Direct Marketing Q & A

Just a couple of quick questions related to traditional direct marketing and what we see happening in todays world, which were posed to me about two weeks ago.


Has traditional direct mail grown, decreased or remained static? What are your figures telling you? Are there any trends you can pick up on in terms of mail usage by industry sectors?

Traditional direct mail is still very much a part of an integrated marketing strategy. What we do find though is that clients are getting more selective, narrowing their data to find the niche market for the mail rather than the large scale spray we have seen in the past. Whilst this has a positive effect on ROI, we still see clients not making use of all available resources, such as transpromotional mailings, which allow for even greater control over the message delivered and results in increased ROI from any mailing campaign. Financial and Insurance sectors are still very strong mailers and numbers have remained relatively static, whilst we have seen a decrease in other industries.


What has the uptake been in terms of e-mail and mobile marketing specifically in terms of your clients?

E-mail marketing is on the rise in South Africa, the problem is that we do not see an increase in results and ROI from these campaigns, the most successful campaigns that we see do not use e-mail to initiate a sales response from the targeted client but rather a response for more information. Mobile marketing has also increased dramatically in South Africa, and with the rise of new technological platforms such as smart phones, this rate of adoption can be expected to increase, it is how we use it that really matters, bear in mind that mobile is extremely personal and we find cross-selling or up-selling to be the most effective use of the form of marketing, whereas acquisition of new clients is less successful.


There seems to be a surge in e-mail marketing and a serious drop off in SMS/MMS (certainly I have noticed this in terms of the frequency that I used to get promo SMS to now – it definitely has dropped off a lot). Companies tend to see e-mail marketing as cheap and quick – what are your views in terms of the effectiveness of it, response rates versus traditional mail, the need for a multi-channel approach and how this is timed in terms of the usage of each channel?

Each channel compliments itself to different segments of South Africa’s market. Responses to SMS/MMS vary across these segments just as response to e-mail does. People who are not exposed to the blaze of marketing messages that some who live a more connected life are, have a higher response rate than highly connected individuals. The same can be said for e-mail. SMS/MMS is highly personal therefore needs to be highly relevant to the person being targeted. E-mail whilst still personal needs the relevance in order to stand out from all the clutter, it is not just cheap and quick but a fine art to get right. Both channels make us extremely aware that companies need to focus on a 360 degree direct marketing strategy. Planning around how these tools work for you and how they work for the consumers is essential.


Telemarketing – are its days numbered? Is it still an effective tool or does this depend on the product and the target market – if so when does it work best? Has the CPA had a marked impact on telemarketing, in fact e-mail and SMS as well.

All tools are effective if you know how to use them. Telemarketing, just like any other direct marketing tool, needs to be a part of your overall marketing strategy. Clients are also looking at the different ways in which they can use these tools. A quick telemarketing response to a sales inquiry is sometimes better than having the customer sit around and wait for an e-mail back. Like all things in direct marketing the results come down to how you use the tool to communicate and adapting to customer trends is an essential part of direct marketing, we see clients talking to their customers in the way customers want to be spoken to not the way the company wants to speak and this has created some great campaigns yielding excellent ROI and proving that traditional direct marketing is not dead but an essential tool for marketing and branding.


Would you say that traditional direct mail is able to bypass many of the challenges posed by the CPA?

I would not say it is able to bypass the challenges. By its very nature, direct mail is not very intrusive compared to mediums such as SMS or telemarketing therefore the public accepts direct mail easier than they do a telemarketing call. The easy acceptance of direct mail finds it to be the least blocked medium of direct marketing and a great proverbial “foot in the door” for the rest of the marketing plan to then step through. Yes the success of direct mail depends on a lot of factors, but it is still highly effective in todays technological world and definitely as a first contact point.

You can find more news and other info on direct marketing at where I work and thus keep my finger on the pulse of what is actually happening by staying involved in every campaign we run.

About nickmarinimarketing

I am a young dynamic marketer and have a passion for my job, sports and life. I work in the Direct Marketing Industry at Computer Facilities, one of South Africa's leading Direct Marketing outsourcing bureau. I believe in this new digital age of marketing we are getting carried away and forget the basics of marketing, thus not allowing us to reach our full potential or our campaigns to reach their full potential. With a wealth of information at our fingertips we need to learn how to leverage it correctly. I aim to give my opinions and thoughts on this topic through this blog which I can hopefully update as often as possible for all of you. Otherwise feel free to contact me whenever you feel the need, be patient for my reply though please and thank you.
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