Tips on managing the
many details of a DMcampaign. The techniques you use to produce your direct
response program will influence its success in two ways: The level of
quality you choose will significantly affect the program's image, readership,
and level of awareness. And the way you produce the program will have
a major effect on its cost.
Production of anything
offers endless possibilities for things to go wrong. As Sandy McCormick,
founder of McCormick Oil & Gas, said: "Organize yourself so that
when everything that can possibly go wrong goes wrong twice, you're still
Planning your creative
approach and production process occurs simultaneously. Here are two-dozen
helpful ideas, based on my own experience with some wonderfully successful
as well as some outrageously horrible programs!
1. Plan every
detail. Consider all variables and options. There is no such
thing as too much information.
2. Bring suppliers
in early. Talk to your most experienced heads. Get their technical
expertise early in your development stage.
3. Set schedules.
A schedule is not optional -- it is mandatory.
4. Work from
your budget. Professionals are problem solvers. It's their job
to get things done. And they know good ideas cost money. There is no such
thing as a free lunch.
5. Shop for
services as you would for anything else. Give complete instructions
at the be ginning. First write specs for every job, then ask questions.
6. This is for copywriters:
Copy "fit" as you write. By working with production
from the beginning, it's easier to be sure your copy will fit.
7. Make a
dummy, or sample, of your package in the paper you'll use, with
all elements cut and folded to final size.
8. Be acutely
aware of machine requirements. Today, we can get anything we
want done at a cost, in time or money.
9. Where practical,
use standard materials.
10. "I can't
save this copy." That's a quote from an art director. Copy
is king in direct response. Graphics should make copy better.
first with photography, using people in pictures and placing
captions underneath. Research indicates photography is more believable
stock art and photography. Sometimes, stock can be just as good
or better than expending the time and effort to create your own art.
13. Any decent-size
print production house has scores of type ornaments borders, back grounds,
corners and other elements to "dress" your pieces.
14. Other cost-saving
graphic ideas: Consider colored paper stocks as a substitute for
extra press runs or a second color. Try "simulated"
diecuts instead of the real thing. Avoid special inks. If nothing else,
use screens of your basic ink color. Screens can replace a second color.
your production, photos, printing jobs.
white space, blank pages, accordion folds.
tight registrations, overprinting photos, bleeds, and heavy inks.
reverse type, italic type and all caps.
Square-Clean-Accurate-Neat. As with computers, it's GIGO: garbage
in, garbage out. Yes, it takes longer to apply the SCAN formula, but do
20. Use serif
typefaces. Serif is better for anything you want read. Use it
where there is a lot of copy.
date material unless absolutely necessary. A date could make
a perfectly good package old before its time.
your corporate name and logo, complete address, phone and fax
numbers, plus any special project coding on every piece in your package.
23. If you must make
changes, make them early. Don't design on press.
24. Put it
all in writing so that everyone knows what to expect and when.