You Sold WHAT Through the Mail?
Would you buy this $2500 garden
tiller through the mail, sight-unseen, with a full
cash deposit six weeks in advance, from a company
half way across the country?
That's exactly what hundreds
of thousands of buyers did, years ago, when I helped
the creative team at Garden Way, makers of the famous
Troy-Bilt Roto Tiller -- Power Composter. If you're
a serious gardener, you know what I'm talking about.
If you're not... well, that shows the power and focus
of our direct marketing efforts which aimed only
the people who needed such a device.
But whether you are trying
to sell a tiller for $2,500, a building addition
for $10,000, a pen or other imprinted advertising
specialty item for $1.95, or most other products
and services, the secrets
learned from direct-response marketing can help
you. We sold power equipment, books, garden items
and had a catalog with hundreds of items. Call me
for details and tips that you can put to work right
Lyman P. Wood, marketing pioneer.
Lyman was like the guy behind
the curtain in The Wizard Of OZ. You probably never
heard of him, but he was a genius who had a profound
impact on direct marketing in America. His companies
sold over $5 Billion of goods and services, mostly
directly to the end customer.
He started at J. Walter Thompson
in NYC, then moved to the country. He sold prayers
as rabbits feet for luck, plus lots of books; he
sold dreams and the means to achieve them. Soldiers
returning from WWII adopted his and Ed & Carolyn
Robinsons' Have-More Plan and planted family gardens.
Lyman started the Garden Way
group of companies (Troy-Bilt, Carts, Publishing,
Research, Living Centers, Gardeners Supply) and
Country Home Products. and supported many non-profits.
He was a great mentor.
If you'd like to read the book about his marketing
success, please contact
Direct Marketing and How to Sell to the Right
Customers for Less
You've seen the mail in your box, the pay-per-click
pop-up ads online, the phone calls and emails, and the pushy ads
on late night TV admonishing you to, "But wait... there's
You know what? Those ads are there because they
done, it's "junk mail" or wasted ad space. GOOD direct
marketing aims at the right prospect, so it doesn't waste the time
of recipients nor the world's resources, and it's effective because
it focuses on the people who are most interested.
Direct marketing is both an art and a science.
What you see is the creative efforts of a writer, an artist, or
an on-screen personality. What you don't see are the market research,
demographics and data analysis that went into the background. You
may not be aware of the constant testing of new concepts against
the control, the test comparisons between new venues and old, or
the constant refining of proposition, price, colors, words, and
hundred other subtle aspects of a sales pitch.
Some Basic Direct Marketing Tips
(see me, Choppy Wicker, for more)
||Measure the results of every
single ad. What is the cost-per-response, and the cost-per-order?
Track results for years and do more of what works and less
of what doesn't.
||Determine the lifetime value of various classes
of customers; you'll be surprised at how much you can actually
afford to spend to get a new one, and keep old ones.
||Try living the life of your customers so
that you understand their perspective and can truly understand
the Voice Of The Customer. When you think like they do, rather
than as a sales manager, you'll get their attention and their
||Hire creative professionals who can write
the best headlines and sales pitch; then test their work against
what you've been using before.
||How to test results? See us for dozens of
ways to identify and measure which ad, letter, blog or other
bit of advertising was the key that resulted in a sale. For
tips on how to set your Pricing and calculate your advertising
results, see our page Entrepreneur's
||Integrity is essential. Advertise honestly,
use real testimonials, give a great warranty, and treat every
customer as king (see House Rules, at upper right.)
A Few Kind Words From A Past President
(Choppy's employer back in the 1970's)
“Our business was based on using consumer-direct
marketing to sell high-ticket products and keep the customers
As a marketer, Choppy quickly became skilled at copywriting, which
is the art and science of selling via letters, ads, and the printed
and spoken word. He wrote marketing communications that came from
the heart because he took the time to walk in the shoes of our
customers and came to know their needs and wants. He developed
a strong record of successful ads, mailings and marketing campaigns
that drew in thousands of fresh orders for our products.
“Choppy not only became a master at this craft, but innovated
a whole new market that resulted in $15 million in additional annual
sales to customers who already owned our main product. His team
of people created and managed what became the industry’s
leading example of caring for the customer, proving that investments
in goodwill could produce a huge ROI. They published a national
newspaper that went to all customers (eventually over a million)
four times per year, plus numerous special letters and campaigns
that built our revenues and profits.”
--Ed Scofield, co-President, Garden Way/ Troy-Bilt
Back to more Portfolio
(Or go forward to Next Page to see Gold In The Filing Cabinet.)
It's More Than
Richard Sears first started what was to soon become
the famous Sears Roebuck catalog. Americans discovered
they could shop from the convenience of their homes
and get great values.
Today you can also directly shop
online, or with a telemarketer, on your iPhone web
browser, and others. But regardless of whether it's
the Web, Twitter, or your friend's viral blog, it's
message that counts.
It's also important that your
message be consistent with what your local retail presence
is doing. See two examples of that on this site at Sales
Channels and Dot-Com.
Why Customer Service Is Your Best Investment
Remember the last time
you received outstanding service or products from
a company? You probably told some of your friends.
But remember when you got
very poor service from a different company? You undoubtedly
told a LOT of your friends.
In the direct response
business, the House Rules above are the key to building
a happy and enthusiastic customer base that literally
goes out and finds new customers for you.
on our Gold In The
Filing Cabinet page for lessons
that can help you gain a huge Return On Investment.
Hot Furnaces sold by direct response mail
See full details at Hot