On Direct Marketing, Jeff Bezos, Seth Godin And Electric Bikes

Hunting for new ideas on my eJoe Epik Sport Edition

Continued from the post “What I Taught Jeff Bezos That Forever Changed The Marketing World…”

Freeman was DM’s hero in the 70s and 80s much like Seth Godin is today’s pop marketing rockstar (Seth gave me permission to say this). He was, as I described in a previous blog, “a brilliant mad scientist in an ad man’s body” (http://ripple-effect-blog.com/new-business/new-business-development/i-was-cable-before-cable-was-cool-2/). He relentlessly schooled me in the theory of left brain-right brain functioning and where the application of creative themes, copy and graphics fits into the proper sequence of developing record-breaking direct marketing campaigns. Which by the way, is at the very tail end.

You see, what Jeff Bezos and his team do for every marketing test, tactic or iteration of offers is “keep the main thing the main thing.” That is, knowing your audience like the back of your hand, then offering them things they need, want, or want to need. Let me explain…

What Freeman and Jeff have so skillfully taught me, and legions of assistants, teams and students, is that any successful direct marketing strategy must follow the 40-40-20 formula for success. Which in its simplest form can be summed up by saying that ‘EVERY successful direct marketing campaign must be comprised of three critical components–and their respective percentages–that will ultimately influence the outcome of a campaign’:

  • 40 % Audience—Selecting your target audience with such criteria as demographics and psycho-graphics, geography, etc.
  • 40 % Offer—A combo of who you are, what you’re selling, and the price or deal.
  • 20% Creative—Themes, copy, photos and graphics.

Unfortunately, when developing a campaign most inexperienced marketers will immediately jump to the creative—what the campaign will look like, a pretty picture, a slogan or even a style or voice that defines the brand. And they’ll spend 80% of their time, effort and budget on such a losing proposition. This is part of the basic math equation that most poorly trained folks get wrong. But they don’t seem to care, because this is the fun part—the touchy feely part—of marketing.

The other two components speak for themselves. For example, if you’re selling a great electric bike at a great price with a special discount to an avid bike enthusiast who’s just had heart surgery, you can hand-write the deal on a shopping bag and the person will buy. I know because I did it. Not once but twice.

If you’re a marketing professional, there’s only one take-away I’d like to leave with you. The next time you’re planning a campaign pretend the 10 hours it will take you for  planning is represented by ten one dollar bills. Spend the first four dollars on figuring out your audience. Spend the next four deciding on the most compelling offer. Once you’ve done that the two bucks you have left will be spend very quickly and with confidence. Why? Because you initially invested your budget and time on the right things in the right sequence.

By the way, if you want to get to your destination faster and funner–whether it’s direct marketing success or the corner coffee shop, hit me up. My side hustle, eJoe Electric Bikes, is where I personally apply the 40-40-20 rule as VP of Business Development. Check it out…just be prepared to see me in marketing-action if you sign up for the newsletter! www.ejoebike.net. We have some very compelling offers!

SmoothStone Partners is a business development firm that carefully builds brands in the sports, entertainment and lifestyle space. SmoothStone Entertainment’s Talent Division is led by Phil Herzog who provides marketing and social media support to recording artists, entertainers, fine art and photography talent. Reach him at phil.herzog@smoothstonepartners.com.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *