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How Direct Marketing Effects Your Life and How it Began
The term “Direct Marketing” was first coined by Lester Wunderman, an advertiser that was critical in the development of the strategy. Direct Marketing involves marketing your product directly to the target customer by using mail, telephone and email. Individual customer responses are recorded and analyzed using a variety of tracking methods, including coupon codes and coded return envelopes. By tracking transactions this way, mutually profitable customer relationships can be developed and prolonged.
The aim of Direct Marketing is to increase customer base, generate new businesses, build customer loyalty and re-establish existing customer relationships. Direct Marketing basically involves advertising on a one-on-one basis. Effective Direct Marketing caters primarily to niche markets that does not require face-to-face contact while promoting.
Kinds of Direct Marketing
The conventional method of Direct Marketing is direct mail through postal services, catalogs, self-mailers, post cards, envelope mailers, snap mailers, dimensional mailers and smart documents. When the mail arrives at the customer’s doorstep there is an element of personalization that cannot be ignored, especially when the mail comes with coupons and luring promises. Direct Marketing is cost effective only if the direct mailing s done systematically and not at random.
Direct Marketing, however, has become an environmental hazard. In fact, research confirms that over four million tons of “junk mail” from direct mail campaigns are generated in American households every year. The majority of this junk mail is simply thrown away or recycled without ever getting read by the consumer. E-commerce has changed the direction of Direct Marketing, encouraging quick information and swift responses.
The Advantages of Direct Marketing
Direct Marketing involves providing customers with relevant information regarding a product and seeks customer response. This interaction can be recorded and the effectiveness of the Direct Marketing campaign can be measured directly by the number of responses obtained. Direct Marketing operates with limited resources and concentrates on a specific target audience and so with good planning, positive changes will occur in the business concerned. The advertiser can control his own marketing strategy and there is no intermediary with whom profit must be shared.
The Disadvantages of Direct MarketingThe problem with Direct Marketing is the huge number of wasteful solicitations that are generated. The lack of face-to-face contact and the sheer bulk of mail could lead to customers shunning the product altogether. You can damage your reputation by providing shoddily designed mails to prospective or existing clients. A lot of work must go into the design. Direct Marketing is only effective when used for niche markets where there is a specific target audience resides or works. The costs of creating the material to be used for Direct Marketing is also huge.
Direct Marketing Legislation
The inconveniences posited by Direct Marketing have resulted in some stringent legislation. The enormous amount of waste that is caused by Direct Marketing and the nuisance it creates for customers have led various associations to spring up and take legal action. Data collection is now more meticulous due to this legislation and certain privacy protections. There are also legal provisions involving Direct Marketing via telephone, text messaging or emails. As such, potential customers have the right to object to the interference caused by direct marketing in their daily lives. For example, a national do-not-call list was issued whereby anyone outside an existing caller list could not be contacted by telemarketers. Prohibitory orders can be issued against any unwanted solicitation.