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The U of YOU


What's the most powerful word in direct marketing? It's not "Free." It's not "Exclusive." It's not even the combination of words that make up "This is a limited-time offer. Act now. Agents are standing by."

It's YOU.

YOU is the most powerful word you can use in direct marketing.

Direct  marketing has changed — a lot — since we founded B Direct 20years ago (let alone since the Bs started their individual careers). We've worked through the advent of websites, the dawn of emails, the rise of social media. We've seen the industry survive and thrive through digital transformation. We've helped clients cope with postage increases, "Do not call" lists, and CAN-SPAM. But, the bottom line is that some of the basics don't change. Like the power of YOU.

It's not about us. It's not even about our clients' often wonderful products and services. It's about YOU. When we sit down to brainstorm, create concepts, write copy, or design, we need to focus on YOU, on the person we will be reaching — if we've one it right — persuading and affecting.

When it comes to marketing, YOU matters. It's human nature to be at least a little self-absorbed. Even the most selfless people want to know why your marketing message is relevant to them specifically.

Here's an exercise that can help put more YOU into your marketing. Take the copy from your website, capabilities brochure, ad, or direct mail. Use two highlighters — let's say yellow and pink. Every time you come across the word YOU or some version thereof (your, yours, you're, you'll ...) highlight it with yellow. Next, every time you find words that describe the marketer (the company or product name, or any versions of first-person words like I and we), highlight them in pink.

As you've probably guessed, the goal is to have more (much more) YOU (yellow) than us (pink).

If, like so many marketers, you've been beating your own drum (or chest), you'll want to do some editing and change the focus. Here are some ways you can take advantage of the power of YOU:

  • Rewrite any Features as Benefits
  • Describe the audience's current challenges
  • Explain how they'll be able to overcome them
  • Walk them through a before and after scenario
  • List everything they're going to get
  • Promise they'll be satisfied
  • Make them feel special and appreciated
  • Persuade them to take action

The power of YOU can lead to the result you and all marketers are after. Your audience will connect what you're marketing with their needs, goals, or maybe even dreams. Effective use of YOU can help convince them, "This is for ME."


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