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    How direct are you?

    When I mention direct marketing, do you cringe and think of all those offers you receive overflowing in your postbox? Although this form of direct marketing does have a place, I'm talking about direct marketing with a bit more impact, that's far more memorable.
    Consumers today are bombarded with so much marketing material, that our brains have been hardwired only to retain what is pertinent to us, or what cuts through the clutter and stands out.

    Direct marketing can talk directly to the consumer. If you can approach your consumers in an engaging manner, you have the ability to build top of mind brand awareness. And even better, get them to use your service or buy your product.

    The success of direct marketing as a medium depends first and foremost on your database. Is the database aligned to your target market? If so, is it current and up to date? There are plenty of database and customer relationship management (CRM) software options available, which will eliminate a lot of the administration needed to keep databases up to date and accurate.

    Direct marketing is not mass marketing. It is when a marketer connects directly with the end user (a consumer or business). As a term, it covers a variety of marketing tools that cut out the intermediary in advertising:
    • Internet marketing
    • Face-to-face selling
    • Direct mail
    • Catalogues
    • Telemarketing
    • Direct-response advertising
    • Kiosk marketing
    A personal favourite of mine is direct mail. A cut through direct mail piece can really connect with the receiver. And more often than not when done well, are shared with others because of their ingenuity. But more importantly, they get people to take action: a phone call, a visit to a website, making an appointment, visiting a store (think discount coupon or free service) or even completing an order form.

    A great example of this is a simple, direct mail piece by Kit Kat Chunky in the UK.

    How direct are you?

    It demonstrates a connection to the product benefit in that it could not be delivered because it is too "Chunky", and even more importantly, you have to go in-store to claim your free chocolate, which will undoubtedly lead to additional purchases at the shop.

    The piece is cost efficient and personalised. The copy even looks hand-written, but it merely makes use of variable data technology and smart typeface application to achieve this.

    The additional benefit to this sort of marketing approach is measurability. It is incredibly easy to track redemption to determine success.

    So, next time you think of direct marketing, consider the benefits it may hold for your brand and your business. The results may just surprise you.
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