Selling Cross-Media Projects: an Idiot’s Guide

Selling LemonadeSo you’ve taken the plunge and joined the Cross-Media Revolution. You’ve got the software, and you even know how to use it to build winning campaigns for your clients. Now what?

Now comes the fun part – where you reach out to your customers and prospects, and sell them on the awesome new capabilities you’ve added to your suite of services. How do you do it?

Here are some pointers that will help you find the way.

1. Identify the right prospects. Few activities can be less productive then trying to sell something to people who don’t need it. How can you separate good prospects from the not-so-good? Start by identifying customers who:

– already send out direct mail (DM)
– do not offer a Web response option on existing DM
– offer a generic Web response option on existing DM
– suffer from poor website (or landing page) conversion rates
– report difficulty MEASURING their marketing results
– can benefit from quicker lead retrieval
– experience channel blurring or confusion

2. Identify pain points. Remember, you’re selling a solution, not a commodity. Solutions solve, well, problems.  In other words, find out what issues your client’s direct mail program has been experiencing. If you need some help here, take a look at tip #1 for some potential problems your clients program may be dealing with, and would like to solve. Once you have identified the problem, you can then present your client with a workable solution that will drive results.

3. Define the campaign. Nothing is worse than a marketing discussion that drags on and on and never leaves the drawing board. To prevent this from happening, take the initiative and establish a road map for the test campaign. What should the road map include? At the very least, you should agree to a test campaign for an existing program, that will launch at a specific date in the near future. This way you will have a definable goal – a campaign that will launch within a pre-established timetable – instead of ongoing discussions about theory and endless meetings. Remember we mentioned you should test out Cross-Media on an “existing program?” Why? Because anyone who has worked in a marketing department knows that creating a new direct mail offer, from initial concept to launch, can take months. Take the easy route and simply suggest adding a Cross-Media component to an existing campaign. Save the new campaigns for the next time, after you’ve knocked their socks off with a successful test.

4. Establish the workflow. By workflow, we mean defining what the user’s online experience will be. Now that you know the campaign you want to use for the test, determine the number of pages the campaign we will require, number and type of Web forms. Your workflow should also include any basic features such as email alerts and triggers, and bells and whistles such as a Flash presentation, variable content (images / text), etc. Establishing the workflow is important because it will help you come up with a price for the project, which is our next tip.

5. Create a Proposal. It goes without saying that you can’t close a deal without a contract. Now that you’ve spec’ed out the project – defined the number of pages, and so on – figure out the price and put it in a contract you can present to your client. How do you price a Cross-Media campaign? Essentially, excluding the direct mail itself there are two components you need to price out: the project set-up of the landing pages, emails, etc, and the transactions, which compromises the PURLs, IMBs and emails. As a rule of thumb, we suggest adding the two components together and presenting them as one “campaign charge,” but in the end it’s up to you. For a more detailed pricing discussion, customers should attend our Friday Sales & Business Development Training Seminar, which takes place weekly at 1pm EST.

6. Keep It Simple. This tip should actually be applied to all of the tips on this list. Think in simple terms and don’t over complicate anything. Just because Cross-Media involves the Internet does not mean it has to be complicated. Why use a fancy Flash presentation or variable images if you don’t need to? Why try to sell your client PURLs printed on a glossy, VDP postcard with their name written in clouds on the sky if your client’s not asking specifically for it, and ink-jetting them on an offset shell will suffice? Focus on the campaign’s objective like a laser beam, and formulate a strategy that will drive results. Sometimes simple is really best. Interestingly, this is especially true in the world of direct response. More often than not, a simple approach combining an appealing offer with clear, concise messaging will drive the best results.

7. Create a bull’s eye you can’t miss. The bigger the bull’s eye, the better chance you’ll hit it. Conversely, the smaller the bull’s eye, the more likely you’ll whiff. It’s all about managing your client’s expectations. If you sell your client on a whopping response rate lift, then you’ll ultimately live or die with the result. Why would you stake your reputation on a boost in results when so many things are out of your control? A successful campaign requires a compelling offer, good creative, an accurate list with enough prospects in it, and so on. Instead of selling solely on response rate, sell on all the other great things that Cross-Media brings to a campaign such as better measurability, quicker lead retrieval, real-time reporting, and so on. Additionally, in marketing we run tests to assess the effectiveness of different creatives, messaging and offers. You are not running the test to see if Personalized URLs work. We know that Personalized URLs are effective if used properly. Suggesting PURLs don’t work based on a test result is like suggesting toll-free numbers or BRCs [Business Reply Cards] are a bad idea and depress results. Personalized URLs are simply another way to respond to direct mail, using the Internet as the response channel. Make sure this is clear before you run the test.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post a comment here or else contact me directly at

– Rio


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