Direct marketing is an interactive marketing system that uses one or more media to effect a measurable response or transaction at any location. Direct marketing, especially electronic marketing, is showing explosive growth. Direct-mail marketing means sending an offer, announcement, reminder, or other Item to an individual consumer. Using highly selective mailing lists, direct marketers send out millions of mail pieces each year??letters, flyers, foldouts, and other “salespeople with wings. Direct mall Is a popular medium because It permits target raked selectivity, can be personalized, Is flexible, and allows early testing and response measurement and It Is more affordable because It’s free. Although the cost per thousand Is higher than for mass media, the people reached are much better prospects. In constructing an effective direct-mall campaign, direct marketers must choose their objectives, target markets and prospects, offer elements, means of testing the campaign, and measures of campaign success.
Direct marketers plan campaigns by deciding on objectives, target markets and prospects, offers, and prices. This is followed by testing and establishing measures to determine the campaign success. Selecting Prospects Most direct marketers apply the RFM (regency, frequency, monetary amount) formula to select customers according to how much time has passed since their last purchase, how many times they have purchased, and how much they have spent since becoming a customer. Suppose L. L. Bean is offering a Jacket.
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It might make this offer to the most attractive customers??those who made their last purchase between 30 and 60 days ago, who make three to six purchases a year, and who have spent at east $1 00 since becoming customers. Points are established for varying RFM levels; the more points, the more attractive the customer. Offer Strategy The offer strategy has five elements??the product, the offer, the medium, the distribution method, and the creative strategy. The strategy will answer these questions. What is being offered? At what price? Through what medium? Distributed In what manner? With what creative appeal?
Components of Mailing The direct mall marketer must also determine the components of the mailing Itself. Experiments of direct mall pieces show that response to the offers can vary based on things Like the look and size of the envelope, the wording of the letter, and the type of reply envelope. CATALOGS In catalog marketing, companies may send full-line merchandise catalogs, specialty consumer catalogs, and business catalogs, usually in print form but also as DVD’s or to sell. Catalogs are a huge business??the Internet and catalog retailing industry includes 16,000 companies with combined annual revenue of $235 billion.
The success of a catalog business depends on managing customer lists carefully to avoid application or bad debts, controlling inventory, offering good-quality merchandise so returns are low, and projecting a distinctive image. Some companies add literary or information features, send swatches of materials, operate a special online or telephone hotlist to answer questions, send gifts to their best customers, and donate a percentage of profits to good causes. Putting their entire catalog online also provides business marketers with better access to global consumers than ever before, saving printing and mailing costs.
Telemarketing is the use of the telephone ND call centers to attract prospects, sell to existing customers, and provide service by taking orders and answering questions. It helps companies increase revenue, reduce selling costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Companies use call centers for inbound telemarketing??receiving calls from customers??and outbound telemarketing??initiating calls to prospects and customers. It is increasing for business uses but has been met with opposition in consumer markets. Direct marketers use all the major media.
Newspapers and magazines carry ads offering kooks, clothing, appliances, vacations, and other goods and services that individuals can order via toll-free numbers. Radio ads present offers 24 hours a day. Some companies prepare 30- and 60-minute infomercials to combine the sell of television commercials with the draw of information and entertainment. Infomercials promote products that are complicated or technologically advanced, or that require a great deal of explanation. At-home shopping channels are dedicated to selling goods and services on a toll-free number or via the Web for delivery within 48 hours.
Direct arresters and their customers usually enjoy mutually rewarding relationships. But there is a dark side too. Many people don’t like hard-sell, direct marketing solicitations. Some direct marketers take advantage of impulsive or less sophisticated buyers or prey on the vulnerable, especially the elderly. Some direct marketers design mailers and write copy intended to mislead or exaggerate product size, performance claims, or the “retail price. “The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of complaints each year about fraudulent investment scams and phony charities.
It seems that almost every time consumers order products by mail or telephone, apply for a credit card, or take out a magazine subscription, their names, addresses, and purchasing behavior may be added to several company databases. Critics worry that marketers may know too much about consumers’ lives, and that they may use this knowledge to take unfair advantage. Major channels for direct marketing and include face-to-face selling, direct mail, catalog marketing, telemarketing, interactive TV, websites, and mobile devices.
Interactive marketing provides marketers with opportunities for much greater interaction and individualizing through well-designed websites as well as online ads and permissions. The variety of online communication options means companies can send tailored messages that engage consumers by reflecting their special easily traced by noting how many unique visitors or “Ups” click on a page or ad, how long they spend with it, and where they go afterward. Marketers can build or tap into online communities, inviting participation from consumers and creating a long-term marketing asset in the process.
The Web offers the advantage of contextual ligament, buying ads on sites related to the marketer’s offerings. Marketers can also place advertising based on keywords from search engines, to reach people when they’ve actually started the buying process. Using the Web also has disadvantages. Consumers can effectively screen out most messages. Marketers may think their ads are more effective than they are if bogus clicks are generated by software- powered Web sites. Advertisers also lose some control over their online messages, which can be hacked or vandalized.