Direct marketing is a form of promotion that enables businesses to communicate directly to the customer using a variety of communications vehicles like direct mail, catalogs, and telemarketing. Knowledge of the customers is typically provided by analysis of information available in customer databases. Most direct marketing tactics include a call for the recipient to take some specific action. The results of these actions can then be tracked and analyzed to evaluate current and to improve future direct marketing campaigns.
As with any good marketing program, direct marketing depends on a good knowledge of the wants and needs of the prospective customers. Unlike broadcast advertising, direct marketing tactics are targeted to specific individuals who meet the criteria of the target audience. These criteria include things like geographic location, family income, individual interests, business type, or business size. This data is usually selected from a database that consolidates information about individuals or businesses.
The next component of good direct marketing campaigns is the request to have the recipients take a specific action like using a coupon at the store or online, calling a telephone number for more information, visiting a web site to participate in a contest. A relevant offer to incent people to take this action is critical to the success of direct marketing campaigns. The value of this offer to the recipient can account for as much as half the resulting response rate.
Tracking the responses is what gives direct marketing its accountability. By knowing how many people were contacted and how many responded, a business can determine the effectiveness of its direct marketing initiatives. Going further, businesses can then track the follow on activities of that response including whether or not the person purchased anything. These tracking techniques also enable a business to test various marketing messages and tactics to determine which provide better results.
Evaluating the results then enables business to decide whether to continue with the current approach, modify it or to start over. You will be able to answer questions like,
- Did we mail to the right people?
- Was the offer compelling enough for these people to take the desired action?
- What did the respondents do once they took the desired action?
- Which of the messages we tested gave better results?
These are the elements of a good direct marketing campaign. The concepts don't change even if the details are not available at each step:
- who is your target audience?
- what can you incent them to respond to your advertising?
- how do you want them to respond?
- what did they do after the initial response?
- did you get the results you expected?
- how can you execute the next campaign more effectively?
Ewing Consulting has years of experience designing, managing and executing direct marketing campaigns. We will work with you to customize and to simplify the process for your business. We will even manage the execution of the campaign, if that makes your life easier.