Category Archives: Featured

MAP Consulting LLC’s most recent featured article

An offer you can't refuse

1957 Dodge CoronetHow can you tell if an offer is good, i.e., is a strong consumer offer that makes money?

The answer is when the organization making the offer continues to use the offer.  The case in point is Chrysler’s “Let’s Refuel America” $2.99/gallon gasoline offer, which I wrote about recently.

The offer was supposed to expire in early June, but based on early results–including 25% more web traffic and a 34% increase in Internet leads–the promotion has been extended through July 7th.

Apparently Chrysler has re-crunched the numbers and found the financial results worth continuing making what’s turned out to be a very strong offer.  This is good news for the car buyer looking for a deal, the dealers who like the floor traffic and is good for Chrysler, as far as “moving the metal” goes.  (Overall, though, Chrysler is still in trouble.)

The takeaway is that Chrysler’s promotion has, once again, proven the old direct response maxim: If you want to dramatically increase your response, dramatically increase your offer.

When was the last time you looked at your offer? How might you reallocate your offer cost to create a more exciting offer that’s a true consumer benefit?
Creative Commons License photo credit: epicharmus

Step up your marketing

Octane Fitness Q37ce elliptical trainerIf you’ve gone through the hard work of developing physical products for customers, why not take advantage of the low-cost and free Web 2.0 tools available to help increase adoption of your product and reduce your sales cycle?

A perfect case in point is Octane Fitness and their line of elliptical trainers.

We were in the market for an elliptical trainer for about 6 months, when we finally pulled the trigger in early April on an Octane Q37ce trainer.  Since then, we’ve been extremely happy with the investment.  I’ve found that a six-day-a-week workout routine is easy to maintain and have seen marked improvements in my level of cardiovascular fitness.

So why did it take 6 months to purchase a product that I; a) really wanted; b) really needed; and c) is a terrific product that fits my needs exactly?

After reflecting for a month and doing some additional research, it’s clear that Octane could have cut the sales cycle down to under a month.  Here’s how. Continue reading

Free samples!

SamplingAre you using sampling in your marketing efforts?  Ad Age had a quick article on some of the sampling efforts being undertaken by major marketers this summer.

What’s old is new again.  Is it better to hit a prospect with 3 to 5 impressions and tell them about your product or is it better to put the product in their mouth or on their skin and show them how great it is?

If you think about it, the Web 2.0 technique of giving away your entire product dates back to the days of the local shopkeeper.  

Back in the day, the general store owner would give you a taste of what was in the barrel to get you to purchase the product.  Now, digital products and services providers allow you to use virtually all of their services free of charge, with the hope that you’ll come back repeatedly and purchase the premium (paid) product or generate pageviews to generate advertising revenue.

Sampling’s an old marketing technique, but it’s taken hold in Web 2.0 products and, with the advent of more granular tracking tools, is becoming more popular with traditional CPG.

As Winston Churchill once said, “The further back I look, the further forward I can see.”  What other “old” marketing techniques can you think of that can be resurrected in your marketing efforts?

CRM, BBQ style

BBQ ribsI’m not normally one to carry on about my experiences with fast casual dining establishments, even though we frequent them as a by-product of having two children who are connoisseurs of the category. The food quality can be variable, as can the staff attention to the customers.

But that’s all changed after Saturday’s experience at Famous Dave’s restaurant, where I had a terrific customer experience which doubled as a strong CRM effort on the part of the chain.

My wife and I had the luxury of a few minutes without the kids and, while driving by the restaurant, decided we should stop for lunch. We’d never been to the restaurant, although we’ve driven past the place every weekend for the past several years.

On entry, we were greeted by a smiling young man who welcomed us and held the door. His co-worker, equally welcoming, promptly seated us and informed us that our server would be with us shortly.

The CRM magic started when Chris came by our booth.

Continue reading

Is LTV the first step in my marketing plan?

istock-spreadsheet-compressed.jpgHow do you make money?

This is one of the first questions I ask all my clients. The answer usually comes back including some aspect of “buy low, sell high” and other margin-related facts. Regardless of the complexity or depth of the answer, one word is always included.

The magic word is “people.”

So why isn’t all marketing done on customer lifetime value (LTV)?  What are the five things you need to consider when developing LTV-based models that allow you to build CPA (cost per acquisition) based marketing plans?

Continue reading

An accessory sale gives a lesson on consumer behavior

Happy guyI admit that I actually enjoy being upsold. That’s partly because it’s what I do for a living. It’s also because I want to make certain that I’ve purchased the right thing for the problem I’m trying to solve.

That means I’ve got two all wheel drive vehicles in Northern Virginia because it sometimes snows here and I just might need to pick up the kids at school in the middle of the day.

And it means I’ve got the 8 GB iPhone instead of the 4 GB version because I might get stuck on a plane for a few hours and just might need a few more Van Halen albums to while away the time.

Give me a good value proposition, with clear benefits, at the right time and I’ll buy.

Just don’t give up after the first time, if I don’t buy. Be persistent, like Checks Unlimited.

Continue reading

Sometimes I shake my head and sigh

Kitten curmudgeonAnd sometimes I just shake my head. My apparently never-ending stream of poorly executed direct mail continues, with the latest effort being a shockingly bad example from Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Visa.  It appears to be the result of a co-op promotion, which may account for the execution; nobody at either Marriott or Visa felt they were responsible for the results of the effort, and it shows.

For the record, the family and I are fans of Fairfield Inns and signed up for Marriott’s Rewards program as the result of numerous stays at their Hazelton, PA location.  The staff is always great, the rooms clean and cookies and DVD movies are always enthusiastically offered to us when we check in at 9 or 10 pm the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.

Now, if only those responsible for their direct response efforts could feel the same enthusiasm.  Rather than rant and rave, here’s a PDF file of the quick analysis I’ve sent to Marriott’s marketing team.

Al Pacino and direct response marketing

17179001_a697e76604_o1.jpgI’ve recently received several direct response efforts that are unfortunately poor examples of our science and craft.  But they provide some important lessons that we should all take into account when preparing our next campaigns, whether they be acquisition, retention or winback efforts.

The two efforts I’m going to write about appear to suffer from at least one flaw that I try to address with clients and employees.  I call it “fingertips.”

By that, I mean that the nuts and bolts and detail of the marketing effort or analysis need to flow from the written page or the computer monitor through your eyes, be processed by your brain and then exit via your fingertips to the email, instant message, Excel spreadsheet, etc.  It’s not about forwarding the print production schedule you get from your printer or assigning the analysis of the media plan to your least-experienced employee because it’s tedious.  Having “fingertips” means you know the detail because you’ve not only seen it, but processed it and then had it exit via your keyboard.

I didn’t see the “fingertips” of the marketing managers in these efforts.  Al Pacino, in his famous rant at Kevin Spacey in the movie  Glengarry Glen Ross would have put it more bluntly.

“Where did you learn your trade?”
Continue reading

Where do you rank?

I’ve been working on a list analytics project recently and that’s resulted in me thinking of, among other things, universes. I’ve started to think about model performance and how the changes to the economy might be impacting marketing results.

However, I wasn’t tempted to write this post until two things happened yesterday. First, I received MediaPost’s Email Insider newsletter on the subject of customer lifecycle. Then, I needed to drive to a client yesterday and noticed that I’ve been driving a different car more frequently.

It dawned on me that I’ve become an x minus 1. Continue reading

People don't…

Over the years I, and my clients have labored mightily at our marketing efforts. Hours of careful thought about our marketing objectives, followed by more hours of careful analysis of past test results. And even more analysis of our lists and target audiences, followed by hour upon hour of agonized copywriting and creative development. Lastly, double- and triple-checking test emails, lettershop insertion samples and testing our telemarketing scripts in every imaginable way.

After all that careful planning and analysis, what could possibly go wrong?

Just three simple things:

  1. People don’t read.
  2. People don’t think.
  3. People don’t care.

Continue reading