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Direct Marketing

In: Business and Management

Submitted By 4patrick
Words 1628
Pages 7
The first thing that must be done is to assess if our industry or sector is susceptible to the use of direct mailing as an aid to the generation of sales leads – so we will need a market feasibility study which will include:

Description of the Industry

Current Market Analysis


Anticipated Future Market Potential

Potential Buyers and Sources of Revenues

Sales Projections

If the conclusion is that we should undertake a direct-mailing campaign, we will have had to face up to and overturn the following adverse arguments.

We must not expect too much and must use calculations to back up the wisdom of what we are doing. When profits result from a successful marketing campaign, it nevertheless almost always reflects a tiny percentage of returns, and this return must be subject to calculation and assessment. For example, if we send out 1,000 postcards at a cost of €750 (printing and postage) we need to generate enough sales leads to at least pay for the campaign. If we are a clothing boutique say, and our average customer spends €100 per visit we would need to get 7 or 8 new average customers to break even. Direct mail marketing is about building new relationships and getting the word out about the business – we are unlikely to get rich from it. Another problem may be this; if location is important, and we send out inserts through a local direct-mail advertising company we will reach potential customers in our local community. But we will also waste money reaching all the other folks in the geographic area that are not specifically targeted.

Again, direct mail marketing campaigns must be targeted to be successful. For example, we might send out 10,000 communications and get few or no responses. Was it the address list? Did people even read the adverts? Or, were they simply ineffective? It is always better to consider targeted marketing which will cost more to develop and implement. Even so creating a direct mail ad campaign that allows one to track its success is hard. So we must take the decision to go ahead in the full knowledge that only campaigns that are thoughtfully developed, implemented, and analyzed are worth investing in. To simply send out ads in the mail is the least cost effective way to advertise.

So why are we going ahead then? Well we have to get the message out and if we use a reliable source for mailing addresses we can target people who are more likely to be interested in our business’ products or services. For example we can purchase mailing lists to target our key customer categories in a specific geographic location or age or income bracket.
Depending upon our budget we can send postcards, letters, brochures, or even product samples. If the budget is small, post cards are cheap and cost the least to mail. Even today, not everyone owns or uses a computer. Direct mail marketing campaigns can reach populations who are less likely to use the internet to find a business. Direct mail will end up being delivered to the people chosen by using carefully constructed direct mailing lists.
Moreover in most societies the majority of people like to get mail at home: it has been calculated that 98% of them bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77% sort through it immediately.

And direct mailing is essentially a call to action. The best way to achieve this is to offer coupons or discounts that require the customer to bring in the correspondence with them. Other than doing this we have virtually no way of tracking the success of the campaign. If we require customers to bring in coupons at best we will be able to see which mass mailings brought in the most customers based on the ad itself (the type of coupon or discount offered). Unless each coupon has a unique code or other way to identify a specific customer, we will not know where they live, their sex, age, or capture any other important marketing demographics.

So much for the theory. You have had your budget agreed. But, as Clausewitz remarked, no battle plan ever survives its first contact with the enemy. What can go wrong?

The biggest mistake is using the wrong mailing list. No matter how great the offer, copy is it is not going to be effective unless you reach the right targeted market. Purchasing mailing lists is not easy because many companies will sell lists that are too broad. Companies that offer to mail on one’s behalf often send ads randomly to unidentified populations. We must strive to buy or rent mailing lists only from companies where in-depth research has confirmed their professionalism and integrity.

Identifying the right market is only the first step. We need to have a presentation and copy that catches the readers' eye and attention. People do not immediately start reading the "meat". The first impression is made with visual presentation, the second comes from the main words or phrases that hit the eye. The correspondence must be visually appealing; displays slogans, titles, or words that stand out. Copy should be brief, descriptive, and call for a response. If there is poor layout, poor grammar, or misspelled words recipients are less likely to respond.

Direct marketing is by its nature aggressive. It is not well-suited for simply announcing the business. We must include a "call for action," or encourage a response. A call to action might be a coupon, sales event, call for free consultation, etc. But if we do not include some reason for the consumer to respond, they almost certainly won't. It is not a good advertising vehicle to go crazy with design. Ads are typically postcards, inserts in mass mailers, a small leaflet in a publication, etc. If the space is small, we must design the ad in proportion to the space. The very nature of direct marketing calls for us to be brief; we are taking up consumer's time and must respect that!

Finally, long before spending money we should have spent a lot of time studying competitors’ material – reading-content, code, and keywords etc. If one applies the same basic research skills to one’s own campaigns it is likely to be far more successful. Every insert in a direct mailing package – even for a completely different type of business - is competing for the attention of the recipient. Instead of throwing away junk mail it should have been studied for keywords, content, and layout. What words or phrases are being used over and over again? Chances are the companies advertising paid someone to help them develop buzz words. We must consider how we can use similar phrases in our own campaigns.

What are others marketers in your area doing? If we see more coupons in a particular industry instead of sales events there may be a good marketing reason why. Advertising images and phrases that relate to something consumers identify with are critical in making a connection with a potential customer. For example, pizza companies often tie sales to sports events, while flowers and gift companies increase direct mail marketing around Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Charities look for innocent faces and injured animals, while lawyers and big corporations tend to use powerful looking professionals in suits .Words play a very important role in advertising, but when it comes to direct marketing looks count even more. It is important to remember that some consumers respond to bright colours and others will respond better to a more toned-down palette. But very few people will respond to visually cluttered presentations.

We are told that we have to pay extra for printing on the front and back of direct marketing mailing inserts and indeed it may not even be necessary. However our researches have shown the if we do not print both the front and back , some marketing companies will put someone elses' ad on the back of ours! So we decide to fill a blank back with a small map, our contact information and a coupon.

Then we press the button.

Finally, when the money has been spent and you are seeking to analyze the results it is important to be able to come up with a final figure of costs-per-order; the total cost of the campaign divided by the number of orders received as a direct result of it. To be able to do that, we will have to have had an effective system of identification and to know when the final figures can be calculated; perhaps ideally by means of a dated voucher, but if this does not suit the business some research, some thought and some ingenuity should have been be expended to produce a tracking system.

Profit per order – which may be lower than on normal sales because of the impact of any incentives - is less important for it is well recognized that in very many businesses the costs of the initial capture of a customer are unimportant in the light of the sales that may be able to be achieved in the longer term. That’s a good argument to give your boss if he’s glaring at you in respect of the costs which he has had to incur against the paucity of orders you have gained; but if, on being ushered out his office door you are nevertheless reduced to bleating about the gains you have achieved in recognition of the company’s name, and of the future sales which will come from the general goodwill that you have generated, when you do get back to your own desk, the next move might best to be to start looking for another job.…...

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