Digital marketing and direct marketing

What do direct marketing and digital marketing have in common? As it turns out, a great deal.

first and foremost, they are both marketing systems. That means that they are subject to the same checks and balances. Do they provide a reasonable return on investment? Can they be scaled? What are their time frames? And so on.

Looking past the analysis similarities, do they have any functional aspects in common? The answer again, is yes.

Decisive communication

Direct marketing or digital marketing are designed to motivate action. Their purpose is not to explain services or details benefits. While it may be necessary to do so at times, the goal of these two systems is to get the reader to do something.

Both rely on calls-to-action placed through out the sales page. But the action desired is quite different.

Digital marketing uses an inbound approach. The device is usually an email subscription form, and possibly a free e-book download. In exchange for an email address, they provide something of value.

The email address is the digital marketers goal from most calls-to-action. With the email address, the marketer can send periodic announcements, sales messages and promotions.

With a long time frame required for many sales, an email address is a high effective way to market. Most digital professionals believe that email  marketing is the most effective use of their time and resources.

Direct marketing also utilizes calls-to-action, but generally in a more aggressive manner. Rather than an e-book or a newsletter subscription, their offerings are typically free merchandise or heavy discounts.

Direct marketers cannot rely on a long term sales cycle to close a sale. The cost of direct marketing is very high; each campaign must have a positive return.

It is not uncommon for a direct marketing campaign to cost as much as $1.00 per recipient. That adds up quickly.

Where digital marketing attempts to build and cultivate relationships, direct marketing attempts to focus on the sale at hand. Even though the end result is the same, very different skills are required for each.

Digital designers focus on brand and image building. Landing pages build credibility and a sense of trustworthiness. Copy is written as a narrative. The intent is to give the reader a sense of the company.

Direct mail copy is hard hitting. Strong headlines are used to create a sense of urgency. The idea is to generate a need in the reader to take immediate action.

The graphics and uses of color vary as well. Digital design seeks to be contemporary and inviting. Colors that portray harmony and confidence are typical. Type fonts that blend into the design are chosen. There is no attempt to jolt the reader.

Direct marketing takes the opposite approach. Strong images and emotion producing colors are the tools of the designer. Whatever is needed to jar the reader into action is taken.

These are just a few of the similarities and differences between these two marketing forms.  If the topic is of interest, let me know.

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