How Direct Makes Digital Better
Jan 27, 2018
I have yet to figure out why people automatically regard direct marketing as mail order when we as direct marketers have used a range of media (channels) from mail to television and radio to create and execute direct response marketing advertisements and campaigns over the decades. And, now we have digital, and it’s as if, the term “direct marketing” no longer applies. Well, I beg to differ. Yes, we have digital media; and, mail (the kind that uses stamps) to a large degree has been abandoned by most marketers. There are several reasons for this. The first being that for many applications, email is cheaper, quicker to execute, and just as effective. [This may be changing due to the avalanche of email in our inboxes. And, it's something that marketers should definitely test.] The second reason being that we have a new generation of marketers, many of whom have no experience using traditional media for direct marketing, and no formal direct response marketing education or experience.
Digital is just that a channel, another direct response channel.
It is both a communications channel and a distribution channel for intellectual content and digital products such as software. As such it has its own unique features and characteristics (as do all media (checkout our advertising media check list), but it is a medium in which direct marketing practices are still applicable and valid. Direct marketing didn’t go away. We just added a new channel in which to practice it.
The problem is that some marketers, especially those in the eCommerce community are practicing direct marketing without knowing that what they are doing is direct marketing. Or, they prefer not to have the association because that’s old school traditional media...like direct mail. Instead, it’s etailing, or some other trendy name.
The fact is that the rules of direct marketing when applied in the digital channel have just as much validity as they do in any other channel. And, by knowing and applying those rules and techniques, marketers can be more effective and have more profitable programs.
eCommerce despite what the trade press says is not the equivalent of digital retailing (eTailing). And, the reason is that there is a whole different cost and operational structure which has a significant impact on whether or not you can profitably sell a product direct to consumers (B2B or B2C). Also, it doesn’t offer the customer engagement or customer experience that actual retail (brick and mortar) shopping give the consumer.
Many eCommerce companies are doing direct response marketing badly, and if it were not for VC money hoping to produce the next Amazon, they would be out of business.
For example, there seems to be the belief that you can do lost leader or low ball selling via eCommerce to attract customers and build market share and then turn those same customers into profitable regular price buyers of products. It doesn’t work. You bring in discount buyers in any direct channel and you will have discount buyers forever. This has been proven time and time again over the decades regardless of the channel used, and the addition of the digital channel has not changed this axiom.
So, we’ve enter a new age of direct marketing, with the addition of the digital channel. Marketers who want to be successful in this medium can avoid a lot of the painful learning curve of selling direct by taking the processes, practices and rules developed for direct response marketing in other channels and apply them in the digital channel.
To learn more about direct marketing, you can download the following white papers. They cover direct marketing in all channels including the digital channel.
- Building a Successful Direct Marketing Plan
- Direct Marketing Offer Development
- Direct Response Creative
- Direct Marketing Analytics
And for those that think they may have some use for direct mail:
Dudley Stevenson, founder and CEO of DWS Associates, has over thirty-five years’ experience in consumer marketing, business-to-business marketing, and direct marketing, including developing, planning, and implementing go-to-market strategies. He's also the author of "Marketing Direct: Breaking Through The Clutter." Working with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, he and his team have helped clients such as IBM, Sony, Neiman Marcus, Arizona Highways, Marshall Field & Co., Mrs. Field’s, UNICEF, and Patagonia implement successful direct marketing programs. A longtime member of the Direct Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, Stevenson is also a sought-after speaker. He’s given hundreds of presentations and workshops on marketing and direct marketing. His “Marketing Planning 101” workshop alone has reached more than 100,000 marketing and sales professionals.