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Juanita Berge | Philly Creative Guide Event Reporter

Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association :: Build a Breakthrough Direct Response
by Juanita Berge, 1 Nov 2007

The Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association is your personal connection to everything that's happening in direct marketing in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond.

Visit www.the-pdma.org for more information.


On Wednesday, October 24 the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association sponsored a luncheon presentation featuring Tom Connerty, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Program Development for NutriSystem Inc. Connerty has worked for NutriSystem since 2004 where he oversaw one of the most successful multi-channel direct marketing programs of the decade. In two short years, NutriSystem grew from a $30 million dollar e-commerce business to an $800 million direct response juggernaut. Revenues for 2007 are expected to exceed $800 million. His presentation on the 24th was 10 Easy Ways to Build a Breakthrough Direct Response Business. Connerty is a heavy-hitter in a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry. His maxims on the direct marketing business were several, including "Just because you advertise doesn't mean people know who you are," and "The industry in which we work is considered the lowest rung in hell in the field of advertising."

Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association :: Build a Breakthrough Direct Response

Presenting to a capacity audience, Connerty used NutriSystem as his example to elaborate or 10 key points:

  1. Your direct marketing arm should be organized thusly:
    • Marketing Experience
    • Financial Acumen
    • Analysis Platform
    • Fulfillment
    • Customer Service
    • Website
    • Call Center
    • IT
    • Product

"All these things need to be in place before you take your first order," urges Connerty.

  1. Find a moribund brand. Re-awaken that brand and build on the positive associations people still have for it.
  2. Be homegrown. Own your own sales funnel. "It's unthinkable that companies don't own their own website or call centers. You should own the process from start to finish; including in-house marketing and creative." Never give away the power to close the sale to a 3rd party.
  3. Build incrementally. Manage each sales channel like it's its own business. Test-test-test. Partnered with that is to build simultaneously - one channel is simply not enough.
  4. Understand that there is really no difference between traditional and new media. They should be measured as individual channels, measured in total and then measured to determine the synergies between them.
  5. Go old school. In other words be aggressive and steal from the best. "Copywriters forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Remember these truisms: Pretty pleases but ugly sells. So – don't be afraid to be ugly," and "The more you tell, the more you sell."
  6. "It's the argument, stupid!" Remember that direct response is about persuasion. The goal of persuasion is like a baseball diamond. 1st base is building awareness. 2nd base is building interest. 3rd is building desire, and home plate is the consumer taking action.
  7. "It's about the results, stupid!" Ask yourself this question on behalf of the consumer: "What's in it for me?" At the end of the day, know what you sell. Says Connerty, "We offer 144 sku's in food, but what we sell is weight loss. Food is just a means to an end."
  8. Remember the power of 'You.' 'You' is the most powerful word in DRA (direct response advertising.)
  9. What gets measured gets managed. So:
    • measure everything
    • remember numbers don't lie
    • weed out the bad
    • avoid over-sentimentalism
    • the customer dictates how and where the money gets spent.

In a nut shell these are the tenets that Tom Connerty lives and dies by. He knows of what he speaks. Besides being the 2007 PDMA Marketer of the Year, Connerty's NutriSystem has been named by Forbes, Business Week and Fortune as one of the fastest growing companies in America. As it stands, NutriSystem has replaced Weight Watchers as the most successful weight loss company in the country. They are now poised to begin marketing in Canada and Japan.

Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association :: Build a Breakthrough Direct Response

Personable and matter-of-fact, Connerty previously served as the Vice President of Marketing at the Nautilus Group where he handled all the marketing for Bowflex home gyms. He saw Nautilus revenues grow from $160 million to over $500 million in just four years. During his tenure, the company was rated the number one growth company in the country by Business Week, and Bowflex was named the top fitness equipment brand three years in a row by Brandweek Magazine.

Print Article  Brought to you by: Juanita Berge | Philly Creative Guide Event Reporter

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