Two things led me to writing this post, they're both related.
1) I'm breaking down a B2B sales letter that resulted in a 75% success rate in its Objective, creating face-to-face meetings with elected officials. If you haven't seen the first couple posts, you may be interested.
2) I met with a client earlier today and one of the things we discussed we're a direct mail campaign he wants sent to professional associates. The conversation highlighted the two most important parts of any direct mail and marketing campaign: what is the purpose of your campaign and what do you want the person to do after they receive your message (read, listen or watch). You can't start a campaign and measure its effectiveness until you have these two things determined. It's not as obvious as it seems.
Marketing campaigns too often start at the beginning and work themselves forward. They should start at the end and work themselves back to the beginning. When you start with a clear picture of the desired result, you have a better chance of being successful – everything you do supports whatever you're working to achieve.
Can you think of anything more important to a marketing campaign than determining the desired result?