Marketing Miracle No. 1: Walking on Water

by Barb Cote on August 2, 2010

Barb Cote

Barb Cote

It’s no longer good enough to provide our clients with innovative ideas and measurable results. In the current recessional climate, we need to be Marketing Miracle Workers. In our Client Satisfaction survey, we ask our clients to rank us on the “can’t imagine doing business without SIGMA factor. It’s important to us that they feel we are essential to their success! That is why we have to produce marketing miracles for our clients.

A miracle is an event (often attributed to divine sources) that defies physical and/or natural laws. In the same way, marketing miracles defy the marketing world’s expected norms (or natural laws).

The above video is my latest example of a miracle. This is my son using an AquaSkipper, which is sold with this copy:

With your feet on the platform and your hands on the handles, simply hop up and down to propel yourself forward.  The hydrofoils lift the AquaSkipper above the water, allowing you to move much faster than any other human-powered watercraft.”

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I tried to do this about 25 times and every time I sank 5 feet off the dock! How 8-plus feet of metal skims across the surface of the water is beyond my powers.

Back to our marketing story:

What is a normal response rate for a direct mail campaign today?

“As for industry averages, the DMA analyzed 1,122 industry-specific campaigns and determined that the average response rate for direct mail was 2.61%.

If you assume 1%, 2% or 2.61% response rates, you might be disappointed. We’ve seen open rates as low as 0.2%.”

In this miracle story, our client was not a fan of direct mail. In fact they even told us that “we tried direct mail once, and it did not work.”

I LOVE statements like these, as it provides the raw material to produce a marketing miracle.

We asked for an opportunity to try a test.  Our travel services client had a segment of customers that had enrolled in a business travelers program but had never made a purchase after enrolling. We wanted to send them an offer that would incent them to make a purchase through their loyalty program website, rather than a travel aggregator site.

The direct mailer painted a picture of them travelling with ease — “Now arriving — on time, under budget, and in style.”  The offer was for a free GPS rental with purchase.

The beauty of this offer (and the foundation for the miracle) is that these were customers that had given us the “go ahead,” twice. They had purchased the product before, and had also enrolled in a rewards program. All we had to do was offer an appealing incentive to do what they told us (in the data) that they wanted to do all along.

The mailing had a 59% response rate!!! What does a 59% response rate mean for ROI? The sales revenue from the campaign was $496,540, from an initial marketing investment of $12,000! Marketing miracles do exist.

We don’t see them every day, but I want my clients to think that if we assemble the “right message, right offer, right target” combination, marketing miracles SHOULD happen. I am still working on my water walking skills.


About the Author:

Barb Coté serves as the Creative Director at database marketing company SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Barb on or follow her on .

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