What does Amazon Prime and the Pied Piper have in common?

Defined simply as the act of subjecting to an experimental test in order to determine how well something works.

Historically we tend to be followers, sheep, once one goes, the flock will follow. In testing non vertical markets, this follower mentality holds true and we need to challenge the conventional wisdom of what works and why!

The way we are doing business today is different than it was 25 years ago when I joined the direct marketing work force. The internet was just in its infancy. Catalog was the king of direct marketing. But new catalogs coming on the market are far and few between. Co-ops, while still proving to be successful, are tiring. So where does one look to “TEST”?

Let’s start with today’s consumers. What do they want? Instant gratification. They are going online more whether on their laptops, smartphones, tablets to not only research products and services but to buy. Consumers are all about having everything NOW!

Take Amazon Prime for example. Order a product by 8am and a consumer could have it in their hands by the afternoon amazon-primewithout leaving the comforts of home. They are leaders – innovators vs. emulators. How? They were the first in the market to offer same day delivery to your door. Walmart studied, waiting for someone else to TEST and then FOLLOWED. Some may say they are a day late and dollar short. Amazon Prime is king in that market.

So how do catalogers compete with these giants? Bottom line is they don’t if they don’t change the traditional way of doing business in the direct marketing business. Ordering a monthly hotline, have it delivered to their merge house, then printer and then mail it 3 months later. These names are now 3 months older than when you started!

Let’s challenge the old ways of doing business and move into the digital age and Online Inquirers
Who are these online inquirers and how can they be integrated into your mailers’ campaign?
Simply put, they are self reported, hand raisers who are asking a question, making an inquiry for a product, service or need. They are telling you what they want and when they want it. These inquirers are giving a mailer a wealth of information not just a name and address, but age, income, and most importantly a
NEED. They are no different than a “catalog” generated name. The inquirers are going online to satisfy a need, and can be inputted into your campaign in less than a week of raising their hands!

Yet, we circle back to following the pied piper. Catalogers tend to look for a leader. Someone who has taken the plunge and TESTED. The first question asked, “Who is using the file?” But what if your competitor is not using it? What will you do? Wait and follow?

This philosophy of thinking needs to change. If you believe in a product /service or the self reported NEED, a chance has to be taken, TESTED, to determine if something non-traditional works.

Be the leader, lead the flock. TEST, EXAMINE, DETERMINE.
You just might be surprised in the outcome.

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