There are 3 major differences where direct marketing, also known as relationship marketing veers sharply away from traditional marketing and advertising.
You’ll see why it’s the most cost effective method any business can do. But especially small business because let’s face it – you’ll never have the money to throw at marketing and advertising that BIG business does.
And the good news is you don’t have to. These proven principles will work on or offline across the board, for any business, in any media, with any product or service.
But first let’s be clear that direct marketing is not just direct mail. It includes mail of course, but that was just the beginning it’s now expanded to include all the mediums available today. Remember the media is just the delivery method.
So here’s the 3 major differences between traditional marketing and advertising AND direct marketing using direct response advertising.
The first is – Direct Marketing is based on a one-on-one customer relationship which gives the ability to have 2-way communications.
Unlike traditional marketing direct marketing relies on dialogue. We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust and that is best achieved by building the relationship. So it’s not the “catch and kill” approach here.
Getting the contact details of your prospective customer is goal number one because it puts you in control of the communication process. You are no longer at the mercy of the crowded marketplace when you are “talking” to your list.
It’s also easier to find more people like them.
The second is – Direct Marketing always has a call-to-action so the customer is asked to do something.
And that’s because you “ask” them to take the action you want them to take – either request more information or place an order immediately. Whatever is the next logical step in your sales process. In fact it’s called “a call to action” or “asking for the order” which doesn’t happen in the traditional advertising model.
You see there are actually 2 types of advertising.
The dreaded awareness advertising and the champion “direct response”.
It’s important to understand this because the biggest mistake I see small business owners make is they copy big businesses. You won’t make this mistake now you know about direct response advertising but naturally people think that big companies are successful so they must know what they are doing and they “copy” their type of advertising. It’s the last thing you should do.
Big companies use Awareness advertising which is image based advertising or brand awareness. These big companies, with well known brands have expensive ads that aren’t really selling they are promoting their brand trying to get you to “feel good” hoping when you are out in the marketplace making a buying decision, you’ll remember them.
They never ask their customer to do anything – think about all the ads you see on TV. It takes many years and many millions of dollars to make an impact. So don’t waste your money on this. You need ads that sell NOW.
And we’ve all seen those print ads that don’t ask the reader to do anything – just check out the yellow pages. People pay tens of thousands of dollars for just one advertisement, depending on the size. And what do they do? Put a big fat logo at the top, boring feature after boring feature in bullet points and a phone number at the bottom. All about the company and product and NOT about the customer.
Direct response ads, on the other hand are all about the customer, their needs and problems because your customer is listening to radio station WIIFM or What’s in it for ME. And they offer a solution, make an offer then ask the customer to “respond” using a call to action.
It’s obvious the difference this must have on your advertising response and now that you know this you’ll never look at advertising the same way again!
The third thing is – Direct Marketing results are measurable which means you know what works and what doesn’t.
Unlike mass advertising you can make an offer in any media and track the results. It’s simple. So once you know what works and what doesn’t you can test other ads or media to try to improve the results and increase your profit margin.
Tracking can be simple or sophisticated depending on your systems and resources and will vary for online and offline activities. But all you need is a way to identify where the responses came from and count them.
By Julian Bush