Marketing Focus – Direct Marketing
According to the Direct Marketing Association it is “The advertising process by which a company communicate directly with a customer or prospect in order to stimulate an action; usually by mail, telephone, couponed advertisement or leaflet.”
I think this is an excellent definition, but of course it is missing email, a very important part of direct marketing in this modern age.
Why is it important?
Direct marketing is smart marketing which is trying to elicit a response from your target market, be it filling in a form, registering for a competition or buying a product as part of a special offer.
Its key elements are:
- Targeting – correctly identifying your target market and then finding a way to reach them through buying databases, advertising in targeted publications, or piggy-backing appropriate communication methods such as email newsletters.
- Control – This is a highly measurable medium as there is a clear call to action. This can enable testing of copy, artwork and offer with control groups to improve responses and you should be monitoring your ROI on each campaign.
- Continuity – Don’t forget about people once they have contacted you or become a client, direct marketing is perfect for communicating with your database and encouraging further purchases.
Can it work for you?
I believe that direct marketing is the best method for small companies with a limited budget as it is the most focused form of marketing which concentrates heavily on results. Here are a number of ways you can use it:
- If you’re advertising it should be an ad with a very strong call to action to maximise the impact from your spend.
- Leaflets should have reference codes, coupons or offers on them which require the customer to bring the leaflet into you so you can monitor just how well it’s working.
- Emails should lead back to your website and encourage people to take part, either to register for something or to buy.
For a small business marketing should not just be about awareness building, everything you do should try to elicit a response.
What are the pitfalls?
Be aware that regulation on direct marketing is changing all the time and data protection regulations are being strongly enforced in Spain and the UK. If you are building a database through networking, logging enquiries and researching the market you should work on the opt-in rule – email them to let them know you’d like to include them on your mailing list and only include those which say yes. Always include an opt-out facility on every email you send and use a mailing programme which takes the data automatically off your list if someone does opt out so you don’t bother them.
There has recently been changes to the telephone regulations in Spain, so do your research and make sure you comply. Also take very good care of your data and never sell or give data to other companies. If you comply with these simple rules you’ll keep your contacts and the regulators happy.
Direct Marketing is highly developed in the UK with companies selling high quality, highly segmented data for this purpose. Unfortunately for businesses here there is a lack of quality data available so it is often better to piggy-back a relevant website’s newsletter for example than try to buy a database of your own.
Don’t overuse your database – Once you have built a database of your own through marketing beware of contacting them too often as they’ll get annoyed and opt-out. Contact should be made regularly where appropriate and only if you have something interesting to say to your audience. There are no hard and fast rules regarding frequency, if you’re not sure why not ask them by using a survey? At least then they’ll feel involved!
How can we help?
Shaw Marketing Service can help you with direct marketing through advertising, leaflets and emails. We can advise you on strategy, produce the materials, manage the send and monitor the results. If you’d like to have a free consultation on direct marketing please email email@example.com