What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing is another category of advertising that allows businesses and organizations to have a direct communication with their customers or clients through a wide range of media, which include text, email, online adverts, fliers, promotional letters, television, newspaper etc.
This form of marketing focuses on the collation of customer data and testing. Apart from the actual direct communication, a direct marketing campaign will incorporate actionable sections and employ several options to measure performance.
There are three important concepts relevant to a direct marketing campaign
1. Ensure direct response marketing is the appropriate method for the products and services that are being promoted. To achieve an effective marketing strategy, the products and services must be considered and the best method utilized to achieve optimum results. For instance, an organization that is involved in the sales of medical apparatus will do well targeting the marketing campaigns to players in the medical line and not just to everyone.
2. Determine if the expected income to be generated from the marketing campaign will cover the expenses. This need to be much considered as direct marketing solutions can be very costly. But eventually, if the sales from the campaign far exceeds the cost of the direct mail marketing and product costs, then it will be determined to be a viable means of marketing or creating awareness for a particular product or service.
3. Direct marketing strategies should be approached as an aspect of a full marketing process. Direct marketing should just be one of the different media of marketing utilized by a business owner. The most effective marketing campaigns put the customers into much consideration and ensure that they hear about the products and services countless times before results are achieved.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DIRECT MARKETING
Direct marketing advantages and disadvantages
1. In most direct marketing companies, a database of names (customers, prospects, businesses, leads etc) are often collated alongside other important information which might include phone numbers, addresses, purchase habits, purchase history. These are used to create a target market with common interests, characteristics. It is important to note that generating this database is most of the time considered part of the direct marketing campaign examples.
2. Messages utilized in marketing are addressed directly to the customers or clients. The mode of addressing could come in different forms such as email, text, fax, postal addresses, and web cookies.
3. Direct marketing examples emphasize traceable, measurable responses. It also takes important cognizance of maximizing response rate and at the same time minimizing advertising expenses.
WHY USE DIRECT MARKETING SERVICE?
Direct sales marketing gives a business owner the opportunity to generate a response from your targeted customers. This will allow the business to focus their marketing resources at campaigns that will generate the best results.
A simple direct email marketing campaign equipped with clear call to action can assist small business increase sales, improve customer loyalty, bring back old customers and generate new leads or businesses.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF DIRECT MARKETING
Database collection is very important in direct marketing and it is necessary to note that it is just at the heart of a good marketing strategy. The database collected in a business must be accurate and up to date. With constant checking to remove double entries, make proper corrections, and delist subscribers who have asked to be delisted.
The information available to you through database is gold. It can help you as a business owner to detect your customers’ buying power and also help you detect other important information such as their ages, gender and location. With the information you have through your database, you can even go further to divide your customers into different groups and have different marketing campaigns targeted at each group.
HOW TO MEASURE THE RESULTS OF DIRECT MARKETING
Unlike advertising media or sponsorship, where it will be so difficult to measure their effects, direct marketing channels will present to you an accurate results of your campaign and it is totally accountable for. Through your direct marketing campaign, you can calculate a break-even point – the number of sales you need to have made in order to cover for your expenses for your marketing campaign results. And not only that, you can as well work out the cost per response and the actual return on investment.
CHANNELS OF DIRECT MARKETING
Forms of Direct Marketing
It is important to note that any medium that can be utilized to get communication across to a customer can as well be employed in direct marking. The most viable media in direct marketing will include.
1. EMAIL MARKETING
Email marketing is one of the most widely used channels to get across a marketing campaing to customers as well as potential customers. And this has gained so much ground in that it is relative inexpensive to utilize and has a very wide potential of reaching to a large number of people in a very short time.
2. MOBILE PHONES
With mobile devices, marketers can directly engage with prospective customers in an interactive manner. Devices such as cell phones, smart phones are now created in such as way that users can have a quick chat or interaction with quick response time. Types of mobile marketing messages could include SMS ( Short Message Service), this allows for marketing campaign to be sent through text messages directly to the phone of the customers. MMS (Multi-media message service), this allows for marketing campaigns to be sent in the form of media messages.
Another means through which marketers can get across their products and services directly to their customers is through the utilization of mobile applications. These are tools utilized on smart phones to interact in a very fast manner with the customers. With just a push message, customers can be notified of a new product or modification to an existing product right there on their mobile devices, even when they are on the move.
Telemarketing is another form of direct marketing channel widely utilized by marketers to sensitize the customers about their products and services. It is the means through customers are sensitized about a product through phone. The benefits of this are that marketers have the access to interact directly in voice time with the customers and it has the potential to increase sales.
4. VOICE MAIL MARKETING
Voicemail marketing evolved from the market prevalence of voice mailboxes. It is very effective in reaching to people by voice. Though the means can be abused by some marketers, but it has proven to be very much effective if utilized appropriately by marketers.
Broadcast faxing can as well be utilized in many direct marketing agencies. This is a process whereby faxes are sent to multiple recipients. Though faxing is less common than it used to be in the past due to the advent of modern technologies, but in its prime, it proved to be as well highly effective in getting across a marketing campaign to customers as well as potential customers.
6. DIRECT RESPONSE RADIO
In direct response radio, the components of an ad are a call to action with specific tracking mechanism. Most of the time, this tracking mechanism is a “call now” prompt through a toll free phone number, which will spur customers to put a call through to make inquiries about the desired products and services.
7. ONLINE MARKETING
This is a medium through which a marketing campaign is run on the internet through all the possible online media such as websites, blogs, article marketing, forums and so on. This means is very effective in that not it has no barrier to marketing and internet products such as information and ebooks can as well be marketed through this medium.
8. MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS
Magazines and newspaper ads most of the time include a direct call to action, such as toll free line, coupons that can be utilized directly by the consumer to retrieve a certain products in quick time. All these methods are viable real estate direct mail marketing means, simply because they allow for a direct response from the consumers.
ETHICAL CONDUCT IN DIRECT MARKETING
1. THE OFFER
Whenever an offer is made in a direct marketing campaign, all the obligations of the marketer, operator and the consumers as well should be made known to the consumers. This could be either directly or by reference to sales conditions available to the consumers at the time the offer is being made.
In a situation whereby the presentation of an offer may also feature products that are not included in the offer, this should be made clear to the consumers and they should be informed about that in the original offer.
Customers should not be made to feel like they are being coerced into getting a certain offer and marketers should also make sure they respect local cultures and behaviors to avoid offensive attitudes and response.
3. RIGHT TO WITHDRAW
In a situation whereby the customers have the right to withdraw i.e they have the right to return any goods to the marketer, or to cancel an already made order, within a certain period of time, the marketer should endeavor to make this known to the consumers if they have the right to these.
4. IDENTITY OF THE MARKETER
The identity of the marketer should be openly disclosed to the consumers. This will enable the consumers to communicate directly with the marketer and give feedbacks if there need to be one. Various means should be made available to the consumers through which they can contact the marketers and they should not be subjected to any form of stress in reaching across to the marketer.
5. RESPECTING CONSUMER WISHES
In a situation whereby a consumer has indicated not to be contacted for any marketing services. This should be much respected by the marketer. And when it is an international communication between marketers and consumers, the marketers should as much as possible try to avail themselves of the rules and regulations guiding the communication in that country. You can download a free sample of direct marketing plan template in pdf on this site