Why Your List is Your Most Valuable Asset

By Patrick Sharpe, psharpe@lessitermedia.com
V.P. of Audience Development, Lessiter Media

For the few prehistoric marketers still out there, you might remember this steadfast formula for promotional success:

This formula, developed by direct response expert Ed Mayer, taught us 40% of the success of our response was tied to the audience. The second 40% stood for having the right offer. The remaining 20% was everything else — creative, copy and art.

It trained us that if we wanted to have a successful campaign, we needed to focus on the things that mattered the most and direct our energy and resources accordingly. Ed knew reaching the right people with the best offer would maximize response rates and keep expenses manageable.

Fast forward to today. Ed’s formula, while adjusted to reflect the impact of today’s technology and society influences, is still accurate and true. Today’s marketing experts place an even higher emphasis on reaching the right audience for marketing success:

I agree. Here's why...

If you aren’t successful getting your advertising message to the right audience, even the best-designed ad or promotion, with your most aggressive offer, won’t be successful. Your promotion will be doomed to fail — and it will.

Seems like it would be a no-brainer, then, that we’d focus on the audience first, and then the offer and creative when planning our marketing campaigns. But this is not true. Not by a long shot. Yet one of the most common marketing mistakes today is the lack of time spent on audience development and the building of your list.

There’s been a continuous shift with more time and focus spent on the creative and design components of a campaign. Selecting the audience is often an afterthought in campaign planning. It’s because design and creative elements are the “sexy” things marketers do, allowing us to flex and show off our creative pinfeathers. It’s also the public facing piece of our work and we want it to look and feel "right."

But it also means we’re putting most of our time and resources on the elements that have the least impact on our promotional success. So pause for a minute, rethink your marketing strategy and build it around your customer list first — your most important asset.

Below is a quick list building and nurturing tip sheet to help you put the 60% focus back onto your list.

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