As Ginni Rometty (IBM) intuitively says “the marketer must understand each customer as an individual or risk being left in the dust.”
When used correctly, Direct Marketing (DM) is an intelligent way to communicate personally and directly with your audience. You need to find the right balance for your target group in terms of content, relevance and frequency. And you need to know your target audience: their needs, motivations and desires.
Valentine’s Day is a great example of DM that doesn’t work and why you should avoid mass mailings, especially when selling to a specific or HNW audience. Companies tirelessly bombard us with cards to send, expensive mini breaks to book and overpriced roses to buy. All of which are mostly met with eye rolling and we don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day statements. To make an impact, especially to an audience that requires persuasion, you must know what to say, when to say it and who to say it to.
With all content marketing, the emphasis must be on the consumer and what they want/need to know rather than a scattergun, one-size-fits-all approach. The consumer is more intelligent than ever and has access to more choice, so play to that strength and show them that you know who they are and what they want. Don’t clutch at straws and don’t be lazy. Take the time to know your audience so you can get the right message to the right person.
In preparation for creating your DM calendar and designing your content strategy you will need the following in order:
- Database (see our blog on Big Data) – Outside of the basic information should be smart Intel such as demographic, purchase habits/history, company history, other information that could be relevant to your product/service. It is a worthwhile investment to mine your database intelligently. It’s your greatest asset.
- Messaging – What do you want to say? What do they need to know? What outcomes are you expecting – always keep your target market in mind. What is your brand position? Has anyone heard of you? Your messaging will continually evolve alongside your knowledge of your customer.
- Call to action – Who are you speaking to and what do you hope to achieve i.e. a meeting, a purchase or a referral?
- Reporting (Big Data again) – A well-executed DM campaign can be easily tracked. The data extracted can provide clear results helping you to understand what does and doesn’t work so you can shape future communication.
- Calendar – It’s worth creating a schedule for the year ahead. This should detail what, when and who. If appropriate include mailings surrounding industry events, company announcements, marketing and sales initiatives. This way when you want to send an adhoc mailing you can check your calendar so that you are not sending too much at the same time and also to ensure you don’t overload on the same subject (keep your customer journey in mind).
Direct marketing is relevant to businesses of all sizes, from the smallest start-up to the largest corporation. Combining results with a more strategic approach is a clear route to improving returns on investment.
Written by Samantha Wright