What Is Direct Marketing and How Can Your Business Benefit?

If you own a business, you know how important it is to run the right marketing campaign. Businesses spend huge amounts of money on advertisements, often around 7.5% of their revenue, with some industries spending much more. 

Yet, one problem with running many marketing campaigns is that they often feel impersonal. This can lead to lackluster results, which end up making the whole effort a waste of time and money. Luckily, direct marketing can help avoid these problems. 

But what is direct marketing, exactly? Keep reading for a guide that will teach you all about it.  

What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is when you promote your company, product, or service directly to customers. It involves contacting customers that you feel are likely buyers with information that they’ll find of value.

For example, if you’re a car enthusiast with a subscription to an auto repair magazine, Facebook may show you advertisements for different car parts. Likewise, people who are involved in a football club may receive promotions for different types of football gear.

Although its form has evolved, direct marketing as a concept has existed for hundreds of years. In 15th century Europe, publishers began printing catalogs and distributing them to the public. This later spread to America, where publishers began doing the same thing.

Direct marketing as a practice gained official recognition in 1967 when Lester Wunderman first invented the term. Today, many people consider him to be the father of direct marketing.

What Are Different Direct Marketing Channels?

There are many forms of direct marketing to choose from. Depending on what sort of a company you have, you may be able to take advantage of more than one type.

Historically, most direct marketing involved the use of printed materials. Brochures, flyers, catalogs, and coupons are some of the many types of direct marketing channels that companies have used. Many companies today continue to use these and are also starting to use video for direct mail.

In addition to using printed materials, email marketing has also become popular. Email campaigns are easy and cheap to execute, and also provide results that are easy to analyze. 

Telemarketing is another form of direct marketing that many companies used to employ. However, in recent years, telemarketing effectiveness has waned. Studies have shown that only around 1% of cold calls lead to business, leading most experts to believe that their time has passed.

The Right Type of Customer

In order for direct marketing to be effective, you need to target the right type of customer. 

With online forms of direct marketing, these customers are easy to identify. When you purchase a product for the first time, you’ll often see an option that says “send me promotions and sales information”. Checking this box lets the company know that you’re interested in their offers. 

However, many people forget to uncheck this box, meaning that they end up receiving emails that they didn’t sign up for. This type of person is most likely to then delete these direct marketing messages, as opposed to taking the time to read them.

It’s important to note that certain demographics are more likely to open and read these messages. Asian Americans and African Americans are two groups of people that read direct marketing messages at a higher rate than others.  

Benefits of Direct Marketing 

Direct marketing has many benefits that can make it more effective than traditional mass advertising campaigns.

One of the biggest differences is personalization. As direct marketing involves marketing to a smaller number of people, you have an easier time personalizing the messages. Your customers will appreciate the special touch, while you’ll save money marketing to a smaller crowd.

Direct marketing also has a higher chance of success than mass marketing. You know that the customers you’re marketing to are interested in your product or service, making it a more cost-effective form of advertising that has a higher return on investment. 

Another one of the direct marketing benefits is that it’s easy to measure success and failure. This means that with each email or mail cycle, you can improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

How to Develop a Direct Marketing Campaign 

So if direct marketing sounds like something that might be of value to your company, how can you go about developing a campaign? 

The first step is to create an attractive offer that people won’t be able to turn down. Research your customers, and try to figure out what sort of offers will be the most effective. In many instances, coupons can be an easy way to get people to bite.

After you design your offer, it’s time to figure out which people you’ll be sending it to. This involves avoiding the people you know won’t be interested while focusing on the customers who will be. Depending on your business, this may be tricky to figure out. 

The final step is to design the piece in a creative way that appeals to people. Your piece should have a clear message that brings together the offer, your brand, and the products or services you provide. 

Seal the Deal With Direct Marketing 

What is direct marketing?

As this guide explains, it’s a promotional method that lets you cut out the middle person. Using it in the right situations can help you get the right customers to commit to buying your product or service, increases your sales and profit in the process. 

Do you now have a better understanding of some of the different direct marketing benefits? If you do, take a moment to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.