There’s a lot of huffing and puffin-g around marketing, even down to definitions of words and phrases. Take Direct Marketing, which seems to have a variety of definitions, including the very limited perception that it is just another name for Direct Mail.
Regardless of channel, direct Marketing is really all about communication. The Wikipedia definition states: “Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising that allows businesses and non-profits organisations to communicate straight to the customer.”
Direct marketing is indeed channel-agnostic. And effective direct marketing needs to be targeted to a specific audience, with the individual marketing communication (through whatever channel) written and designed for the group of individuals who will receive it.
Direct marketing should also generate some kind of measurable reaction or response from the recipient – whether that be to visit (and buy from) a store, website or social media platform; to reply to an email, or to place an order by post, online, mobile or telephone.
Measuring the response to direct marketing activity can be challenging if the desired reaction is less tangible than, for example, an actual purchase or physical response to the marketer.
Over the next months we’ll cover the main channels in our blog, including the top thirteen which are (in no particular order):
- Direct Mail
- Mobile / smartphone
- Press advertising
- Inserts and product despatches
- Social Media
- Billing and loyalty devices / vouchers
- Direct Response TV
- Direct sales (eg Tupperware parties)
- Door drops
- Content marketing
The disciplines behind direct marketing carry through all of these channels. Regardless of whether you are mailing, calling, advertising or selling online, the key elements of a successful direct marketing campaign are:
- Data quality and accuracy (postal address, email address, telephone number, mobile number)
- Understanding the customer or prospect (purchase history, demographics, geography, lifestyle and affluence profiles)
- Turning data, analysis and research into insight, to ensure appropriate marketing, relevant list and media selection (online and offline); appropriate selection of channels and channel integration
- Determining offer and price
- Creating copy and design (which will need to be specific to each channel)
- Budgeting, including break-even metrics and “what-if” scenarios to evaluate and establish required financial performance
- Forecasting response and financial performance based on history and recent evidence
- Measuring performance regularly and ongoing
- Proactively developing and refining marketing strategy based on performance
- Maintaining appropriate levels of service and quality
Finally, there is a great deal of talk about integrated marketing, and while it’s an excellent start to have cohesive brand and messaging delivered through all channels, there’s more to it than that.
Targeting relevant customers through relevant channels based on what the customer wants – while allowing them to respond through their own channel of choice (which may be different again) is a vital part of any successful direct marketing campaign.
The channels should interact in a way designed to ensure engagement – maybe by moving consumers across the channels, for example from TV to social media platforms, like Daz, Innocent, Aero and by getting them involved in alternative or more complex storylines, or voting for favourite characters or flavours, or entering competitions etc. This is the sort of behaviour that engenders brand engagement, affection and loyalty.