I conducted a fascinating interview with Richard Rosen, famed direct marketer and author of “Convergence Marketing: Combining Brand and Direct for Unprecedented Profits,” for the final print issue of Inside Direct Mail. Rosen is founder, president and CEO of ROSEN, a global consultancy firm based in Portland, Ore. that specializes in transforming marketing and advertising campaigns into cost-effective business models. His firm has received 28 Echo Awards, and Rosen has received the Caples Organization’s Emerson Award and the first “B-to-B Marketer of the Year Award” by the International Direct Marketing Association.
However, restricted to the one-page print magazine format, I had to leave a lot of choice material in the scrap pile. Well, no longer! Below, read the rest of our interview:
Boldt: What are the key questions to ask about your brand?
Rosen: What does it stand for? What is the offer strategy? What is the contact strategy that will bring the customer forward in a sales process, on their time, not our time?
It’s about building brand resonance, not just mere awareness. Getting involved with the brand and understanding what the brand architecture is really about — and not just what the graphic interpretation is about and saying what you really stand for. It’s about giving you a huge platform in which to have a dialogue with the customer and not just trying to sell me today. That no longer works on e-mail at all.
Brand resonance is how do I get you to try my brand, maybe without buying it. From a direct perspective, they understood that method. The brand guys were still bringing the same limited brand awareness model and just shoving it onto the web, resulting in a disconnected model of creative.
Boldt: Is that where the book idea came from?
Rosen: Yes, I came up with a process tool. It was to stimulate an interaction between brand and all media. Convergence that drives interaction, in which you save time and money. Place brand interaction modalities throughout all your media, so you turn off your corporate people!
Convergence works because it says respect the brand builders, respect the discipline called direct. Then take a better sales approach to figure out what you’re doing with these leads. Use Jim Oppenheimer’s rule of 45: 45 percent of the population that ever responds to anything will do something to scratch that itch during the next 365 days. You may not buy for what you originally went on the file for, but you will do something to fix what you got going, because you got pain.
Boldt: What’s key for the copywriter?
Rosen: Empathy. They need to work on it in the same vein. The copywriter and designer doing it together. Who controls the computer? The art director! They decide to maybe bury the copy or make it punch.
Boldt: How much does Convergence Marketing work for direct mail?
Rosen: The root is from direct mail. The USPS has given up. Postal services are floundering. We need to bring the medium back to life. The web is brilliant, but it’s not very engaging and it’s got diminishing returns.
Direct mail remains a vialble medium, unto itself, to bring back that tactile sense of the company, to gain empathy within the heart and truly impress the customer. It’s still a brilliant medium.
Direct mail has this really bad rap right now, but every plan I write I can make direct mail work and generate serious revenue. Think of direct mail as that tactile piece, and it’s alive. If we have great creative and converge that with the marketing people, all steeped with sales and finance to make it work from the money side, then you’ve a superior selling vehicle within that mailbox.