There is a lot of confusion about what Direct Marketing is and is not. There are a couple key reasons for this: First, technology has significantly broadened the very definition of Direct Marketing, and second, many marketers confuse Direct Marketing with Direct Mail, Direct Response or a host of other “Direct” labels. Let’s clarify what is meant by the term "Direct Marketing."
Direct Marketing Defined
Direct Marketing is a communication method within the Promotional Mix. It makes use of an increasing number of communication tools and techniques, but despite all of the advances, one thing remains constant:
"Direct marketing is just that – direct. It is marketing communication directly from a business
or organization to a past, present or (hopefully) future customer or constituent."
Regardless of the tools or techniques, direct marketing communications typically have eight characteristics. Let’s take a glance at each one.
Whether it is by using your customer records, survey information or other research, a specific target audience has been identified as most likely to be interested in your product, service or cause.
Customer data you have collected supports every aspect of direct marketing communications and there are multiple points where the data is used.
The extensive use of data (and “big data”) for targeting, addressing and the creation of relevant messaging work together in an attempt to attain a certain level of closeness and intimate association with recipients.
Personalization reinforces one-to-one communication and enhances relevancy and meaning for recipients. There is a clear relationship between recipient engagement and perceived relevancy and meaning in messaging.
Studies have clearly shown that consumers respond to offers that appear to be more compelling than those that don’t – even if the net economic impact is the same.
Call to Action
An effective CTA is motivational – not just instructional. The vast majority of people know how to search the internet, send email and use a telephone. They need to be motivated to do so. Does your CTA motivate?
The goal is to enable a direct response. This can be as easy as providing recipients with a web page to visit, an email address to reply to, a pre-addressed business reply card to drop in the mailbox or a telephone number to call.
Every marketing communication method requires an investment of time and money. It’s simply prudent to
measure the return on the investment and weigh it against other communication options available to you.