Objectives of direct marketing - Marketing Management

Much direct marketing activity is intended to result in a sale. However, in some situations a direct sale might be unlikely or inappropriate. In such cases some other form of measurable response might be used. For example, a direct mail campaign and a telephone-marketing programme may be used in the engineering industry to invite and encourage buyers to attend a machine tool exhibition. A leaflet drop for double-glazing might contain a free telephone number for the prospect to request a brochure or estimate. The result may not be a sale, but some specific, measurable action that will hopefully contribute to an ultimate sale. Although a sale may not be the immediate objective of a direct marketing campaign, some form of direct response on behalf of the recipient of the message will be. This, in turn, will contribute to the eventual sale. Hence, direct marketing is not necessarily the same as direct sales. It might be used to keep customers informed of new product developments or to send them specific discount offers.

Direct marketing should not only be used as a simple tactical marketing communications tool, but should be integrated with the rest of the communications mix. All marketing communications elements interact to some extent. Direct marketing is likely to form a major part of communications strategy of many companies and not simply be used as a tactical adjunct. Other forms of communication are likely to be used in conjunction with direct marketing programmes even if these are only general corporate advertising programmes. Many firms use direct marketing predominantly, but not to the exclusion of other communication methods. Direct marketing is often used as part of integrated CRM programmes, and such CRM programmes, by their very nature, are long term and strategic in nature.

The goal is to provide customers with information relative to their needs and interests. A profile on the direct and interactive marketing industry offers a useful way of looking at it as a cyclical process with six distinct phases:

  1. the creative stage and design phase, where the marketing plan is constructed and appropriate media channels are selected;
  2. Direct marketing

  3. data compilation where both internal data, such as customer lists and outside data from a database company or list broker is assembled in preparation for the next stage in the programme;
  4. database management, where information is mined, fused, aggregated or disaggregated, enhanced and standardized for use in the programme;
  5. database analysis, or fine tuning the database which further focuses on an optimal target market;
  6. execution and fulfilment where customer inquiries and orders are acted upon and information on response rates is collected for final post programme analysis;
  7. response analysis where the results of the campaign are examined for effectiveness before the cycle begins again.

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