The Direct Marketing Future

Introduction

Direct marketing is a method of sales where the marketers approach the targeted customers directly with their goods and services. It is a form of direct communication between the producers and the customers. Direct marketing can be through telephone calls, emails, or the use of catalogs. Information concerning certain products or services is sent directly to potential customers. This method requires the contact information of these potential customers such as the email addresses, telephone numbers, and mailing addresses. If used properly and cautiously, it can be a cost-effective method compared to the other methods of marketing. In this paper, I will look at how direct marketing has evolved to what we have today, its advantages, and how we expect it to be in the future.

Evolution of direct marketing

Direct marketing is a method of marketing that has been used for quite a long period of time. Initially, the method relied on the use of emails which were not that effective. To make it effective, direct marketers engaged in creative thinking sections where they could brainstorm and come up with better ways of using the mails for effective marketing.

Direct marketing has taken a very short time to be recognized and accepted by many businesses. With the discovery of computers and the internet, the work of direct marketers became easier. They transferred the customers’ mailing lists to punched cards and stored information on magnetic tapes. Computers reduced the number of documents that they had to store thus creating more space for other constructive work. Marketing became easier and potential customers could access information within seconds.

More inventories have been made in line with computers making direct marketing even easier. Today, almost every company or organization relies on direct marketers to advertise its products and services. They have discovered the importance of direct marketing and its efficiency. In today’s world, direct marketing means more than just advertising, clear objectives have to be laid down and more emphasis is put on the relationship between the business and the customer. With the increase in global competition, creative thinking has to be embraced in order to make direct marketing success.

Advantages of direct marketing

One of the advantages of direct marketing is its concentration on specific customers. Advertising using newspapers, televisions, and radios does not give a guarantee who gets the information. Information is flooded to the public and one can never be sure who really gets the information. With direct marketing, the advertising company concentrates on relaying information to specific audiences. Proper research is carried out to ascertain which method to use (be it telephone calls or emails), which will reach the targeted audience. The company gets the satisfaction that the message has been received by the right audience without unnecessary wastage of resources.

Direct communication is cost-effective as compared to the use of newspapers or television. Advertising using the newspaper or the television is usually costly and puts a limit on the number of words used. At times the information provided may not be convincing enough to persuade customers. Often, it does not get to the right audience and in turn, the company suffers from losses. With direct marketing, only potential customers get the message (Nash 6). It is usually designed in such a way that, it gets to the potential customer within the shortest time possible under minimal costs.

The internet is proving to be the cheapest and yet the fastest method of sending messages. Messages are received within seconds. The world is becoming more and more dependant on the internet and almost everyone has the access to it. It is the best medium for direct marketers.

In the conventional advertisement, millions of dollars are spent just to provide awareness to the public on certain goods and services. Even if these methods succeed in delivering the message, they can not be used to predict the outcome. There are many products and services on offer in the market and consumers are always comparing them before making purchases. One can never be sure of what the consumer will choose (Hatch & Jackson 251). The conventional methods do not give proper details of these products or where one can access them. It becomes hard for the consumer to distinguish them or even locate where to get them. Direct marketing is an exemption to this because it gives all the details pertaining to the products and in case of any problem there is also a way out.

How to succeed in direct marketing

Successful direct marketers always take time to identify their customers and learn what they want. In order to serve customers better, whether old or new ones, one has to first understand them. Different customers have diverse needs and preferences and respond differently to different circumstances. Customer relationship management has to be provided in every organization. All staff should be provided with enough education on customer care. Identifying customers and forming a good relationship with them is the first and key step towards success in any business establishment (Mullin 3).

One aspect to put into consideration when identifying and learning about the customers is that all customers consider the cost and the time one will spend to obtain a certain product before he actually goes for it. It does not make sense to a customer to travel for long distances to get a product that he could have gotten from the neighborhood. Today, there are many products and services in the market with some being bought with a click of a button (Stone & Jacobs 469). After identifying and understanding the potential customers, the next step is to think of a strategic plan on how the customers can get them from the nearest place. Attention should be paid to the business operations, for example, when does the business open or close? Are credit facilities offered? Can one use cheques or credit cards?

The future of direct marketing

As we have seen earlier, this is a field that is growing at a very high rate and one has to be alert not to be swept out. Computer and the internet have contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of direct marketing. It is cost-effective and saves on time. The secret to success in direct marketing is to develop a team that carries out predictive research regularly on its improvement or the methodologies to be adopted. Nonverbal communication has contributed to the success of direct marketers and has to be embarked on.

While preparing the budget, direct marketing planning has to be incorporated. This should be done in order of priorities giving the first priority to the identification of potential customers. The future success of direct marketing lies in what is done today. Direct marketers need to establish their potential customers and employ ways that are aimed at their retention. It is very hard to convince a new customer to use a new brand than it is to convince an old one. Old customers have already become acquitted to certain products and it becomes easy for one to persuade them to diversify to products within the brand. If a company wants to expand its sales revenue, the first people to approach are its customers and with a little promotion, they will get them going. Retaining one customer is more profitable to a business than getting two more.

The second priority should be given to future prospects. A business should identify the businesses or individuals who can make big purchases and have impacts on the business. This can be through promotions or research from the database. The third priority should be given to the probable suspects and then finally to mass advertising (Nash 17).

Customers’ needs and demands have changed with time, they have a variety of products to choose from. The big question today is confronted with the many varieties of products i.e. what will the customers choose? And how will marketers reach these customers? The media have expanded and new technologies have emerged but direct marketing remains the solution for success in all businesses.

The key to success in any form of marketing depends on the message sent and how the message is received. Customers demand attention and respect. If one wants to succeed in persuading them to purchase his/her products, then he/she has to show some respect and attention to them.

Most customers prefer to purchase all their products under one roof instead of having to move from one store to another. It is the work of the marketers to ensure that, they provide their customers with most of the products that they purchase regularly to relieve them of the burden of having to move up and down looking for this or that (Mullin 7). The language that one addresses a customer with matters a lot in persuading them to go for certain products, this is more so for direct marketers because they usually have direct communication with their customers.

Conclusion

Direct marketing involves direct communication between the customers and the marketers. This can be through the use of telephone calls, emails, or postal mails. Initially, direct communication was conducted by the use of emails which were replaced by the use of the internet after the discovery of computers. We have become a world that is dependant on the internet and many transactions take place over the internet. One advantage of direct marketing is that it concentrates on specific customers, and messages are only transmitted to these customers. It is cost-effective compared to the other conventional methods such as television, radio, and newspapers. It gives an assurance that the message gets to the potentials customers who are always quick to respond.

Success does not come easily; one has to compete with the growing world. One way of ensuring that direct marketing leads to business success is proper identification of customers and formation of good customers relationships. In years to come, direct marketing will have replaced most of the conventional ways of advertisement because it is proving to be the best. Its success has contributed to the use of the internet.

References

Hatch Denny & Jackson Don. 2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success: The Pros Tell You Their Time-Proven Secrets. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999

Mullin, Roddy. Direct marketing: a step-by-step guide to effective planning and targeting Marketing in action series. New York: Kogan Page Publishers, 2002

Nash Edward L. Direct marketing: strategy, planning, execution. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000

Stone Bob, and Jacobs Ron. Successful direct marketing methods: interactive, database, and customer-based marketing for digital age. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007