Direct Marketing Definition – The What, Why and How

Direct Marketing Definition

Direct mail is a key part of direct marketing and is hugely important for any business that’s looking to gain or retain customers. Marketing itself encompasses the full range of promoting your business, including mediums such as television, radio or billboard advertisements. Direct marketing on the other hand, is more targeted to a specific ‘potential’ customer and has a higher chance of gaining interest and generating sales.

So, if you’re looking for the specific definition of direct marketing, we would say:

Direct marketing is a form of advertising which targets a specific group of potential customers and usually involves delivering physical materials such as flyers, brochures, leaflets or catalogues.

As a print company who specialises in direct mail campaigns, we see first-hand the impact direct marketing can have on a business. A direct marketing campaign can provide an excellent return on investment if carried out effectively, and we have customers gaining consistent successful returns via direct mail. If direct mail isn’t part of your marketing strategy, then you may be missing out on one of the most powerful tools in the marketing toolbox.

Successful Direct Marketing Methods

Direct marketing comes in many forms and as mentioned it’s used to target a specific, usually existing database of potential customers. It may be used to target an existing customer-base to tell them of a new product or service that you’re launching, or it may be used to target a list of subscribers that have expressed an interest in your service.

The most popular form of direct marketing that we see is direct mail, but direct mail isn’t the only channel that can be utilised for direct marketing. Other channels include:

  • E-mail
  • Telemarketing (telephone)
  • SMS (texting)
  • Face-to-Face selling
  • Remarketing on Google Ads

Direct mail however, has seen huge growth in 2018 due to the new data protection regulations (GDPR introduced in May) placing strict regulations on who can be contacted via email and telephone. As of yet, these regulations don’t apply to direct mail and many are seeing it as a safer form of direct marketing.

Why Use Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is generally cheaper than other forms of marketing, and the return is usually higher. This makes it an excellent form of marketing for start-up businesses. A direct marketing campaign can target a specific set of consumers and offer a service that is relevant to them. While a TV advert is great for brand awareness and can reach a huge audience, it can be eye-wateringly expensive and almost impossible to attain for a new business. Direct marketing on the other-hand, and more specifically direct mail, is excellent for smaller businesses and has been used in the food and beverage industry for years with regular flyer drops being utilised by pizza companies and the like.

For companies like pizza delivery, direct mail is used as a reminder to the customer and can compel them to act when seeing the latest new tasty pizza on offer. These are a perfect example of targeted direct marketing, in that they’re sent out to past customers, so are already known to have used the service before.

The Importance of the Message

For a direct marketing campaign to be a success, it’s vital that the message being delivered has something important to offer. If you already have a list of existing or potential customers, then you need to have an angle which will strike a chord and compel them to buy your product or use your service. This is why special offers are so successful in direct marketing campaigns.

By offering a special offer or deal in your message, you have a higher chance of getting a positive response. There needs to be a focus and a reason for sending your direct marketing message and if you can make it time sensitive, again, you have a higher chance of making a sale or gaining a new direct lead.

Copywriting for Direct Marketing

Another hugely important part of delivering your message via direct marketing is the copywriting you use to ‘sell’ your message. Copywriting for direct mail is arguably the most important factor and well-written, emotive copy can increase conversions dramatically. Unlike traditional forms of marketing that are slanted towards gaining brand awareness and promoting a product to a wide audience, direct marketing is more focused towards a particular group. This allows you to tailor your message to a specific market and make it more personalised, addressing touch points that strike an individual chord in your targeted recipient. The power of direct marketing is it does allow you to speak directly to your targeted audience, and if you used the right words to deliver your message you have an excellent chance of gaining new business.

Direct Mail is the Most Effective Form of Direct Marketing

The Mailing People specialise in direct marketing and offer the full package, from a few personalised letters, to bulk mail, right up to the most challenging of variable data campaigns. We offer everything you need to produce a successful direct marketing campaign all under our roof and are always on hand to offer free expert advice. Contact us today to discuss any of your direct mail needs and we’ll be happy to help.

Written by Kristian Harrison, General Manager at The Mailing People. Kristian is an industry professional with over 20 years experience in Direct Mail and Fulfilment.