Direct Marketing Pros and Cons

The following are forms of direct marketing: Do you remember being given a flyer by someone just outside a train station, advertising a local company recently opened? Do you remember getting some letter from a company listing its line of products that you may be interested in? Do you remember getting a phone call from someone acting as a sales agent, advising you of new offers from a company?

As the name implies, direct marketing is sending information directly to consumers, without the need of so-called middle men, to advertise one’s products or services. In this way a company directly communicates with consumers. It has been around for quite some time, and shows no signs of slowing down. With emails and mobile phones, we have now seen a new form of direct marketing – receiving emails and information texts.

The strategy does have a lot of benefits for the company and consumer alike. The company can target its audience, hence save money on advertising by focusing on its niche. It also allows the company to build and maintain a good business relationship with its customers, as the company can also use the data it gathers from its direct marketing campaign to improve on current services, or perhaps add another one that may have been recommended by a customer. Letters sent to customers usually allow them to write something, either a reaction or a suggestion, sent back to the company. Direct marketing also lets companies get the quickest results for its campaigns as the information are sent directly to customers who reply within a specified time.

Direct marketing does have its share of disadvantages. Many people don’t like the idea of getting ‘junk mail’ or ‘junk texts’ from marketing companies. Instead of winning customers over, some companies risk alienating these same customers. Also, the fact of how they got the customer’s email address or mobile number becomes an issue. Some people see this already as an invasion of privacy. Companies also send out letters and sometimes even product examples to potential customers. With the rise in environmental awareness nowadays, some are saying that this form of marketing takes its toll on nature as it adds to the waste produced annually. There are also some places which ban the distribution of fliers and advertising in the streets. This limits the reach of companies using this strategy.

Direct marketing as a form of delivering information to the market about a company still remains a good way to reach out to potential customers.

Check this out for more information on direct marketing and niche marketing.

Direct Marketing Automation – Your Most Reliable Marketing Strategist

Marketing Automation is an evolving concept and that’s why it does not come as a surprise that only a few marketing companies are actually using it. There are, of course, many companies waiting eagerly to climb the bandwagon, so it is a probability that we will see a decent surge in the number of companies and marketers using the direct marketing automation concept in the coming year.

Modern marketers exposed to the evolving technologies and advanced tools in marketing believe that marketing automation would be at the core of marketing activities of businesses of all types and sizes, in the not-too-distant future and they could be spot-on in their assessment. Marketing automation can be used to bring together tactics, technology, strategies and software to automate and streamline tasks that are repetitive, saving marketing professionals time and effort. Direct automation software can also be used for accurately monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and initiatives.

Create Winning Strategies and Tactics

It is commonsense that strategy and tactics are key elements of a successful marketing campaign. Strategies help create the main framework and provide marketers the big picture. Tactics involve the implementation part of the marketing plan. These two elements must work together in synchrony for direct automation to produce results.

Automation tools must be customized to make an impact on every business, depending on the size and nature of operations of an enterprise. It must also be suitably tweaked to meet individual marketing strategies. However, some elements of marketing automation are constant to all. These include generation of quality leads, conversion of leads to sales, increasing revenue, nurturing prospects for future use, and personalizing the experience of customers. In many ways, marketing automation focuses beyond direct sales.

Helps Nurture and Develop Long Term Relationships

Marketers believe that by using the right marketing software platform, they can nurture human relationships more effectively. Nurturing long term relationships is central to effective marketing.

Marketing Automation works through the process of automated tracking and monitoring of individual prospects on the company’s website. The marketing team can use the various automation tools to decipher prospect’s interests, needs and goals. It provides marketers the input needed to create personalized campaigns based on user behavior. Direct marketing automation tools can be used to create enticing offers that are sharply relevant to each individual prospect.

With the best automation software, you will be able to collect data about prospects which can help in grouping them based on their common interests, behavior and demographics. The segmentation of customers is a much desired marketing activity because not only does it save marketers time but also helps take the guesswork out of larger marketing campaigns. Management of campaigns can become easier and the campaigns can become more focused and effective.

Direct marketing automation tools are being effectively used for monitoring social media campaigns. Its growing popularity stems from the fact that automation is easy to use, affordable and has the ability to create strategies that can be long term winners.

Five Steps to A Profitable Direct Marketing Campaign

Direct marketing is when you want to reach out and touch your target audience in a personal way; not mass marketing such as through a radio or television commercial. Direct marketing can be extremely cost-effective if done correctly. Examples of direct marketing include;

  • personal letters or e-mails
  • personalized e-news
  • brochures sent directly
  • explainer video
  • trade show stand
  • boardroom lunch

These five tips will help you maximize your ROI (return on investment)

1. Set your budget

What results do you need to achieve from your direct marketing campaign? This can be decided on by factors such as;

  • sales made
  • phone calls converted
  • units sold
  • new contacts made
  • interest generated
  • referrals generated

Your target should be whatever are the optimum results suitable for your business. This will help you set a reasonable budget and decide how large your target audience will be.

2. Find your target audience

The point of direct marketing is to direct a specific message to a specific audience. It’s not one size fits all. If you have a varied customer or potential customer base, then segment your market. Send them a marketing message that resonates with them. You can segment your target audience several ways including;

  • geographically
  • by gender
  • by age
  • by specific interest
  • business sales (B2B) versus consumer sales (B2C)
  • new customers only
  • only customers who have purchased from you before

Create a marketing message specific to the group you are targeting. What will be the greatest benefit of using your product or service? What problem are you solving? And don’t think only about offering discounts. People’s purchasing behavior can be based on a variety of factors including;

  • convenience (how easy to purchase)
  • perceived quality
  • uniqueness
  • price
  • reputation (of the company or product)
  • relevance to them
  • competitor alternatives

3. Determine your method

How will you send your information?

  • Mail?
  • E-mail?
  • Video?
  • Catalogue?
  • Personal delivery?
  • Gathering at your office?

The first two steps will help determine how you will communicate what you have to say. If you are in B2B (business-to-business) sales your method will likely be different from B2C (business-to-consumer) sales.

4. Cut through the noise

You probably hear a lot of the importance of standing out from the crowd; because it’s true. With people expose to an average of 5,000 advertisements every day, you need to think about how to be compelling, relevant and MEMORABLE. Some ideas to do this include:

  • use of photographs
  • vivid colours or images
  • eye-catching titles or subject lines
  • interesting paper – marble effect, embossed, etc
  • unusual shapes

However, gimmicks do not take the place of GENUINELY USEFUL CONTENT and INFORMATION YOUR CUSTOMER REALLY NEEDS.

5. Evaluate your results

The reaction to your direct marketing campaign will tell you what you need to do to improve your next direct marketing campaign. Some questions that you should ask yourself include:

  • Did I meet or exceed my goals?
  • What was my ROI? (return on investment)
  • Was my segmentation effective?
  • Did I hit the right target audience?
  • Was the marketing message pitch-perfect for the audience?
  • What did my recipients respond to most strongly?
  • Were there any errors that I could have caught?
  • Why did the people who bought buy?
  • Did I receive any customer compliments, comments, or complaints?
  • What one aspect could I tweak for a better result?

Direct marketing is a powerful tool to reach customers. By following these steps, you can cost-effectively maximize your profits.