Direct Response Marketing is a Call to Action
Direct Response Marketing is a Call to Action

I was talking with a marketing director this past weekend who works in a fairly traditional corporate setting and we got into a conversation about the types of marketing campaigns they do.

Being a large corporation, they have a hefty budget and spend primarily on more traditional types of marketing:

Brochures
Newsletters
Sponsoring local events and giving away lots of small items with their logo – mugs, lip balm, pads, pens, keychains….
Billboards
TV and Radio ads

I asked which worked best for them and she gave me a funny look. If I were less seasoned, I’d feel like I had just asked a stupid question. A question that perhaps didn’t apply to THEIR marketing.

Well, in a sense I had. Her answer was “I have no idea.” And she was comfortable with that.

I explained that in direct marketing, we measure, refine, test and tweak so we know exactly what every marketing effort delivers and then we aim to improve on that.

“OK, that makes sense” she says, “what does that look like?”

I went on to explain that unless you know how any marketing effort performs, you don’t really know if it’s working for you. And furthermore, you don’t know what you’re getting for your investment.

You might know what all the efforts combined yield, but more likely you don’t. I’m often surprised when I ask for specific conversion numbers and people have no clue. It’s more common than not….but, I digress.

Suddenly I had her interest. She leans in and asks, “Do you think direct marketing would work for us?”

Gotcha. It was the mention of budget that got her.

I explained that the simplest way to know what was working would be to make an offer – several ideally – and tie them into each marketing effort, so you’d know what effort was delivering which response (“aha” says she – “there’s the direct response aspect!”)

Say they sponsor a local 5K run and decide to give away a promotional item. Why not use the ‘real estate’ on that item to make an offer on their website?

Say you give away water bottles with your logo, or some other item a runner might use. Tell the recipient to visit your website to download an infographic on foods that help you recover from a workout, or ways to build your strength or stamina in just 5 minutes each day.

Perhaps you offer both things – 500 bottles with each offer. Say fifty people request the ‘5 minutes a day’ offer and five the ‘foods offer.’ Now you know which offer pulled better at that event and what those runners are more interested in. You’ve started to refine your efforts for better results.

Maybe you hand out those water bottles out at another event, with the same offers, but you direct them to a different web page with the same information. You measure the response (for the size of each crowd and derive the percentages or response) you get at each event and…

…Now, you know which event pulls better or attracts more people who are your target audience.

This is what direct response marketing delivers – actionable information that tells you where to spend, where to pull back and does something I LOVE about direct response – it gives you the opportunity to interact with people who are interested in what you offer, because NOW you have their contact info.

What is Direct Response Marketing and Why Should I Care?