Knowledge Library

Lester Wunderman - the visionary thinker and leading innovator

Direct Marketing

I had the privilege of meeting with Lester Wunderman at the DMA Conference in New Orleans. Where he launched his latest book called BEING DIRECT: Making Advertising Pay.

In addition to revealing how to reach consumers and measure the impact of any given marketing campaign, it shows us how to think outside the box to find - or develop - new media through which to connect with our public.

Creating relationships with customers is crucial. Lester emphasises that today, more than ever, marketing is less about exposure and more about developing a customized experience that meets each individual consumer's unique needs. And building strong customer relationships is important. With this in mind, Lester has developed the revolutionary concept of a "Consumer's Communication Bill of Rights." This is the first time ever that a marketer has laid out what consumers should expect from advertisers vying for their attention.

Lester Wunderman's Consumer's Communication Bill of Rights
His contention is that consumers deserve to be treated with respect by all businesses trying to sell to them. He writes: "Today, and in the future, advertisers will have an enhanced opportunity to use information to serve their customers and prospects. Good service requires good information. Both require good judgment and prudence on the part of all parties regarding the expending commercial conversations of the Information Age."

The Bill of Rights states:

  • Tell me clearly who you are and why you are contacting me.
  • Tell me clearly what you are, or are not going to do with the information I give you.
  • Don't pretend that you know me personally!
  • You don't know me - you know some things about me!
  • Don't assume that we have a relationship!
  • Make it easy for me to say 'yes' and 'no'!
  • When I say 'no,' accept that I mean no this, not now.
  • Help me budget not only my money but also my time!
  • My time is valuable, don't waste it!
  • Make my shopping experience easier!
  • Don't communicate with me just because you can!
  • If you do all that, maybe we will then have the basis for a relationship!

This couldn't be more timely. And the approach he calls upon businesses to take, will ultimately expand their commercial opportunities by creating better customer relationships.

19 Principles that underlie all successful direct marketing campaigns BEING DIRECT also covers the 19 principles below - and throughout the book, Lester gives us proven and powerful techniques, whether using traditional media such as direct mail or reaching out to customers via the Internet and email marketing. These techniques are important in creating long-term, sustainable and profitable relationships with customers.

  • Direct marketing is a strategy, not a tactic
  • The consumer, not the product, must be the hero
  • Communicate with each customer or prospect as an audience of one
  • Answer the question 'Why should I?'
  • Advertising must change behaviour, not just attitudes
  • The next step: Profitable advertising
  • Build the 'Brand Experience'
  • Create relationships
  • Know and invest in each customer's lifetime value
  • 'Suspects' are not 'Prospects'
  • Media is a contact strategy
  • Be accessible to your customers
  • Encourage interactive dialogues
  • Learn the missing 'when?'
  • Create an advertising curriculum that teaches as it sells
  • Acquire customers with the intention to loyalise them
  • Loyalty is a continuity program
  • Your share of loyal customers, not your share of market, creates profits
  • You are what you know

Powerful words, from a powerful man - the true Father of Direct Marketing.

Winnifred Knight

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