Direct Marketing Services

Companies that provide direct marketing services focus on selling their client's products via telemarketing, direct mail, and email. Businesses which target and sell directly to the consumer or to other companies may utilize the services of an outside agency or in-house department to develop and implement multimedia campaigns to boost sales. Telemarketing efforts require employing sales reps to make cold calls to customers based on a specific demographic. Most consumers have experienced dealing with telemarketing and some of the highly persuasive tactics utilized. Direct marketing agencies devise ways to persuade consumers on the other end of the phone to buy products, support non-profit organizations, sponsor a charitable cause, or consent to a home demonstration.

Advertisers may employ direct marketing services professionals to promote nearly every conceivable product -- from vacuum cleaners, household cleansers, and cable TV to cosmetics, long lasting light bulbs, magazine subscriptions, and high school photos. But the challenge for firms that specialize in cold calling is that consumers can easily grow tired of receiving calls which interfere with personal time and infringe on privacy. Some consumers opt to be placed on the National Do Not Call Registry, which prohibits telemarketers from including them on contact lists by law. "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Knowing that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient,..." (1 Timothy 1:8-9a).

A direct marketing services agency can encounter fewer consumer turn-downs and hang-ups by writing better scripts, offering monetary incentives, and training callers to utilize more effective approaches to cold calling. Stating and reiterating a perceived consumer benefit, streamlining calling lists to include customers who have purchased or used services previously, offering discount coupons or free offers with the purchase of a product are all ways telemarketers can increase the number of positive responses. Direct marketing agencies frequently write scripts which offer consumers discounts on products or services before actually getting into the heart of the sales pitch. Still others are successful in engaging customers in pop quizzes or a request to answer simple questions which results in the customer winning a gift before proceeding into a more detailed sales spiel. Unwitting consumers usually concede to buying products in the midst of celebrating their win. Although unsolicited calls can get creative, telemarketers are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and calling procedures must meet certain guidelines.

The most popular method employed by direct marketing services agencies to sell client products or services is direct mail. Well designed coupon ads or self-mailers can be posted to a specific recipient, usually based on a specific zip code. Post office zip codes usually correlate with individual incomes. High-income consumers who buy high-end products will more than likely reside in high-rent zip codes; and smart advertisers will buy or compile mailing lists to reflect a more affluent niche market. Some agencies compile lists of prospective customers or subscribe to those which closely match the client's target audience. Direct mail pieces are designed to promote a corporate brand through compelling graphics, engaging copy, and high quality printing to entice consumers to read, retain and respond to the client's message.

The key to a successful bulk mail campaign is to design a mailer that won't get tossed; and one picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Direct marketing services firms employ professional photographers, designers and printers to produce pieces that dominantly display the product and offer an immediate benefit. Case in point: pizza chains usually feature a photo of a mouth-watering slice of pie packed with Italian sausage and gooey cheese, along with a discount coupon to be presented at the local pizzeria. Jewelry companies' direct promotional pieces include photos of diamond rings, watches, necklaces and brooches on the front of mailers addressed to affluent residents; and dentists' mailers feature smiling models flashing all thirty-twos, along with discount coupons for dental care.

Unlike telemarketing and direct mail, a relatively new strategy for targeting consumer-direct promotions is email marketing. Nearly every computer-literate adult owns an email address; and advertisers are taking advantage of the latest consumer trend since long distance dialing. Permission-based email campaigns allow companies to send multiple messages to a targeted list of potential customers. Recipients subscribe to e-newsletters, instant messages, and regular electronic mail, which keeps customers abreast of news about product lines and pricing, and enables satisfied shoppers to share testimonials. Email marketing also provides corporations and customers a forum to share information and tips on improving service, developing new products, and eliminating items which are slow sellers. Advertisers who utilize direct marketing services, which include permission-based emailing, should comply with anti-spam laws and develop strategies to prevent recipients from unsubscribing to promotional electronic mail.

Direct marketing services companies may also develop and implement email campaigns to sell directly to other businesses, especially those which carry similar products. B2B advertising may be directed at automotive parts suppliers which can receive emails with discount offerings from manufacturers and warehouses. Educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and retailers may all be the recipients of opt-in email messages from vendors, suppliers and manufacturers of relevant goods and services. Book publishers, pharmaceutical companies, clothing manufacturers, and commercial food suppliers may frequently communicate with recipients in fields of academia, healthcare, and restaurant management. The Internet enables advertisers to tap into a vast market of domestic and foreign private and corporate consumers.

Effective direct marketing services also include tracking consumer buying trends, placing client websites on popular portals for search engine optimization, and conducting affiliate and network marketing programs to enhance consumer-direct selling efforts and drive more traffic to client sites for increased revenues. While some advertisers utilize in-house departments for telemarketing, direct mail and email marketing campaigns, the services of an outside agency ensure that a larger number of targeted consumers can be reached with the client's message. Consistent promotional efforts via traditional and non-traditional marketing methods help to garner a greater share of the elusive consumer dollar.

Direct Marketing Business

A direct marketing business will be one of the options many small business owners' consider when the need to speed up cash flow, reduce inventory, increase store or brand recognition and other business savvy motives. This service provider may be a one stop shop for all direct marketing needs. These would include telemarketing, email and snail mail campaigns. The fact that telemarketers are still around and that a person's mailbox can be quite full with what we commonly refer to as junk mail is just another reason why businesses still follow hard after the rewards that can often accompany a straight to the customer ad campaign. So many people are under the false impression that Christians are somehow holier than thou in their claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Yet it is not what Christians say, but Jesus himself: "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

A direct marketing business is in the field of making frontal assaults on consumers. This means that there is a bit of an "in your face mentality" that accompanies the philosophy of "straight to the consumer" advertising. Probably the telemarketer is the most graphic example of the in your face way of promotion and is obviously the reason why millions of people have joined the don't call lists to eliminate what can be extremely annoying interruptions. Despite all of this noise, telemarketers continue to raise millions of dollars for non-profit agencies as well as promote specific business interests. A direct marketing business knows the power of this frontal assault method of operating and while there may be a move away from telemarketing, there certainly is a major industry online to provide businesses with the ability to flood consumers with unsolicited advertisements.

The philosophy behind the "straight at the consumer" modus operandi is the crisis that the business creates in order to fuel consumer haste. Now the crisis may be quite real and not concocted, but the gasoline that powers the success of a direct marketing business is in presenting the consumer with a deal that will go away soon and may not be repeated. This goes for all three forms of direct marketing. One of the reasons that people may not respond to the urgent calls for action that come through the "straight at the customer" promotion or advertisement is disbelief in the "won't be back for ten years" or "one time only" spiel that so often surrounds the messages of a direct marketing business. Yet it is the very message of the crisis that brings success for many advertising campaigns.

Direct mailing through the postal service is still a mainstay of most businesses marketing strategies, but this effort requires much planning and the right kind of tools to make it hum. The Direct Marketing Association says that the average response from snail mail promotion is between .5 and 1%. Send out three thousand pieces of mail and expect a response (not a sale) of 15 to 30 customers. Just people who will want to know more. The cost of an attractive color printing can be quite expensive and the postage also, and if a company uses the service of a direct marketing business, the cost will quite high. Much of this projected response will depend on the type of product or services being presented. A mailing describing an inventory reduction on yachts will not have the same response as 30% off of four tires.

And this goes for both direct mailing and emailing: don't send out a mailing about inventory reduction. That doesn't start anyone's engine. The graphics, the copy and their accompanying appeal must be compelling to the consumer or the response rate drops. So let's talk about emailing for a few minutes. If the subject line in that email is not really interesting and somewhat mysterious with the ability to raise some true curiosity, remember that the delete key is about two inches away. Percentages off, inventory reduction, big sale, blah blah blah are snoozers for Web mail subject lines. The advice is to allow real pros, like a direct marketing business help develop that all important subject line copy. It's the linchpin of the whole Web mail campaign effort.

When a person is going to hire a pro to conduct his mail or email campaign, one of the most critical issues is the quality of the mailing list being used. With today's sophisticated databases, a direct marketing business should be able to create lists that discriminate income, education, age, occupation, place of residence, hobbies, gender and quite possibly other components. When a company that is considering using such a service provider's lists and can target their consumer so advantageously, one may be able to expect a couple of extra points in those response rates. Nothing is set in stone, but the chances have improved dramatically. In the case of email lists, much more care must be given to what kind of lists the provider is offering, especially in whether the list is a true "opt in" mailing list where recipients have agreed ahead of time to receive Web mail from those they do not know. Of course, the very finest lists for any direct marketing effort come from a company's own Rolodex of customers from the past and present.

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