The first in a series of three articles on contact campaigns by Stu Heinecke.

If you had a way to regularly pull response rates of 80% or more, would that change the way you market your company?

Direct response has always been about sending too many and selling too few. But with many marketers reporting falling response rates over the years, it’s getting harder and harder to turn a profit. If that describes your situation, it might be time to consider switching to a contact campaign strategy.

Contact campaigns are in essence, direct response in hyper-drive, but there are important differences.

  • Bigger than life campaign pieces Contact campaign pieces can be dimensional or flat, but the one thing they must have is impact. Our own contact pieces use personalized cartoons and often involve exotic production materials and methods. This can result in some highly unusual pieces, such as foam core postcards (see inset) and letters in custom corrugated cardboard outer envelopes. The point is to get noticed and to demonstrate the quality of thinking behind your company.
  • Your sales force is the response device Rather than relying on the recipient to initiate the response, contact campaigns position your sales or telemarketing reps as the response device. Which would you rather have driving the outcome of your campaign — your trained sales force or a business reply card.
  • Send to few, sell to many Contact campaigns can easily generate response rates of 80% or more, if done properly. And they can result in a quicker establishment of relationships and a shortened sales cycle, because the whole point is to get your sales reps into position with the top decision makers at your most important target companies.hand_w_postcards_w_copyIt is not unusual for contact pieces to have a surprising effect as they arrive. I recently sent a contact piece to Bob McGlynn of Pilot Software, and here is an account of what happened next: “I received your box this afternoon. I immediately showed it to the other members of my team, who loved it — and to my CEO, who kept the letter that came with it.” Isn’t that how you’d like everyone to treat your sales message?Clearly, contact campaigns should only be directed to your top prospects, the twenty-percenters who can easily comprise 80% of your company’s profits. Sure, the campaign pieces can be expensive, but if it costs you a thousand dollars to sell a million-dollar contract, that’s probably a lot better ROI than you’re seeing with direct response.

    If you’re ready to learn how to put an effective contact campaign strategy to work for your company, read Contact Campaign Basics, the next installment in this three-part series further on.

    This is Part One in a series of three articles by the author about contact campaigns. Be sure to watch for Part Two, Contact Campaign Basics and Part Three,Contact Campaign Gallery. If you have a contact campaign success story and would like to share it, please contact the author below

    For more information, contact Stu Heinecke or visit