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What do a vintage wedding dress, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and direct mail campaigns have to do with cutting edge web marketing you ask?

They all have something to do with the well established premise that if you wait long enough, everything old will become new again. How about the trend to 'retro' that seems to dominate the psyche of young people these days? Everyone knows there is a resurgence of music from the 60s & 70s because it has found a whole new generation of fans in today's teenagers. I even have one personal example; a 'young' man of a whole 12 years of age that knows every detail of the lives of blues artists from the 30s like Leroy Carr & Ida Cox.

The lesson to be learned here is that there is value in all things old and new. Sometimes one has to look hard to find it and sometimes it simply falls in our laps. One such example that came to light recently for VKI Studios was when we conducted a research project to find out if there was any parallel between our Usability services and past business practices that may have shown similar characteristics.

This effort was in support of a white paper we had been invited to submit to a prestigious thought leadership publication called “Managing Performance; Strategies for Global Leaders”. It is being distributed to an exclusive opt-in list of C-level executives from the Global Growth 2000 companies as the definitive resource for them to use in planning and executing all performance-based aspects of their businesses for the coming 18 months. In other words, our submission had to be meaningful, engaging and relevant to the experience-set of our recipients so we were on the hook to find the most familiar analogy available, to explain a new and largely unfamiliar paradigm.

After much searching and sifting through mounds of data and documents, we were a bit surprised to find that the long-established direct mail business bore the best resemblance to the process of determining how a website should operate for optimum performance in terms of generating revenue.

As it turns out, there are several key aspects these two seemingly disparate disciplines have in common, namely; you need to be keenly aware of your demographics, you need to apply that knowledge to laser-focused targeting of your marketplace, you need to track and test every step of the way, you need to take every opportunity to upsell to your existing customer base and finally, you need to engage in a proactive post-sale follow up routine. Another way to say this is, you need to employ all of the best practices known to Applied Psychology because optimizing a websites' Usability to produce your best ROI is exactly the same in principle as fine tuning a direct mail campaign to achieve the same goal.

Since we submitted our white paper to the publisher a couple of months ago, we have started to see other articles cropping up using the direct mail analogy to shed light on Usability. It just goes to show once again, that from time to time we all find comfort and perspective in seeing things old, become new again.

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