Managing Personal Communications
Marketing communications today increasingly occur as a dialogue between the company and its customers.
Direct marketing is the use of consumer-direct (CD) channels to reach and deliver goods and services to customers without using marketing middlemen.
Benefits of Direct Marketing
Consumers short of time and tired of traffic and parking headaches appreciate toll-free phone numbers, always-open Web sites, next-day delivery, and direct marketer’s commitment to customer service.
Direct-mail marketing means sending an offer, announcement, reminder, or other items to an individual consumer. Direct mail is popular because it permits target market selectivity, can be personalized, is flexible, and allows early testing and response measurement.
In catalog marketing, companies may send full-line merchandise catalogs, specialty consumer catalogs, and business catalogs, usually in print form but also as DVDs or online. Many direct marketers find combining catalogs and Web sites an effective way to sell, especially internationally.
Telemarketing is the use of the telephone and call centers to attract prospects, sell to existing customers, and provide service by taking orders and answering questions. Companies use call centers for inbound telemarketing – receiving calls from customers and outbound telemarketing – initiating calls to prospects and customers.
Other Media for Direct-Response Marketing
Direct marketers use all major media. At home shopping channels are dedicated to selling goods and services via a toll-free number or the Web for speedy delivery.
Public and Ethical Issues in Direct Marketing
Critics worry that marketers may know too much about consumers’ lives, and that they may use this knowledge to take unfair advantage. Most direct marketers, however, want what consumers want: honest and well-designed offers targeted only to those who appreciate hearing about them.