What Is Direct Marketing & How To Crack The Code To Success?

One of the most influential forms of marketing is direct marketing. We explore all there is to 'what is direct marketing' & more in this post.

As a millennial, if you stumbled upon this post, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the term: what is direct marketing?

Given the condition that you do not switch tabs, or go through any Google results, we would like to know the plain and simple answer to what is direct marketing and all there is to it?

Chances are that you will probably relate the question to some form of modern-day online marketing technique. Most likely, it’ll involve marketing through social media channels, referral traffic, or directly interacting with customers through different internet-based platforms. You know what, you are not wrong in stating, or thinking so.

Direct marketing, also known as direct “response” marketing has been there for a long time – and that too before the internet came to fruition. However, the only difference today is that we have got the technology, smartphones, and many other access nodes that make marketing work at a lightning-fast pace.

Right now, many savvy marketers reportedly find it easy to work through direct marketing channels, instead of anything that loosely suggests “indirect marketing.” In this post, we’ll crack the nut on ‘what is direct marketing’, your path to success as a marketer, and different intuitive ways to outperform the competition.

Let’s get started.

What Is Direct Marketing?

Also called direct response marketing, the ‘what is direct marketing’ term entails a bunch of marketing methods where the customer is expected to respond immediately to any sales pitch, ad or commercial.

Now, that’s more of a broad-spectrum definition because sales pitches and adverts speak for different tactics that fall underneath the ‘what is direct marketing’, and general marketing strategies. We are talking about something specific here, on the contrary.

The important question is, how does direct marketing work? Or what are the examples of direct marketing advertising scenarios where customers are influenced by an advert, and they decide to take the vendor up on that offer?

What Is Direct Marketing | Relevant Examples To Illustrate The Concept

Back in the day when GEICO was mainstreaming almost every real-life and online platform, you probably remember their commercials. Most of them used to end with the ‘Call Now’ tagline. GEICO also had a dedicated direct marketing campaign where almost every other commercial ended with a ‘Call Now, 15 minutes mat save you 15% or more” prompt.

That’s just one example of direct response marketing from the past.

We can also refer to Budweiser Clydesdale horses ads. They were an example of a ‘what is direct marketing’ category commercial where the company wanted you to remember the brand name. The next time you are looking to chug down a keg of beer, Budweiser is what you should be shopping for.

In both of these instances, the companies want viewers to respond immediately to the ads. That’s what direct response marketing is, or at least how it used to be like during the past 10 – 15 years.

The modern state of direct response marketing involves Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and website-based ads where there’s a ‘Buy Now’ or some form of contact us button – followed up with a lead conversion process.

‘Click the ad to buy the product’ is the latest mantra for anyone looking to delve deeper into the realm of what is direct marketing in 2021.

To add more to the ‘what is direct marketing’ examples, let’s take a look at some of the relevancies from the age of Web 2.0 & Web 3.0 standards:

• Email Marketing

It has replaced the conventional postal mail these days. The idea is still the same – i.e. alert leads about the upcoming product launches, discounts, or anything that needs attention. There’s always hope for nurturing those leads into converted customers from a long-term perspective.

Email marketing is great for not only maintaining a hefty list of active contacts but also ensuring that majority of the email receivers are your return customers. In a worst-case scenario, email marketing can be invasive. Therefore, abstain from sending too many emails.

• Webinars

Your usual array of webinars these days talks about any random product in hopes of converting customers. These webinars are hosted by subject matter experts so that people can be convinced about the unique selling proposition of the product at hand.

For best conversion, make sure that you are identifying an issue, delivering valuable content, and helping the people who have joined your webinar. If you take care of all three variables, conversions will happen on their own.

• TV Commercials

Also known as infomercials, they’re those late-night TV commercials that focus on one product for up to an active run time of 30 mins, or so.

While some may argue that infomercials don’t have the same effect on the audience anymore, they can still convert if executed the right way. For instance, take all the products online and label them with the ‘As Seen On TV’ label. Bring in social media influencers to talk about the product, and presell by posting reviews. The results are long-term, but they eventually follow the trickle-down effect sooner than later.

• Podcasts

Podcasts are another fine example of ‘what is direct marketing. They are a dated concept, but pretty much relevant to the direct marketing industry because of the value-driven content.

Joe Rogan does podcasts; everyone knows about him, and the guy has a cult-like following on multiple social media channels. The point is that podcasts can work if the people doing the discussions are subject matter experts, and have something of value to add.

Lastly, we have got Digital Marketing and all there is to it, as another example of direct marketing. People use Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Instagram to send the word out about different products & services.

For the best conversion, anything that’s being promoted or sold through social media channels is bundled with the social commerce function. The latter is a variant of quick commerce where people can buy products directly from the social media’s online marketplace page, instead of opening the brand’s website in a separate tab.

What Are The General Benefits of Direct Marketing?

Personalized: You can focus on your specific needs since each data point can be addressed at an individual level.

Highly Measurable: Just like any other form of marketing, direct response marketing is also data-driven. This means that you can measure your campaign results through free and paid tools.

Targeted Results: Although we don’t recommend buying mailing lists or other quotients, people do that from time to time. It’s an effective strategy for targeting multiple buyer groups scattered over different demographics.

Cost-Effective: Direct response marketing is a cost-effective process with a higher return on investment. The key is to execute and monitor your strategies in a smart way, instead of going all-in with your initial investment.

Flexible Form of Marketing: According to experts from Epsilon Group, respondents enjoy receiving postal mails when they turn up in their mailboxes. The same concept applies to emails as well.

However, while you’re partaking in such direct response marketing campaigns, make sure that the tactics aren’t invasive.


Measuring Your Direct Marketing Results Is Easy & Important | Here’s Why

The modern-day state of ‘what is direct marketing’ defies the traditional norms of the ‘money in vs money out’ process. Yes, you are required to make investments from time to time, but it isn’t explicitly required since the internet is littered with free opportunities.

On that note, an opportunistic direct marketer bides his/ her time to build mailing lists, do SEO and promote the business through different channels. As a result, the customers’ list starts to aggregate on its own.

Here are a couple of other things that you should be looking at”

1. What Is Your CTR?

Running paid ads? What’s the cost per click and the average CTR (*Click through rate) that you are getting these days?

By analyzing the CTR pattern, you can get an estimate of the exact amount of money that’s being poured into the business, and the total that’s coming out the other side. If the CPC is too high, whilst your CTR is poor, it means that you need to optimize your ads, on-site copy, and sales pitch.

To that effect, calculating CRT isn’t rocket science. It’s easy. All you need to do is divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions. For instance, if 50 people click on your ads, while they are served to at least 1,000 people, then your CTR is at a healthy 5% rate!

2. Conversion Rates

Conversion rate indicates the exact number of people who are “converted” into paying customers after seeing your ads. Mathematically speaking, a conversion rate of 2% is better because Shopify’s historic data indicates a stagnant conversion percentage of 1.4%.

This rate can be calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the total number of clicks. 10 conversions from 500 interactions mean that your conversion rate is 2%. As stated earlier, it’s a decent conversion rate with solid room for improvements here n’ there.

3. What’s Your Average Product/ Order Value?

Average order value is another interesting metric that falls under the category of ‘what is direct marketing’. It is important to understand this data because customers come in through different channels.

Larger orders can possibly come through your social media influencer campaigns, instead of organic search engine optimization. Either way, direct response marketing is all about falling back on historic data and analyzing the metrics to identify a business’s pain points.

That being said, the success rate with direct marketing is not very high. The key to staying ahead of the competition is by improvising through past data patterns. What was your highest sales month? When did your business perform low? What’s the one thing that your competitor is offering, which you haven’t tried and tested by now?

Above all, there’s an entirely different field to explore when it comes to A/B testing. We will talk about such other variables of direct marketing after a few weeks. Until then, our best advice is to start small and take baby steps to measure your progress vs. regression patterns.

At The End of The Day...

If you are not analyzing data, and just throwing money under the bus, we can assure you that regardless of whether it is direct marketing or indirect marketing, your business will eventually die a premature death. Yes, that’s the stark reality of doing business.

Unfortunately, contrary to the average marketer’s belief, direct marketing does have a fair number of challenges that need to be overcome over time.

Your campaign’s success and the increase in these KPIs often lies in how you present the information to your potential customer once you’ve encouraged them to click or call. No matter the advertising vertical, the web page the customer is directed to can be the sole determining factor in your product’s success or lack of success.

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