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What is direct marketing and what is the biggest difference or similarity with other types of marketing in general?

Everyone has their own definition of DM.  This is mine…

“Any act which creates and profitably exploits a consistent and
meaningful dialogue with a company’s customers and prospects”

direct marketing is a TOTAL commitment to getting and retaining customers.

What are the main differences and advantages of direct marketing?

There are many.

But probably the most effective is the ability to get personal. 

The ability to learn more about customers and prospects and give them what they want, not what you think they want.

Applying direct marketing to your business, will give you a completely new approach on how to make and keep a customer.   It’s stunningly simple in practice...

  1. Isolate people as individuals and identify the differences on the database.
  2. Build a profitable dialogue by using the data intelligently.
  3. Make the dialogue more profitable by stuctured and continual testing.

What does a company need to do in today's business and competition to sell more?


  1. Have more customers
  2. Have those customers do business with the company more often
  3. Have them spend more when they do business.

What are the differences between advertising creativity and direct marketing creativity?

Succesful marketing these days is all about marketing on the differences of people, not their similarities.

These days people are individuals.  We are not talking to a ‘profiled sample’ or a ‘target customer’, but me and you - and him and her.  direct marketing is the only route to profitably address this new trend. 

General marketing is, by its very name, not specific.  direct marketing allows us to be specific by talking to different segments of our audiences differently dependant on their likes, dislikes and other elements.

Advertising and marketing to ‘everyone’ to get to ‘someone’ is very costly and makes no sense.  Especially when you know who that ‘someone’ is...

As a result, our creative is more focused.  It also very benefit-led, not feature-led.  This is because, we know, as direct marketers, that people always buy benefits not features.

No one these days is interested in what a product or service will do.  They are only interested in what that product or service can do for them

That’s a massive difference.

Digital area is developing everyday. Does this development effect direct marketing too?

Without a doubt.  Digital is very exciting.  It offers endless possibilities.  But, people need to be careful with it - as it can be fraught with danger.

Just take emails for instance.  Client companies are being seduced by it at the moment.  In the main, because it’s cheap. 

But, I’m finding in tests that we are doing for our clients,that open rates are falling fast and people are getting rather unhappy with the number of spam emails they are receiving.

This area has to be handled very carefully. Emails are working well to ‘opt-in’ lists and customer databases.  For new customer acquisition they are having a hard time now, both in UK and USA.

But, as with everything in DM, it is ‘testable’. 

Digital is here to stay, so we have to understand it better.  Testing will help us do this.

How can direct marketing be measured?

Every DM campaign can be measured, because it should always ask for a response. Whether it is direct mail, email, inserts, off the page advertising, or anything else for that matter, the object of the campaign is to influence the recipient to do something.

That could be pick up the phone and call, fill in the coupon, go to the website, visit the store, or whatever.  So, it’s easy to measure and to find out what works and what doesn’t.

But, you need to listen to people who understand DM.  It is a unique culture, nothing like traditional advertising and marketing.  So don’t ask your existing agency to do some DM for you because they’ll almost certainly make a mess of it.

After all, when you have toothache, you don’t go to the doctor do you?  You go to the dentist.  So when you want to do DM, go to a DM specialist.

Remember, it can’t be rushed.  Take it step by step.

You have to walk before you can run.  As with any new market area there will be professionals and amateurs. 

The smart marketers will employ top professionals who really understand the medium to get campaigns going quickly.  They will get the best advice and will use those knowledgeable individuals to learn and grow their businesses.

This will give them a real advantage over their competitors. 

The amateurs will lose money in the first instance, because they will make bad decisions.  But, they will soon see the error of their ways and will then start to catch up. 

What are the main current trends in marketing?

If you want my honest view on this question, I’ll tell you.  The main current trends in marketing are all negative.  And here’s why…

No one studies anymore.  Marketing is a commodity that everyone thinks they can do.  I know a company in the UK where the Financial Director gives his opinion on creative and copy.  It’s lunacy.  Marketing is being taken for granted.  And the quality of marketing people has never been lower.  In the UK for example, a Marketing Director only stays in his job, on average, for just over 12 months!

It’s crazy…

This and other related nonsense has been responsible for a continuous stream of extremely poor work.  I despair at some of it…

Add to that, a hysterical trend of late from client companies to buy the cheapest not the best and you can see why I’m worried.

Dell appointed their European agency a few months ago by auction.  Yes, by auction.  They invited agencies to pitch for their Pan European account by sealed bids.  They chose the CHEAPEST!

Not the best, the most creative or anything else.  The cheapest!

I hope their business collapses and they lose a fortune.  They will deserve it for an incredible decision like that.

It’s all going to hell in a handcart in my view…

Why and when should a company use DM?

Everyone should use DM.  It is applicable for businesses of all kinds, sizes and in all sectors. If created correctly, DM will deliver a better return on marketing investment than any other medium around today.  Believe it!

How can companies beat other companies, who are using DM, and get to the consumer first? (when there is competition like example between two big supermarkets which are sending their promo material constantly to the same customers.)

It’s not about getting to the customer first.  That’s unimportant.  What companies should be doing is looking to give the customer more than their competitors.

More offers, more value and more respect.  This will result in more sales.

Can you please give our readers few recommendations about marketing!

Study.  Then study some more.

Learn from people better than you.

Use experts.

Test everything…