Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Marketing – The Ups and Downs of Marketing Direct

Direct marketing remains a powerful media channel. Yet, in today’s multimedia environment some question the value of direct marketing. The best way to pin down the truth of that sentiment is to look at the advantages and disadvantages of direct marketing vs. digital marketing.

Advantages of Marketing Direct

Remains an effective and popular media channel. In a survey of marketers, 57% said they considered print media such as white papers and research reports effective. Besides its effectiveness, it’s also still popular. For example, 61% of marketers use white papers.

A workhorse media channel that educates, brands, and more. The bread-and-butter of B2B marketing consists of educating potential buyers about complex products and solutions. You have research reports, brochures, and data sheets, to name a few. Marketing direct also offers a cradle-to-grave solution that includes branding, lead generation, and customer nurturing.

Tailored content to targeted audience. Marketing content comes in various forms to address prospects’ needs in any phase of the buying cycle. So B2B marketers can easily tailor their information to a specific audience. Why is that important? It’s essential because it ensures you provide relevant, useful and timely information your prospects want and need.

Disadvantages of Marketing Direct

Social media’s explosive growth will crush marketing direct. Trends clearly show growth in online and mobile media consumption. Meanwhile growth in marketing direct shows no growth. We may have reached an inflection point, with digital media being the preferred way to engage prospects.

Decision makers don’t have time to read. Today’s marketing makes reading optional. Media-rich tools like blogs, micro-blogs, SlideShare, Vimeo, You Tube, photos (Pinterest) and infographics, deliver marketing messages quickly and easily, while entertaining you.

Real-time marketing can’t be beaten. Social media’s growth in part depends on its instantaneous messaging and responsiveness. You can post a social media tweet or post and have it reach your target audience in seconds. Customer engagement with social media is unrivaled.

Go with Tried-and-True or Up-and-Coming?

In nutshell, marketing direct clearly remains a stalwart. It’s effective. It’s efficient. And it’s still highly consumable in the B2B space.

On the flip side, growth in digital marketing shows impressive growth. It’s catching on fast. Given this backdrop, rather than throwing your eggs in one basket, you can benefit from combining marketing direct and digital.

Combining them helps smooth out the ups and downs of both for maximum effectiveness. The synergies of these two offer more than either channel can deliver on its own.

That makes a strong case for continuing to exploit both. Looking at them this way, you’ll maximize your marketing spend and produce more engaging, relevant, and consumable marketing content.

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.

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.

Using Direct Marketing to Increase Profits

Direct marketing has earned its place as a cheap way to create leads that transform to fresh business opportunities. One of the often used methods is direct mail. For a business to succeed in this area, a perfect choice of marketer must be made. The business must look for a company with a good reputation and experience. Majority of firms that purport to promote direct marketing are the “fly by night” category or the shady type with nothing to show. Their ability to generate a mailing list and offer telemarketing services should be near perfect.

Telemarketing is a sub-branch of direct marketing where consumers are contacted directly via phone. It has gained popularity due to increased usage and penetration of the mobile phone. Telemarketing leads reach a wide spectrum of consumers among them professionals and businesspeople. Direct mail has traditionally been used to send printed or illustrated material to selected prospects.

If used properly, direct marketing can help increase a business’ profits in as short period as a month. Direct mail can be customized as the needs of a business may change from time to time. This makes it very flexible. To develop important leads, first identify the market segment you wish to address. For instance, if you are selling supplements, you may target first time mothers who want to lose the extra weight gained during pregnancy. Another group may consist of men in the middle age brackets, who simply want to eat healthy food.

After the market is identified, look for a direct mail services provider. Request them for a mailing list. In some cases, you will buy this list at a small fee. Customized letters are then created. To use this direct marketing method effectively, the letters should enumerate the benefits of the products or services on offer. They are then posted to the respective addresses as detailed on the mailing list. The responses arising out of this are the leads which if aggressively followed will translate to sales.

The company can assess the success or failure of a direct marketing campaign. For example the direct mail letters may request a prospect to quote a number, code or tear off a coupon and present it on the next purchase. When the customers start making inquiries, the code numbers will be noted and entered into a special database created for this purpose. Once the leads have been entered, any subsequent sale will be marked against its respective lead. At the end of the campaign all sales arising from the direct mail promotion will be used to determine profit volumes.

Direct marketing is not entirely a new concept. Direct mail campaigns have been carried out for a while now. The method is cheap as compared to placing advertisements in newspapers, printing poster or buying prime time on television stations. It generates more leads and is easy to monitor. Telemarketing services can be used together with direct mail as tools to bring large volumes of leads hence more business as it connects with clients.