Business Start-Ups magazine, September 1998
"In a start-up company, every dollar is precious, so you need to know what you're getting for your money," says Jim Hackett, president of Direct Results Group Inc. Hackett's Boston-based direct-marketing agency advises clients to carefully track their advertising results in order to gauge how each advertising medium is working and plan future advertising expenditures.
Creative Bird Accessories, a Darien, Connecticut, company that produces a 72-page catalog of products for exotic pet birds and their owners, has made tracking ad results part of day-to-day operations since the company was founded more than six years ago. "It gives us a guide for where to do our advertising, whether we should increase the size of our ads and where our volume is coming from," explains vice president Peter Deutsch. This information is vital to Deutsch, who places advertising in magazines in the United States, Japan, Germany and England, and has a mail order Web site http://www.webscope.com/cba .
To build an effective direct-response campaign, start by putting an offer with a call to action in every ad. For example, your ad could ask respondents to call for a free booklet. Then track responses by building devices into your marketing materials that help you identify where your respondents come from. You can track print advertising responses by using a special telephone number or extension; have mail-in responses go to a specific mailbox; or even attach a suffix pointer that sends a browser directly to the right page on your Web site, advises Hackett.
Finally, enter all the response data into a good contact management database so that even after you've closed the sale, you can maintain contact with your customers by mail or phone on an ongoing basis. "The respondents' information goes into our computer with a coded symbol, so they become a part of our mailing list and we know exactly where they heard about us," says Deutsch. By successfully tracking advertising responses, Creative Bird Accessories has built a 112,000-name active mailing list of bird lovers . . . and a growing business.
Direct Results Group Inc. , (617) 250-5000, firstname.lastname@example.org