An Example of Direct-Action Advertising (Photo Credit to: Sara Karen/Pinterest)
Direct Marketing is a consolidated strategy by which the seller, in effecting the exchange of products and services with the customer, directs efforts to an identified market using one or additional medium like:
• Direct selling
• Direct mail
• Direct-action advertising
• Catalogue selling
• Cable TV selling
The aim is to solicit a reply through telephone or mail and a personal visit by a prospect or customer. In short, the organizations directly contact the target customers in the hopes of sparking interest, generating a response, and completing a transaction.
Sending mail to prospects is easy but could take some time before results are achieved. On the other hand, you could use a 1300 number that customers can call for faster transactions. Of course, if you are getting a 1300 number, you need to choose a set of numbers or pattern that prospects would easily remember. You must also be aware of the rates and benefits of a 1300 number so your business can take advantage of it fully.
Direct selling first began with Yankee vendors selling their goods to the colonies. When business forms developed, peddling declined, and retail outlets opened. However, manufacturers were not satisfied with this retail manner of commerce, so they started direct sales into their sales force to promote their goods. The men involved in direct selling were very organized. They believed they could compete with the retail market because at that time, retail establishments were incapable of providing adequate services and good quality as well. Direct selling took over the retail market based on their product advantages, convenience to the customer, and specialized knowledge about their distributors. Avon Products is an example of a successful direct sales business that began in the late 19th century.
Direct Selling is a type of direct marketing that involves personally presenting, demonstrating, and selling merchandise and services to buyers in their homes. In direct marketing, there are no intermediaries – a product is sold directly to the consumer – whereas personal selling is a one-on-one selling the sales person visiting a prospect and able to close a sale.
Pros and Cons of Direct Marketing
1. Direct mail strategy is found to be very effective to reach target audience.
2. Direct mail gives highest customer response fast.
3. When you advertise on a magazine, it would take a month for your ad to appear, so it takes longer to see the result or response of potential customers. Results of direct mail campaign can be seen in days.
4. In direct mailing, the mailing piece can be personalized with color application, appropriate photos, and use of a different font. This is not allowed in newspaper ads. They have a set of standards. Graphics is crucial in direct mail marketing piece.
5. Existing customers give a better response unlike than addressee who has never heard about the company and its product or service before. The existing customers are the best customers.
6. An offer of something free gets a better response than a discount offer.
7. Direct mail when received by prospects either ends up as follows – opened to find out what’s inside, while some discard them. Direct mail is more popularly known as junk mail.
8. Direct mail is affected by the rising cost of postage and promotional materials. It is also time-consuming writing down addresses or even pasting the labels.
Direct Marketing and Selling: Strengths and Weaknesses
- Direct selling is an advantage for a company. It sends a commission-earning salesperson directly to the qualified leads instead of waiting for the client to call or contact the company. A good salesperson, during his home-visit presentation, creates a need for a product and fills the need. Customers feel more in-charge of a transaction if done at home or office than at the store.
- One thing that repels customers is the pressure put on them to buy products or avail of services. Customers complain of commission-based salespersons who pressure them into buying, and that certainly leads to dissatisfaction and lost customers. Other offices or exclusive communities do not allow direct selling, resulting in a smaller customer base. Others prefer to prolong decision to buy until after they have done comparison-shopping.