What is Direct Marketing?
Direct marketing is when the marketer or seller, without the help of any marketing middlemen, himself contacts potential customers and tries to persuade them to buy his offers.
In simple words, direct marketing is a marketing strategy without using middlemen. In which without using marketing middlemen by use of consumer-direct channels the seller reaches and delivers his goods and services to the customers.
Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising used by marketing firms to communicate straight to the customers. Here, the totality of the activities by which the seller directs efforts to the target customer using one or more media for the purpose of soliciting a response by using a phone, mail, or personal visit from a prospect or customer is defined as direct marketing.
For example, You saw a gorgeous girl at a party and you go to her and say I am rich marry me. That’s Direct Marketing.
The communication channels of this marketing include direct mail, catalogs, telemarketing, interactive TV, kiosks, websites, and mobile devices. It uses advertising to contact customers who in turn purchase products without using the retail stores.
Direct marketers contact their customers through one or more of the following media – radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, mail, etc. consumers then order the products by phone or mail.
Benefits of Direct Marketing
The most significant benefit of direct marketing is to build a trustworthy relationship with customers since the marketer individually meets his customers, gets to know their desires and problems, and ultimately ensures a good relationship.
In addition, other significant benefits are,
Stiff Competition in Market
The increased competition in the market has developed many substitutes products by availing different choices to customers. As a result, the sales of goods have been fragmented among the sellers and the cost to achieve desired goals has been increased.
This situation has compelled marketers to think about alternative solutions so that they can motivate customers and improve their sales in terms of both volume and value. As a result, the marketers adopt direct marketing and engage themselves to push sales and improve their market share.
Low Operating Expenses
Direct marketers enjoy low operating expenses because they do not have the overhead of retail stores. As a result, they can sell products at a lower price to the customers, enjoy cost-effectiveness, and increase their competitive power.
In this modern age, people are very busy, they have no time to go to the market and visit various shops, which is time-consuming, where they face traffic, parking, pollution.
Customers, therefore, prefer to buy goods from those marketers who can deliver goods to their homes without much tension. Direct marketing exactly specializes in this aspect.
Customers can watch television, use the internet, listen to the radio, and use catalogs from where they can select the desired prodcut and place an order for delivery. Hence, it provides shopping convenience to the customers.
Provides Adequate Information and Quality Services
Many customers prefer to gather adequate information on every aspect of products and services before making a purchase decision. At a retail shop, it is hard to get that as a shopkeeper has to handle many customers at a time.
On the other hand, direct marketers through television, the internet, catalog, provide more than sufficient information. This is a new scenario for customers where they appreciated their quest for information.
Possibility of Increased Sales and Market Expansion
A direct approach can cater to the new prospect on an individual basis. It is one key area where direct marketing is better than traditional retail shops.
Through this, marketers can customize their promotional activities as per the nature of customers. This in turn can influence all the prospects and create interest for products or services in the mind of the prospects. As a result, sales are increased, and expansion of market also.
Methods of Direct Marketing
How to do direct marketing? Marketers can manipulate one or more direct marketing tools depending upon the situation and nature of the consumers.
There is a controversy between marketing prof. Stanton and Philip Kotler. Stanton says direct marketing does not include telemarketing, direct selling, and direct distribution whereas, Philip Kotler says it includes all these mechanisms which all resemble direct marketing.
Today, all those mechanisms are included in such a marketing process. The major methods, techniques, and strategies for successful direct marketing are explained below.
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing involves sending an offer, announcement, reminder, or other items such as letters, brochures, and even a product sample to a person and asking him to purchase by mail or telephone.
Some direct marketers also send audiotapes, videotapes, CDs, etc. to prospects and customers. Some forms of direct mail are,
Fax Mail. Fax mail is a paper-based message sent through Fax machines over a telephone line.
Email. Email allows users to send a message or file from one computer to another through internet service.
Voice Mail. Voice mail is a system of sending, receiving, and storing oral messages at telephone addresses.
Direct selling is also a significant tool for direct marketing, which involves selling products to customers through direct personal contact or face-to-face contact.
For direct selling, the company may hire many salespeople (called white-collar workers) and send them to the customer’s door, contact the customers, display goods with sales presentation and sell them.
Nissan, which is one of the world-famous Japanese companies, also sends salespeople to sell autos door to door in Japan. Japan alone accounts for more than 40 percent of the worldwide volume of direct selling.
Catalog marketing is a method whereby, companies may send or mail full-line merchandise catalogs, especially consumer catalogs and business catalogs in printed form, to consumers or make them available at retail stores to facilitate the selection of products.
Some direct marketers may send CDs, videos, or provide information online to customers. The customers will evaluate the goods included in the catalog, will select the desired prodcut, and place an order to the marketer.
Most Nepalese companies popularized and used catalogs in marketing the flooring and furnishing goods, paints, textiles, hotel accommodations, electronic equipment, accessories, bathroom goods, etc.
Telemarketing is one of the primary methods of direct marketing in which a salesperson solicits prospective customers to buy products and services through audio or video call.
Telemarketing is one of the most effective marketing mediums available. It gives marketers the ability to,
- answer to the questions of prospects
- address concerns of prospects, and
- overcome objections of concerns.
The salespeople of the concerned companies call the prospects by telephone usually at day time, provide information about the product and ask them to buy goods. Companies use both male and female salespeople for telemarketing purposes.
Telemarketing helps the company increase revenue, reduce selling costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
One of the most used direct marketing methods these days is televised shopping. Under this method, television programs and shows are used to describe the different aspects of products. Moreover, marketers seek direct response and request the TV audience to buy the product.
Popular television in this regard includes Home Shopping Networks, Sky Shopping Center, etc.
The term “kiosk” refers to computer-linked vending machines and customer order placing machines, which are placed in stores, airports, and other locations. All these are direct selling tools. These days the use of kiosk marketing is growing day by day.
E-marketing, today, is one of the major tools of direct marketing, where through the internet and world wide web products and services are priced, promoted, and distributed.
One of the effective means of e-marketing is through online shopping. In which products and services all the necessary information are made available that customers may seek to know before heading for their purchase decision. In addition, providing personalized content also boosts up e-marketing.
Examples of Direct Marketing
In a simple sense, when a marketer himself visits and presents his offers to the customer is an example of direct marketing. We can find lots of producers and marketers who themselves delivers their goods to customers instead of retailers and wholesalers.
Because of the modernity and busy schedules of customers, they prefer to shop products online instead of visiting retail stores. Through online shopping, customers can save their time, be free from traffic on the road and crowd in stores, and so on.
Online shopping is a great example of direct marketing, where customers directly place their order from home and the online retailers directly deliver products at the customer’s door. Various online retailers are involved in such activities.
Pizza delivery is also an example of direct marketing since most of the pizza sellers directly place orders from the customers and deliver them. The customers can directly make an order through phone calls or make an online order and get delivered to the desired place.