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What Direct Marketers Can Teach You About Marketing

Direct marketers don’t have a glamorous job. But it is disciplined and can teach small business marketing a lot about driving business results from marketing activities. Why? Because direct marketing costs money. Every message, every address, costs money so they’re forced to hone their message, design, lists, and offers and test them until their campaign is perfect before committing their full budget.

This type of discipline is very insightful for identifying the aspects that lead to higher conversions. The results are often not something you’d talk about at a dinner party but it is the kind of marketing that will keep your business up and running. So let’s look at what small businesses can learn from direct marketers.

Your list is everything

Whether you’re sending a piece of mail to a list of 5,000 or sending an email to a list of 150,000, the quality of your list is everything in determining the success of your campaign. For direct marketers, every message costs money so to make sure they’re getting a return, they spend incredible resources making sure their lists are filled with only the best prospects.

For your email marketing list, this includes setting appropriate thresholds so that bounces are unsubscribed and that you attempt to re-engage inactive users or remove them altogether. Direct marketers teach you that quantity is not valuable, quality is.

For snail mail, the list is even more important because of the high price of mailing marketing materials. If you’re doing a mail campaign, learn from direct marketers’ obsession with testing. Print and mail is a big investment so take the time to test a few pieces of content before creating the final mailing piece.

By keeping a maintained list, direct marketers improve their ROI and send marketing messages only to those most willing to purchase.

Content is crucial

If your list is everything, the content you send is crucial. Direct marketers find that envelopes with “lumpy” things in them are opened more than simple paper. Why? Think about it. A “lumpy” item in an envelope is a mystery, it’s exciting. While your website content shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be exciting so that your audience engages with it longer, and, hopefully, sees the value of your offering and takes the desired next step.

Creating content that is useful, and stands out are other lessons you can learn from direct marketers. While in direct marketing, creativity may stand out but in other channels, this creative best practice may translate into using a unique channel to deliver your message, or a valuable coupon in an email. You know your business but when developing marketing materials, consider how to position it as exciting, useful and how to get it to stand out.

If you really want to learn to tie marketing to results, associate a cost with every Tweet, every email, every website bounce and you’ll start making decisions that improve your marketing and your bottom line.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Hi Susan,

    Great piece, got here from bizsugar, superbly written, totally agree with the list point, quality leads are definitely what you should be looking for, instead of having 10k quantity leads 1k quality leads are way better, because they deliver on investment you make in direct marketing.

    Coming to snail mail point, totally agree, it costs and if you don’t put in proper research into identifying right target market segment by focusing on right metric you might loose a lot instead of getting any return!

    The most profitable metric to utilize in selecting customers for direct mail campaign according to research is “Customer Life Time Value Metric (CLTVM)” [15]

    And to get even more out of CLTVM you should utilize the Customer Network Value Metric (CNVM) along with it. CNVM refers to, as Professor Pedro Domingo at Washington University puts it, “…in addition to buying products himself, a customer may influence others to buy them.” [16] [17]

    And to many surprise snail mail is making a come back! “research states, 92% of young shoppers prefer “mail” instead of “email” [33]” therefore you need to take it seriously and considering the above facts about customer life time value and customer network value I believe the job of identifying the right customer of direct marketing campaign is relatively easy!

    “Creating content that is useful, and stands out are other lessons you can learn from direct marketers” absolutely, considering the clutter ” 89 billion business emails sent worldwide every day [34]

    United States postal service handles 40% of worlds mail volume (523 million/day) that means total post mail pieces sent/day around the world are 1.307 billion [35].” I believe there is no other way for marketers to be insanely creative in their content to differentiate, to stand out in this immense clutter.

    The facts are taken from a well researched article on Direct Marketing, that I believe will greatly help your readers to further understand the nitty gritty of direct marketing, its importance in present day and what elements one must consider when devising a direct marketing campaign.

    You can check this article here Direct Marketing 25 Shocking Facts & Profound Insights, hope your readers will appreciate it.

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