The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Banks And Direct Marketing … A Winning Combination.
November 10, 2008, 6:41 am
Filed under: Comment

See that bin? It’s the one outside the postboxes of my apartment building.

As you can tell, it’s packed to the rafters with Direct Mailers [not a letter drop] from the Maybank bank … offering all and sundry a credit card even though with the current economic crisis, it’s probably best banks don’t offer it and people don’t take it.

I know how good direct marketing can be – but it’s rarely demonstrated via this method of communication.

Not only that, but when you see a bin packed with offers that no one even wanted to read, let alone receive – it almost undermines the value of the brand who are paying for it.

Because I love financial organisations sooooooooooooooo much, I felt it was my duty to inform them that they’re wasting valuable cash on this sort of marketing exercise, so I found out the name of their VP of Marketing and sent them the above piccie with the words, “My advice is save your cash, you need it more than us”

Funnily enough, I’ve had no reply. Yet. Lets hope they don’t charge me $25 for a response.

As I said, I know direct marketing can be huuuugely effective … but it needs more than just a blanket offer delivered in the monotone of the corporate mission statement – because otherwise, the only thing it is actually doing is helping people identify what they have to ignore on top of all the usual wallpaper shit they get subjected to each and every day.

Some adfolk say DM it is the only effective advertising medium available … and apart from those people needing a good kicking … they need to know that what it actually is, is one of the only advertising mediums that can tell a company just how ineffective their communication is/was.

That’s a big difference between what they say and what they actually deliver – and given so many of these DM companies still recommend a bland letter [delivered to approx 95% of the World population] as the way to go, then you can’t blame clients when they say the ad industry is full of shit.

I know the medium is very important, but if you want to get people involved or interested in something, then you need to think about what they want to hear/do, not what you want to tell them.

Jesus people, how difficult is that really to grasp – and why do so many clients still regard the media agency as King when despite all they say, they are preoccupied with ‘reach and frequency’ rather than also appreciating the importance and inclusion of engagement and motivation?


41 Comments

I’ve always suspected that DM is only “effective” inasmuch as it is far cheaper than buying airtime. This allows people to claim a better ROI even if they gain a minuscule percentage of conversions.

The problem is that effectiveness studies always compare effectiveness against an inferior/more expensive method. That only proves that the execution is more effective, it doesn’t show that it is the most effective. Until clients demand that sort of focus, wastepaper bins will remain a growth industry.

Comment by John

between this and wundermann, i’m seeing some kind of crusade, rob. and i like it.

Comment by lauren

are you sure you dont think rob is being unfair lauren? what about you niko? maybe rob should be writing some more of his “love everyone” piles of shit?

campbell is back. first he picks a fight with a wpp monster now the dm letter licker category. fucking top man. and i fucking love the cheeky bastard wrote to the bank idiot. not as good as when we sent the head of holden/gm a certificate for “worlds best shit advertising” but pretty good all the same.

youre on a minute roll now campbell, dont fuck it up with any wednesday humpday shit.

and it is nice to see both dodds and lauren getting their “fuck you” mojo back. about fucking time because you were in danger of becoming normal and that just about sucks the big one big time.

for the record i like dm but what campbell is wittering on about here isnt that its lazy shit and about as effective as terri hatcher stopping the fucking ice caps melting.

this is a nice way to start the week but mine doesnt start for hours yet so let me enjoy my fucking sunday you imposing bastards

Comment by andy@cynic

Being involved now with more media agencies it amazes me how fucking retarded they are in terms of completely ignoring all elements of a brand strategy in pursuit of a “killer media deal”. So many times do our suits come to me with a brief for a “media placement” that the client signed off on during a rushed weekly WIP which has NO RELEVANCE to the brand stragey at all, in fact, sometimes the completet opposite!

Fucking brain dead wankers!!!!

I’m tired… Monday morning and Gears of War 2 online Horde mode till 1am last night. Get on it. Whoooooooooooooooooooo!

Comment by Age

The media agency as king is key to understanding why so much shit work gets bought. I’m increasingly of the opinion that they are staffed with people who just want an easy life. Which isn’t good enough.

Comment by Will

Admittedly, the ONLY good thing about the media agencies is the amount of hot chicks that work there. Mainly young, stupid-straight-out-of-uni-in-search-of-the-glamorous-jobs-where-they-get-loads-of-cool-perks kinda girls.

Comment by Age

It’s not media agencies who are killing advertising – but they are contributing as much as anyone – it’s marketing companies quest for money [rather than doing something worth being paid for], lack of training [knowing how to use a proprietry tool doesn’t count] and obsession with process [over insight, imagination and ingenuity] that is causing so many of the problems … problems which too many organisations think either [1] don’t exist or [2] can be overcome with a focus on ‘reach and frequency’ completely ignoring the fact that people are so over it, the only way to make any sort of impact is via elements like relevance, resonance, intrigue, entertainment and creation.

To top it off, I’ve just been sent a document by a branding consultancy [one I am rather well known for hating] that has some of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen for a joint client we have who is about to launch their brand.

Well, not worst in the sense they’re shit, but in the sense they are not relevant to the specific challenge we have been given by the client.

And how do I know they’re not relevant?

Because 3 of the campaigns they talk about to explain their idea were created by cynic and so I know perfectly well what they were created for and it sure as shit wasn’t what we have to achieve on this challenge.

And these pricks can charge millions for their involvement – which goes to show too many clients are [1] intellectual groupies – even though this company is not showing much intellect and [2] not in the slightest bit aware of what really is strategy and what/who their customers are and what they really want interms of product and communication.

It’s Monday – I have to travel again this week – I have 3 presos to write by Wednesday … it’s not shaping up to be a good week. πŸ™‚

PS: Mr Dodds, I could not agree with you more. Or should I say, I’d rather not agree with you more … but your comment is bang on.

Comment by Rob

andy, i’m on a campaign to become as normal as possible – starting with a job in a media agency. and no swearing.

I’m even going to start using capital letters and appropriate punctuation.

Rob – eek! Sounds like an awful week. Good luck πŸ™‚

Comment by lauren

You’re not being big or clever scaring us like that Lauren – but it’s not as horrific as the time I thought [1] you’d got married and [2] to Doddsy πŸ™‚

Update on my recently received Brand Consultancy preso … not only have they used some examples by cynic in their doco, but some of the others [which apprentely they DID have a role in] are companies that have since gone into liquidation.

They really know how to sell an argument don’t they – I am almost looking forward to my meeting with them tomorrow.

I say ‘almost’.

Comment by Rob

Actually, I changed my mind – I’m going to work for a brand consultancy like your partners there – they sound like a great place to be normal.

sick ’em rex.

Comment by lauren

Brand consultancies are great. If you like protractors and compasses and talking nonsense.

Now i’m off to bed, in preparation for Oz..

Comment by Will

Lauren – take some panadol and for gods sake gets some sleep, you are becoming very scary.

And Will … safe travels … and if you want some ‘off-the-beaten-track’ places to visit in Sydney, just email and I’ll give you a list. Of course, the fact I like them is probably the kiss of death, but I thought I’d offer … ha!

And Brand Consultancies are great – they’re like Jerry Springer, they instantly make all people on the ‘outside’ feel normal and quite clever πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

What about when you get a bank statement that tells you how broke you are along with a credit card insert offering you more money? Another feather in the cap of direct marketing.

Comment by Bazza

what the fuck would you know about bank statements that show how broke you are baz?

your fucking expense account is more than most peoples annual fucking salaries which is why i will allow you to buy me lunch tomorrow so you can keep your little feet on the ground.

i am too fucking good to you my friend. too fucking good.

Comment by andy@cynic

its cold war logic chaps – they’ve got the bomb, so we need the bomb. the competitive banks chop down trees and send the resulting bin fodder out, so we must chop down trees and send it out. no one really knows what would happen if they stopped – but its not worth the risk (minuscule) of finding out. the whole bank industry is SHOUTING (admittedly they are shouting gibberish) but this means they all have to SHOUT, or fear they won’t be heard. I suspect rob and gang, that you have put more thought into the companies DM this morning than they have all year. Moving information from the brand managers desktop, through the client servicing, through creative, through sign off, printing, to the consumers home and into the bin. without troubling the minds of anyone involved. And i PROMISE you, there is no planning/strategy involved in this material…(just please don’t ask how I know)

Comment by Mr McG

You’re so kind Andy but it’s not necessary because I learnt about being broke when I worked for you. πŸ™‚

More interestingly, I wonder if that banker will come back, the one with the brain of an ant.

Come on Mc G, admit you’re a bank leaflet creator, it will liberate you. πŸ™‚

Comment by Bazza

would you all think less of me if i made an admission along those lines..?

Comment by Mr McG

Would you stop commenting if we said “yes”? πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

Did they all start with “Dear Sir/Madam/name spelt wrong, you have been invited to apply for our limited edition special rate offer of (insert 2% above market average)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

“even though with the current economic crisis, it’s probably best banks don’t offer it and people don’t take it”.

Rob, would you have approved of the DM piece if it was engaging and motivational? even if it was for a credit card? where does the agency responsibility end or start?

Comment by Niko

My comment was personal opinion rather than a strategic viewpoint … so yes, maybe I would have endorsed it if the DM was engaging, interesting and motivational, but as it wasn’t – and had no real benefit to people other than to be able to spend more money – I laugh in it’s face.

As for where an agency responsibility begins and ends – I believe our job is to fulfil the business goals of the client but do it in a way that will have traction, not just noise – which is why if this bank had spoken to me about raising revenues, I would not of endorsed a ‘new aquisition strat’ because in these economic hardship times, it’s liklihood to succeed [without any major change to the model they’re offering] is minimal, thus irresponsible to spend money on trying.

The difference with us and other agencies is our revenue model is not based exclusively on the creation of ads, so we can happily talk about other strats and still know our money will be paid, with a big fat bonus when we overachieve on results.

Comment by Rob

u had me at big fat bonus

Comment by Niko

You get a bonus for being big and fat rather than for creating ads? That sounds like most agencies.

Comment by John

Why else would we have Andy? He qualifies us for bigger bonuses, ha!

And Niko – that Jean Claude article is bloody brill!

Comment by Rob

heres a direct message for you campbell: fuck you

is that resonant and relevant enough for you?

Comment by andy@cynic

The only DM I like is my payslip and that’s not as exciting as it should be.

Comment by Billy Whizz

see my last comment billy.

Comment by andy@cynic

To answer your comment Niko, we believe our responsibility to a client is uncomfortable honesty because that allows us all to focus on the real task in hand rather than simply execute process driven, ineffective marketing wallpaper.

In short we don’t subscribe to the philosophy of going to a doctor and telling them what prescription you need, marketing success is about equality not subservient service and execution.

Hope that clarifies your question.

Comment by George

George,

you should really follow andy’s lead when it comes to my comments and not take me to serious πŸ™‚

I have heard and read to much not to know that all of you (even mr Boucher) are different class.

having said that I am curious as to how this applies to your client selection.

do you go to ever meeting, even if you know the reputation of the client (but are banking on yours to turn them around, much like the original DDB) or do you screen clients, as not to waste time and resources dryhumping eachother?

Comment by niko

George,

you should really follow andy’s lead when it comes to my comments and not take me to serious πŸ™‚

I have heard and read to much not to know that all of you (even mr Boucher) are different class.

having said that I am curious as to how this applies to your client selection.

do you go to ever meeting, even if you know the reputation of the client (but are banking on yours to turn them around, much like the original DDB) or do you screen clients, as not to waste time and resources dryhumping eachother?

Comment by niko

George,

you should really follow andy’s lead when it comes to my comments and not take me to serious πŸ™‚ (though I always enjoy your level headed and on topic response)

I have heard and read to much not to know that all of you (even mr Boucher) are different class.

having said that I am curious as to how this applies to your client selection.

do you go to ever meeting, even if you know the reputation of the client (but are banking on yours to turn them around, much like the original DDB) or do you screen clients, as not to waste time and resources dryhumping eachother?

Comment by niko

Thanks Niko, I know for the future, lol.

We have a strict criteria regarding the clients we pitch for and it covers many aspects from the companies historical approach towards marketing and innovation to the individual we would be dealing with on a daily basis however we have found the most common method for identifying appropriate clients is that they come to us not the other way round.

I happily acknowledge we have had some failures with this approach (Huggies nappies being one) but in the main an organisation that comes to us knows what they’re getting themselves in to which is liberating for both parties.

Comment by George

campbell… campbell… the male hormones weve been putting in auntie georges coffee for the last 5 year seem to be finally fucking working. weve created a monster, a cotton wool clad monster.

fight fight fight fight fight

Comment by andy@cynic

I love Direct Mailers – Keeps me in a job !!!

Paul(the printer)

Comment by Paul

youre the bloke who chopped his fucking finger off mowing the lawn arent you? not the best advocate for talking about the fucking intellectual value of a stuffed envelope are you? πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

I like them also. they keep me in business as well

Comment by pablo e

those dm companies are right exploitative bastards, first blokes who cant mow and now mexicans. where the fuck is amnesty when you need them?

Comment by andy@cynic

I am colombian senior. u can tell the difference by the necktie

Comment by pablo e

what do you call a columbian in a tie?

the fucking accused

Comment by andy@cynic

I see and hear dead people..fascinating πŸ˜‰

Comment by pablo e

That is a funny picture! I can’t believe they blanketed your office with mailers like that.

Bank and credit card offers are SO boring these days. They all look the same, they all offer the same thing.

With all that money, seems like they’d be able to afford decent creative.

Comment by Ryan Healy




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