The most important thing to know about direct marketing is that it’s at the core of marketing. It's simply “marketing” with a different set of tools and tactics, and an expectation for a clearly defined outcome to occur. And if you want to do more than have conversations, then you need to use those tools and tactics. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at this post which will explain why old-fashioned direct marketers are not going anywhere anytime soon
Let me offer you my perspective on the principle of direct marketing, based on my two-plus decades in the field: I believe it is important to provide businesses with a clear picture of what they are selling.
1. Direct marketers are primarily interested in their ROI (return on investment). They want to get back twice as much (or more) than they spend initially.
2. Other marketing experts might find a direct marketer's promotions loud, unappealing, too hard sell, or behind the times… we don't care. What we do care about is if those promotions work.
3. Ugliness and crudeness in design or content can often outperform elegance and sophistication. Of course, this isn't always the case, which is why we test.
4. Subjective opinion about copy and creative count for nothing to direct marketers. The only way to tell if my copy is superior or inferior to yours is through an A/B split test, not personal preference.
5. Non-direct marketers are enthusiastic about new media and methods early, regardless of whether they have yet been able to demonstrate a positive return on investment, and it appears to me that because they are new. They are ready to put a lot of time and money into new marketing media, even if they've not yet shown their worth in the market.
6. On the other hand, direct marketers are cautious and conservative. We want to know if something is effective before we spend money on it. Even then, we conduct small tests to ensure that it will perform for us before putting it into full effect across the board.
7. Non-direct marketers are preoccupied with branding, awareness, and reputation. ROI, though, is the most important objective for us direct marketers, and we resist any branding limitations that might hinder us from achieving it.
8. Direct marketers know that what's proven to work in direct mail, print media space ads, and elsewhere offline happens to work online too. And while there are some differences, the fact is that no matter where it appears, strong sales copy is needed to secure the order.
9. Marketers who use direct marketing methods are looking for immediate payback. Non-direct marketers are more concerned with things like changing consumer behavior or attitude over a much longer period of time.
10. Non-direct marketers are more likely to take pleasure in projects that are clever, witty, daring, or colorful. Often they're in it to win awards and accolades from others in the industry. Direct marketers, however, tend to shun such projects as a waste of time and money. We’re looking for customers, not industry admiration.
Direct marketing is still alive and kicking, even in the digital age. And if you're not using these tactics to communicate with your customers, then it's time for a change of pace.
I hope this post has given you some insights into how direct marketers are more interested in ROI than anything else–and that we have proven methods that work no matter what type of media or platform their audience uses.