Does direct marketing stand for interruption marketing? If so, I missed the memo.

Is Direct Marketing Interruption Marketing?

There is no doubt that many marketers abandon good marketing practices and instead blast out emails to unwanted recipients or sic their telemarketing team on a list of prospects that fits their demographic.

If you use the terms inbound marketing or nurturing programs instead of other marketing tactic vernacula, it’s often viewed as appropriate and effective.  Conversely, many direct marketing efforts get lumped into bad practices whether it’s deserved or not.

There are plenty of reasons to utilize electronic alternatives when communicating with your audience.  However, just because they’re online doesn’t make them effective.  Plenty of spam and meaningless content get’s delivered each day.  At the same time, there are many direct marketing efforts that are worthy of applause.

Effective Direct Marketing Programs

Dick’s Sporting Goods does a great job of targeting their offer to your specific needs.  As an associate recently told me, “it’s almost like they got a memo from the park district when I signed my son up for LaCrosse.”  Likely through the benefit of big data and a well kept profile, a few days later, my friend received a direct marketing communication that alerted him to the stick, helmet, gloves and padding his kids needed for their first practice, along with a coupon.  A few days later, Dick’s had a sale and a happy customer. Dick’s effectively executes both email and direct mail direct marketing programs.

Or how about the Motley Fool.  A financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors, sends out a wallet organizer to new subscribers of a premium service.  Included in the wallet are 10 free subscriptions to one of their advisory services that the recipient can pass along to friends and associates.  What a great way to create goodwill and engage new prospects in one campaign!

Small business can do it right as well.  Diversified Labeling Solutions manufacturers a broad range of label products, providing customized solutions for the dealer and broker community.  Often, new customers don’t understand the breadth and value of their offering.  Plus, they face severe price competition exacerbated by over capacity in the printing industry. So DLS organized an event in each of their facilities targeting current customers and prospects that had connected with the company but not yet purchased. But instead of a typical facility tour, they made it a meaningful event.  With stations throughout the facility representing major product categories, they were able to demonstrate key benefits dealers could promote to the end customer.  In addition to the product tracks, they facilitated educational sessions on digital printing, variable imaging and other technologies.  DLS also interjected some fun with arcade games and prize drawings.  Winners received discounts off future orders and items ranging from golf balls to smart phones.

Are any of these programs a revelation?  No, but they are great examples of adding value to a revered customer base, increasing engagement, attracting new customers and increasing revenue.

Combining programs like these (digital or analog) with electronic inbound marketing and nurturing programs, can create a powerful combination.  Just don’t call it direct marketing!

 

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