Q: What do you think makes you different from other copywriters? A: A couple of things.
I take a simple, three-pronged approach to every job.
I find out as much as I can about the prospect and the company I represent. I establish a specific objective and define strategy, so everyone involved knows what we are trying to accomplish. Then I use my sales background to help me develop the facts and benefits I need to persuade the target audience to do what we want them to do. It works like magic.
Q: What is the most unusual thing you've sold by direct mail? A: Forty-foot-high outdoor lighting poles for Carolina Power and Light. We convinced a record number of customers to lease these poles, so they wouldn't step on critters on their porches in the dark. Seemed like a good approach, and it worked.
Q: Why do you think you have been successful in so many industries? A: I think it's my need to know everything possible about my client and what we can do for our customers. When I worked at Devon Direct on both the ADT and Nextel accounts, their people told us we knew more about their business after one month than agencies who had worked for them for many years. I took that as a great compliment.
Q: Who have you worked with?
A: A partial client list is on this site. Among the blue-chip clients have been: IBM, Bell Atlantic, Thomas Publishing, The Wall Street Journal, ADT, JI Case, Nextel, and many more.
Q: How would I go about hiring you?
A: Once we agreed on my fee, I would sit down with my proprietary Marketing Analysis, and ask you or your colleagues a lot of hard questions. Those answers would help me get you the successful results you need.
Q: Isn't direct marketing expensive?
A: If you look upon direct marketing as a one-time effort occurring in a vacuum, maybe.
But when you acquire a client, you have to look at the lifetime value. How long will you have that client on average, and how much revenue will that client produce each year and over his or her lifetime . Those are the numbers you should be looking at, and they usually are quite significant.
At Devon Direct, where I worked for almost 14 years, we grew about 20% a year for 20 years simply by returning money to our clients so they could reinvest it. And when the company was sold, we were billing about $300 million a year. So direct marketing worked for our clients and it worked for us.
Q: How do you define direct marketing?
A: To me, it is anything that requires a measurable response: by e-mail, snail-mail, at a Web site, by phone, or any other channel. And usually the only way you get that response is by having a strong offer.
Q: What changes have you seen over the years? A: In general, most companies don't want to test any more. Marketing directors feel they are a focus group of one. I worked with one company that fell in love with a creative we presented in a 9 X 12 format. We had to drag them kicking and screaming to get them to test a # 10 envelope kit that produced three times the results at one-half the cost. I love direct response marketing, because my opinion doesn't count. The president of the company's opinion doesn't count. Only the audience's opinion counts.
And with all the social marketing today, those opinions count more than ever before.
Q: How did you get into direct marketing? A: I always liked to sell ideas. I first learned to sell products and services while working with Dale Carnegie. Then I used those lessons to sell magazine advertising, and also to do inside selling for a drapery company, where I wrote my first sales manual.
I proved every day at the drapery store that well-structured fact-and-benefit copy could move people from prospects to customers. (In fact, by my third month, I exceeded my boss's sales goal by 300%.) I learned the basics of direct marketing at Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, used those principles in a corporate communications job, then at direct marketing agencies.
When you test all the time, you find out what works and what doesn't. We mailed over a million pieces a day during my time at Devon Direct, and learned how to maximize our clients' ROI.
Make your marketing pay off.
Contact Jim Murphy today
Johnson Box Frank Johnson popularized the practice of summarizing key sales messages at the top of direct mail letters he wrote promoting American Heritage Magazine. Today, any copy above the salutation of a letter is known as a Johnson Box. More Facts