Direct Marketing and the Human Factor

As I roamed from room to room this morning opening my curtains to another glorious day, I realized that it was going to be another one of “those” days. You know the ones I am talking about, where the mind would rather be sitting on a beach, taking a hike in the mountains or fishing on a cool inland lake instead of where it should be: working on creating an article everyone wants to talk about.

I flipped open my computer screen, took a sip of coffee and looked at the rainy scene out of my window. No inspiration there: although my garden does need a bit of work. Speaking of work, as I scan through my overnight batch of emails something catches my eye.

In an article on The Digital Nirvana guest contributor Julie Sullivan talks about her thoughts on the true meaning of direct marketing. Aha! That is something near and dear to my heart. Thank you Julie!

She wonders why marketers and advertisers only see direct mail as the advertising tool being used to describe what direct marketing is. Not to dismiss the abilities of a good direct mail campaign (I happen to think it is important) but most advertisers shudder at the thought of using direct mail. They would rather spend advertising dollars on other forms of marketing. While I will not go into the benefits of using direct mail here, I will say that marketers need to realize that all advertising effort is, in actuality, direct marketing.

As Julie states, direct marketing really has two main principles:
1. Engage in a one-to-one dialogue with your target audience
2. Require your target audience to take some sort of action-call, click, move, you name it.

Think about that for a moment. It does not matter what form it takes or what mediums are used to advertise a message, ALL advertising is direct marketing. Each message is directed to a targeted audience hoping they will take notice of the offer. Once that happens the advertising goal is to take that call-to-action. Otherwise what is the point of advertising to begin with?

Marketers and advertisers should begin to embrace the idea of direct marketing in all its forms instead of sticking their collective noses up in the air. Sorry guys but study after study proves that people want to be treated as human beings with thoughts, feelings and desires (point one above) instead of being treated as a number on a profit and loss sheet. When a business acknowledges that fact and show it, they have taken that first important step toward the ultimate goal (point two above).

Marketers spend a lot of time and money researching what draws people into noticing an advertisement. Sounds, colors, movement, social values, analytics, jingles, catch phrases et al are tested and reviewed over and over again. If there was no value in attracting the notice of the public (direct) to put across a message (marketing) then why would any organization bother to begin with?

It is time for the advertising world to stop dismissing the idea of direct marketing as something old and past its prime. Instead see it as a time tested method that will always be in demand. Unless and until technology does the thinking and purchasing for us, never forget the human factor.