Other direct marketing applications - Marketing Management

Broadcast faxing is less common than other forms of direct marketing. This is largely due to laws in the USA which make it illegal, and also because the fax has declined in popularity as a communications medium, coupled with the fact that other forms of direct marketing, especially through the Internet, are more advanced and more effective.

Another type of direct marketing in the context of telemarketing is voicemail marketing. Due to the omnipresence of e-mail marketing and the expense of direct mail, an economical means by which to reach people has been developed through the medium of the human voice. However, like telemarketing, applications of this technique have resulted in a profusion of ‘voice-spam’, and have quickly brought about legislation to curb its excesses. Some businesses use guided voicemail where pre-recorded voicemails are guided by live callers to achieve a more personal B2B aura that was previously the province of telemarketing.

Leaflet distribution services are used widely by fast food companies and other B2C businesses that have a local focus. Similar to direct mail, this method is targeted by area and is less expensive than mailshots due to not having postage charges or having to buy address lists.

Couponing is used in print media where a coupon which the reader cuts out is presented at the retail checkout which provides a discount.

Direct marketing on television (DRTV) can be in a long form (typically half-hour or more segments explaining a product in detail and termed infomercials) and in shorter forms of around 30 seconds that ask viewers for an immediate response, usually to call a phone number on screen or go to a website. DRTV advertisements that are intended to produce a direct sale through an order by the customer are part of direct marketing.

Although it can be used to build brand awareness or develop a customer database, most frequently it is used to generate an immediate sale. For example, the viewer may be given a telephone number to ring to place a direct order. Direct response television marketing is growing. It is particularly suited to fundraising marketing for charities, causes, etc. It is widely used for products such as CDs, chat lines and novelty products.

Direct response advertising has witnessed an enormous growth over recent years. It is a major part of direct marketing. It uses carefully crafted marketing communications to generate a response directly from the advertisement itself. This could be a telephone call to you asking for an appointment to provide further information, or an order in the post, a request for a brochure or a coupon presented for a discount or free sample. Credit cards are convenient charging platforms when selling direct over the telephone, and these have helped to expand this type of business.

Many products are advertised on television that cannot be purchased elsewhere, and the only way to obtain the product is to telephone a free phone or toll free number given in the advertisement. There is sometimes a related ‘free gift’ such as an extra product if you place the order within a short period of time. Since the firm is generating and monitoring responses, management can measure the contacts and income produced by each individual advertisement or mailing. Conventional advertising is difficult to evaluate in terms of sales response, where it is more appropriate to evaluate the communications effect rather than the sales effects following advertising. Management can test different forms of advertising in consecutive issues of the same publication, or schedule the same advertisement in different publications, and learn which is most effective in producing the desired response. Direct response is a unique type of advertising, as it allows evaluation of the effectiveness of operations in relation to specific, measurable objectives.

It is sometimes difficult for a firm to evaluate specific sales responses from conventional advertising because of ‘multiple causation’. An advertisement is only one of a number of communications being used by firms simultaneously. It is difficult to separate out the effects, particularly sales effects, in respect of each of these forms of promotion. As they do not have any response generator or tracking mechanism in place for quantifying sales results, it is difficult to ascertain which medium is working and which is not. Lord Lever of household detergent fame once said: ‘I know that half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half’.

Direct Response Advertising relies on compelling and persuasive material whose objective is not merely to inform, but to bring about a desired specific response that can be objectively measured. With direct response advertising, creative writers use artwork copy, page layout, plus carefully crafted text, to explain salient reasons to purchase a product or service.

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