5 Phenomenal Direct Marketing Campaigns That companies Used To Grow

Over the last few years, there's been instances of direct marketing campaigns that turned the tables. Here's 5 best examples for inspiration. Read on...

Before we get elbow-deep in the direct marketing campaigns, let’s just get direct marketing’s introduction out of the way. After all, if you haven’t frequented our blog in a while, there’s a lot you could learn as far as the basic definition of direct marketing is concerned.

Am I right or am I right? *wink wink*

Anyway, ignore that lame attempt at humor but have you ever wished you could just cut all the middlemen out of marketing and get straight to the point?

That’s precisely what direct marketing is all about.

What Is Direct Marketing?

Let’s see what the features of direct marketing are that make it so liked by marketers all around the world.

Direct marketing campaigns are intended for promotion, like any marketing campaign, that allows companies to directly communicate with their audience.

Not much is different in direct marketing – it is very much like traditional marketing that involves creating, sharing, and promoting campaigns. The only key difference here is that a brand markets itself to the customer instead of marketing to another brand.

The audience in direct marketing is highly specific as it focuses on producing refined results. If you want to improve your ROI, this is a great way as it makes sure that you reach the right customer base.

Direct marketing is an aggressive method of promotional marketing which is why you should always do it with a proper plan in mind and an effective implementation at hand.  It makes sense that this type of marketing is the reason why it has won 10x the initial customer base over a short duration.

What’s one thing that direct marketing is known for is a strong call-to-action (CTA). However, it is often confused with brand marketing. While direct marketing is highly focused in terms of its viewers, brand marketing focuses on a larger audience.

Moreover, direct marketing is measurable but brand marketing is not and that is why it is considered to be so effective.

General Examples of Direct Marketing Vs Direct Marketing Campaigns

Many of the examples of direct marketing are marketing tools that you already know and are used to.

  • Email Marketing

Email marketing is usually considered a form of digital marketing since it takes place online. The most critical point to notice here is that you need to make your text compelling to attract the maximum amount of people.

  • Telemarketing

Telemarketing comprises sales outreach through traditional phone calls and converting them to cold or warm leads.

It can be an effective tool for marketing your business, increasing your profits and promoting your products. The advantage to use telemarketing is that it allows you to immediately gauge your customer’s level of interest in your product.

  • Digital Marketing

Digital marketing includes everything from social media to the website. On social media, brands are expected to engage in valuable conversations with their target audience…

The good news is that many social channels make direct marketing simpler by allowing you to create highly-specific ads according to demographic data…

  • Traditional Postal Mails

There’s not much to say about this except this is still a very relevant form of direct marketing. It usually takes place through postcards, letters, catalogs, and flyers. Again, it needs to grab the attention with the impactful content and colorful imagery.

5 Best Examples of Direct Marketing Campaigns That Companies Used Towards Scalability

Direct marketing is used by every brand around us to expand their sales and to reach the right audience. Without a proper connection between a brand and the audience, what is the point of social media and marketing?

Below is the list of companies who conduct direct marketing for various reasons; and because every time we hear a success story, we want to know what the person or the brand did and how did they do it, we have included sections detailing just that below each example.

1. Instacart

direct marketing campaigns, direct marketing campaign examples

Instacart is an online grocery delivery service that is loved by the customers who use it by outsourcing their shopping lists. This is the fastest online grocery delivery service which is why it has gained such respect (and sales) from customers.

It is known to deliver groceries in as little as an hour. Instacart was founded in 2012 and received its Series A status in the next year. The company is now valued at over $7.9 billion and has raised approximately $1.2 billion.

  • What They Did

With the help of direct marketing, even a lean budget didn’t stop Instacart from achieving two main goals. One, improving the customer experience and two, building customer awareness. As a brand that is just starting, what else do you need?

  • How They Did It

Now the next question in everyone’s mind is probably a big, fat, one-word: HOW?

Well, mainly through word-of-mouth did Instacart manage to achieve its success. At first, they were just servicing the state of San Francisco – that is where they had initiated their operations – but later they began service in other states as well.

Meanwhile, they were networking with investors and showcasing their brand T-shirts as they went about making grocery runs and deliveries all over the state.

It was these very T-shirts that got a lot of people curious in finding out about them when they frequented the stores that their target audience frequented usually. Talk about direct marketing done right!

  • Lesson Learned

The main takeaway from this example is that word-of-mouth is a solid way to make an impression and do direct marketing by placing your product or service in an area where your target audience either resides or frequents.

Instacart, the fast grocery-delivery service app, created a buzz in both the arena of B2C and tech.

2. Casper

Next up on our direct marketing examples list is Casper, a memory foam mattress company.

With free delivery and simple options that just made its customers’ lives easy, Casper became a fan-favorite in very little time. That and the fact that they have a generous refund policy in place that lets all their customers try out the mattress for a total of 3 months (100 days) before fully committing to the purchase.

This has helped the sales go up because people faced less hesitation with Casper.

After all, this was so much better than a 10-second check-up in stores. This brand uses influencer marketing that has proven to be ground-breaking for them – seeing how they started over $100,000 in debt and is now worth $1.1 billion.

  • What They Did

We have no choice but to give it to Casper. They went and spent $370 million on content marketing strategy.

Are we surprised to see that they did so well as a result of that decision?


Are we surprised at the amount and a little curious as to what this strategy entailed?

Heck, yes!

Nonetheless, it is still a little surprising how well their direct campaigns performed, because let’s face it: sometimes the best marketers and marketing experts still fail to deliver the results they promise, no matter how much you have spent on the strategy with them.

If you think about it, mattresses are something that will always remain a need. No matter what century it is, or what country it is – people are always going to want to sleep better.

Guaranteed, until and unless, there is a launch of better technology – we are thinking floating bed-less clouds-like mattresses. Pray, do tell, what all of you are thinking.

  • How They Did It

It’s fairly simple and easy for other brands to replicate as well the way Casper did it. Regardless of the industry, their technique is unrestrictive and will help all brands approach direct marketing more positively. So, Casper and direct mail was an interesting concept.

Their brightly colored envelopes encased high-quality paper which brought forth a message of intangible offer (have your card charged and then get to meet your new mattress).

So, each of their mailers presented this offer to their target audience and revolutionized the world of direct marketing with creativity.

  • Lesson Learned

Online companies often lack a sense of credibility but with direct mail involved, the companies then start to appear more real than before. A paper with the company’s name on it, arriving in your mailbox, instills a level of trust in you for the brand.

Moreover, they have made the whole process of buying and receiving the mattress so much easier – online and then through the mail! You can all imagine what it must do for their sales!

3. Hollar

direct marketing campaigns, direct marketing campaign examples

Further down on our direct marketing campaigns list, we have Hollar, a virtual dollar store that allows bargain shopping to mobile phones.

Let’s pause to think that all three examples discussed in this article are for needs that people can’t simply ignore – grocery, mattresses, and now mobile phones, and let’s face it, in this decade, mobile phones ARE a need.

Okay, now back to Hollar; they have brought fun and excitement to the bargain shopping but offering large discounts – as much as 90%(!!!!!) on brand names – and a large variety of products.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hollar won Series C financing of about $35 million. Wow, just wow.

  • What They Did

So, here’s their game plan: Hollar launched a Pinterest marketing strategy that allowed them to communicate directly with their ideal audience – the thrifty millennial mothers.

The strategy was successful and aided in spreading the word in their already-researched demographic.

This can also be called an exemplary form of market research. Hollar app’s UX design is also based on this market research and is inspired, in terms of design, by the Pinterest social media platform.

It features similar boards and features that help its customers navigate the app with ease and ultimately, increase sales.

  • How They Did It

Their direct marketing strategy relied on creating a highly detailed and intelligent target audience profile.

Once they knew who their ideal customer was, they were able to focus their marketing efforts with laser precision on the virtual spaces these customers liked to hang out in.

  • Lesson Learned

The main takeaway from this example is that the better you research your audience, the better and more effective will your direct marketing approach/strategy will be. In the case of Hollar, it was the underrepresented audience in the e-commerce startup world and the consumer’s intent to shop that made the whole concept such a big success.

Update: Hollar isn’t functional anymore as per last year’s updates. However, we felt it necessary to showcase some of the direct marketing campaigns that they used in the past.

At least from inspiration point of view, most of their marketing strategies were right on the dot!

The company’s new name, after the acquisition is: ‘Five Below’

Also Read: Hollar No More, As Five Below Rebrands Site

4. Harry’s

direct marketing campaigns, direct marketing campaign examples

  • What They Did

Harry’s is known for selling products of the personal grooming variety, including but not limited to the shaving tools.

They market themselves on both, digital and physical retail stores. Based on the person’s unique profile and skincare needs, Harry’s subscription model offers weekly or monthly delivery of the recommended products.

The brand has grown tremendously since its initiation in 2013; from acquiring a razor factory in Germany to running many effective direct marketing campaigns. Harry’s has worked hard to ensure that its direct-to-consumer (DTC) product is a hit. Currently, it is valued at $1.4 billion.

  • How They Did It

Harry’s accomplished this feat in three main steps:

Step #1: By focusing on their immediate network, they knew the leads will have a guaranteed high ROI, so they sent messages to their networks first.

Step #2: By setting a landing page through a referral link. The page, although simple, got the job done of collecting the data and introducing the brand to the people.

Step #3: By hosting a giveaway, in which, anyone sharing the landing page on social media won a gift. The gift was never specified which only added to the mystery of the brand.

  • Lesson Learned

The main takeaway from this is that it’s not always about the money. Even if you can’t afford to host a giveaway, you can always start by using the resources you already have. In this case, it was the products and the network.

Moreover, they were also able to develop a direct marketing funnel without making much effort that provided them with the data they needed: email, landing page, and social media details.

5. BarkBox

direct marketing campaigns, direct marketing campaign examples

Yep, you guessed it. It is a subscription service for your dogs that has different memberships.

Each membership is categorized based on the number of products you would like to receive from the company. BarkBox was founded in 2011 to ship a curated and themed collection of full-size dog products. Since then it has amassed over 600,000 monthly subscribers and has a value of $150 million to $200 million.

  • What They Did

BarkBox made use of both, conventional and modern, direct marketing methods that helped them double their yearly revenue within a year. For the conventional method, they put up a TV ad in 2018, and for the modern method, they heavily invested in Facebook ads.

  • How They Did It

They cash happiness – precisely, dog’s happiness. BarkBox is known to put up ads that feature happy owners and dogs and that’s enough to tell you something.

Also, their final call-to-action (CTA) engages the audience by asking them to sign up to receive free shipping on orders and that incentive alone has helped them sell quite a lot.

  • Lesson Learned

Finally, the takeaway from this is that video creation should not be overlooked; considering how it accessible and affordable – now more than ever. Furthermore, a CTA always goes a long way.

At The End of The Day...

In conclusion, the aforementioned direct marketing campaigns can help you to scale your business like a pro. Here’s the main takeaway…

  • Word-of-the-mouth and the right branding might be just what you need!
  • There’s a lot of trust in direct mail so don’t underestimate its power!
  • Researching the target audience and providing for the underrepresented lot can be huge!
  • Focus on what you have and work with it!
  • Never forget to include a CTA.
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