BOCA RATON, Fla. – Creativity isn't everything when it comes to direct marketing. According to a group of experts at the CUNA Mutual Discovery Conference success in direct marketing depends 50% on the target market; 20% on the offer; 20% on the timing and only 10% on the creative. For successful direct marketing campaigns experts suggest the following: *Targeting the market and doing the math-calculating the maximum marketing budget to break even *Track the campaign at all levels- not just the sales but phone calls, mail-ins; walk ins; teller referrals and if there are multiple "steps to closing the transaction"- track each of these points as well *Consider small tweaks to a basic concept that is already working *Realize the direct marketing campaign will be a long process since consumers are slow to change behaviors *Be prepared for follow-through on the full sales cycle – this includes everything from training the front line staff to anticipate inquiries, to sending personalized thanks to members *Identify and sell benefit of products not the features and get input from front line staffers who have real-life experiences with members and products that can add to the effectiveness of creative *Make sure the direct marketing has a real offer -which can combine elements such as price, discount, trial period, incentives terms, guarantees and future obligations *Key times in which consumer needs are heightened such as events, life- relevance, and community-based *Have a response mechanism -from a phone number to Web site address. [email protected]

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