Direct marketing is all about engaging clients and customers through targeted, relevant, and personalized content. The theory is that, through a continuous cycle of gathering and analyzing customer data, marketers can improve how they connect and communicate with customers in the hope that doing so will increase engagement, sales, and customer loyalty. In order to effectively put direct marketing to use, marketers must first understand what it is, what it’s intended to do, and what are the best channels and approaches for reaching their target audiences.
According to Wikipedia, direct marketing is distinguished by three main characteristics:
- Marketing messages are addressed directly to the customer and/or customers…. Addressability comes in a variety of forms including email addresses, mobile phone numbers, Web browser cookies, fax numbers and postal addresses.
- Direct marketing seeks to drive a specific “call to action.” For example, an advertisement may ask the prospect to call a free phone number or click on a link to a website.
- Direct marketing emphasizes trackable, measurable responses from customers — regardless of medium.
Definition of Direct MarketingDespite these shared characteristics, direct marketing often refers to three different approaches to distributing content and messages to audiences: traditional, digital, and cross-channel. Each of these approaches varies based on how an audience receives and responds to marketing efforts.
Join us as we explore the fundamentals of direct marketing and what it means for each of the three approaches.
Traditional Direct Marketing: Direct marketing through traditional channels includes strategies that distribute messages, coupon, and other promotions to customer segments based on basic demographic data, such as age, income, location, profession, etc. Traditional marketers advertise through channels including direct mail and telemarketing calls, as well as direct response television, radio, and print.
Digital Direct Marketing: Digital marketing has picked up a considerable following in recent years as the Internet has become the primary way consumers research products/purchases and interact with brands. Digital direct marketing strategies distribute targeted, personalized content through web-based platforms including email, SMS, social media networks, search engine advertisements, blogging, and mobile apps that are utilized to promote a service or product.
Cross-Channel Direct Marketing: As could be assumed from the name, this approach uses multiple communication channels spanning both traditional and digital marketers in a very coordinated fashion. Marketers who choose to use cross-channel direct marketing view the process as a cycle in which one form of engagement leads to another. For example, retail companies can expose their brand to audiences through television and magazine ads and continue engagement through social media profiles that provide access to the brand’s webpage where sales can be made. Cross-channel strategies call for an integration of direct mail, face-to-face interaction, online advertisements, social media engagement, email, and more.
For every organization, it takes a specialized direct marketing approach unique to the audience being targeted. No client or customer is the same and, in order to appeal to individual interests and behavior, marketers must spend time analyzing customer data and extracting actionable insight that drives their marketing strategies. No matter what channel of direct marketing marketers choose to invest in, all seek a similar outcome: engaging prospects with relevant content that will encourage them to become loyal and revenue-generating customers.
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