Questions

1. Taking the case of DeSl Computer Corporation, outline die major advantages of direct marketing for: (a) the manufacturer and (b) the customer.

2. Dell has pioneered mail-order selling of PCs. What other methods of direct selling might the firm use?

3. Identity the organisational and operational factors that govern successful implementation of direct methods of selling products such as PCs.

4. Dell is taking advantage of new technologies such as the Internet to market its products. What might be the advantages and limitations of Internet or online marketing?

5. How might advances in communications technology affect the marketing methods used by firms such as Dell and other computer manufacturers towards the twenty-first century?

6. Suggest an integrated direct marketing strategy for Dell, showing how it will help the company to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

Introduction

Dell forces us to think ahout the role that direct marketing methods play in achieving market performance. In this chapter, we look at the nature of direct marketing and how it can lie used by organizations to reach target customers more effectively and efficiently.

Many of the marketing tools we examined in previous chapters were developed in the context of mass marketing-, targeting broadly with standardized messages and marketing offers. Today, however, with the trend towards more narrowly targeted or one-to-one marketing, more and more companies are adopting direct marketing, as fl primary marketing approach or as ;'i supplement to other approaches. Increasingly, companies are turning to direct marketing in an effort to reach carefully targeted customers more efficiently and to build stronger, more personal, one-to-one relationships with them.

In this chapter, we examine the nature, role and growing applications of direct marketing and its newest form, online marketing. We address the following questions: What is direct marketing? What are its benefits Co companies and their customers? How do customer databases support direet marketing? What channels do direct marketers use to reach individual prospects and customers? What marketing opportunities do online channels provide? How can companies use integrated direct marketing to create a competitive advantage;? What public and ethical issues do direct and online marketing raise?

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