We’re on a mission to create the best direct marketing education forum on Linkedin

3 weeks, 540 members strong. Join us: http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2080726/ We have members from all area’s of direct marketing ready to share their expertise with you.  We also have international members.

Want to know more about search, blogs, direct mail, telemarketing, lists, social media, and all direct marketing disciplines, then join us.

If you are an expert in direct marketing, please join us too.  And our members are using this group as a great networking tool!

Thanks, we look forward to seeing you there. http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2080726/

Jim Gilbert

Florida Direct Marketing Association & Jim Gilbert: The Second Half… Meet or beat your 2009 estimates & look like a superstar!

Jim Gilbert and the FDMA are please to announce another great learning opportunity for you on June 18th.

The Second Half: Meet or beat your 2009 estimates and look like a superstar!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

While it feels like 2009 has only started, we’re actually halfway through the year. At this point the FDMA asks you:

• Are you on track to meet or beat your forecasts? 
• What can you do to drive in more sales? 
• What programs both online and offline can you test, and test quickly to increase sales? 
• Are you drowning in a sea of online numbers and are not sure which are the most meaningful to track?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, this is the one FDMA session you do not want to miss. We have two great presentations lined up for you.

Register now at www.fdma.org

PRESENTATION 1 – Leave NO Stone unturned – 50 tips, tricks and ideas you can take to the bank. (12:30 – 1:30pm)

Presented by Jim Gilbert, Author, Direct Marketing Professor and Consultant.

In this presentation, Jim Gilbert will leverage his 20+ years experience in teaching direct marketing companies how to increase sales – by providing you with marketing program ideas that are simple and quick to execute.

Jim’s presentation will address consumer and B2B, online and offline, lead gen and direct sales strategies and tactics – in short – marketing programs you may have missed. He will engage you in “operation turned stone”, an opening for you to look for breakthrough opportunities in your company to “find” missing revenue. 

You are guaranteed to takeaway between 5 and 10 action items to beat your forecasts with.

PRESENTATION 2 – Interactive Metrics – What You Really Need to Know (1:30 – 2:15pm)

Presented by Maria Harrison President/Owner of iClarity.

In this informative presentation, Maria Harrison will take you through the good, the bad and the ugly of interactive metrics. Interactive marketing is a double-edged sword when it comes to metrics. 

Just because everything can be counted, doesn’t mean it’s important in making business decisions that will help you have a positive impact on your interactive marketing initiatives. 

Ms. Harrison will show you how simplistic interactive metrics can really be, how to set benchmarks, and develop meaningful executive dashboards that will help you make the right decisions to improve your interactive marketing efforts. She will define some basic interactive metric terms and teach you how to immediately apply those metrics to your business. 

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 pm Registration Check-in and Networking
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm Annoucements, Lunch, Netowrkign at Table
12:30 pm Presentation by Jim Gilbert
1:30 pm Presentation by Maria Harrison
2:15 pm Program ends.

Register early to avoid additional $10 walk-up fee. Register now at www.fdma.org

Interested in attending our Board meeting at 10:00am and learning more about getting further involved with the FDMA, please let us know at 786-357-3275.

Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Westin Hotel Fort Lauderdale
400 Corporate Drive
(I-95 and Cypress Creek exit)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334

Jim Gilbert and the Florida Direct Marketing Association are pleased to announce…


January 15th FDMA Meeting Info

From: The Florida Direct Marketing Association | December 31, 2008

The FDMA is pleased to announce its January 15th event:

Business Networking in the 21st Century

Come join us for lunch January 15th for an informative session on how to build your personal brand using web 2.0 online techniques with Jim Gilbert, CEO of Gilbert Direct Marketing. In a world where the average  tenure in a position is just over 2 years, it’s been said that building your personal rolodex is just as important to your career as excelling at your job. During this must-attend luncheon, you will learn how to use Linkedin and other networking sites to your fullest advantage.
Location: Westin Hotel Fort Lauderdale (I-95 & Cypress Creek exit)

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm (Networking and Registration from 11:30am – 12:00 pm)

Members $37, Non-Members $47. Admission includes plated lunch.

For additional details clink on “Register” below to read what specific take-away strategies you will learn. 

Click here to register

Read more at The Florida Direct Marketing Association http://www.fdma.org

Perchance to Dream (of New Customers and Untapped Riches)


Jim Gilbert

Jim Gilbert

Last night I had a dream…  I had a vision of many customers.  Not just any customers, but the most coveted buyers of them all…mail order buyers! 


And behold, they bought often and recently, and liked to purchase many products at a time.  They loved these products so much that they would never consider returning them. They liked to purchase in a specific category – they were niche buyers.  A plentiful niche that was easily identifiable, a specific targeted market – the lowest hanging fruit from the tree!

And I remember in my dream that I felt warm and secure knowing that these were soon to be my customers.  It was time to start my dream business and be richer than anyone can imagine.  All I needed was the right products for these perfect customers.

But then something happened.  My dream became a nightmare!  For I had no products to offer my customers. 

In my dream, I wracked my brain trying to find product ideas. I contacted various sources looking for products, but to no avail.  Nothing!  I asked friends and business associates alike, “do you have any products that would fit my market?”  Again nothing!  I couldn’t come up with one single product that this beautiful niche of customers would want.

And I woke up in a cold sweat, thankful that this was just a dream, and in real life this could never happen.

The truth is, we don’t wake up in the morning with ideas for new customer niches.  We don’t wake up saying “I think found a great list of buyers, now what can i offer them?”

But sometimes we do wake up with ideas for new products.  

And sometimes these new product ideas become businesses.  This is the classic entrepreneur beginning: a dream turns into a business because someone thought up a great product idea and had the moxie to take it to market.  Your classic “started around the kitchen table” story!

In the past, I’ve stated that a marketing-based approach to direct marketing, mail order and e-retailing cares less for the specific product, than it does finding the right market (customers!) for those products.  To me, that IS about putting customers first. 

The following is a quote I give to my direct marketing class on the first night of the semester. It’s by Peter Drucker, one of the great management gurus of our time:

“There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.  Companies are not in business to make things, but to make customers.”

My personal version goes something like this (with a direct marketing context):

The goals of every direct marketing organization are to generate new customers at the lowest possible cost per acquisition and take care of these customers to maximize customer lifetime value via repeat purchases.

The goals of every direct marketing organization need to be exclusively focused around the above. 

But that’s not always the case in today’s modern business world.  Many business owners and managers know their customers, but, more specifically, they know what their customers want.  The emphasis is less on understanding customers better, and more on their own intuition of what customers want.  This attitude of “I know my customers and what they want“,  makes too many assumptions.  Assumptions that don’t fit with today’s modern business practices – especially when you consider the wealth of information you can find out about your customers just by talking to them.  With the adoption of social media in the last few years, and the explosion of web 2.o, there is no excuse for not being customer-centric.  Right?

But of course any time you have a company with more than one employee, you have politics, posturing, agenda’s and egos – which means that following the above principals can get muddied by other issues. 

I see product-centric and politically charged organizations every day of the week stepping on their own toes and chasing their own tails!  I’ve also seen some companies with some great products fail for these very same reasons.

Which is why I want to set a different tone for this blog and proffer the thought that the modern entrepreneurial business should be marketing-focused and, by extension, customer-driven.

So to all catalog/multichannel/e-retail/mail order business owners out there, let me ask you this : Are you product driven?  Or customer/marketing focused?  What kind of research do you do to better understand your customers?  How do you develop new products?  Let’s get into this in future postings.  As always, please feel free to fire off a comment by using the form below, and I’ll respond.

I look forward to a lively discussion on this topic.  What a great way to close out 2008 and welcome in 2009!

“Bailout” is the new, “free”!


Bailout offer

Bailout offer

This just in: According to 2 independent sources, Forestry and Saturn Research, the word “bailout” has overtaken “free” as the most used marketing term.  


According to Saturn Research, “The term FREE, for many years reigned supreme as the most important response compelling tool a marketer could use.  But no longer!   Now that the word “bailout has entered our national lexicon it has been used to the point of beating out it’s competition on an order of 2:1 this holiday season.”

This author has to agree.  I’ve seen bailout offers for carpet companies and others.  In fact, yesterday I saw a dry cleaners with a bailout offer!

Of course Forestry and Saturn also offered the following… “Happy Holidays from Jim Gilbert and Gilbert Direct!!!”