Digital direct marketing (DDM) is so fundamental to marketing I am stunned at how many marketer’s still don’t use it to its full potential.
Marketers tell me they are the stewards of the brand. But in the digital age, there is a case that customer relationship is far more important than brand equity.
In the digital age customers know how to get more out of companies than ever before, and if they don't get what they want, they are happy to switch to a company who will give it to them, with no guilt at all.
They are less interested in brand equity, with some vague promise of benefits some way off. They know what they want and they go to a company who will give it to them as easily and quickly as possible. If they get what they want with a great experience too, the added benefit is that they will recommend the company, product or service to wide social networks.
This is why DDM has become so important. DDM is not all about sending email communication, nor is customer engagement about having the best CRM system or most Facebook likes. It is about engagement across a number of direct marketing channels that drive sales, build customer relationships and generate recommendation.
The suite in your DDM strategy should include social media sales.
A few ideas are:
- Personal branding, speak to people about your product, be engaging; everyone likes buying off someone they like or who is enthusiastic.
- Twitter fire-sales; tracking conversations and providing your product as a solution to requests for information shout-outs for recommendations.
- Create more than one place for people to buy from you. Facebook, Pinterest, eBay shops. (Pinterest has emerged as one of the strongest channels for retailers in the UK and analysts are predicting it will take over Facebook sales by the end of this year.)
- eDM/email marketing, with a strong call to action and driving to a specific landing page with an “order me now” call to action.
- Mobile and web sales channel with a strong call to action. It’s surprising how many companies do not have their phone number or a buying signal on their home page!
- SMS, this is a great way to get people to re-order products and services. Way back in the late 1990s, we ran a campaign for an insurance company. It was simple and highly effective. We sent an SMS to people whose home insurance was due for renewal. We offered 10% off and automatic renewal if they confirmed yes by return. We offered a hotline number for those customers whose circumstances had changed. We got a 90% redemption rate and the company was pretty pleased, as they saved a consider amount of budget sending up to three reminders out by post.
- Lead generation is a great method utilising the longest tail of the web. Using online incentivised surveys through competition sites with a strong message or offer and an opt-in tick box, while it may not be glamorous, works a treat.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.