Integrated Direct Marketing: The Ten Minute Solution

By Stephen Webster

Over the past five years, marketers in many industries have experienced a dramatic assertion of the maxim "the customer is always right." Tantalized by the seemingly limitless possibilities of e-mail marketing and blitz telemarketing, marketers using these tactics have been pulled up short by consumer-driven anti-spam and "do not call" campaigns.Chastened by consumers, sophisticated marketers have been forced to re-focus on less intrusive marketing tactics.One tactic in particular is making a serious comeback: welcome to the new world of direct marketing.

The vital signs of direct marketing are healthy again, to say the least.Advertising agency Universal McCann predicted that direct mail spending alone reached $51.5 billion in 2004, up from $48.4 billion in 2003.And a September 2004 survey of marketers conducted by Kern Direct, a direct marketing advertising agency, found that 56% intend to increase spending on direct marketing this year.

Marketers' return to direct marketing has not come without technology advances and new expectations.Today there is less tolerance for traditional direct marketing, which at its worst was costly, took too long to develop and execute, and delivered dubious ROI.Centralized marketing organizations now need integrated direct marketing solutions that are fast, flexible, targeted and measurable.And if these organizations are marketing products and services through franchises, distributors and/or sales representatives, they also need direct marketing solutions that provide brand control.

In response to these needs, and with strategic input from its brand name customers, Tactician has pioneered the development of a dynamic Internet-based direct marketing solution called Tactician Direct.This system, designed for use by marketers in a wide range of vertical markets, can be used to launch direct marketing campaigns in less than 10 minutes and with very few mouse clicks.A wizard-based interface walks users through the entire direct marketing process, sequentially asking them to identify who they are mailing to, select what they are mailing from a library of current branded literature, indicate where the pieces will be mailed, and then decide when the campaign should be mailed.The final step of the process is a single keystroke to order the execution of the customized campaign.

By integrating the entire direct marketing process in this way, the system provides a single tool for marketers to translate complex market intelligence into the efficient execution of segmented direct marketing campaigns.The system's simplicity and elegance was articulated recently by independent consultant and Directions Magazine columnist Hal Reid, after seeing a demonstration of its capabilities.

"Tactician has created some very good things in the management of direct mail," he said."Click and you have a lifestyle variable and geographical level you want to mail to.Click and select the collateral.Click and adjust the piece for the target audience.Click and get the total cost and production, fulfillment and mail costs.One more click and it's done and in the mail."

Reid went on: "Needless to say I was impressed.All of this is now on a new platform common to the web and the desktop, making the movement of data, maps, etc.and the collaboration between the desktop and the web almost seamless."

Tactician customers in retail, real estate, franchise and media markets are using the system to solve five primary challenges.

Increased Sales Revenue
Targeted marketing campaigns can be executed at low cost, increasing sales revenues over time through increased activity in customer marketing.

Brand Control
Corporations using the system as a centralized marketing resource can ensure complete brand control while giving franchisees and sales agents the means to develop geo-targeted direct marketing campaigns within minutes.

Co-Op Management
Franchisees and sales agents using the system can go online to access their co-op credit balance to help them manage direct marketing campaigns and materials.

Order Automation
With the ability to automatically manage the entire direct marketing process for hundreds of users, the system eliminates the need for manual production and complex program management.

Increased Response Rates
Tactician Direct is designed to provide higher direct marketing response rates by combining segmentation and geographical targeting in one solution.Companies that are able to pre-qualify targeted segments and appropriate collateral can ensure the delivery of increased marketing impressions to the right prospects.

The system's power is illustrated by its use as the platform for OSRAM Sylvania's online direct marketing system.Together with parent company OSRAM GmbH, OSRAM Sylvania is the second-largest lighting and materials enterprise in the world.In the hotly contested U.S.lamp market, the company has a proven track record of innovation in distributor marketing programs.One of its newest marketing innovations is SYLVANIA LeadsOnline, an easy-to-use integrated online target marketing service available to its distributors at

Sylvania's LeadsOnline.Source: Sylvania.Click image for larger view.

SYLVANIA LeadsOnline brings together all the elements of a direct marketing program in one online service.OSRAM Sylvania's LeadsOnline program won the 2004 Ted Magazine Direct Promotion Best of the Best Award for suppliers larger than $250 million.
In about 20 clicks, usually taking less than 10 minutes, the wizard-driven service enables distributors to target new business opportunities and quickly schedule entire direct marketing campaigns.This includes the identification of a target market segment, the choice of an appropriate, professional direct mail piece from a menu of options, the ability to co-brand and personalize the message or offer, and the selection of a date for a direct mail marketing campaign to commence.

Key OSRAM Sylvania distributors have already experienced success using SYLVANIA LeadsOnline.One top-twenty U.S.electrical distributor has reported that it saw a significant boost in leads and sales in three of five initial test markets.

The bottom line, according to Sharon Clement, marketing manager for OSRAM Sylvania, is simply stated: "Tactician's system has helped us streamline our direct marketing efforts with consistent and professional mail pieces while saving valuable time for our business partners."

Published Monday, March 21st, 2005

Written by Stephen Webster

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