from Contemporary Advertising
Gnam's Direct Mail Techniques Achieve
High Sales When Targeting Business Audiences
an advertising newcomer looks at Direct Mail, his first thought is
consumer advertising," says consultant Rene Gnam, "because he's
accustomed to seeing lavish promotions at home. But the biggest Direct
Mail growth area is in business-to-business marketing."
Gnam initiates many response innovations and is a leading authority on the
science of Direct Mail testing and the art of structuring persuasive copy
and design for business and consumer markets. He appeared before the U.S.
House of Representatives eight times as an expert on business mail, has
been the marketing consultant to the Library of Congress, the New York
Republican Committee, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and was a major
mailing list provider to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush.
He cites the numbers reported by Dun's Marketing Services: "of 297
office equipment manufacturers, 60% increased their Direct Mail use, 89%
always use Direct Mail for new product announcements, and 68% sell their
products directly by mail. The median number of mailings for those
companies is 10 per year and Direct Mail represents about 18.4% of their
total ad budget."
Direct Mail Use For Business-to-Business
says Direct Mail is earning this increasing receptivity in business
markets because it:
helps cut down on unscheduled sales calls,
brings information to re-study,
helps circulate information to other employees, and
brings news of products and services, news that is
vitally needed as a firm seeks to control costs while hiking
Gnam, who helped the U.S. Postal Service author
regulations on Zip Code, says Direct Mail Marketing is infrequently
practiced by kitchen-table operators hoping to make a fortune by opening
envelopes, but rather "it's a savvy business endeavor practiced by
some of the world's largest corporations", including IBM, A T &
T, and "all the generals": General Electric, General Mills,
General Motors and General Telephone.
Direct Mail Warms Up Prospects for Salespeople
He praises Direct Mail's ability to inform, educate and
persuade prospects who are inaccessible to salespeople. "Your Direct
Mail supports the sales staff by warming up prospects before a call,"
"You may think your company is too small to compete with a giant like
Exxon or U. S. Steel," Gnam says, "but not if you use Direct
Mail." He knows Direct Mail Marketing "lets the little guy
tackle Goliath," and he offers this case history of how one small
division of a giant corporation used mail advertising to establish a solid
Norelco Lighting Supply Company is a division of the giant Norelco known
for coffee makers, hair dryers and shavers.
Westinghouse sells light bulbs. General Electric sells them and so does
GTE-Sylvania, but few Americans knew Norelco sells them, despite Norelco's
world-wide position of being the #1 manufacturer of lighting.
How Direct Mail by Gnam Made Money for Norelco
In May 1979, Norelco Lighting had just one USA salesman
and a savvy marketing manager who came to Gnam to give Norelco a better
U.S. share of market. For New Jersey based Norelco, Gnam did three
mailings from Florida.
MAILING #1, to North Carolina, was just a test to see if mailings could
work. It produced only 39 leads from 16,000 pieces mailed, but 20 of those
business leads became customers, better than 50% conversion to sales, with
each sale worth $800 to $4,000 revenue PER YEAR, or a total of $16,000 -
$80,000 A YEAR.
MAILING #2, to Michigan, produced 48 customers for revenues of $38,400 -
$192,000 PER YEAR on flourescent bulbs.
Nine months later, in February 1980, management hired a national sales
manager, salespeople in two cities, and a staff copywriter to create more
MAILING #3 went to eight states. Expansion plans were then made for 30
states. By June 1980, within just 12 months, Norelco Lighting had become a
multi-million-dollar business in the USA, selling many thousands of
fluorescent bulbs at $1.30 each and incandescent bulbs (the kind you screw
in your lamps) at 45c each.
"Perhaps your product sells for more than 45c or $1.30," Gnam
chuckles, noting that Norelco Lighting now sells throughout the United
"Direct Mail," Rene Gnam says, "is a reliable source of
revenue once your customer base has been clearly identified and once you
have proven offers to make to that base."
is an independent response marketing consultant
in creative advertising techniques.
He can be reached
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