from National Underwriter Product News Marketing
Gnam Stresses the Value
of Targeting Individuals, Not Firms
Gnam, a self-proclaimed "direct mail evangelist," spoke recently
on effective methods to overcome "the impression of the dreaded
J-Mail," or junk mail, in a company's direct marketing. Speaking at the
annual meeting of the Professional Insurance Mass Marketing Association in
LaQuinta, CA, Mr. Gnam outlined a variety of methods for successful direct
Foremost on the list of priorities for effective direct mail, he said, is to
mail only to appropriate businesses or individuals. "What we're really
talking about is segmenting our database," said Mr. Gnam. "You can
target your audience, and then invent your benefits, from database
information. If you know a policyholder uses his truck for a living,"
he pointed out, mailings can be targeted to that.
Next, he stressed the importance of clarity and honesty in all advertising
copy -- the latter for a slightly unexpected reason. "Ask yourself what
your initial audience is going to be," he said, "and what
percentage of it is female."
He suggested that while mailings to homes or businesses might be addressed
to men, "they're probably opened by women." He then went on to
cite university studies that indicated women had 12 percent better memories
Remember Dishonesty More
Than Men - Don't Cheat!
dishonest statement, and they'll remember," he said. Dishonesty, he
noted, might include the exaggeration of claims. "Customers can see
through exaggeration," said Mr. Gnam, "and they won't
Companies should keep in mind who they're mailing to in other ways as well,
he pointed out. When you write to a company, you're less likely to get a
response than if you write to individuals," said Mr. Gnam. Also,
"specify the name of a person who can be contacted," he advised.
If a client, or prospective client, has a question, or if something's wrong,
he will want to speak to an individual, Gnam said, not a department or other
impersonal entity. Drawing a parallel to a hotel or restaurant, he noted if
a problem arises, he would not want to speak with a "customer service
department," or a "marketing department," where I'll just get
another sales pitch -- you want to speak with the manager!"
Also remember, he continued, that although a mailing might be targeted to
someone at a specific level, "he or she most likely has a boss,"
so all mailings should address the overall goals of the company.
A final benefit to targeting individuals, he said, was the potential growth
for other insurance products. "If you can approach a client with direct
mailings as a homeowner, you can then move to health insurance, then to a
spouse, and his kids -- and you're creating a buyer who can see that you're
focused on his needs."
Copy Should Telegraph The
Point It's Making
he continued, "never hide your proposition. You can romance a little
bit, but don't hide the point. Tell me why I should read it."
A mailing that is likely to be read, he said, is one that comes with a
"highly explicit guarantee. Yes, even life insurance can have
guarantees -- not that the policyholder will stay alive, but a guarantee
that the policy will be accepted, that there'll be no medical exam, and that
this company will offer the lowest rates available if you respond now,"
All of these tactics, said Mr. Gnam, concern "psychographics," as
opposed to demographics. Psychographics, he said, move beyond numbers to
"what we want and how we act, rather than what we do." For
example, he pointed out that some people might be interested in immediate
benefits, while others may be thinking of the future. "Some people look
ahead, and some stay where they are," he said, so mailings should
attempt to address both concerns.
Further, he said, don't try to alter anyone's basic beliefs, as that might
alienate a prospect. "Don't argue with anyone you're dealing
with," he said. "Don't try to change someone from a Democrat to a
Republican." But persuasion that's subtle, he said, "works like a
and Color Work Well When
can extend to simple business techniques such as discounting, Mr. Gnam
added. "A 25 percent discount is usually better than 20 percent,"
he commented. "But never discount more than 50 percent as the client
gets suspicious, and thinks something is wrong with the policy you're