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Don't Let Design Overtake Results in Your Promotional Efforts

Sometimes, ugly can be beautiful.

Roy Beagley By Roy Beagley
07/08/2014 -16:09 PM


It used to be in creating promotional work, a company would hire a copywriter and a designer unless they were fortunate enough to have these experts in-house.

This changed slightly when computer programs like Quark, In Design, Photoshop etc. became available, but being able to use the software did not turn us all into designers, merely people who could use design software.

With the explosion of websites, apps and all things digital, plus the move from managing circulation to developing audiences, even more programs became available to make designing easier. Suddenly promotions were being judged not by the results produced, but by how knowledgeable the keyboard operator was, how quickly they could be deployed and most importantly, in many instances, by the number of people who viewed the promotion.

The thing is, just because something looks good or can be deployed quickly or is viewed by a million people, unless you get orders, your promotion has failed.

No matter how adept one is at using a computer to design promotions, you still need the knowledge to know whether something will work, and sometimes ugly can be beautiful.

I knew of one publisher who produced an 8.5 x 11 letter/order form combo that was green and pink—to say it was vile is being kind. Covers were scanned in, one green, one pink and universally the promotion was hated, the publisher hated it, the designer hated it, the printer threatened to go on strike if they had to print it, yet it got the best requalifcation response of any promotion—ever. No test ever beat it. It worked year, after year, after year.

An advertising agency came in to bid on designing promotions, took one look at the package, said, “that will have to go straight away,” and the publisher threw them out of the office.

A knowledge of and experience in using what is considered to be sound direct marketing technique is invaluable and not dependent upon software or the latest technology.  

But remember, as time goes by things can change, it used to be deliverability on text emails was better than html, by and large this is no longer the case. Times change, people change and your market may well change. This means what did not work in the past, may now actually work, and what used to work may no longer do so. However, all of this is governed by producing good copy and good design. Simply because you may not like the way copy reads, or how the design looks, does not mean to say it is bad.

This is why you test everything, and if a test beats the control, it becomes the new control, and then you try and beat that.


Roy Beagley By Roy Beagley --

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