Entrepreneurs, inventors, and mainline brands may all consider direct marketing at some point as a means of introducing their product or service to the marketplace. Amid a world of dominant online and offline retailers, it makes perfect sense: why not sell directly to the consumer, enjoy better margins, and keep more profits for yourself? In today’s omni-channel universe, however, one should enter the arena of direct marketing fortified with the knowledge of what it takes to succeed over the long haul. Direct response advertising is no longer a quick fix that generates instant profits. Instead it is a powerful marketing methodology that, when properly executed and funded, can deliver exponential results over what is now a much more multi-faceted and multi-step consumer buying process. Here are six tips to help give you a better understanding of what it takes to succeed:
1. Do Your Homework: As fundamental as it sounds, it is essential that you size the market for your product or service and not rely on “backyard barbeque” research. Asking your neighbors if they would buy your brainchild in the midst of flipping burgers is not a barometer of broader marketplace success. After all, who is going to tell you your baby is ugly? Market size will help quantify your potential audience size and also help guide which marketing tactics are best suited for that audience. If it is of broad appeal, direct response television may be the best way to build awareness. If is more niche, digital marketing can help you advertise to a more targeted group of prospects. There is plenty of research available through the government and other sources to help answer questions like: how many households in America have a dog? How many own a boat? And by the way, the answer to the question: who is the audience for your product? is not “everybody.” Those are your rose-colored glasses whispering in your ear.2. Be Clear About How You Define Success: What is your ultimate goal? Are you looking to create a robust e-commerce business? Get into retail? Ultimately sell your company? As Paul Rothstein, a respected consultant and direct marketing campaign manager explains it, “There are many ways to define success.” Rothstein spends significant time probing up front to ensure there is clarity about what the goals of campaign are. Naturally, everyone wants to make money, but having a clear understanding of where you're headed can help inform the tactics employed to get there. As Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of the seminal self-help book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People put it, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Colleen Ferrier is a seasoned direct marketing expert who specializes in guiding integrated direct-to-consumer campaigns with an acute focus on ROI. Her broad experience has included management oversight of marketing, operations, media, and international distribution. The campaigns she has been instrumental in helping lead to success across her 15+ year career include Pillow Pets, Little Giant Ladder, Dream Lites, and Stompeez. Ferrier has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Augusta University, Georgia.
Rick Petry is a direct marketing veteran of over 25 years who has been involved with campaigns that have generated over $1 billion in sales. He provides creative services to both B2C and B2B marketing campaigns and recent projects have included Actegy/Revitive, Education Connection, GOLO, Joybird, and OYO/DoubleFlex. The author of over 200 articles on direct marketing best practices, Petry has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema/Television from the University of Southern California and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing and Sales from Marylhurst University.