An Overview of Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing is a marketing effort aimed at driving immediate action from specific action from the targeted audience. Such action could be an opt-in mail, calling to a provided phone number, clicking a link or buy the suggested product. It differs from mass market which simply reminds prospective customers of the existence of products and services for them to purchase. It runs on the idea that the more times clients see a particular ad, the more they are likely to buy. Direct response marketing on the other hand, targets a particular segment in the market and attempts to move the clients to act immediately.

Characteristics of Direct Response Marketing

  • Targets specific niche or audience; Direct response marketing looks for prospects within specific zones, verticals or niche marketing. It is meant to appeal to a narrow segment in the overall market.
  • There is a specific offer that is made; There is a specific value added offer that is made. Most of the times, nothing is sold. However, the marketing effort aims at getting the prospect to action, e.g. request for a free sample.
  • The results can be tracked. Prospect response from the marketing effort can be tracked. It is easy to tell which of the marketing efforts generated customer action. In contrast, it is not possible to know what ad generated customer action in mass marketing efforts.
  • It is possible to measure results; In direct response marketing, it is possible to know how much in terms of sales or response that the marketing effort generated. It becomes easier to drop the marketing effort that does not give the expected response.
  •  There is a compelling message; There is a strong message that is passed to the prospective clients to elicit interest and action. There is always attention grabbing headlines. However, an ad of this type looks more editorial than a marketing advertisement. This makes it more likely to be read by the target group.
  • There is a call for action. There are specific steps that the prospective client is told to take regarding the advertisement. It also provides the marketers with a way to capture prospect information. The response steps provided are very easy to follow. For example, one could be asked to give their phone number or email address in order to get an eBook. With that information, marketers can contact the prospect beyond the initial contact.
  • Soft sell tactics are employed. There is always valuable information that is passed to the client in exchange for capturing the prospects details. The information offers a solution to the customer’s problem. In addition, there is an irresistible offer that comes with the action that the marketer needs the prospect to take. Other follow-up strategies via other media such as email and social media are added up. The client is asked to take action within a specified period of time.

Challenges

The likelihood of achieving success from the marketing effort depends on the ability to get quality leads. Thus there are several things that must be done right to achieve this. Here is a list of challenges involved.

  •  The marketers must target the right market segment. This segment must be willing and able to buy the service that is being offered. Poor targeting ends up with prospects that are either not interested or do not have the capability to pay for the service.
  • The offer must also be appealing to the clients. If the client does not see the urgency to act’ now’, then the campaign loses its set goals.
  • The timing of direct response marketing efforts must be at a time when the clients are most likely to respond. This depends on whether the solution offered solves an urgent problem or it is able to create the urgency for the prospects to act.
  • Marketers must come up with persuasive and creative adverts to create customer attention.
  •  The direct response marketing effort must be delivered in the right medium or media. The choice of media chosen has a strong impact on the expected response. For example, it is hard to personalize mass media messages but one can send a personalized mail to the targeted prospects.
  • There needs to have multiple channels that the prospect can respond to the advert. Marketers could combine phone numbers, email addresses or linking with social media or any other form of response depending on the offer.

Direct Response Marketing Channels

Any media where personalized information can be sent to the client is good for direct response marketing. Here are some media.

1. Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most widely used methods to send marketing messages to prospects. This method is inexpensive and one can design send and track response round the clock and easily.

2. Mobile marketing

Marketers can engage prospective clients through mobile devices over the network. The mostly used ways of sending marketing messages are SMS (short messaging service) and MMS (multi media message service). There are other mobile phone applications that can be used for such campaigns. They include the use of QR CODES (Quick Response Codes) and Mobile banner ads for those who access internet through their mobile phones.

3. Telemarketing

Marketers contact customers via their phones. This way, they are able to explain their offers to individual customers. This method has a quick response from the prospects.

4. Coupon codes

These are discount offers to clients when they visit the directed store with the coupon number. Coupons can be put in print media or digital. They offer substantial savings when customers buy with the codes within some given time.

When well executed, direct response marketing is both beneficial to the customers and the marketers. Client will have their problems solved within a short period of time and at a discount. For the marketers, direct response marketing is not only affordable but highly effective in delivering the expected results. It can be varied depending on the feedback it generates from the clients. It is just like making money at a discount. Direct response marketing involves putting in little cash into marketing and reaping in big profits from the effort.

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Omri Erel
Omri is the Lead Author & Editor of SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.