Keeping things spicy

This article about the hugely successful Old Spice campaign makes the point that Proctor & Gamble wasted a lot of opportunity when they allowed a database of more than 100,000 individuals to dissipate.

The author says Old Spice spent millions on a highly integrated and sophisticated programme, and then let it lapse. They have, to paraphrase the article, not gone the distance, and as a result, he says, it will cost Old Spice a lot more to re-engage those people than it would if it had stayed in touch with them.

Basically, we’re talking about follow-up here. DM101.

Here’s the thing though. Successful direct marketing is all about going from 0 to many and then getting all the way back to 1, and staying there … profitably.
• 0 to many gets you the mass attention to provoke a response and requires mass media and mass money.
• Many to 1 requires sweat, data, detail and the ability to close. It needs databases, interaction, lots of number crunching and delivery.
• Staying at 1 requires insight and flair, attention, entrepreneurship, interest and persistence. It’s about keeping individuals involved, interested and buying. And most of all, it requires listening and responding.

All that work to sell a stick of deodorant? You’d like to think that a savvy marketer like Proctor and Gamble did the numbers. Perhaps, given how often people buy deodorant, it just wasn’t worth it to sweat the asset. Perhaps the ‘bump’ was enough to push numbers back up to a sustainable level, at least for now. Perhaps everyone just needed a break.

When you furnish people with your full attention, when you amuse them, make them laugh, talk to them, even flirt with them, you can bet that when that tap gets turned off, some people will disengage immediately, some will miss you, some will want things to continue as they were. Almost everyone will in some way be disappointed.

Just because of the huge shift in intensity.

You can get people’s attention. You can hold people’s attention at least for a while. But can you sustain people’s attention profitably? That’s one question. And what do you do if you can’t? That’s the other.

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