Five Myths about the Direct Marketing Model

In a previous postings I talked about Five Myths for both the direct sales force model and indirect selling model. This posting will discuss five major misconceptions about the direct marketing selling model. (Off and on line marketing, web site, social media and etc.).

 Five major direct marketing misconceptions:

 1-      Given today’s technologies, direct marketing is the only way to go and it is the least costly. Well, technology is changing the way we do things, but technology alone is not always the key driver for change. Remember that your potential customers are humans and thus they vary on how they “gather” information and interact with technology. Secondly, some products and services are not very well oriented towards today’s technology. As for cost,  the “web 2.0” process is far from free; take a complete look at the cost to do direct marketing. In some cases you may have to add resources to manage the multiple divergent activities.

 2-      Everyone has email, so I can send our emails and the orders will start coming in.  This plan of action may be in violation of the CANSPAM act, and may alienate potential customers.  Just like traditional telemarketing, one needs a compelling offer, an approved targeted list, a call to action, and supporting activities such as case studies, blogging for creditability, and must importantly a well thought out email program, because one mailing alone will not cause potential customers to react.

 3-      Social marketing has no proven results, so I do not need too use any of these new tools! Understand that the vendor to consumer model has changed. The consumer is in the driver seat and consumers can and are talking about enterprises and about enterprises’ products and services. So as a minimum, one should at a minimum, monitor what is being said so you can react. Secondly, many end users are using media tools like blogs, twitter postings and Facebook to become informed before they make a decision, so it stands to reason that if they don’t see anything about your services or products, you will not be considered.

 4-      Hard copy (print) mailings are no longer used because they are not effective. Again, it is not a question of what to use, but your mix.  Hard mailings are and can be very effective.  A good example is a mailing to “new” customers, those who may not know about you. Hard mailings add personalization and get around potential filtering by the corporate IT email structure.  Hard mailings can also precede or follow up as part of planned social media programs.

 5-      The web site is nice to have but once I get it launched I can focus on other marketing programs. As I noted in item number three, the consumer is in control. Their major source of information is the internet, starting with your web site. If your web site is not user friendly, up to-date, contains real information and provides “give a ways” such as papers, case studies, white papers; and then you have just lost another potential customer.

 In summary, as I have always stated, look at your strategy and goals and see how direct marketing as a sales channel will support them.  In reality, your sales model will probably be a mix.  So the real question is how much direct marketing and what percentages of its components will be used. Also like other marketing programs, know your audience and know what they are thinking and saying about you.

 Do you know how your web site compares to your competition?

 RHL 01/19/10

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