Direct marketing, not to be confused with “direct mail,” is a highly successful form of marketing. Generally centered around a promotion or campaign designed to reach the consumer directly (vs. indirectly like radio, print and TV
advertising), direct marketing can help businesses leverage their marketing budget wisely to thrive in any economic condition. Common forms of direct marketing may include direct mail, door-to-door canvassing, telemarketing, email marketing, catalogs, coupons and search engine marketing.
The end game in direct marketing is to solicit a measurable response to a specific “call to action.” It may be to call an advertised number for information, visit a web site or the ultimate response of making a sale. Before we look at how you can utilize direct marketing, let’s consider two common sense rules in marketing. First, marketing strategies that do not yield a return on your investment should always be reconsidered. Rarely, however, can that assessment be made after “one” attempt. Second, marketing never stops.
Your budget does not dictate whether you market, it simply governs how you market.
Direct marketing entails speaking directly to the end consumer and is often unsolicited. You may use your own data base of customers and prospects, purchase a list based on desired demographics, obtain local lists through various channels or contact your local post office for assistance with general local mailing. Traditionally a three-step approach or campaign can be most successful either using the same form of direct marketing or mixing it up.
Key to your ability to increase the desired response is reaching the right consumer (target audience) with the right message at the right time. Timing can contribute greatly to the success or failure of marketing. For example, a plethora of roofing and hail damage contractors recently descended upon Leander doing door-to-door canvassing and direct marketing. The contractors’ efforts as a whole have been very successful due to recent hail damage. Yard signs and pounding hammers abound. Homeowners’ response would have been minimal prior to the damaging storms.
Although anyone can do direct marketing, and somewhat spontaneously, it is suggested that you research your market, your offer and comply with any applicable industry standard practices. Doing so upfront can help increase your response rate and limit unnecessary risk. Representing your company professionally and maintaining or furthering your brand is equally important, to you and to the consumer.
Direct marketing is not intended to replace other channels. However, if economic conditions or budget constraints limit your marketing options, direct marketing can help your business do more than simply survive. Direct marketing is inherently designed to help your business thrive.