How Could a University Marketing Graduate Get It So Wrong

eeeIt didn’t take me more than 2 minutes to tell the General Manager to a business I consult to…

“This sales letter is crap!”

I meant to say in a polite way… “This sales letter won’t work!” but me being me didn’t quite express it so eloquently.

You see this business, one I know quite intimately, needed to steer in a different direction to make sales.

They have lived for the past 10 years on being reactionary. Now they had to start chasing sales.

So they asked me to help create a sales brochure which introduced a new service.

It covered features, benefits, who, what, where and how. It was full of emotional direct response copy. It was a brochure which had all the hallmarks of success because it followed a proven direct mail formula.

It was also 12 pages in length. Somewhat more than their normal one-page flyer they were accustomed to sending.

It took hours of negotiating with the Marketing Department to get the new style brochure approved because the brochure was against their boring, mundane, structured and robotic marketing template.

I was taking them in a new direction.

I knew the 12 page brochure would work because I have used the model to sell $450,000 worth of a similar product over the past 5 years.

The idea was to post out the brochure to a select group of clients and then follow up with a telephone campaign.

In sales language we ‘Qualified the Door To Knock On” (who gets the brochure) and then we would talk direct to each recipient to Overcome Objections and Ask for the Sale.

This procedure put simply is to Knock on the Doors Of Most Potential and then follow up with the Quality of the Knock (i.e. The sales pitch).

Now don’t get me wrong here…

Your product or service must be of a high standard and provide high value. I am not talking of selling garbage to people.

But then the unthinkable happened in this business…

The Marketing Manager decided to put her ‘corporate letter’ inside the envelope to accompany the brochure.

The business’ stock-standard boring, mundane, structured and robotic marketing template was used instead of a teaser pamphlet.

Of course this was done without the approval of anyone except the Marketing Manager. She just grabbed all the brochures and said her team would look after the mailing.

To my shock and horror I knew the first item which would be read would be the corporate sales letter which was a DUD. Nobody would read the brochure first.

People would want to know what the brochure was about.

That is why you have to be so careful adding inserts to your mailings.

To paraphrase the corporate letter read:

“We have been in business for 100 years and have a great reputation. Here is a new service we have. You should call us to buy”

Gulp!

I couldn’t believe the internal sabotage to the company.

How could a university marketing graduate get it so wrong?!

Why would they not allow the campaign to run its agreed intended course?!

Why did she need to interfere?!

There are many forces at play here but the most obvious one to me is…

“Stop Being Squeamish In Your Sales… ”

The Marketing Manager didn’t have the guts to run the campaign the way it was intended.

So the lesson I will leave you with here is…

If you have a made a decision to run a campaign… RUN IT!

Don’t allow your inner voice to pull the campaign before you test the results.

PS: The telephone follow-up conversations reveal a disarming number of recipients read the corporate letter and placed the brochure in the “I will check it out later pile”.

PPS: But you and I knew this would be the case – didn’t we.