In Search of Marketing’s “Silver Bullet”

The term “silver bullet” is rooted in folklore, ranging from its role as the only bullet effective against werewolves and monsters to being the calling card left by The Lone Ranger.  As Wikipedia describes, “The masked man decided to use bullets forged from the precious metal as a symbol of justice, law and order, and to remind himself and others that life, like silver, has value and is not to be wasted or thrown away.” (source)

We often meet with businesses in search of that silver bullet—a way to drive sales and increase revenue.  One might suggest the notable success of Groupon as a silver bullet candidate.  As expected, the Groupon or Living Social type of marketing works well for certain companies, but others are unable to convert “deal seekers” into long-term customers.  In fact, a recent Rice University study shows that only 19.9% of deal users return for full-price purchases.  (source)

However, there is much to be learned from the Groupon effect.  At a recent DMA convention, Jay Schwedelson of Worldata challenged us to “Groupon our marketing.”  We looked at several key reasons Groupon and Groupon type of marketing works:

  • People will buy now—if they think they can’t get it later. Marketers must create a sense of urgency.
    • Consumer emails that have a DATE in the subject line generate a 29% higher open rate (business emails show a 24% increase).
    • 18% of all click-throughs will occur AFTER the end date of your offer (22% for B to B).  Do you honor them?  You should!!
  • It’s exclusive—exclusive is the new “free.”
    • “Exclusive” in the subject line generates an additional 24% open rate on email campaigns.
  • The Facebook factor
    • Email messages that mention Facebook in the subject line have a 32% higher open rate than those that don’t.
    • Individuals who use Facebook or Twitter at least once per week are 38% more likely to open a third party email promotion.
  • Mobile device  prominence
    • 29% of “your” customer emails are read on mobile devices—have you attempted to read yours via a mobile device?

While the list of trends is ever-changing and the search for a “Marketing Silver Bullet” may be elusive, Strategic America is committed to studying the trends—in email, direct mail, TV, radio and digital. We’re agile enough to quickly develop strategies around what’s working now to increase sales at retail for our clients.

What have you found that is working—now?  I’d like to know.  Post this blog or email me at


Source: Wikipedia and and

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