Today’s interview is with a good friend of ours, and business partner, Andrew Majewski. Andrew is the principal and creative director at AdSpace Communications, a creative services agency. He has 15 years of creative and marketing experience, and so we pinned Andrew down for an interview in order to soak up some of that knowledge. Enjoy!
1. Quick bio — who are you and what do you do?
I am the principal and creative director of AdSpace Communications, Inc. — a creative services agency specializing in subscription/membership marketing — as well as the co-owner of TabletPapers; which provides turn-key iPad magazine and newsletter editions for publishers. My professional experience ranges from being a member of Publisher Clearing Houses’ in-house agency in New York and the VP of Marketing for an international vitamin company to providing project-based work for marquee brands like The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, etc. I’ve spoken at conferences across the country and in the UK on direct mail and social media and am also a frequent contributor to various trade journals.
2. What are the key ingredients of a winning direct mail effort?
The usual suspects include I.) a proven hot-list of rental names or the company’s own recent/former customers, II.) a compelling offer, and III.) actionable creative that stands out in the mail. As an agency head it’s my job to ensure these elements magnify each other on the path to success. An example would be reflecting any audience profile information associated with a particular name list (I.) the same way you would leverage other personalized data/messages within the creative (III.).
Seasoned marketers will attest to the fact that direct mail packages sent to former customers will out pull the same effort received by prospects. If the creative directly references the previous customer relationship those response rates raise even higher. The same thinking holds true when we reference preferences gleaned from the rental lists. In one A/B test, AdSpace Communications earned our client a 35% lift using such tactics. (So marketers should push their list partners for more information and urge their copywriters to compare it against the company’s audience/customer profile data.)
3. What is one results-driven direct mail marketing tip you can give us?
If you do not have a testimonial-gathering program in place, today’s the best day to start one! Third-party recommendations are powerful tools — especially if you can obtain them from a personality or media outlet of note.
4. What is your most successful direct mail campaign to date and why do you think it was so effective?
Two big wins come rushing to mind. The first was a campaign for Emerson College’s literary magazine that Ballantine already covered in this blog. While doubling response and increasing the average order size by over two-thirds was impressive, showing the client that direct mail is still a profitable acquisitions tool (even when prospecting to highly-educated names) was the real win. This is especially true in the age of GroupOn marketing that seems to disregard margins and a customer’s lifetime value.
The second success occurred a few years ago when I wore my VP of Marketing hat. Asking my staff “have we ever mailed to Canada?” led to record gains in this channel. As our direct competitors had never tested this tactic our mailings stood out by reaching an under-touched audience who weren’t as price sensitive as domestic prospects.
5. If you were forced to focus 75% of your time on design OR copy, which one would you choose and why?
The long answer: You know that friend that you’ve come to love but for whatever reason you thought was a total jerk the first time you met? Well a direct mail piece doesn’t have the luxury of being initially misunderstood but then picking up the check at dinner or dropping you off at the airport. The short answer: If forced, I’d focus more on design.
Font, image, and color choices all wordlessly communicate status, brand positioning, and the problem being solved by a particular product or service in seconds. In the same way an infographic or Facebook update with a photo gets more likes, expertly crafted copy — providing interest, demand, and a reason to take action — takes over in direct mail only once the recipient’s attention is captured.
(And, yes, future reader who disagrees and is about to leave a snarky message in the comment section below: I should have just hedged my bets and answered that typography is a key design element in its own right.)