““People exercise an unconscious selection in being influenced.”” – T.S. Eliot

I recently attended a seminar given by Alan Rosenspan, a direct-marketing pro who worked for legendary ad man David Ogilvy before forming his own agency, Alan Rosenspan & Associates ( www.alanrosenspan.com). He’s a very bright guy who knows a lot about marketing. I got some good ideas from him during the seminar. I mentioned one – the DM cluster bomb – last week in Message #196. Let’s talk about another one today.

This one applies to direct-mail companies and anybody who is involved in direct mail. Here’s the idea:

One of Alan’s clients has been American Express. One day, while working on the design of an envelope for that company, he had this revelation: Amex is a huge company that hundreds of millions of people know about – and yet it is known exclusively through its mail. It does not have offices and storefronts that people can experience. This means that the entire job of conveying the quality and character of the company must be done by the selection of the direct-mail materials it uses and the copy and offers it presents to the marketplace.

Alan puts it this way: Your direct-mail package is a sample of your company. Each and every package you send out should reflect the image you want.

So do this today: Take an objective look at all your direct-mail pieces and ask yourself honestly and candidly if they represent you the way you want to be represented. Think of the graphic elements as clothing, and the copy as language and the offers as behavior. Imagine that your company is a person making a personal sales call. How should he/she be dressed? How should he/she speak? How should he/she behave?

If and where there is a discrepancy between what you are or want to be and what your direct mail is saying about you, make a note to change it.

By the way, I think this idea also applies to Internet marketing. If your customers know you only through your website and/or e-mail, you’ve got to put yourself through the same series of questions and come to the same set of resolutions.