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The Customer Perspective on Direct Marketing

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Ever check your electronic mailbox, find five new emails, and, with a very hopeful heart, open the inbox only to discover that two of the three are mass mailers for products or services for which you are not even interested? Let's outline aspects of direct marketing for the consumer’s benefit.

Though technically, each one differs from the other, spam mail, junk mail, and bulk mail have become synonymous with marketing tactics that turn people off more than turn them into prospective buyers. Any information associated with these is often treated with suspicion.

Direct marketing involves eliminating the presence of media agencies during the product transition from manufacturing to sale by precluding costs incurred in a typical factory-to-retailer chain product or service. However, direct marketing often draws criticism for being little more than get-rich-quick schemes.

The following are factors that usually contribute to a negative image of direct marketing from the consumer's perspective.

Customers Cannot Be Forced

However great you may feel your communication blitz is, it cannot make the customer go out and buy your product. If you feel sending out mass mailers over the Internet in sharp salesman language will do the trick alone, you couldn't be more wrong. Forced sales techniques never work. Your efforts might even damage your product or service by creating a negative image in people's minds. A time-tested idea is to identify the market group interested in the product or service for which you are marketing. Thus, if you are selling a five-in-one torch, for example, you could effectively market it as a camping or picnic companion to individuals who enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis.

More is not Always Merrier

You cannot work on the premise that flooding 600 households with information on your product will lead to at least 100 of them responding without clear statistics of your market group. While wider distribution of information is better in the case of marketing and promotion costs, it is better to identify your audience and to tailor the marketing communication towards their needs. While preventing unnecessary outflow of budgets, a tailored promotion also means that you are better reaching those who are in the market for your services. This, in turn, will provide you with more accurate conversion rates from those who receive your advertising to actual sales, which will assist you with forecasting.

Keep Away from Grandiose Announcements

Anything grandiose is generally treated with suspicion in direct marketing. Market in a manner that will convince potential customers instead of leaving them to wonder whether the offer is too good to be true. Choose superlatives such as "best" carefully. If necessary, back up your ads with statistics and/or references. And, as a good rule of thumb, don't market anything that you may not personally approve of.

Generally, most techniques that apply to conventional marketing work well with direct marketing too. Creating a great product, understanding the consumer, and tailoring your communication to his or her needs is what great marketing — and direct marketing — is all about.

On the net:Direct Marketing

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