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Direct Marketing – Pitfalls to Avoid at All Costs

Direct Marketing – Pitfalls to Avoid at All Costs

Do you remember that programme ‘It’ll be Alright on the Night’ where Dennis Norden regaled us with hilarious out-takes and bloopers from the world of TV and film? Side-splitting funny though it was, direct marketing has a habit of having the same effect if it is done poorly – and worse.

Bang Off-Message

There’s nothing worse than inappropriate direct marketing messages. They are annoying for the recipient and they are also bad for business. There’s a big difference in sending a message to someone who isn’t in the market for buying at that moment and sending the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time.

To illustrate the point – let’s have a canter through some bloopers and out-takes Steve and I have received over time that have left the ‘direct’ out of marketing, and for varying reasons, could be labelled as ‘poor’ (at best).

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

First up – how about this for off-target; A nice, shiny, personal invitation from those nice people at Hyundai, inviting me to go view the new ix35 – 3 weeks after I bought one!!!

And speaking of things automobile, how about; The photocopied letter Steve received from Toyota inviting him to bring the company car that he handed back 18 months previously in for a service!! No updating of records there then (or care for the brand – I mean, a photocopied letter!!!!)

Or for really tardy, there’s always the circular I received from dear old BT addressed to Mr (Blank) at the incorrect company name.

I have also been the recipient of a letter from a well-known credit card company that brought to my attention an ‘unbelievable offer’ (their words) that expired 7 days earlier!!

Or how about this one – my own personal favourite; Steve received an email from an agricultural machinery manufacturer based in Lithuania who seemed to think that our 12ft square garden might benefit from one of their combine harvesters….IF ONLY THEY DELIVERED TO THE UK!!!

Steve laughed so hard at that: ‘Beats mowing the lawn pet’ says he!!!!

Why It Costs Your Business So Dearly

All laughs aside there is a serious point to be made here with regards to the direct marketing communications you send in whatever format. There is a darker side:

  • SPAM – Don’t be a spammer. If your messages get slung in the junk folder or you are marked as a spammer it will surely hamper future marketing campaigns and could lead to your internet service provider taking away privileges, including the privilege to send emails!!
  • Annoyance – no one wants to be annoying. Your messages are sent to appeal to people, not the opposite.
  • Credibility – How are you going to be viewed if you send ill-timed and badly-aimed marketing communications? They will not promote your brand the way you want it to be perceived.
  • Right person, wrong message – As with Hyundai and Toyota – the messages we received were sent to the right people but the message was wrong and obviously their records were not updated properly, which besides making you look like a right wally, risks a lack of confidence.
  • Brand Awareness – Any publicity is good publicity right? Wrong! Not where direct marketing is concerned. Your brand is the foundation of your business and needs to be strong to build upon.
  • Wastage – Sending the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time is a waste of time, effort, paper and your hard-earned marketing budget.

Making your Direct Marketing Communications Work for You

Thankfully, there are a few rules to follow to ensure your marketing messages are:

Well Timed, Well Aimed, Well Received!

Not everyone you send a communication to is going to buy from you straight away, but if the target message is reaching the target audience it will be more positively received, and build up some brand awareness and trust with that person.

There are 3 basic but set in stone rules that must be adhered to in order to make your direct marketing endeavours worthwhile.

Rule number one – Profile

Be specific about who your marketing message is for. Taking time to get this right will save you a lot of time and expense, and target your message more effectively.

Rule number two – Data Lists

You may create your own data list or you may buy one in but you need to take into account:

– That the data is current in every detail

– That data is screened against suppression preference files (such as TPS – The Telephone Preference Service) to comply with current legislation. Visit the ICO website HERE for more info

Rule number three – Records

Make sure you update your records after each communication or dealing with that person. My neighbour’s husband received a personal special offer invitation from a well-known store 3 months after he had passed away. Even though the store had been informed and his account closed. That’s not the kind of publicity you want.

Take the time to analyse your customers’ buying preferences and tailor your messages for them. Data segmentation in this way is well worth the effort.

Time for the crème de la crème and a bit of trumpet blowing!

Here at Data Bubble we know our onions – as DMA members, we have to! We are here to help our customers design and implement effective direct marketing campaigns with top quality data lists.

Please feel free to contact us for help with;

  • Prospect profiling
  • Business Data Lists
  • Consumer Data Lists
  • Data List Segmentation
  • Effective direct marketing strategy
  • How to keep your records straight

And above all; how to get –

The Right Message, to the Right Person, at the Right Time

For more information then call Joanne Clayton on 01274 965411.

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