In a tough economy when businesses are slashing budgets and wanting a clear ROI on every Rand spent, there’s nothing like direct marketing to validate your marketing investment.
Where does direct mail fit into the marketing picture?
The simple answer is 'everywhere.' Because, direct mail enhances and supports all marketing efforts, from advertising, public relations, selling, market research, distribution and of course the Internet and all electronic media.
How to think of Direct Mail as a marketing tool and its benefits Direct mail fits into the advertising spectrum along with other media like TV, cinema, advertising, newspapers, magazines, radio, outdoor and the Internet.
Direct mail has a wide readership and is an effective medium for pure advertising for building a brand or corporate image, and for earning a reputation for quality and service. It is effective because it is widely read.
Direct mail is often kept for future reference. While the majority of direct mail is discarded, and advertisers expect this, much of it is actually filed for future reference.
Increased rate of encounter. It has greater readership and has a greater chance of being seen at your office for business mail and at your home for personal mail.
It assists in spreading awareness and helps to overcome inertia especially from a public relations point of view. Your PR score begins to increase with each contact you have with your customers, especially through direct mail. Company reports, press releases, in-house magazines, newsletters, bulletins of all kinds, employee booklets, explanatory brochures, invitations, greetings, congratulatory messages and so on ... all these are the working materials of the good PR person and they are all good examples of direct mail.
Direct mail as a follow-up campaign. Experience shows that a follow up (sometimes using the same appeal!) can produce up to 80% as much as the original campaign. And the next follow up can produce up to 50% or more of the original.
Direct mail as a selling tool. One would have thought that the spread of shopping malls would have depressed direct mail sales. But, on the contrary, sales have increased.
Fundraising by mail. Today, all over the world, direct mail is responsible for raising billions in cash donations. The fact is that it is hard to get volunteers or even paid collectors to raise funds.
But direct mail also sells indirectly
- It influences authorities or specifiers (as distinct from buyers) such as Architects, Consulting Engineers, Doctors and so on.
- It announces, informs, persuades, encourages, educates, reminds.
- It supports salespeople and dealers.
- It brings in enquiries by letter, phone, fax, e-mail and the Internet. It brings people in-store to see the advertiser. It creates sales appointments and requests for demonstrations.
- It preconditions, pre-sells, drives home quality arguments and creates a willing buying climate for the industrial advertiser.
- It cultivates present customers, reactivates past customers and discovers prospective new customers.
- It encourages prospects to become triers - and triers to become buyers.In short it is used to aid every aspect of the selling function. And it can do so just as effectively to 100 people, to 1000, or 100,000 or more. And when you use direct mail in the selling process you can measure your results, directly.
Direct mail in market research - this demonstrates that a company is in harmony with the marketing way of doing business. A market-oriented company is different. It knows the significant differences between marketing and selling. It does not flog dead horses. It does not blame its salesmen for its own failure. The true marketing company researches their customers' needs, which the company can then fulfil. It then sets about creating the most efficient method of ensuring that its product(s) and service(s) will meet the researched needs of its customers. The more precisely a company can do this - the more precisely it can locate and identify these needs - the greater will be its eventual reward. Direct mail in distribution.
Direct mail can be used successfully to achieve wider market penetration, to force distribution even when there is in-store resistance to a company or its product. How? By special offers, cents-off coupons, customer games, incentives, promotions, competitions, sweepstakes, pre-publication of ads, dealer imprinted mail, co-operative direct mail, sampling, etc. I believe direct mail is one of the only reliable mediums for communicating complete information in the right way, in the same tone ... honestly, courteously, fully, to each and every person in the distribution chain.
And remember that direct mail should not be preferred to any other form of advertising. But rather that it should be integrated into your total marketing and advertising mix. This way you will give a more complete service.
An online presence can take several forms and have any one of multiple objectives.
First published in 1995, the report is released every other year in conjunction with DMA’s Annual Conference and delivers historic trends, current year estimates, and one-year and five-year projections for direct marketing expenditures, sales, ROI and employment.
A Glimpse of the Future
Three years from now - or perhaps sooner - the direct marketing scene (the scene not the techniques) will be barely recognisable from that which we know and love today: the carefully delineated, agencies; the internecine warfare; the specialists and non- specialists; and so on, will all begin to disappear.
In the recent past, the position and relevance of direct marketing (DM); in the information age has been viewed as a 'dying' facet of the advertising industry. However, research and trends have proved that direct marketing will have an impact on the economic growth and lead the industry in one-to-one marketing.