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Risk, Reward, and Lots of Practice: What the X Games and “Extreme” Direct Marketing Strategies Have in Common

Tom Hexamer

You might’ve heard that the X Games made their way to Minneapolis for the second year in a row last weekend. By far my favorite competition is Big Air, both the skateboard and BMX variety. The athletes’ insane poise flying through the air makes long jump skiing look mundane. As a Gen Xer, I can confidently say that the X Games and grunge music are probably the best byproducts of my generation. We might be far less hip than we used to be (is “hip” still being used?), but I think we’re just as disruptive as ever. For example, I recently read that Gen X-ers found 55% of today’s start-ups. If the younger generations want to keep up with us (from a branding perspective) they’d better move fast.

X Games and Direct Marketing

As a generation, X spent less time creating an identity and more time focusing on results, leading us to become the Innovation Generation. This head-down-and-work attitude is a lot like the X Games. The X Games aren’t necessarily about image, but about execution. There are no random tricks or moves—every plan is created, attempted, refined, practiced, practiced, and practiced more. All of these characteristics also apply to the marketing practice I’m spent my career learning and supporting—Direct Marketing.

Like extreme sports athletes and groundbreaking tricks, direct marketers also have to take risks when they attempt creative campaigns, but the results can be rewarding. The entire target market gets a vote on every campaign you send out, so the measurability of direct marketing means that you know in great detail what your audiences love about your campaigns—and if they don’t like it, you’ll know pretty quickly. This is another reason winning feels so good—it’s not easy, but it is fun and it drives those who practice to execute at a higher level than ever before. There is no safety net.

“Extreme” Direct Marketing Strategies: Where Risk Meets Reward

IWCO Direct has helped clients develop and execute “extreme” mail strategies and tactics. Of these, there are some I would be proud to share and others I would like to forget. I remember in the early 2000’s seeing a knocked-off brown paper bag (think lunch bag) envelope design (used to this day in the non-profit vertical) in the financial market. It was a home run, fatigued quickly, but still a big win. Another innovation was an envelope within an envelope, not my idea but was part of the testing. This was really an example of how strange ideas can be effective. How could making someone open two envelopes in order to view the offer work? Well, it did and still does.

The next “extreme” direct marketing strategy will come in integrating physical and digital tactics into campaigns. In many ways, consumers are already “integrating” multiple channels into their own decision-making processes when they read mail, watch TV, use social media, click on ads, and more. It’s really up to marketers to tear down their internal walls and recognize how these tactics work together in omnichannel harmony. Recognizing both old tricks and new opportunities can push “extreme” direct marketing strategies further into the future to create not only a solid image for marketers’ campaigns, but flawless execution.

Ready to try some “extreme” direct marketing strategies and tactics of your own? Contact me and I’ll show you how IWCO Direct can ensure flawless execution for your next campaign.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/07/25/extreme-direct-mail-strategies/
Tom Hexamer


Tom Hexamer

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