Direct marketing is an interactive system of marketing designed to create and keep customers by developing long term, personal relationships with each other through increasingly relevant products or services.

Direct marketing is designed to:
* solicit and close a sale
* to generate interest
* and to motivate a store visit.

Business Influence Reds Tips 04Methods of coding and tracking can lead you back to the advertising source. The final return can be calculated to the last cent. No other activity with the exception of personal selling can be measured this thoroughly.

The advantages of direct marketing are:
* Accountable advertising - each rand is accountable for
* Added-value advertising - increases sales, creates awareness and builds brands
* Answer back advertising - feedback
* Allegiance advertising - communication builds loyalty
* Appropriate advertising - relevant
* Action advertising - provokes an action
* Automated advertising - personal or direct

The most cost-effective type of direct marketing activities are:
Mailshot - personalized to the client with specific items that will create a desire for the need to purchase.
Statement stuffers -DL leaflets inserted with the clients' statement.
Inserts - effective in magazines that have a specific target audience.
Telemarketing - effective but the most expensive form of direct marketing.
Internet - effective and getting better all the time as the security for credit card purchases improves.

There are four variables for ultimate success:
Target market
Research is needed to determine who is the target market and what their needs are. Accurate targeting makes direct marketing powerful and effective as it ensures efficient use of the advertising budget. Should be analyzed in tradition and specific considerations. This will determine the style and tone of the creative execution as well as the most appropriate media by which to reach the target market.

The complete proposition should be made to the buyer and it would cover the product/service, price, purchase incentives, delivery procedure and product/service guarantees.

Crucial for direct marketing. Holidays, month-end, seasonability cash flow are variables to consider when to launch.

Creative appeal
The creative design must have an invitational appeal with user-friendly reading. A creative appeal would include copy, design elements, storyboards, involvement techniques and production considerations such as personalisation and format restrictions applicable to the chosen medium. An integrated and general "look" should be created in order for all elements to provide a unified message to the right target audience.
Communication needs to break through the clutter and drive home the benefits in order to generate a response. Direct marketing is effective and the average response is between 2 and 6%.

With the advent of new digital colour presses, the opportunity to send out a personalised leaflet/brochure/catalogue is affordable and the response is incredible. The new digital colour presses allow you to print exactly the quantity you require so avoiding overs and hidden costs. You can create a generic page layout with a library of pictures and relevant copies and drop in the products to suit a customer's needs and taste. One client sent out a mailer that was personalised with products inviting them to take up the offer. They received a staggering 30% response.

These new digital presses, it has revolutionised the method of reaching your target market. You can reach your customer at any place at any time and at the right price. Direct marketing is the future of accountable advertising.