Marketing, as an integral part of any business, has seen some revolutionary changes in the past few years. The rise of the internet and social media created new opportunities for marketers. Along with many other improvisations, direct marketing has been a great addition to the marketing strategies.
Direct marketing has not only proved to be useful, but it also surpassed marketers’ expectations by a fair margin. So, what is direct marketing? What are its types, and how can a business benefit from them? This article will answer all your major queries about the topic.
What is Direct Marketing?
Direct marketing is a marketing strategy that involves direct communication or even distribution to the customers individually. That means there is no inclusion of any third party in the process. Some common channels involved in direct marketing includes email, mail, text messages, social media, and direct calls, etc.
The term “direct” means the process does not involve any middleman. Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, this marketing strategy focuses on approaching the potential or interested customers directly. Direct marketing has worked wonders for the companies, and here are some mind-blowing stats to back this claim.
Direct Marketing – A statistical Representation
- In the United States, marketers/companies spend $38.5 billion on direct marketing campaigns every year.
- On average, marketers in the US are spending $167 per individual on direct mail.
- 70 percent of consumers prefer direct mail over online interactions because they consider it more personal.
- The open rate response for direct mails can be up to 90 percent.
- 54 percent of recipients prefer direct mails from brands addressing their needs.
- 39 percent of consumers/clients try a new product or a service because of well-crafted direct mail.
- The response rate for direct mail is almost 5-9 times more than any other advertising tool.
These were statistics for just one section or tool of direct marketing. Imagine, what will be the collective figures for all the integrated marketing tools combined?
Types of Direct Marketing
Generally, there are so many forms or types of direct marketing. However, here are some common and globally used direct marketing types/tools:
Internet marketing, also known as digital marketing, is one of the most powerful tools to boost sales. The internet has arguably a better reach than any other direct marketing tool. There are billions of internet users around the globe, and a business can reach maximum users with proper internet marketing strategies.
Internet marketing is not only effective, but it is also relatively cheaper as well. If a company has done proper SEO (search engine optimization) of its website, it can reach a huge number of individuals organically. Companies’ blogs and websites are a common example of internet marketing.
A subcategory of internet marketing, content marketing has been one of the most effective direct marketing tools for the past 10 years or so. Content marketing is a blend of entertainment, motivation, and education that inspires the target audience to buy a certain product.
Statistically, content marketing is 62% cheaper as compared to traditional marketing, and it is three times more effective as well. Companies attract customers through informational or persuasive content with a call-to-action feature.
Direct mail is a relatively older form of direct marketing, but it is extremely effective if done properly. Direct mail works effectively within a specific geographic location. It may include a company’s brochures, flyers, catalogs, letters, etc. People may think it is an outdated form of direct marketing, but the above-mentioned facts can easily nullify these perceptions.
Experiential marketing is another very effective form of direct marketing that creates brand awareness in people through entertainment and educational tools. Also known as “engagement marketing,” experiential marketing is a relatively expensive form of marketing. Conventions, webinars, tradeshows, podcasts, and fairs are some common examples of experiential marketing.
One of the most cost-effective methods, SMS or “short message service,” is another very common and effective form of direct marketing. Companies send promotional and informational messages, including updates to the customers. The basic purpose is to create brand awareness and persuade people to generate more sales. However, SMS is a permission-based tool. SMS marketing is pretty common in most businesses.
Email marketing is definitely one of the most effective and highly used forms of direct marketing. A huge number of internet users have emails that businesses can use to convey their messages.
Email marketing has gained immense popularity in the last ten years or so. Most importantly, it is way cheaper than many other tools of direct marketing. However, email marketing needs proper skills because an email can easily go to “trash.”
Social Media Marketing
It won’t be wrong to say that social media marketing is a core ingredient of modern marketing strategies. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Quora, Reddit, etc., have millions of active users. These platforms provide massive opportunities to marketers.
It is no surprise that almost 55 percent of people purchase a product after getting to know about it on social media platforms. Companies like Nike, Adidas, etc., pay handsome amounts to social media celebs for promoting their brands.
Display ads are equally effective but more expensive as compared to many other types of marketing. Display ads mostly work on the “pay-per-click” method but make no mistake, properly targeted display ads can bring you more sales than many other tools.
However, display ads need professional skills to attract customers because, on average, a viewer spends three seconds on an ad. Facebook and Google ads are common examples of display ads.
Catalog marketing is one of the oldest tools of direct marketing. Catalog marketing generally includes letters, booklets, brochures, which a company sends to the customers/potential customers through mail or email. Catalog marketing is mostly based on customer’s interest in a specific product.
Another common and one of the oldest marketing tools, print ads are a renowned marketing practice in almost every part of the world. However, print ads have faded after the rise of digital ads, and companies are now more tilted towards digital/display ads. Common examples of print ads include magazines, billboards, newspapers, etc.
Benefits of Direct Marketing
Direct marketing brings “countless” benefits to the table, but here are some of them:
It makes it easier for businesses to target their potential customers. Companies can easily classify customers on the basis of their buying behavior or demographics.
Businesses can easily educate customers about the prices and features of their products or services.
Direct marketing tools allow businesses to measure the result of their marketing efforts statistically. For instance, you can keep a record of how many people clicked on your display ads and how many of them actually made the purchases. This way, companies can assess their marketing campaigns.
This is a highly affordable type of marketing. Companies with low marketing budgets can use email marketing, social media marketing, SMS marketing, etc., to attract customers.
Direct reach also allows businesses to personalize their message according to the customer. For instance, companies send customized emails to different customers accordingly.
How to Launch Direct Marketing Campaign
Starting an effective direct marketing campaign can be tricky, especially for new businesses. Here is the step by step process that can be very helpful:
Make a Contact List
This first and most important step in your direct marketing campaign should be creating a contact list of your target audience. Yes, you can get a list of emails related to your target market, but you need to dig deeper and find the individuals who are actually interested in your product. You can try lead generation ads on Twitter or the inbound marketing campaigns.
Create a Best Possible Mail
Focus on subject, icons, text, and of course, call-to-action. Be creative but simple with these elements.
Put a Code or Identification Pixel
Keeping track of your marketing campaign is necessary. Therefore, your email must have a pixel code so that you know who came to your website through your email.
Test a Campaign
Evaluate what works with your target audience; you can use A/B Test for this. Change the subject, button, images, time sent, and other possible variants for experimentation purposes.
Put an Ongoing Campaign
Launch your campaign after sending a test email to ensure everything runs smoothly. However, make sure you send the email at the “right time and day”; otherwise, it will be a waste of time and effort.
Response from Consumers
Now that you have “fired the arrow,” it’s time to see whether it hit the mark or not. But, don’t make conclusions too early. Give this a reasonable time and evaluate later.
Evaluate Your Campaign’s Results
After giving it enough time, now is the time to see what worked for you and what didn’t. Assess the results properly; how many of them opened the mail and how many of them actually made purchases. Look for your shortcomings and re-launch with better strategies.
Direct Marketing Examples
Companies have taken marketing strategies to a whole new level with their innovation. Here are some interesting examples of direct marketing:
A renowned name in the Automobile industry, Land Rover took creativity to a very enticing and adorable level when they invited customers to their Liverpool showroom opening. The company chose 100 customers and sent them boxes with balloons inside. These balloons had tags attached to them that served as an invitation and contained the company’s marketing message.
Ikea Lack side table
IKEA, a well-versed name in furniture, home, and kitchen appliances, did an “out of the box” marketing campaign for their product “Lack Side Table.” Yes, their product was affordable and practical, but their marketing campaign was very exciting. As soon as you open up the magazine insert, a 3D version of the table will popup instantly.
World Water Day
World water day was celebrated in a unique way where companies and the press received a unique mailer. The letter inside the mail was very unorthodox. One could only read it while holding it underwater.