Is Direct Marketing Right For You?


Last Tuesday I received a message from my sons school. It caught me by surprised because the school had closed for the vacations.

‘What could they possibly want, now?’ I thought.

The school was calling for a special meeting with parents to decide on the new school-bus service. The meeting was on Sunday so I went.

When I reached the school, a few hundred people were already there. I learned that all of them had received a similar message. The principal started the meeting with a formal address indicating the purpose of the meeting and then asking us to proceed to our childrens’ classrooms and meet the respective class teachers for further discussions.

When I met my sons class teacher, she was ready with a file which had records of my sons performance for the last two years. She started by complimenting my son for his excellent performance and pointing out the areas in which he was exceptionally good or had an interest. Then, she went on to mention the extra-curricular activities started by the school to further help students who had shown interest. Most of these activities were either on a Sunday, or, after school-hours.

She, then, went on to point out that since my son travels to school in our own vehicle, we might be wasting a lot of time and effort just dropping him to school and picking him up after these special sessions, time and again. And how we could minimize the hassle by opting for the school bus service.

This was brilliant!

Let’s see how the school went about selling the idea of using the school-bus service.

The school had meticulously kept all the details ready before the meeting.

The school had the contact details of all the parents, the performance records of all the students and they used it to prepare a customized pitch for each individual case to sell their new school bus service.

This is an example of database marketing at its best. If a school can use principles of direct marketing to sell its service, why not you?

Let us consider what the main objective behind direct marketing is. The main objective of direct marketing is to find and keep profitable customers. If your business thrives on repeat orders from existing customers (and which business doesn’t?) and value of business associated with a customer during his/her association with you is substantial then those customers is going to prove highly profitable.

You already know that the unique feature about direct marketing is the ability to measure and compare results- every direct marketing message can be tracked for results.

But what’s more is having a database allows you to identify and communicate with each and every customer as an individual who has unique needs that sets them apart from the masses. It allows you to craft customized messages, make personalized offers which are relevant, therefore, highly accepted, and measure each individual campaign. What’s more?

The right database will allow you to identify the right customer, approach him with the right offer and also help you choose the right medium and design the right message. For e.g. in the real life example below, an importer of beer had a perception of their target audience while after profiling the database a completely different profile emerged.

Client’s perception:

  • Affluent, upscale clientele
  • Who could afford to pay a premium for imported beer
  • Who perceived imported beer to be superior

But when they accessed their database to profile their regular buyers a totally different scenario emerged.

Actual findings:

  • Middle class
  • Males
  • Who believed imported beer was superior
  • Who did not mind paying a premium for imported beer

These findings re-invented the client’s direct marketing strategy. But then, every business is different, and direct marketing might not be right for you, after all. If you want a second opinion we would be more than happy to give it.

Source by Prashant Shanbhag

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