How a Direct Response Marketer Fell in Love with Technology (Despite Herself)

My background is in direct response marketing with an emphasis on brand messaging and market positioning.

Generally, this means I set the direction and write the copy.

But one time, after I wrote the copy, I discovered the client’s implementation team couldn’t do the next step of making the copy “go live.”

I thought, “How hard can it be?” 

Famous last words.

This sent me on a mission of learning a new tech platform.

Curious to know how that went? 

Imagine me with my nose two inches from a computer monitor watching a Youtube tutorial 15 seconds at a time, trying to do what was in the video, failing, rewinding the video, trying again, over and over again. 

That was me.

But eventually I figured out what buttons to push.

Then, I realized there was a piece missing that no video can teach… the operational logic.

I learned that it’s one thing to set the direction and write the copy.

It’s a second thing to know what buttons to push in the software.

But it’s an entirely different thing to build out the tech-savvy logic of how to make the software, copy, and marketing plan work together in a way that allows the client and I to troubleshoot funnel performance.

To troubleshoot the funnel, we needed to answer questions like:

1- Is the message on target?

2- Are we talking to the right reader?

3- Are we talking to the reader at the right time of day (or right time in the buying cycle)?

4- Are we delivering messages in the right order or does it feel to the reader that messages are coming out of left field?

5- Is the software itself doing something strange (probably because of inconsistencies between projected prospect behavior versus actual behavior)?

Why Does a Writer Need to Worry About Tech Anyway?

The thing to remember is not to define content too narrowly. 

The delivery mechanism and tech-savvy strategy are as important as the words themselves. Why? If the reader doesn’t receive the content or gets it at the wrong time, it has no impact.

 (And I’m a messaging person, so you can imagine how much it pains me to say this!)

The delivery, strategy, and message are united. 

In a similar way, you almost can’t think of drinking a glass of milk without imagining the cool glass it’s in. The glass and the milk are different things but united in the drinker’s spill-free experience.

The “Secret” Ingredient to All Successful Marketing

If you’ve been carefully reading this article, you’ve probably noticed I left something important out of the mix. Actually, I left out someone… the reader. I did that because the reader is an entire other “universe” of considerations that have to be taken in at every stage of the process.

For example:

Messaging: Where is the reader in their stage of awareness about their problem and potential solutions? What type of person are they? What kind of tone or person do they want to hear from?

Delivery Mechanism: What kind of technology does your reader use? Mobile, desktop or tablet? What operating system? Do they like email, social media, Youtube, or podcasts? What’s their preferred learning style?

Tech-savvy Strategy: What part of the message do they want to see first? Second? Last? How often do they want to hear from you?

And finally, the most important part:

Avatar: Who exactly is this person? What do they love or hate? Who do they admire? What keeps them up at night?

Without knowing your avatar deeply, your message will fall flat no matter how carefully you craft and deliver the message.