Skunkworks Direct Marketing

 YouTube is fantastic for inspiration. I was trolling through in a moment of procrastination, and landed on an old commercial for a B2B marketing giant.  It was a rebranding campaign, and there was absolutely no way for anyone watching the commercial to contact the company for more information.  What a loss.

That's not unusual, even these days. There is something about having a dedicated sales force that makes even good marketers forget about the basics.  It can even be difficult to get the budget or resources to add this critical element to the launch plan. This is where a skunkworks approach comes in handy. If you find yourself stuck watching your company launch a big program without direct marketing support, here's a list of ideas for how to sneak it in.



1.     Measure the interest curve. Create a single page on your Web site before your program launches. It should collect contact information, so that you can send an announcement at launch. If you track the signups, you can measure the curve of interest in your program, and use this information to lobby for more resources for the next program launch. This might be the easiest tactic for you to implement, under the radar. And it has pretty good payoff later.

2.     Test a mobile campaign. If you can't get support to launch a simple Web page, try looking for some "new-media" investment funds. Ask for a mobile call to action to be included on every ad (print, TV, or online). Keep it simple -- the action should simply ask for permission to contact the prospect with more information about the product. While this won't be as simple to implement as a single Web page, if you can tap into your company's pool of money for innovations, it might have a better chance of success.

3.     Repurpose your existing lead nurture program. If you've managed to pull together a Web page or a mobile campaign, it's time to start thinking about what you'll do with these prospect leads. Your skunkworks team may need to get a bit more ingenious here. Chances are, you already have a lead nurture program. Do as much as possible to restructure it for your program launch without raising any red flags in your organization.

4.     Reach out to your base.It might be too difficult to pull together a brand-new direct marketing piece, but that doesn't mean you can't reach out to your base. Look for any planned communications and see if you can break in with a small ad for the program launch. Email communications are the best bet here, because they are generally less expensive to change closer to the campaign send date. Email is also helpful for another reason: measurement. Make sure you include a link as part of your program launch information, so that you can track clicks. This will help you prove interest in the launch, and in turn will help you get resources and funding for a direct marketing campaign next time around.

Skunkworks is never a great substitute for a well-thought-out direct marketing strategy. But if you're stuck without support or resources, these are four ideas that will help you drive the results you'll need to get more support next time around.

What other tactics have you implemented skunkworks-style?

2 comments about "Skunkworks Direct Marketing".
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  1. Roanne Parker, October 19, 2010 at 4:07 p.m.

    Ha! We wrote about this a few weeks back, tired of hearing people complain about no money for digital - the answer? Get out the scissors. Key Points:
    * No more whinging about not having any budget for digital. Just stop doing something else that you are doing now. Snip. Chop. Slice. Hey presto – there’s some cash.
    * Don’t try to get big permission, take a small bite first – just get enough go-ahead to get something low risk started.
    * Talk it up, set goals, get others excited, and prove your results with hard facts.
    * Package your pitch up for each audience. You might need to tell your story four different ways when you explain it to IT, sales, CEO, customer service.
    it's on our blog if you'd like to read more, cheers.

  2. Gretchen Scheiman from Alchemy Worx, October 20, 2010 at 1:04 p.m.

    Thanks Roanne. Great ideas there to get around the budget and resource issues.

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