Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing
The growing utilisation of direct marketing by organisations over recent
years has been significant. It signals a shift in focus from mass to personalised
communications. In particular, the use of direct mail, telemarketing and the fastdeveloping area of interactive communications represents through-the-line communications. By removing the face-to-face aspect of personal selling and replacing it
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with an email communication, a telephone conversation or a direct mail letter, many
facets of the traditional salespersons’ tasks can be removed, freeing them to
concentrate on their key skill areas.
Direct marketing seeks to target individual customers with the intention of delivering personalised messages and building a relationship with them based upon their
responses to the direct communications. In contrast to conventional approaches,
direct marketing attempts to build a one-to-one relationship – a partnership with each
customer – by communicating with the customers on a direct and personal basis. If an
organisation chooses to use direct marketing then it has to incorporate the approach
within a marketing plan. This is because distribution is different, and changes in the
competitive environment may mean that prices need to change. For example, charges
for packing and delivery need to be incorporated. The product may also need to be
altered or adapted to the market. For example, some electrical products are marketed
through different countries on home shopping channels and websites. The electrical
requirements of each country or region need to be incorporated within the product
specification of each country’s offering. In addition to these changes, the promotion
component is also different, simply because communication is required directly with
each targeted individual. To do this, direct-response media must be used.
In many cases direct-response media such as direct mail, magazine inserts, and
television and print advertisements that use telephone numbers to encourage a
direct response are a derivative of advertising. However, direct response can also be
incorporated within personal selling through telemarketing and sales promotions
with competitions to build market knowledge and develop the database that is the
key to the direct marketing approach.
This text regards direct marketing as the management process associated with
building mutually satisfying customer relationships through a personal and intermediary-free dialogue. Direct-response media are the primary communication tools
when direct marketing is an integral part of the marketing plan. Further discussion
of direct marketing and direct-response communications can be found in Module
The Internet is a distribution channel and communication medium that
enables consumers and organisations to communicate in radically different
ways. It allows for interactivity, and is possibly the best medium to enable dialogue.
Communication is two-way, interactive and very fast, allowing businesses and
individuals to find information and enter exchange transactions in such a way that
some traditional communication practices and shopping patterns are being reconfigured.
The communication mix is changing: no longer can the traditional grouping of
promotional tools be assumed to be the most effective forms of communication. This
brief outline of the elements of the promotions mix signals some key characteristics:
the extent to which each element is controllable; whether it is paid for by the sponsor;
and whether communication is by mass medium or undertaken personally. One
additional characteristic concerns the receiver’s perception of the credibility of the
source of the message. If the credibility factor is high, then there is a greater likelihood
that messages from that source will be accepted by the receivers.
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The 4Cs framework (Table 1.3) represents the key characteristics and shows the
relative effectiveness of the tools of promotion across various different characteristics. The three primary groupings are: the ability of each to communicate, the costs
involved, and the control that each tool can maintain.