One of the fundamental rules or principles in successful marketing is to give value.
Value increases response.
Value increases profitability.
Value increases loyalty.
Most marketers do not give value. Instead, they sell.
Selling may achieve a certain level of response. But selling doesn’t achieve maximum response.
Super Circuits is a B to B catalog with advanced security equipment, great pricing and an amazing variety of products for security professionals and business owners. They came to us with a catalog that used a traditional advertising approach…not direct response marketing.
After reviewing the catalog, I found several major defects that are all too common in marketing.
Here are the 8 direct response solutions I offered to the problems I found…and how my team and I re-created their catalog to include powerful value:

#1: Value-Added Marketing

There was no value-added information in the catalog. So, we created direct response content so the prospect would learn valuable information in the sidebars, advertorial product descriptions, helpful advice and checklists. This is what we call VIVA – Valuable Information Value Added.
It makes the difference between a winner or loser, mediocre return and super return.

#2: Direct Response Copy

Direct response copy was not used. Anytime you break the rules of direct response copy, you suffer declined response. There was no “you” orientation. The benefits were hidden. Only the features were presented. The paragraphs were too long. Sentences were too complicated. So, we re-wrote the copy completely, with a “you” orientation, short paragraphs, emphasis on benefits and strong call-to-action.

#3: Direct Response Art

The pictures and graphics used in Super Circuit’s catalog were not relatable. This is a major mistake in a catalog. The products were not displayed well or without a human touch. That’s why direct response art is so critical. Art for art’s sake is not what you want. You want art that is going to increase readership and return.
So, we used art that was relatable and response-boosting – pictures of real people.

#4: A Powerful Offer

Super Circuit’s offer was weak, violating a critical direct marketing rule. A marketing campaign needs a powerful direct response offer in order to be able to increase response. So, we worked closely with Super Circuit to create an offer to increase the average unit sale. We were able to increase it by 30%.

#5: Personality, personality, personality

The personality of the catalog was weak. Personality is who’s behind the company. Personality can help increase response for almost any company. So, we developed personality of the President and integrated it throughout the catalog.

#6: Direct Response Cover

Their cover was a boring display of features. We transformed the cover into a magazine style, highlighting key benefits and teasing the readers. To engage them, we highlighted what was the most sensational and most popular products.

#7: Advanced Data

Poor media selection. And finally, we improved the list data, providing the client with the most advanced data possible.

#8: List Segmentation

No segmentation. We then recommended targeting key customer and prospect segments. For example, manufacturer vs. retailers.
These principles work for online and hard copy catalogs.
The bottom line results? Super Circuits’ response more than tripled, the average amount of sales increased and the catalog grew to dominate its sector. This new catalog won the PIA Best DM B2B Award in 2010.
Take a look at the two covers we created, below.

Need help to reposition your marketing? Call me at 310-212-5727 or email me at and let’s talk.
Like to see a consumer catalog case study? See Metagenics and Blue Cross here.
Here are the rest of this week’s articles:
Paper Shortage/ Price Hike Alert
The Death of Tracking Cookies? Digital Crackdown May Make Advertising Online More Difficult
Image Advertising vs. Direct Response Marketing