The Kit Factor

Direct response writers are always on the prowl for words to make their marketing concepts more compelling and more effective in generating a click, a call or a store visit.

Often all it takes is one word to make all the difference in how a product, offer or mailpiece is perceived. This one word can dramatically change response.

Take the word kit. What do you think of when you think of a kit?

According to Webster’s dictionary, a kit is a collection of articles. It can be a personal travel kit, a set of carpentry tools, a collection of parts to be assembled into something like a model airplane, a packaged collection of related materials such as a convention or membership kit—the possibilities are endless.

A kit is comprehensive, complete, everything you need. Calling your product, offer or mailpiece a kit makes your customer think differently about you and what you’re offering. The word kit adds value and implies convenience. Providing your customer with a kit can also separate you from the competition.

Yes, a single three-letter word can do all this. I call it the “Kit Factor.”

Here are some examples to jumpstart your thinking about how to add kits to your own marketing mix.


Almost everything I know about the power of the word kit, I learned from one of my first B-to-B direct marketing mentors, Earl Hogan. Our agency’s assignment from the client Labconco was to beat the control and generate more leads. The lead generation offer that the fume hood manufacturer had been using in its space ads and direct mail is one still favored by oh-so-many industrial/commercial marketers—free information. It’s boring, generic and promises only that it’s free. The fulfillment piece was a catalog. You could count on one hand the number of leads that were generated with this offer each time it ran in a space ad.

By taking the same catalog, adding a comparison checklist of the four top fume hood manufacturers and a strong sales letter, we created the FREE “How to Choose the Right Fume Hood” Kit. The results in the mail and space advertising increased dramatically. In fact, the increase was so dramatic, I’m not going to reveal it. You might not believe me.

Looking back, I realize the game-changing success of this offer was actually quite simple. It was based on the direct marketing best practice of focusing on benefits, not features. The name of the kit promised a benefit, then the fulfillment kit delivered on the promise. It provided value and helpful advice which positioned Labconco as the best source for the best problem-solving product.


Pat Friesen is a direct response copywriter, content developer, copy coach and creative strategist. She is also the author of 'The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook,' published by Direct Marketing IQ. Reach her at (913) 341-1211.


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