The Direct Marketing Difference

I have always said that it’s easier for a direct marketer to follow branding then it is for a brander to become a direct marketer. This point was nicely captured in Ted Grigg’s latest blog.

Why is this the case? Because direct marketing is counter intuitive to traditional advertising and marketing thinking where the killer idea and killer creative reside. For measurable marketers it’s about the results. And results can be improved upon in direct marketing by segmentation and testing. After we reach our goals we do more testing.

Traditional advertisers swing for the fence, whereas direct marketers are happy to move the base runners and are even more comfortable striking out — as long as we learn and can apply that knowledge to our next at bat.

It is why direct marketers are in demand. The “new” media is measurable and thus requires the thinking of direct response pros.

And it’s about time!

Grant A. Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


Overuse of Personalization Hurts Credibility

Overuse of personalization is a marketing trend that we all must be aware of. While ultra-customization (at the individual level) is very doable today with direct mail, email and PURLS (Personalized URLs), overuse will lead to less effective marketing long term as we train our customers and prospects to tune us out, not to mention privacy issues and overuse can lead to less responses as people grow ever more skeptical about what marketing is legitimate and what is not. That was what I recently wrote in an article in Direct. I hope you enjoy the read…

Grant A. Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


A Wonderful, Unexpected Accolade

Internationally acclaimed marketer Alan Rosenspan just released his monthly newsletter and I was surprised, delighted, and speechless (a rare feat for me) to read the following:

The Milwaukee Master

In my opinion, the best direct marketing agency isn’t in New York or Chicago.

 It’s Johnson Direct up in Milwaukee. From starting as “the little agency that could” they’ve grown to attract several huge national clients, and have done an excellent job with each.

 I was fortunate enough to hear their CEO Grant Johnson speak at a recent conference, and I wanted to share some of his comments with you, which you may find as valuable as I did.

* Marketing now has “C”-level attention (CEO, CFO, CMO).
It’s not an expense, but rather an activity that now is measured as an investment, with its own Profit & Loss column.

 That means your work is more important and more visible than ever.

 * Research has shown that it takes an average of 6-7 different messages to influence a prospect or even generate a lead.

 Multi-channel marketing is now essential, and if you’re just doing direct mail, or just e-mail, or just telemarketing…you’re not doing what’s best.

* Grant also showed quite a few extremely creative ads, some of which I didn’t understand. He quoted Lester Wunderman, industry legend, who said “Stop being clever! Tell me something I want to know.” 

      This is great advice for any media and any communication.

I have been a friend of Grant’s for several years, and I admire him and his work. He also has a free newsletter, with terrific information and case-histories. You can subscribe at

Grant A. Johnson 

Johnson Direct LLC