As technology evolves, marketers have an ever growing list of potential tactics to include in their arsenal. With its origins in direct mail reaching back to the early 1900’s, direct marketing is a mainstay of the marketing mix for many businesses, consistently producing reliable results. With technology breakthroughs came the introduction of new channels, and along with the changing nature of consumers the direct marketing landscape has changed dramatically. So where does direct marketing sit within the modern marketing strategy, and how can businesses maximise its effectiveness?
Direct marketing is unique within the marketing disciplines for its capability for targeting, personalisation and ease of measurement. No other form of advertising has such trackable results, thanks to strong calls to action and direct response media, crucial features in this current climate where marketers are increasingly called upon to provide proof of ROI.
Segmenting & Targeting
The core of any marketing campaign, direct or otherwise, is the effective segmenting and targeting of your audience. Databases can hold a wealth of information about demographics, behaviour and preferences that allow you to group your contacts into definable groups to target with different campaigns and offers. The better the message is tailored to the specific audience, the more likely it is to produce effective results.
The large number of variables that can affect the success of a campaign mean that marketers have the flexibility to play with their communications, altering different variables to find out exactly what works for their target audience. Whether it’s the contact group you’re sending to, the date and time of delivery, the nature of the offer, the medium you use, the ease of response – there’s plenty that can affect the success of your campaign, so running small test samples with a segment of your database helps to refine and enhance both this campaign and any future sends.
There are a host of different channels and mediums to use for direct marketing campaigns, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Direct mail offers great opportunities for creativity, but costs are comparatively high and lots of your messages could end up in the bin. Email is great for low cost, highly trackable and personalised campaigns, but suffers from low open rates and spam filters. Telemarketing is direct and flexible, allowing for two-way communication and adaptation in real time, and is ideal to B2B campaigns – but it can be intrusive, time consuming and expensive. Mobile messaging is direct, customisable, low cost, offers two way communication and has the highest open rates of any medium. You’ll need permission from the customers you’re marketing to, or you risk irritating your recipients and the regulators, but you’d be surprised how many consumers are willing to sign up to receive communications from you, as long as you’re providing them with value.
Maintaining an up-to-date database is essential for the success of any direct marketing efforts. Regular communications can help you establish any out-of-date information, such as address changes, new members of staff, changes in mobile numbers or changes of name. If the data you’ve got is no good, you might as well throw your money in the bin rather than spend it on a campaign that’s going nowhere.
As with any marketing tactic, it’s important to consider the ethical boundaries of your activities. The key things to remember for direct marketing is that your offer is genuine, that the offer is really available to your recipients, that you don’t hide your identity as a marketer and above all else, respect your customers. If they want you to stop, STOP.
For help and advice creating an effective direct marketing campaign through mobile, visit the Textlocal website or call our team on 01244 752 299.
Jason Palgrave-Jones is the Managing Director of Textlocal, the UK’s premier business text messaging service, helping over 165,000 businesses of all sizes.