Direct Marketing Techniques – Profiling and Targeting

Direct marketing techniques have over recent years become more sophisticated in order for businesses across many sectors to be able to compete with the best or to at least maximise their potential client base. Direct marketing techniques have not become more sophisticated in terms of making drastic changes, but the way in which certain aims and objectives are approached. Profiling and targeting is just one of those direct marketing techniques in which the approach has changed over recent years.

Companies that undertake direct marketing campaigns have had to change due to other marketing techniques being not only very popular, but also very competitive. For example, over the past decade or so, on-line marketing has become one of the most used marketing methods, but at the same time it’s the most competitive and can cost a fortune to ‘get noticed’ on-line; not always the case, but is a regular occurrence.

What does Profiling and Targeting enable Businesses to Achieve?

Profiling and Targeting enables businesses to target certain types of people; class, background, interests, gender and so forth. This certainly helps businesses to target individuals or groups of people that are more likely to be interested in the service or product that the business is offering. For example, SAGA, who specialise in services and products for the over 50’s group would not be maximising their marketing campaign if half of their leaflets were distributed to home owners that are under 50.

Therefore, there is much less chance of the marketing budget being wasted. Even though a business may profile and target their clients in a professional manner, this does not guarantee a successful direct marketing campaign. Other elements of the campaign must also be enticing, relevant and stand out from the competition I.e. a company should brand their products, services etc so that they appeal to the market in which they are trying to target; you would not have a dull looking leaflet if you are promoting holidays abroad – it just doesn’t work!

Whereas, if the leaflet stands out and appeals to the correct target audience, then there’s more chance of maximising your profits or achieving your overall aim of the direct marketing campaign.

How Does Profiling and Targeting Work?

OK, so once you’ve decided upon the type of marketing technique(s) e.g. leaflet distribution, there are certain aspects that need to be analysed on an in-depth basis – no stone should be left unturned, after all it’s your money that could not only be wasted, but leave you with the impression that your campaign didn’t work for the wrong reasons.

These are the steps in which you need to take when it comes to profiling and targeting effectively: –

  • Quality Assurance through planning – aspects such as identifying your target market (social class etc), decide on the number of leaflets you will distribute are determined at this stage.
  • Targeted Marketing Solutions – Understand your customers; look at the demographics of similar existing customers.
  • Geo demographic targeting – some direct marketing agencies will use software that targets customers demographically and can be the difference between a very successful and not so successful campaign.
  • Analyse statistics – ensure that statistics used from data bases are analysed in-depth so that opportunities are less likely to be missed and acted upon.

Direct marketing agencies that provide targeting and profiling services should be able to give you a good insight and understanding of what is required and the steps that would be potentially best to follow.

Procedures must also be followed but also flexible when needed to be i.e. agencies should be able to adapt to problems/issues in order for your business to gain maximum exposure.

What Is Direct Marketing and Direct Mail?

Direct marketing is good only for mass marketers and mail-order firms.

Sales and marketing executives, influenced by the number of mailings they see for magazine subscriptions and mail-order firms, may conclude that direct marketing is unsuited for their business. Mail order is only one purpose for direct marketing and rarely sells anything through the mail, is not appropriate for big-ticket items.

Although it’s a challenge to sell an expensive item strictly by mail order, direct marketing can play an important part in generating leads and in supporting the efforts of salespeople, has been used to help sell diamond jewellery, sports car, expensive travel, real estate, yachts, antiques and collectibles, mutual funds, and just about every other product you can think of.

Direct marketing is accountable. It’s advertising you can justify and track. It’s ideally suited for small business, it can be adopted to fit your budget and your changing business goals. Originally direct marketing referred to a direct sale, as in mail order, but today it’s used to accomplish many marketing goals. Direct mail and direct marketing are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, may take many forms and use most media; it is not limited to the mail although mail is the most popular medium, gives you many options beyond sending self-contained mailers, and it includes most, if not all, advertising media.

-Magazine and newspapers
-Free standing inserts

Direct marketing focuses on providing benefits for buyers, and the chapters on constructing creative mailers and campaigns focus on the power of benefits.

If you don’t already think about your marketing in terms of benefits, now is a good time to start. Direct mail is like no other form of advertising in that you control the medium and the message. When you buy an ad in a magazine or newspaper or a commercial on the radio, you’re buying only a portion of the medium. With direct mail your message is alone. You control everything, from the size, texture, and colour of the paper you use to the number of pages and the way you address your potential clients or customers. In addition to controlling your message, you control who receives it and when. You can send one message to your existing customers and another to potential ones, or in the case of business mailings, to people in a specific industry or profession.

Direct marketing is the most testable form of advertising. Every mailing and every direct response advertisement you run is an opportunity for you to test something and gain information that can help improve your marketing in the future.

To be effective in direct mail, it’s not necessary to mail to every breathing human being, just to those people who are your most likely customers or who are already your customers. Start thinking in terms of precise targeting

Some Important Direct Marketing Services Tools

Marketing is one of the most important tasks that are conducted by almost all the business types to make the customers aware about the benefits related to the product. This strategy further helps in increasing the productivity of the company and reaps substantial profits. In order to initialize good sales, the company not just relies on advertisements, but also transforms business strategies into useful marketing techniques that can raise the productivity. Direct marketing is one of the new trends in the market, which involves selling the product directly to the customers, bypassing distribution channels and other intermediaries. There are various direct marketing tools such as advertising, database, telephone marketing and internet marketing to reach the customers in the most convenient form.

· Advertising

The ability to build a brand name and create awareness among the people about the product is done with the assistance of advertising. This technique helps in pulling the customers to physical or online stores and is considered as push advertising that makes use of fliers, direct mail, coupon, social media with call back numbers and even door to door visits to publicize the product and also its services directly to the customers.

· Internet marketing

This is another strategy that is considered as a form of direct marketing and is quite popular among various business organizations of its ease of use, low advertising cost and also the ability to reach a wide spectrum of audience. It is one of the primary tools for delivering personalized marketing messages directly to the individuals as well as businesses. Nowadays, most of the businesses are also making use of social media techniques such as Facebook, Twitter and many other social networking sites. The best part about this service is that it drives marketing relationships with potential customers by also making use of email marketing campaigns.

· Database

The most important requirement of direct marketing services is that it requires direct business to customer contact and hence a database helps in generating names and contact information of potential customers that can be directly contacted for marketing the product or service. There are many businesses that create their own database by compiling a list of clients to contact them either through email, call or SMS.

However, it is important to keep in mind that marketing is subject to certain rules and regulations and make sure that you are not troubling the customer by making calls on ‘Do not call’ list and other requirements that are aimed at protecting consumer privacy.