Introduction to Direct Marketing Essentials – 7 Series

In every small business, you would at least once a year sit down with your accountant and review your books and procedures and make recommendations and relevant changes to better prepare your business financially for the following year.

Yet how often do we sit down and have an objective review of our marketing efforts, to discover what worked, why some activities didn’t work, and what opportunities await us in the year ahead?

It is for this reason why I have decided to launch into the blogosphere to focus on direct marketing as a series of discussion topics.

I have designed these in a friendly and informal style, aiming to cut through the marketing jargon to provide a clear idea of what you can achieve and how you can make it happen.

…….By way of background, one of my first jobs was in direct marketing. (A great grounding for any young marketer!) The Managing Director came originally from Readers Digest – a company that mastered direct mail in Australia, while my manager was an Auditor in previous life; two very formidable profiles to excel at direct marketing. It was this role that led me to understand that direct marketing was in fact more of an allusive science rather than art.

But What is Direct Marketing Exactly?

As one of the great Australian direct marketing pioneers perfectly summarised, “direct marketing is about finding out what each of your individual customers want and delivering it to them profitably – one customer at a time”. Malcolm Auld, Direct Marketing Made Easy

To take it one step further, direct marketing is now seen as an information driven process, using various forms of customer data to better enable marketers to implement customised marketing programs which have been tested, measured and modified. Such forms of customer data may include geographic location, or behavioural information such as how frequently customers buy from you, or financial information such as how much they typically spend each time, etc.

To engage in this data driven process allows small businesses to continually push the grain by constantly improving their return on marketing investment.

And with the rapid integration of a number of technology and industry services such as the rise of the internet, digital colour printing services, database quality improvements and Australia Post/Mail house services, the level of personalisation has been redefined completely, giving small businesses the opportunity to focus their marketing efforts and target the right customer using a variety of different mediums.

So the take away for small businesses on this matter is not simply “to know” consumers needs, but rather to “understand them”, thereby developing products and services to satisfy their needs should be the ultimate goal of every business.

But to make all this a little easier to digest, the direct marketing series will focus on the following key areas of direct marketing:

  • Market Research Made Easy
  • Know and keep your customers by using your database
  • Simple ways to track, monitor and measure your marketing
  • Testing, Testing and More Testing!
  • Offer Development – Do you really need the set of steak knives?
  • Buying the right media and tools to negotiate the best deal
  • Create Better Mailings with Copywriting That Sells!

Although this is only a small sample of what direct marketing has to offer, I have selected the most sought after topics, intended to motivate you to start a direct marketing program or revitalize your current one.

And you certainly don’t have to be a whiz to successfully implement direct marketing initiatives. But you will probably find you will change your beliefs once you put direct marketing into practice to see what actually works.

If you have any questions along the way, then I would be more than happy to recommend a way for you to evaluate your direct marketing program, analyse its strengths and weaknesses, and help extend and improve your efforts.

Stay tuned for my next post: Market Research Made Easy.

Craig Pethebridge

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