Making Direct Marketing Work Digitally

Direct and Digital Marketing

The internet has paved the way for targeted marketing to take precedence over mass marketing. Being able to communicate directly with a specific subset of your target audience and convert potential customers into real customers with higher precision has been central to direct marketing since it was conceptualized.

Since digital marketing has taken center stage, direct marketing strategies have also transformed along with it. Companies, regardless of their scale and size of operations, are adopting digital media to directly appeal to their target audience in a bid to convert them from potential customers to actual customers and retain them thereafter.Moreover, customers increasingly feel the need to be included and connected with the businesses and brands they regularly associate with. This makes it of paramount importance for companies to strongly consider adopting direct marketing strategies using digital media in order to leverage the presence of their target audience in the online world.

So how does this work?

In order to understand digital direct marketing, let us revisit the concept of direct marketing itself. It is often defined as a form of marketing communication wherein businesses directly reach out to customers, present and potential, using a variety of media channels. In the absence of the internet, this used to happen via cold calls, telemarketing, and direct mail.

Direct marketing can be identified by three core characteristics:

  1. Location: Direct marketing is a targeted activity, which means it is often customized to locations, which can range from neighborhoods to towns to specific locations in a large city. By localizing marketing efforts, businesses are able to optimize marketing budgets and also win the hearts of a specific target market, establishing a strong foothold in the location.
  2. Interactive: As opposed to mass marketing, which is one-way communication, direct marketing involves interaction between the business and the customer. All direct marketing communication involves engagement, compelling a response from the consumer; this could be anything from an inquiry about a product or service, the start of a conversation, or, in the best-case scenario, a sale.
  3. Measurable: The outcome of all direct marketing communication is measurable. Responses from customers can be recorded, and the data acquired thereafter is crucial towards identifying how successful the marketing communication was while also acting as the foundation for forthcoming marketing activities as a follow-up.
  • Enter the Internet

Many marketers believe that traditional direct marketing needs to be paired with digital marketing efforts online in order to achieve the best results. If we observe trends in marketing techniques, it’s evident that techniques like direct mailers, telemarketing advertisements, and cold calls, when paired with call-to-actions from digital direct marketing, work in harmony to ensure a strong brand presence. Brands are increasingly aware of how essential it is to combine offline and online communication to generate stronger outcomes.

Engaging with customers online through social media simply works. Now that the internet has become mainstream media, marketers are constantly on the lookout for ways to leverage opportunities to reach their target audience online through digital media in an attempt to convert and/or retain them as customers.

Direct marketing digital equivalent techniques are proving to be quite effective in supplementing offline direct marketing activities to achieve a common goal.  Take, for example, how emailers pair exceptionally well with direct mail or how brands directly engage consumers on social media and quickly follow up with a telephonic conversation. The evidence of the impact of direct marketing online is abundant. A combination of offline and online activities produces the best results with lesser financial implications than before.

  • Leveraging databases

The existence of databases on the world-wide web allows for the creation of highly objective-driven direct marketing. As customers interact and engage with brands on social media and eCommerce portals, they knowingly share their details with said brands. This includes their purchasing and spending habits, personal information, preferences, and habits, as well as anything else that businesses can use to create specific and customized targeted marketing communications in an attempt to persuade consumers to make repeat purchases, thereby retaining them in the long run.

Database marketing is a failsafe strategy, especially if it is built on reliable historical data about potential and existing customers. It acts as a great launchpad to initiate direct marketing activities online. Each customer’s profile is available via databases, allowing for targeted communication to be created and communicated with pinpoint accuracy, thereby reaching more relevant audiences and fostering a stronger relationship with them.

  • Managing customer relationships

Speaking of stronger relationships, customer relationship management (CRM) is more important than it has ever been. Customers now feel the need to be connected with their brand and with each other. This makes managing customers online of critical importance to the wellbeing of the brand’s presence online.

Direct marketing done right online ensures that brands are constantly engaging with customers, understanding their mindsets, and accordingly adjusting the way they communicate and deliver as per customer expectations.

  • Personalising Communication

Direct marketing has always placed a heavy emphasis on personalizing communication with each recipient of all marketing communication. This is one of the most important aspects of ensuring a long-lasting and healthy customer-brand relationship.

With the onset of digital media, direct marketing has opened the door to faster personalization and targeted communication. Being able to directly address specific customers at a fraction of the cost makes this one of the biggest advantages over mainstream marketing techniques. Moreover, it also opens the doors to faster two-way communication, something that has been limited, if not entirely absent, in other forms of marketing communication till date.

  • The bottomline?

A lot of marketers endorse the fact that direct marketing has been empowered and its boundaries pushed to a great extent, courtesy of the internet. By empowering companies and consumers alike, digital marketing done digitally ensures that there is greater scope for engagement at a much faster rate than ever before.

This makes it crucial to ensure that companies invest a fair amount of their time and marketing budgets towards reaching their audiences online. Doing so not only diversifies and consolidates their marketing activities but also increasingly delivers better results. As the world continues to consume content on the internet at a staggering rate, it’s becoming even more crucial to ensure companies market directly to the world online.