Why Use Direct Marketing for Your Marketing Campaign?

Well, the good news is, you now have the opportunity to plan a really great marketing campaign. The bad news is, your boss actually expects to see results!

Let’s take a look at your budget. You have $20,000 to spend? That’s a big budget! Really cool! Now… let’s see what kind of campaign we can come up with. To start, we need a really great Creative Concept. What self respecting marketing campaign goes without a creative concept? Then of course, we just have to have that huge full page advertisement in the most prominent daily. Maybe a short burst on the radio or television would be good.

With $20,000? You could not even get out of the door with that campaign. Let us put things into perspective. You have a marketing campaign to run, and you need to see results. So, you need to have a solid marketing concept, then you need to have a great marketing plan to execute that marketing concept. So, besides the creative concept (it ain’t free!), the marketing plan and the execution, then you have to create the visuals and get down to the actual print work, online stuff and so on. Now, if you want to know the RESULTS, you will also need to budget some kind of market survey. This is needed to see a before/after scenario. Otherwise, your marketing campaign is over, how do you know what the results are?

As a small marketer, you need to be aware that you are constrained by budgets. You do not have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on an elaborate marketing campaign. Just to raise consumer awareness using a traditional advertising campaign will require a frequency of exposure that will likely make it beyond the reach of most small to medium sized companies.

But all is not lost. Direct Marketing is a very powerful and often over-looked tool in the marketer’s arsenal. Your marketing campaign can be made so much more targeted and results more grounded by employing direct marketing in the campaign.

A quick definition, direct marketing as we are talking about here, refers to any kind of direct response marketing that is targeted to an individual (as much as it is possible to do so). Examples of direct marketing would be

– Flyers mailed to a customer

– Email campaign

– Coupons

Of course, there are other direct marketing methods, and the above is just a sampling. Why would you want to add direct marketing to your marketing campaign? On the surface, it always looks like direct marketing is much more expensive than a general advertising above-the-line program. Your $20,000 above can easily translate to a few advertisements in several local print media and reach hundreds of thousands of people.

But consider this:

– direct marketing is highly targeted, noise (wastage) is extremely low

– direct marketing allows a direct response

– direct marketing is easily tracked (from a returned coupon, a phone call, a form…)

Your $20,000 can be well spent if you set aside a portion of it to create a flyer with a simple discount coupon and mail it to your customer base. This simple action, would have increased the power of your marketing campaign at many levels. While your print advertisements will reach its hundreds of thousands, the flyer will reach your existing customers. They will USE the coupons, get a discount and actually buy something from you. Therein lies the “results” that your boss is so hungry for!

Better yet, the side effect is that for everyone who has seen the advertisement, but is not a customer, they have no discount coupon! Now THAT will surely spur them to try to get on your mailing list. Suddenly, it becomes important.

Word of mouth now comes into play. OK, before we get too carried away by how exciting a simple direct marketing campaign can become, let’s get back on track.

Your simple print advertising campaign, supplemented with a small direct marketing campaign can yield results for your marketing campaign that would be significant. Don’t get me wrong, it is doubtful that a $20,000 marketing campaign can beat a $2 million advertising blitz, but working within your means, the addition of direct marketing will add a measure of impact that is more than worth its cut of your budget.

Think on it. Happy marketing!

Direct Marketing – 5 Essential Components of Successful Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing produced $2.05 trillion in sales in 2012. That represents about 8.7% of US GDP in 2013. This implies several key points.

First, competition in direct marketing is stiff. With all those advertisement dollars being spent on direct marketing, you need to ensure your message is getting through and being heard. Second, with stiff competition, you need to craft compelling messages, not once, but repeatedly. You need to do this effectively and efficiently, if you want to do more than just tread water.

Thus, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that optimizes your budget spend by employing direct marketing more effectively. Here are 5 essential components of successful direct marketing.

1) Deliver a Compelling Sales Message

Several elements go into creating a compelling sales message. Successful sales letters and other marketing content must be relevant, useful, and persuasive. Marketing content that works grabs your prospect’s attention, shows uniqueness, and builds trust with your prospect. Employ these three elements in all your direct marketing content.

· WIIFM – Tell your prospect exactly what’s in it for him or her.

· Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Clearly describe why your solution is the superior one.

· Testimonials – Let your satisfied customers “sell” for you.

2) Follow-up Leads Promptly to Attract and Engage Your Prospect’s Attention

You might have a lead-generating sales letter, but if you don’t follow-up, valuable leads will slip through the cracks. Follow-up a live event with a phone call, an email, or a letter that invites the prospect to take the next step.

Offer a free demonstration of your product or service. Set up an appointment with a subject matter expert who can go into greater detail on how your company’s solution works, and why it’s better than the competition’s. Then, before the scheduled demonstration, send a white paper that explains your product in detail.

Follow-up, engage and spark your prospect’s interest in your solution.

3) Promote Your Brand

Benefits from branding give companies and edge over competitors that don’t brand. Branding helps position your product or service favorably. It also gives you pricing and distribution power. The takeaway is: never miss an opportunity to brand.

Direct marketing affords you many online and off-line media to build brand awareness. Online media: (1) Banner advertising; (2) Blogs; (3) Email; and (4) Website. Off-line media: (1) Print advertising – sales letters, postcards, brochures; (2) Press Releases; and (3) Public Relations.

4) Nurture the New Customer Relationship

Lead nurturing is just as important as lead acquisition. Most companies want to develop long-term relationships with customers. That’s because they become repeat customers. And, over time, repeat customers generate more sales and profits to your bottom line.

Outbound marketing provides many ways to build and maintain a thriving lead nurturing program. You can employ email, direct mail, social media, mobile, podcasts, seminars, phone calls, and videos.

5) Integrate and Synchronize Online and Off-line Direct Marketing

To optimize your message and direct marketing budget, success lies in finding the right mix of online and off-line methods. One method isn’t necessarily better than another. Instead, the secret sauce to successful direct marketing depends on how you weave these various methods together.

You can integrate and synchronize these methods along the sales cycle beginning with message delivery. Start with a sales letter, follow-up with a phone call or email. Refer your prospect to your website for deeper marketing content, and don’t forget to brand throughout this process.

Achieving the right marketing mix produces a “multiplier effect” that helps you close sales faster and easier. Employing different media in a consistent and coherent manner working towards the same goal optimizes your marketing efforts.

Don’t Overlook the Value of Direct Marketing

With so much attention focused on inbound marketing lately, it’s easy to overlook direct marketing’s benefits. However, as you can see, it still commands the lion’s share of sales. Therefore, it’s prudent to examine your marketing strategy’s focus and align your budget accordingly.

Before you undertake a direct marketing campaign, employ these five essential components to compete effectively and efficiently for that $2.05 trillion market.

A Buyers Guide to Direct Marketing Services

There is a tremendous growth and change occurring in the sphere of business marketing across the world today. This is largely due to the unprecedented pace of change in technology, entrepreneurial tactics and an open attitude towards new theories and concepts in marketing itself.

Direct Marketing is a subsection of marketing that focuses on planned recording, analysis and tracking of individual customers’ responses and transactions for the purpose of developing and prolonging mutually profitable customer relationships. Direct marketing can be aimed either at the individual consumer or on a business-to-business (B2B) level. This form of marketing attempts to send messages directly to the intended client by means of addressable media such as mail and email. In this way direct marketing differs from regular advertising in that it does not place its messages in the public market such as radio, billboards and magazines etc.

A distinction has to be drawn between direct marketing and what is known as junk mail or spam. Whilst direct marketing is very often criticised for generating unwanted solicitations, spam and bulk mail drops are not true forms of direct marketing as recipients are not identified as prospects by any form of selective criteria. Direct marketing on the other hand is a form of advertising based on a very selective process by which potential clients are screened according to certain levels of eligibility in accordance with the product being promoted. Direct marketing makes use of addressable as well as non-addressable media. Addressable media entails such forms as email, telemarketing and short message service (SMS) on mobile phones, although face-to-face contact is not considered a form of addressable media. Non-addressable media takes the form of mail outs and flyers, where no immediate user input is required. The important thing is that both these forms of direct marketing seek a response, and it is this which the marketer bases their future actions, or contact strategy on.

Some of the advantages of direct marketing are listed below:

Specific targeting

Clearly, the most important aspect of direct mail is that it can be targeted ‘exactly’ at the specific, individual, customer.

Personalization

Direct mail can address the customer personally. If the full benefits of precision marketing are exploited, it can be directly tailored to his or her needs (interactively based upon prior experience, as recorded on the database).

Optimization

Because of its direct response nature, the marketing campaign can be tested and varied to obtain the optimal results.

Accumulation

Responses can be added to the database, allowing future mailings to be even better targeted.

Flexibility

A direct mail campaign can be mounted quickly on a wide variety of topics within an overall promotional campaign.

When searching for potential services to assist you in your campaign of direct marketing, there are various aspects which need to be taken into consideration in order to gain the most out of your promotion.

At the core of any direct marketing campaign is the customer database. Most direct marketing services will offer recourse to their databases. For this reason it is necessary to choose the marketing service that will be able most accurately cater to your specific needs. Different service providers specialise in different market areas, for instance consumer marketing, or B2B marketing, as well as group variables, such as income, age, and lifestyle. The solution to this target audience will most likely come from your own database of customers or prospects. On the other hand, being selective by choosing only those who will be susceptible to the mailing saves on cost and also protects the investment in the database, by not exposing recipients to volumes of unwanted and irrelevant mail.

The most important question to ask when investing in an external list is how accurate it actually is. The source of many lists may be suspect as they are frequently derived from subscribers to magazines or respondents to free offers. This audience may not be the ideal prospects to your campaign, but then again this may be the only way in which you can reach your target market. Lists may also be out of date, for instance 12 per cent of the UK population changes address every year, which means they may need ‘cleaning’ (for example, to remove duplicate entries or to update contacts within organisations). Usually the only adequate way of finding out how useful a list really is, is to run a test mailing, even though it might represent an investment of time and money.

As mentioned above, the most productive mailing list is one that you have compiled yourself. Unfortunately, these lists are often the most neglected. For most direct marketing companies, such lists are their single most precious asset. Even in organisations with more general fields of operation, the data obtained as a result of those operations (enquiries, face-to-face selling, exhibitions, direct mail, etc.) should all be regarded as highly valuable. Data should be consolidated and protected so that they are usable, and useful, as a direct input to all marketing activities – especially for precision marketing.

When approaching prospective direct marketing companies, it is good to know what kind of products and services to expect, and how these can help you in your campaign. Generally speaking, marketing companies should be able to offer access to a specified name database, made up of prospective clients as set out by your needs. You have to consider that different companies have varying databases that cater for differing needs. It is thus up to you to find the one most suited to your requirements. Furthermore, direct marketing companies should offer services such as:

– Databases specified to cover various forms of media, i.e. mailing data, telemarketing and email data.

– Segmentation of data into areas such as job title, geographical location and industry classification.

– Data cleansing and verification services

– Data enhancement as well as analytic and strategic consulting.

Some emerging channels which hold interesting possibilities in the future include:

Digital Cable:

Cable television has never enabled highly targeted direct marketing to become successful. Digital cable is seen as the solution that will make the delivery of personalised marketing content via television possible.

Wireless:

To date, the majority of wireless marketing was constrained to text based SMS services, but with the advent of 3G, the promise of delivering richer content has gained more interest from marketers.

Internet:

Banner advertisements are often considered indirect advertising, but in many cases, companies like Google and Yahoo serve advertisements on their websites for their own purposes.

Political campaigns:

Recently, political campaigns have begun to appropriate the methods of direct marketers (or to employ direct marketing companies) to raise money and create activism.

Once you have acquired all the relevant data regarding your target audience, factors such as the channels you choose and the timing of the delivery (e.g. time of year or even day of the week) can play a major role in the effectiveness of your campaign. The correct marketing service will be well equipped to assist you through all these areas.

Some Key Benefits of Direct Marketing

Nowadays, there is intense competition between many companies which offer similar products or services. Marketing which includes advertising and promotion of a particular product or service is vital for any company to survive in this highly competitive world. One of the best forms of marketing in today’s world is direct marketing. There are various benefits of direct marketing for any company, immaterial of its size.

Generally, the budget for direct marketing is much lower when compared to the other forms of marketing. It is therefore a favourite for small and medium-sized companies. According to the Direct Marketing Association, direct marketing involves interactivity, using advertising media. Direct marketing is targeted directly at prospective and existing customers. By getting direct responses from them, it is possible to measure various aspects in a more accurate manner.

Before proceeding with mass production, a company may want to test out a new product. By checking all the direct responses from prospective or current end-users, it is possible to estimate whether the product would generate good sales for the company. Another great benefit is that companies have the chance to make the necessary improvements for their current products or services based on direct response data. The data can also used for future product innovations or creation of new and better services.

Apart from the aforementioned benefits, there are higher chances of sales due to the more direct approach of advertising and promotion. Direct marketing can also create many good leads, which could increase the business prospects of a company. Currently direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail marketing and television marketing which uses a direct response approach are the most effective means of direct marketing. Direct mail involves the usage of postal service. Based on lists obtained from the internet or any other source, it is possible for a company to send free samples, leaflets, catalogues or other promotional items to certain people through mail or post.

Generally, telemarketing is more expensive compared to direct mail. Direct calls are made to people based on specific lists. The same approach is used for e-mail marketing. Promotional and advertising type e-mails are sent out to some people based on certain lists. In the case of television marketing, which uses direct response approach, there are two main types – the long form (infomercial) or short form. Companies which use any of these forms expect direct responses from TV viewers through toll-free phone numbers or online site visits.

In short, there are many benefits of direct marketing for any company, irrespective of its size. With direct marketing, it is possible for a company to increase its overall sales, enjoy a higher number of loyal customers and improve its current products or services for better sales. A company can also test out its new product or service. By using the direct response database, it is possible for a company to invent a future and better product or create a new and better service.