Direct marketing is widely used as it aims to reach potential buyers through a variety of media such as television, email, direct mail, fliers, promotional ads and letters and on community vehicles such as buses and company trucks.
There are a couple of characteristics that differentiate this type of advertising from other kinds of advertising. One is that it communicates directly with consumers. The other one is the main idea of getting the buyers to consider a purchase and take action in the near future.
Encouraging Repeat Sales
Today, some businesses send a variety of gifts to loyal customers who tend to be cutting down on orders, especially magazines, which often are offers for subscriptions at a lower than usual rate, or even a book. This strategy probably works best with the magazine subscriptions but can be applied to many other industries.
Direct marketing is said to have been recognized, given a name and described in 1967 by Lester Wunderman, who is noted as the father of direct marketing. Wunderman was also actively involved with the toll-free 1-800 number creation system.
Direct Marketing Led To Catalog Businesses
Aaron Montgomery Ward came up with his first catalogue for his mail-order business in 1872. Ward bought goods and then sold it directly to consumers. He was actually removing the middlemen at countless stores and greatly reducing prices. The Direct Mail Advertising Association forerunner of the current day Direct Marketing Association, was founded in 1917. This lead to bulk third-class mail postage rates being established in 1928.
Presently, there are many small mail-order businesses that use catalogues to reach consumers around the globe. Most of these are sent to every address available and continue to be mailed to customers. The customers who discontinue ordering will usually receive a new catalogue with a friendly greeting attached. The products sold by these businesses are generally priced lower than in a typical store – again, the middleman is out. These companies also offer a greater array of unusual products not found in a typical general store.
Track-ability as a Key Facet of Direct Marketing
One of the key features of direct marketing is that it’s often very trackable using various methods, such as by using many phone numbers, using coupon codes, color of paper, etc. An example of this action might be a marketer who sends out 1,000 ad-type notices by mail and 200 people respond, he can confidently say it brought 20 percent direct acknowledgements. Because of this track-ability, direct marketing is enticing to many marketers instead of other marketing types that give negative results directly measurable.
Drawbacks of Direct Marketing
A drawback to direct marketing is when direct mail is called “junk mail” because the messages are irrelevant to the people who receive them. Also, e-mail messages that are unwanted are taken as ‘spam.’ Marketers have begun to try and target their direct advertising for great efficiency and lowering the cost of budget waste and delivering a message with improved geodemography information.