Monday, January 28, 2013

Direct Marketing: The Top Factors to Know before Implementing It

Direct marketing (DM) is one form of marketing which gives you the straight-forward way to measure the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing campaigns. And you know measuring the ROI is one of the key indicators to understand whether your business is going in the right direction or not. You easily can figure out the response rate to a well-planned and well-executed direct marketing campaign. Before planning and executing a direct marketing campaign, you might ask the following questions:

  1. What is direct marketing?
  2. What are the ways of DM?
  3. How to measure the ROI?
  4. What are the factors to consider while implementing it?
  5. What are the benefits of DM?
Direct Marketing
Here are the answers to your specific questions. Let’s first seek for the answer to the question number 1. 

What is direct marketing?
The name says all about direct marketing. Direct means direct; direct interaction between marketer and consumers including prospects; no middlemen in the marketing channel. This is one kind of two-way communication. You send a message to your customers or prospects and they respond to it. Now let’s have a look what Wikipedia says about direct marketing:
"Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising that allows businesses and nonprofits organizations to communicate straight to the customer, with advertising techniques that can include Cell Phone Text messaging, email, interactive consumer websites, online display ads, fliers, catalog distribution, promotional letters, and outdoor advertising."
Now let’s see what are the ways to implement a direct marketing campaign.

What are the ways of Direct Marketing?
There are a number of ways you can use. Here are the options:
  • Mobile Marketing – sending SMS and MMS, banner ads specially created for mobile devices, etc.
  • Email Marketing – sending messages through electronic mail.
  • Online Tools – social media, displaying interactive ads on popular blogs, and on search engines, etc.
  • Direct Mail – marketing through postal service. Customers or prospects are selected on various criteria like consumption behavior, income, age, geographic location, culture, etc.
  • Telemarketing – using telephone device to contact customers and prospects.
  • Voicemail Marketing – sending voicemail directly to the voice mailboxes of the customers and the prospects.
  • Direct Response TV and Radio – inducing viewers and listeners of the infomercial to take an action, i.e. call to action.
  • Couponing – a way to induce customer actions by an offer such as discount.
  • Direct Selling – selling directly to the customers.
  • Community Marketing – disseminating leaflets or such to a specific community where the business is operating.
Not that you are to implement each and every method. Just select those ones which best suit your product or service.

How to measure the ROI?
Measuring the response rate of direct marketing campaign is very easy. Take an example: send 100 emails containing a specific offer to your prospects and figure out how many of them respond. This is also applicable to all other direct marketing methods.
Lester Wunderman is considered as the father of direct marketing. He says:
“To this day, I believe that the most important tool available to the direct marketer is the ability to test, a form of pragmatic research that doesn’t just tell you how a customer might react to an ad but how consumers really do react.  Direct marketing makes advertising totally measurable and accountable….”
What are the factors to consider while implementing it?
Before developing a direct marketing plan, you are to research the local and international laws pertaining to the specific tool you are going to utilize. For an example, you are calling a person over telephone without his consent. So he or she might be antagonized by your call. So first know the laws.  

Receivers might mark your message as spamming. So develop a relevant message so that you can overcome it. 

Customer database is another key point to consider. Know your prospects first. If you don’t know your prospects clearly, your every step will go in vain; a well-developed message will become irrelevant. 

What are the benefits of DM?
You can get a number of benefits from a well-planned and well-executed direct marketing campaign. Off them, measurable rate of response is the first one. Specific target audience and thereby enriched customer database is another benefit which also facilitates the customer relationship management (CRM). And you know that the proper CRM only can increase the loyal customers. When you know who exactly your prospects are, you probably can reduce your marketing budget by a considerable amount. 

People often consider direct marketing as one of the aggressive ways of promoting goods or services. So you need to develop and execute the campaigns very carefully. 

Is anything missing here? Please share your views and add value to the post.

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