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INTERVIEW with Croatian Business Newspaper - February 2011

    1. You have 28 years of experience in direct marketing. Why do you love direct marketing so much?

      Because you can see the results of your efforts, very soon after you have created and written a campaign.  Everything a direct marketer creates, has a call to action.  That’s why it’s also called direct response.  So, you learn so much, every single time. You then can take that knowledge and use it in future campaigns.  That’s why direct marketers have such an advantage over their more traditional counterparts and are so much in demand, as a result.  Most people working in traditional agencies have little or no idea of how successful or not, their work really was.  So, they learn nothing.  This can (and does) cost clients an awful lot of money.

      What are the key aspects of modern direct marketing?

      It’s one-to-one marketing instead of mass marketing.  It’s about spending your money where it does most good.  Advertising and marketing to ‘everyone to get to someone’ is sheer lunacy.  But companies are still doing it.  And agencies are still encouraging it.  Madness.  Absolute madness.  It’s not about how many people see your marketing message; it’s about how many relevant people see your marketing message.  Direct marketers market on the differences of people, not their similarities.

      Are there any basic rules in DM that never change?

      There are numerous rules in DM that never change.  These apply to copy and creative and are proven ways to deliver better response levels.  We have learned what these are, through thorough testing, over more than seven decades.  Direct marketers test more than any other group of people.  That’s why we know more
      - And that’s why we waste less of our client’s money.

      How does the development of modern technologies and new media influence DM?

      It just makes direct marketing even more important.  Remember, what works offline, will almost certainly work online too.  Digital marketing can work well, when in the hands of knowledgeable direct marketers.  Problem is, these days that clients don’t know this, so give digital campaigns to anoraks who have no idea how to write or create.

      What are the advantages of direct marketing?

      Have you got 8 hours to spare?  If you have, I’ll give you a comprehensive answer.
      In these very tough times, any client who ignores direct marketing, needs to have his/her head examined.  DM, if done correctly, will deliver a better ROI on marketing investment than anything available today.  If you need to be convinced of the numerous advantages, visit www.andyowen.co.uk  It’s all there.

      Which is the better option for communication with clients, written letter or e-mail, and why?

      That’s a no-brainer.  It’s direct mail, every time.  Nothing works better than a well-written letter.  Nothing. Email marketing became popular with clients five years ago, for one reason.  They could get their messages to a lot more people, for less cost than direct mail.  So, predictably, they bought into it.  Now, more and more of them, are realising their mistake.  Those that are still in a job, that is. As a prospecting tool, email is ‘dead in the water’.  As a result, more and more clients are returning to direct mail.  In every market in the world.  The reason is simple.  It delivers.

      How do you avoid the negative effect, considering today's large number of marketing messages in all forms of communication?

      Do you know why there is a negative effect?  Because marketers and agencies have, in the last few years, been creating garbage communications.   The reason is, because, in the main, they don’t know what they’re doing.  No one studies anymore.  Everyone thinks they can create and write effective campaigns.  Very few can.  In nearly 30 years in this business, I have never known marketing to be so bad.   I see so much garbage every single day.  A lot of it is simply laughable.  But, forward-thinking companies that are employing knowledgeable direct marketers these days, are making a lot of money.

      In what way does a company have to communicate with clients in order to have them back?

      Tell them how important they are.  Tell them you love them and how you want them to do more business with you.  Make them relevant, attractive and exclusive offers. As often as you can.

      What are the biggest mistakes that marketers do today?

      1. Trying to get everything as cheap as chips.  2. Not understanding the difference between good work and bad. 3.  Thinking they know more than they do.

      Why is getting a good return from marketing campaigns today harder than ever?

      Because the power is now with the customer.  And they know it.  They are now very marketing-savvy and understand how it all works.  They cherry-pick the best deals and reward companies who deliver the best offer-led marketing communications.

      Why is testing of marketing programs important?

      Because without testing, how do you know what works?

      Are the best ideas in marketing really always simple, and why?

      No, not always, but in a lot of cases, this is true.  The reason is because the recipients of our communications want to know quickly what is on offer and if it is of interest to them.  If you can deliver benefits simply and effectively - and your targeting is good - then people will respond.

      You wrote several marketing publications. Can marketing be learned from books?

      Of course.  You only get better by learning from people better than you.  And all of the geniuses our business has produced, are either dead or the wrong side of 60.  These incredible people have so much to teach marketers today.  It’s all in their books.  But do today’s marketers want to know?  I have my doubts.  The best marketing book ever, was written in 1924.  Every word of it is as relevant now, as the day it was written.  Why?  Because times change, but people don’t. 

      How to wow?

      Employ direct marketing professionals.  Preferably, proven ones and ones with passion oozing from every pore.  They care