Providing professional advice, expert guidance and specialist support to all kinds of direct marketing, home shopping,
mail order, e-commerce, multi-channel and distance selling companies... helping you to make the most of your business.
Contact Laurence White by E-MAIL, or call +44 (0)1377 240 039. Visit the WEBSITE for more information.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Need A ‘Management Mate’… A ‘Boardroom Buddy’?

It can be extremely lonely ‘at the top’! No more so than in a small- or medium-sized enterprise where the buck stops entirely with you. Perhaps you have no counterpart in your organisation with whom you can discuss matters freely? Maybe you’re concerned that you’re out of your depth, short on knowledge or unsure what to do next? Possibly worried that you have to make all the decisions, without anybody to hold your hand, or bounce ideas off?

Do you feel like you could really do with a friend on your management team? Someone to act as a sounding board, ally, peer, mentor, consultant and confidant? Someone who won’t judge you - or your ideas - simply offer you dependable, constructive, common-sense advice whenever requested? Well then, why not let me be your ‘corporate chum’?

If you’re a multi-channel direct marketing company, you can retain my services for an affordable fixed monthly fee. I’m confident it will cost you a good deal less than it would to employ someone with my experience and, in return, you’ll get unlimited access to my support whenever you need it (up to a mutually-agreed ceiling).

The cost can be tailored to suit your budget and requirements, and you don’t even have to commit to any long-term contract. So, what are you waiting for? It will cost you nothing to find out more… contact me today for a friendly initial chat.

What Response Rate Do I Need?

Before you start your next direct marketing campaign, do you know what response rate you will need to reach your goal? How many new customers are required to attain an acceptable cost per name? How many orders to cover overheads? How much income to break even?

Companies with finance directors and accountants generally have these questions covered, but if you’re a small enterprise or entrepreneurial-type venture, it’s not always that straightforward.

Naturally, it’s relatively simple to analyse a campaign once it’s finished, but by then it could be too late! You really need to accurately forecast the possible outcome before you start, so that you can judge whether you are being realistic. At least then, if your estimate looks unachievable, you can make changes or alternative plans before you make a big mistake!

‘Back of a fag packet’ calculations are not enough! You need to take all your costs into account when you produce your forecast. Elements like returns, packaging, promotions, exchange rates etc., can easily tip the balance and turn what looked to be a promising campaign on your cigarette box, into a complete fiasco.

At the planning stage, you should ideally have the capability (and flexibility) to quickly find answers to questions like: ‘What would happen to my profit if my returns rate went down to 1%?’, ‘Would a saving of 1% on my buying prices have a big effect on the cost of recruiting a new customer?’, ‘How much easier would it be to break even if I could increase my average order value by £1?’, ‘What uplift in response would I need to cover the extra cost of this promotion?’ and so on…

If you feel your direct marketing campaign forecasting could benefit from sharpening up please contact Laurence White for an informal, preliminary chat. Rest assured any matters discussed will be in complete confidence and without future obligation. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

A Massive 43% Response Rate!

We all seem to have to work that much harder… that much smarter… nowadays just to eke out a meagre profit. Granted, some direct marketers are still achieving amazing results right now, but for those of us who’ve been involved in the industry since the 1970s, ‘the good old days’ are pretty hard to beat!

How would you like to pull off a 43% response to a 60,000-customer mailing piece? What about raking-in over £100,000 from a 20cm x 3-column black and white advertisement in the Daily Mirror? Or recruiting 25,000 new customers – and taking more than £1 million in revenue - from a single colour page in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine?

These really are genuine results that I witnessed back in the ‘golden age’ of mail order - and that despite shabby fulfilment [28-day delivery] and lousy customer service [28-day reply]… if you were lucky! Could these results ever be repeated in today’s market? Unless you know differently, I don’t think so.

That’s why we should all make the most of every campaign, every time. Leave as little as possible to chance, and never let complacency creep in. Always test, always analyse, always go that extra mile. Check everything, then check it all again. Time spent ensuring your campaign is the best that it can possibly be is never wasted.

If things aren’t quite going to plan, can you easily identify the reason why, and then quickly rectify it? And even if response is OK, are you completely sure it couldn’t be even better? Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can see what you can’t. An independent health-check, critique or forensic analysis of your campaign could tell you what you’re doing right and what could be done better. Even if you can’t be criticised, at least you’ll be reassured that you’re following best practice.

A campaign review might cost less than you imagine. And that cost could be swiftly repaid by uncovering immediate savings and improvements to be made. So, if you’d like a FREE, confidential, informal chat to discuss possible options, please contact Laurence White today. There’s absolutely no obligation, so please don’t delay a moment longer. Contact Laurence right away - you really have nothing to lose.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Does 'Squinch’ Make You Squirm?

Are you struggling to get to grips with ‘squinch’? Or maybe you don’t even know what it is? Whatever the case, ‘Square Inch Analysis’ (commonly called ‘squinch’) is a metric that every direct-selling catalogue company should be using. Are you?

Space costs money, so your products need to contribute positively towards their outlay. Some definitely won’t be pulling their weight, while others do all the hard work. You need to know the difference between the two.

Some of your products might merit more space, whereas others should occupy less… or perhaps even none at all! That’s where ‘squinch’ comes in. A ‘squinch’ analysis will tell you exactly what you need to know about your product sales. It might not always be the answer you wanted to hear, but it will always be the truth!

If you publish a multi-product catalogue, brochure, leaflet or mailing that sells directly and you’d like to find out more about making ‘squinch’ a cinch, contact Laurence White.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Where I Can Save You Money!

Of course, consultancy can cost more per hour than you would pay to an employee. However, you probably won't need me for very long! And you don't have to give me holidays or sick pay, or pay tax, NI or pension contributions for me!

You won't find many employees with my depth of knowledge. I know about home shopping. I have spent more than 35 years working in multi-channel marketing. My experience isn't 'theoretical' either... it's truly practical having been gained working 'hands-on', for REAL commercial enterprises.

Simply tell me your needs or concerns (in complete confidence, naturally). I don't charge for my initial consultation and from that you will receive a FREE summary of my recommendations. If I don't think I can help you I'll say so. And if I think I can help you, I will tell you how and give you a quotation for my services.

I always endeavour to identify improvements and/or savings that will more than cover my fee. Even so, my pricing is transparent, hence you should easily be able to judge how my costs compare to alternative solutions. It won't cost you a penny to find out, so don't wait a day longer, please contact me today and put me to the test!