In today’s world of the digital ecosphere direct marketing has grown from its traditional routes in direct mail, catalogue marketing, telemarketing and face to face marketing to something broader, more interactive and measurable.
The beauty of direct marketing, especially direct response marketing, has always been that it doesn’t take the chances that its message might hit the spot as with mass media marketing and advertising. But rather it has always relied more database-driven targeted campaigns.
Most direct marketing campaigns are driven with the direct responder in mind so as to drive an action from the customer. In general marketing we might call these calls to actions but a direct response campaign relies on a little bit more than a “buy now” or “call quick whilst stocks last” kind of approach.
Direct response campaigns usually have some kind of additional incentive. It also has a definitive action that the consumer or responder has to take in order for the benefit to be realised.
Examples of these would be coupons that a customer receives through the post / or email that they either have to take to a store or use at checkout on a website in order to reap the benefit on offer.
These offers are usually very targeted either via loyalty schemes, comparing what you last bought to what you might like to buy next, or by profiling you in reference to similar customers by geographic, sociographic and psychographic behaviour.
If the direct marketer doesn’t have previous purchase history, they may build a Persona for different types or customer or prospect. They add the personality and behavioural profiling with the other demographic details mentioned above to compare to other customers who “match” that profile and decide to market.
Once the customer or message prospect starts to respond to the direct marketing campaign then the marketer can start to build a better more personalised view of the responder and deliver more targeted a relevant promotion, offer and messages in the future.
In the modern world we would be better to think of it as direct and data-driven marketing that is that is focused on delivering targeted relevant interactive messaging. This direct and data-driven marketing grows and evolves based on the results and data gathered to become more and more targeted thereby delivering a better customer or prospect experience.
There are many ethical, legal and moral elements to consider with direct marketing, especially when we are dealing with the vulnerable and/or it is being used to bring about behavioural, social or pollical change.
Apart from data protection and privacy we also need to consider the impact of segmenting marketing and profiling on creating siloed and segregated views or echo chambers.
A world where we only see opinions thoughts and ideas that confirm our personal, social or political biases is one where we do not grow as individuals or societies via the experience and discourse diversification brings.