What is Direct Marketing?

 Direct marketing is a communication strategy that aims to establish direct relationships with a given target.

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Communication is therefore done without an intermediary, most often through a personalized and inciting message, in order to obtain an immediate and measurable reaction. Let's discover the objectives and operation of direct marketing.

Definition of direct marketing

Direct marketing is defined as a marketing approach based on the absence of an intermediary between the company and its target. The latter can be:

  • a customer,
  • a prospect,
  • or an organization.

Communication actions are therefore person-to-person and interactive (one-to-one marketing).

Thanks to its well-detailed databases, the company is able to adapt its promotional offers to the needs of very small segments of consumers.

Sometimes even to each consumer individually. Each interaction is therefore personalized according to the profile of the target.

For the company, such a marketing action is very effective in reaching and establishing relationships with potential customers thanks to extremely precise targeting.

For consumers, the main benefit that direct marketing brings is that of the relevance of the content. In reality, this content meets a specific consumer need.

What is the principle of direct marketing?

The principle of direct marketing consists above all in creating a direct relationship between the company and its customers or prospects.

The term "direct marketing" was coined by publicist Lester Wunderman in 1961.

However, its democratization has been greatly favored by the desire of companies to maintain a better customer relationship with their targets in order to develop their business.

Today, many companies include direct marketing actions in their overall marketing strategy.

The goal is to make their operational marketing strategies more effective and to lay the foundations of relationship marketing. It is also not uncommon to see a combination of the marketing mix and direct marketing to form a winning duo.

A number of elements are needed to run a successful direct marketing campaign such as:

1 The offer. This is what is offered to customers or prospects. It can be a promotional offer on a product or service or an expression of interest in relation to an event.

2  The customer file. This is all the data collected on customers or prospects. This data should make it possible to adapt the offer as precisely as possible to the targets.

3 The communication medium. It is the means by which the company comes into contact with its consumers. It must be adapted to the type of content to be transmitted and to the target audience.

4 The possibility of direct response. The message broadcast must offer customers or prospects the possibility of responding directly without having to go through another channel to contact the company.

Her goals

The objective of any marketing technique is to:

  • win new customers,
  • retain existing customers,
  • and make more sales.

By integrating direct marketing marketing techniques into their overall marketing strategies, companies seek to meet a strategic need.

Direct marketing actions help to obtain a quick and precise reaction from the target.

They are therefore deployed in the short or medium term. Depending on the level of interaction and branding needs, direct marketing can aim to:

  1. collect information to build a database
  2. obtain a review, a visit to a website, a store or an appointment
  3. turn a prospect into a customer
  4. retain existing customers
  5. to increase the sales
  6. manage customer dissatisfaction
  7. increase the company's market share

The development of a direct marketing campaign takes into account five main steps:

  1. the creation of the message
  2. target identification
  3. the choice of communication tools
  4. marketing campaign automation
  5. and monitoring and analysis of results

The message to convey

Creating the message is a crucial step in developing a direct marketing campaign.

This is indeed what will push the recipients to perform the desired action. Its content must therefore carry the values ​​of the brand and be relevant, original and convincing. It must highlight the products and services as well as the strengths of the company.

In general, a direct marketing message conveys a promise or presents an opportunity.

The desire to benefit from the promise or opportunity is therefore what will motivate the customer or prospect to take immediate action.

It can be an invitation to an event, the presentation of a product or service, a reduction, a bonus to be received after the action, etc.

However, the opportunity or promise must be real for customers to be happy with it.

An offer that does not keep its promises will be counterproductive.

Target identification

Just like the creation of the message, the personalization of the target is a decisive step in the success of a direct marketing campaign.

It consists of collecting relevant information about the customer throughout his journey to better qualify him in the customer database.

The information collected is for example:

  • contact details (names, emails, faxes, contacts, etc.)
  • purchase history
  • products viewed
  • typology
  • needs
  • areas of interest
  • behavior on the website...

Each interaction with the customer or prospect is an opportunity for the company to know its target and therefore to complete its profile.

CRM software is a very suitable tool for this.

Companies use it to generate leads with each addition to cart, purchase, exchange (phone call, email, appointment), etc.

The qualified contact file thus generated is then used to segment the customer database.

Each direct marketing campaign will therefore be oriented towards a specific segment, selected according to predefined criteria.

Direct marketing communication tools

Direct marketing can be seen as all marketing actions that contribute to sending the right message to the right target using the appropriate communication channel.

The advent of NICTs in the 20th century favored multi-channel direct marketing. Companies could then distribute their campaigns through many channels according to their objectives and budgets. The traditional multi-channel direct marketing tools are:

* E-mailing or email marketing: this is undoubtedly the least expensive and simplest solution for a company to get in touch with its target.

* Boxing: sending offers, personalized announcements to a target's mailbox.

* Telemarketing, telephone calls or phoning: selling directly using the telephone.

* Interactive kiosks: terminals where the consumer can get information and make purchases.

The rise of new technologies in the 2000s gave rise to new communication techniques, especially digital ones.

Companies now have new tools to communicate with their targets:

  1. Digital marketing and social marketing: using digital tools (emails, websites, blogs, online videos, mobile apps, social media) to send a message directly to consumers.
  2. Mobile marketing: send a message to a consumer, who uses a mobile phone, based on a promotion, his geolocation or news.
  3. Online advertising: making online advertisements to encourage the customer or potential customer to take action (affiliation, search or display).

Direct marketing automation or marketing automation

Developing and managing direct marketing campaigns requires good organization and good timing.

This is why small and large companies are now using task automation with marketing automation software.

Recurring tasks such as sending sms or e-mail are then scheduled for automatic execution.

In addition, task scheduling can be done taking into account criteria such as:

  • the profile of the target,
  • the time of the interaction,
  • and his behavior.

A customer or prospect can therefore receive personalized messages at specific times during their journey. All this automatically.

Analysis and tracking in direct marketing

Monitoring and analyzing the results of a campaign is a common point of all marketing strategies.

This consists of monitoring the performance of marketing operations using performance indicators (KPIs) and analyzing the results obtained at the end of the campaign. The objective of this step is to identify the weaknesses of the direct marketing strategy to correct them.

The results obtained are compared with the expected results; in this way, we have a view of the objectives achieved or not. Like the number of appointments made, the number of sales made, or the number of responses obtained, etc.

These results will also be used to determine the cost of retaining a customer and the cost of acquiring a new customer. They will help measure the ROI of the campaign.

What to remember about direct marketing?

Unlike inbound marketing and permission marketing, which aim to bring the customer to you, direct marketing consists of going directly to the customer to make him an offer.

It is present in both BtoB marketing and BtoC marketing. We will note all the same his personalized approach which encourages the client or the prospect to act quickly.


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