powerful tools available to us. Remember that the response is a direct relationship to the level of commitment you require of your prospect. The higher the commitment (higher price, less-flexible terms), the lower the response rate will be.

This is not to discount the importance of the offer presentation. You have to get your audience's attention, and the presentation does that.

But no matter how appealing the offer presentation is (e.g., buy one, get one free), if the terms are unattractive (e.g., if the price is too high), response will be disappointing. The success of your offer depends on both parts.

The Creative. "Creative," meaning copy and design, plays a role in both the message and the format, but that’s only part of the process.

Finding the right message means identifying the most important and most relevant sales message(s) for a given audience segment.

Once you find the right message, the creative finds ways to communicate that message through teaser copy, headlines, subheads, illustrations and copy approaches.

Finding the right format means choosing from an assortment of direct mail formats: a letter package, self-mailer, postcard or maybe even a three-dimensional piece. In selecting a format, consider whether it provides enough space or enough components to make your case effectively. And your format needs to make sense financially.

-Bob McCarthy, McCarthy & King Marketing Inc.

WAM has the expertise you need with your lists, offers and creative. Contact us at 616.957.6245 for assistance with your next marketing campaign.