Integrated Direct Marketing

integrated direct marketing Direct marketing campaigns that use multiple vehicles and multiple stages Co improve response rates and profits.

Although direct marketing and online marketing have boomed in recent years, many companies still relegate them to minor roles in their marketing and promotion mixes. Many direct marketers use only a 'one-shot' effort to reach and sell to a prospect, or a single vehicle in multiple stages to trigger purchases. For example, a magazine publisher might send a series of four direct-mail notices to a household to get a subscriber to renew before giving up. A more powerful approach is integrated direct marketing, which involves using multiple-vehicle, multiple-stage campaigns. Such campaigns can greatly improve response. Whereas a direct-mail piece alone might generate a 2 per cent response, adding a freephone number can raise the response rate by 50 per cent. A well-designed outbound telemarketing effort might lift response by another 500 per cent. Suddenly a 2 per cent response has grown to 15 per cent or more by adding interactive marketing channels to a regular mailing.44

More elaborate integrated direct-marketing campaigns can be used. Consider the following multimedia, multistage marketing campaign;

Here, the paid ad to target customers creates product awareness and stimulates enquiries. The company immediately sends direct mail to those who enquire. Within a few days, the company follows up with a phone call seeking an order. Some prospects will order by phone; others might request a face-to-facc sales call. In such a campaign, the marketer seeks to improve response rates and profits by adding media and stages that contribute more to additional sales than to additional costs.

Consider the following examples:

Flying Flowers is a L*K flowers-by-post business. The 17-acre Jersey-based carnation nursery now offers a postal pack service to most northern European countries. Its strong sales have been achieved through direct-response advertising and by mailing to an increasingly large customer database. The firm's progressive involvement with retail chains, mailorder companies and credit card operators has also generated additional sales. It also became an Air Miles promoter. In special promotions such as for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, Air Miles members who got Flying Flowers to dispatch a bouquet of flowers would get up to 35 Air Miles awards. All the consumer had to do was order by phone, quoting his/her Air Miles membership number, eredit card details, bouquet code and Air Miles promotion reference number. Easy! It is clear that Flying Flowers uses multiple direct marketing channels, while also taking advantage of its expanding marketing database to maintain a consistent sales growth record.

The French mail-order giant. Trois Suisses. integrates its existing mailorder format with other direct retailing approaches. It takes orders by post, telephone and the French interactive information network, Minitcl, which is installed in more than 3 million houses. It is linked with a shopping programme on the French RTL-TV and is taking the step into television shopping. Trois Suisses believes that the online revolution could strengthen its foothold in the new shopping environment of the future.45

Public Policy and Ethical Issues in Direct Marketing

Direct marketers and their customers usually enjoy mutually rewarding relationships. Occasionally, however, a darker side emerges. The aggressive and sometimes shady tactics of a few direct marketers can bother or harm consumers, giving the entire industry a black eye. Abuses range from simple excesses that irritate consumers to instances of unfair practices or even outright deception and

The Internet offers many exciting commercial opportunities to companies. It enables a direct two-way contact with users, which allows multimedia communications arid which reaches consumers around the globe. There are rewards for businesses as long as they respect the culture of the Internet. Users may not want 'in-your-face' advertising on-screen, but those who are interested in a company's product or service will access the company's Web pages, Businesses will do well to take on board the implications of the Internet's unwritten code. Here are some dos and don'ts of Netiquette.

Electronic Mail

• Do not send a commercial e-mail message to an Internet user who has not asked for it. However, if an Internet user sends an enquiry to an organization, it should be acceptable for the recipient to respond to the user using e-mail.

• If ;m Internet user requests information from companies within a specific category - for example, scuba diving- the companies within this category should be able to send this user relevant information. The company may offer the user the option to be added to its list server - an Internet convention allowing people interested in a particular topic to subscribe to an ongoing electronic conference on that topic.

• Enquiries to commercial list servers should not result in an automatic subscription. Organizations should not add the user's name to a mailing list to which he or she has not subscribed. All list servers must respect the Internet's 'unsubscribe' command and refrain from sending further e-mail messages when this command is received,

• Internet users who choose to put their personal details such as addresses or phone numbers in their electronic signatures should be able to do so with the knowledge

Customer Dnta

• Internet data should remain the private property of the user. If a user has expressed interest in, say, scuba diving, through the Internet, the behavioural data of the user should not he resold to a company that wishes to use it to target divers without the permission of that user.

• If a list server subscriber list is to be released, only the addresses of those subscribers who have expressly approved the release of their details should be included.

Advertising

• Advertisers should avoid commercial advertising to newsgroups and list server conferences that are unrelated to the newsgroup or conference topic.

Communications Software

• Under no circumstances should marketers use communications software to gather data from users without the knowledge or permission of the user.

• No data, should be sent or collected using the Internet without the express permission and knowledge of the person who owns the data.

Information gathering without an individual's permission is both an invasion of privacy and illegal.

Market Research

9 Only conduct consumer research as long as participating consumers are made fully aware of the consequences of answering the questionnaire.

• Internet users should have ready and easy access to information detailing the uses and implications of participating in the market research survey.

Remember lour

INeliquette. Please

Marketing Highlight 22.3

that marketers will not use this information to make unsolicited contact by telephone, regular mail or fax.

Promotions and Direct Selling

• Promotions should be self-selected by an Internet user and potential customer of the product, service or promotion.

• Internet users should be made fully aware of the guidelines, rules and parameters of the event or offer before they commit to responding to the promotion.

As consumers become more literate in the ways of direct marketing, whatever their form, online or offline, they can easily see through the 'spams', false offers and acts of impropriety. Companies that attempt to lure the naive do no one, least of ;ill themselves, any favours. Code breakers risk consumer backlash, blacklisting, even the threat of legislative extinction, which would restrict growth of the industry. Where the internet is concerned, the obstacles to sales -- privacy, consumer protection and product liability - arc yet to be solved. Governments worldwide are responding to OECD initiatives to address problems and to seek agreement on ways to dismantle the barriers to global electronic commerce. Meanwhile, code makers are already working their way towards creating a cyberworld of better business netiquette!

Sources: Jack Schofieid, 'Untangling the Web', Marketing Business March 1995), pp. 10-13, 'The Internet: spam, spam, spam, spam The Economist (1 November 1997), p. 133; Martin Croft, 'Clean-up operation',Marketing Week (8 March 1996), pp. 61-3; R i ebenda Wilson, 'Security alarm'. Marketing Week (26 January 1996), pp. 49-53.

fraud. During the past few years, the direct marketing industry has also faced growing concerns about invasion of privacy.'"'

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