Direct Maarketing

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Published: 17th August 2015
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Direct Marketing

Through Direct Marketing (also known as direct sales) the seller directly approaches their potential customers to sell their products/ services. The common form of this sales technique are telephonic sales, direct mailing of catalogues/ leaflets/ brochures, coupons or inserts in newspapers/ magazines, promotional letters, customer care lines, door drops, e-mails and other internet services. Unlike traditional forms of advertising like newspaper, radio, television where the advertisers are not sure that they are reaching their target market; through Direct Marketing the company's can pre-select their audiences and target them with customised e-mails and telephonic calls.

The idea of mail order was pioneered by Aaron Montgomery Ward for his Montgomery mail order business. Much later the term "Direct Marketing" was coined by Lester Winderman in 19667, and he is considered as the father of contemporary Direct Marketing. He is the brain child of the toll free number 1-800 and various loyalty marketing program.

Here the seller initiates the conversation and contact their target audience to inform them about the company's products/ services. The company maintains a large database about their customers and target audiences. In modern business scenario these database are mainly computerised and hence up gradation of information is easier and faster.

Various Definitions of Direct Marketing are as follows: -
1. "Direct Marketing is an interactive system of marketing which uses one or more advertising media to affect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location" Direct Marketing Association.

2. Direct Marketing is a form of advertising in which physical marketing materials are provided to consumers in order to communicate information about a product or service. Direct marketing does not involve advertisements placed on the internet, on television or over the radio. Types of direct marketing materials include catalogs, mailers and fliers.

3. Direct Marketing is a practice of delivering promotional messages directly to potential customers on an individual basis as opposed to through a mass media.

4. Direct marketing removes the "middle man" from the promotion process, as a company's message is provided directly to a potential customer. This type of marketing is typically used by companies with smaller advertising budgets, since they cannot afford to pay for advertisements on television and often do not have the brand recognition of larger firms" - Investopedia.

5. Direct Marketing is selling goods directly to consumers rather than through retailers, usually by mail order, direct-mail shot, newspaper advertising, door-to-door selling, telephone selling, the internet, or television home-shopping channels.

Role / Importance of Direct Marketing: -

1. Jim Kobs, author of Profitable Direct Marketing, identified various factors contributing to the rapid growth of Direct Marketing. They are as follows; -
a. Changing lifestyles of consumers played an important role in increasing acceptance of direct marketing among consumers.
b. Direct Marketing can make Personal Selling more cost effective. It generates sales leads that can be followed up with a Personal Sales call.
c. The growth of technology especially Information Technologies played an important role in success of direct marketing.
d. For placing orders customer acceptance of the telephone has increased which helped direct marketers to achieve phenomenal growth.
e. Various socio-economic factors like growing population of older generation rise in discretionary income, nuclear families and significant role of youth in buying decisions added to its success.
f. Various external factors like availability of toll-free number, credit/ debit cards awareness, increase in mobile and e-mail usage, easy availability of mailing list have also contributed to the rise and growth of direct marketing.
2. In Direct Marketing message can be customised to meet the requirement of the target market on the basis of demographic and other segmentation.
3. A tailor made Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme can be designed o suit the customers wants, needs, expectations and desires and yield positive results for the organisation.
4. It helps the marketers to identify their target audiences on the basis of identical characteristics like geographic location, demographic elements, social/cultural factors, economic attributes or even natural and technological environment and target the communication and promotional campaign on the basis of their identified target audiences.
5. It is more personalised and customised type of marketing communication technique.
6. Direct Marketing through telephonic calls, direct mailing, e-mails, using other Internet services and social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook encourages two-way dialog between both the parties and fosters better communication.
7. Direct Marketing not only informs/ intimates the customers/ target audiences but also persuade them to act.
8. Such Direct Marketing tools also help to conduct promotional programmes in a cost effective and faster way and are often considered as a specific "call to action drive".
9. Direct Marketing allows instant feedback and suggestions from customers/ potential customers.
10. Through Direct Marketing promotional and other results can be traced and measured to identify the effectiveness of IMC campaign. For e.g.: - If the marketers send 100 promotional e-mails and 20 responds to their message they can say that the campaign led directly to 20% direct response from their identified target audiences.
11. Direct Marketing is different from other marketing tools in a way that it is largely dependent upon the use of customer databases and lists.
12. Direct Marketing helps to deliver the right message, the right marketing promotional offers/ communication plan to the right person at the right time in the right way.
13. It helps the organisation not only to maintain congenial relationship with the existing customer base but also to create a new one.
14. It involves using most creative, innovative, modern and updated technique to motivate customers, attract them and retain them. It is more personalised and customised type of marketing communication technique.
15. Direct Marketing allows marketers to push their communication and promotional messages effectively and efficiently.
16. In the Macmillan Small Business Handbook, Mark Stevens identified three steps for a small business owner to take in initiating a direct marketing effort:
1) Create promotional tools (such as catalogues, advertisements, or direct mail pieces) that emphasize the benefits of the product or service;
2) Identify the target market and select mailing lists and advertising media to reach it; and
3) Monitor the results of each campaign and revise the tactics as needed to find the optimum mix of price, copy, and audience.

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