Direct Marketing

Direct marketing has a long and interesting history. The Code of Hammurabi, part of ancient Babylonian law from 2000 BC, makes mention of how the “pedlar” should conduct himself, and also that he should be properly compensated for what he sells. Direct marketing has come a long way since then. Today it refers as much to email and social marketing as to what most of us understand to be direct marketing in its traditional form; letters sent through postal mail directly from vendor to potential customer.

Direct marketing cuts out any middleman in its method of advertising. A letter is sent directly to a person from the company with a promotional offer. In order to cut down the likelihood of the recipient not being interested in the promotional offer, lists have become available that are extremely targeted, and that can be hired. In this way the company can know that the recipient of the direct mail marketing piece is at least interested in the kind of offer they are making.

This usually means that the conversion rate, the number of people per hundred who take up the offer, will increase. A conversion rate of 1% or even less is usually considered average. That is, about one person in every hundred buys the offer they are presented with in the direct marketing campaign. In order to make the campaign profitable, it is usually necessary to mail out to many thousands of people, each one a potential customer.

Compared to other forms of promotion, traditional direct mail marketing is not cheap. However, when it is done properly, it is often much more profitable than most other forms of marketing, which is why it is still very popular, even against the rise in popularity of the Internet and its more immediate possibilities of feedback. A direct marketing campaign usually takes weeks to conduct from initial concept, through the planning and printing stage, to the actual roll out of the campaign. Even then there is a delay before the full results are known as people have to respond to the offer, and that can take a few more weeks to complete.

Direct marketing, often known as junk mail because of its ubiquitous nature, can be immensely successful when done right. It can also be extremely expensive when it fails, but in today’s world of direct marketing there are many companies with years and years of experience who can substantially minimise the risks and make direct marketing a very worthwhile promotional tool.

On September 26th, 2011, posted in: Marketing by jason


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