Courtesy navigation

Blog posts tagged Direct marketing

Five ways to improve your direct marketing in the social sphere

April 10, 2014 by John Keating

Five ways to improve your direct marketing in the social sphere/Social Networking concept{{}}You may think that that social media and direct marketing are two completely different beasts, but I beg to differ.

Engaging with an individual via social media is about as “direct” as it gets in direct marketing. Direct marketing aims to connect marketers to customers and social media allows us to do this in real time with real conversations.

As we all know, selling is increasingly a two-way process with your potential customers more often than not being the instigator of a relationship. No longer do we have the preacher and congregation scenario whereby sellers preach their wares to a voiceless audience. 

Our customers now have a voice and they are using it. 

The key to success is to harness the power of this voice using social media to help spread positive news and reacting quickly to any negative conversations to convert the naysayers.

So how can small businesses improve direct marketing using social media?

  1. Firstly, do your marketing communications enable easy social sharing? If not, why not? Make sure that you include relevant sharing buttons such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and so on. This is a no-brainer; let your brand champions do some of the hard work by allowing them to share and like your content.
  2. The social sphere offers an almost unlimited potential audience, so make the most of it. If you build an online following, real time interaction will allow you to forge lasting relationships as you can appeal to buyers as a human being and not a faceless business. You can then take them offline (don’t forget to ask permission) and into a lead nurturing programme.
  3. Integrate social into your marketing campaigns by using offer-based incentives via Facebook, Twitter and so on. This will allow you to find out where your audience hangs out online and enable you to engage with them further on the platform of their choice.
  4. Use your social platforms to try out new content approaches and then, when you know what works, you can add the most successful content to your email marketing.
  5. Powerful marketing campaigns using Facebook can be created where offline or purchased marketing data can be matched to Facebook to offer up ads to individuals you already have intelligence on or even to your existing customers. This can work for both B2B and B2C audiences by creating a human to human approach. The possibilities are endless — you could place a thank you advert as a nice gesture, for example.

So there you have it, social media and direct marketing do not have to be quarrelling siblings; they can work together in perfect harmony to increase the influence and effectiveness of your campaigns.

John Keating is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and director at Databroker.

Cutting through the data jargon

May 06, 2011 by John Keating

The world of business-to-business data is full of confusing acronyms and jargon.

For the uninitiated, data purchasing can be a minefield and if you buy the wrong list you can end up with a failed campaign and wasted marketing budget. The jargon doesn’t help. Here’s our pocket translation guide to help make sure that your direct marketing campaigns succeed and deliver increased sales.

DMA: Direct Marketing Association

This is the governing body for direct marketing. The DMA ensures that all members comply to best practice guidelines and the rules and regulations of gathering, storing and selling data. You should only ever purchase from data companies who are registered DMA members. Offers that are too good to be true usually are just that. A million records for £50 on eBay is the data equivalent of ”a bloke down the pub” and could end up costing you a hundred times that in fines for data misuse – leave well alone and stick to the straight and narrow with the DMA.


These are the Suppression services;
TPS — Telephone Preference Service
MPS — Mailing Preference Service
CTPS — Corporate Preference Service

Anyone who has registered with any of the above suppression services is off-limits as far as direct marketing is concerned. Aside from the fact it is against the law and will cost you thousands in fines (TPS), why bother wasting time and money trying to hook up with someone who is just not interested? It is damaging to your brand and your budget. Keep your self-respect, keep your money in your pocket and make sure all data you buy is screened against the relevant suppression files. This is standard for DMA members, so you shouldn’t need to worry – unless you speak to that bloke in the pub of course...

Data licences and leases

Data is usually sold on a lease. This means that the data owner leases you the data rather than sells you the data outright. Outright purchases are usually very expensive as data owners, understandably, want to protect the investment they have put into gathering, storing and maintaining the data. If they lease you the data then they retain ownership and you have to comply with the rules of the lease. There are two types of data licence; single-use and multiple-use for 12 months. These are fairly self-explanatory. With single-use you can only communicate with that business or contact, once. With multi-use, you can communicate with them as many times as you want within the 12-month period, depending on the precise terms of the license.

Beware the data seeds

“How will anyone know I am using data when I shouldn’t be?”

The answer is data seeds. Every data file purchased has between one and three dummy records. These dummy records are called data seeds and they are there to monitor activity to that record. If you send an email, it’s recorded. If you send 20 emails, they are also recorded. If you use the data without a licence, the seed reports will highlight this mis-use and you will be charged. But if you comply with the rules you will be fine.

SIC codes

Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty of actually selecting your data. SIC Codes are Standard Industry Codes.  Every business is given an SIC code according to what they do. You want to sell knives? Then the SIC for butchers is a good place to start. A good data salesperson should also advise you on other industries you could target that you might not have considered. For example; restaurants, catering colleges, specialist kitchenware shops and department stores.

Data count

Once you have decided on what industries or SIC codes to target and applied any other criteria such as business size or location; your data advisor will go away and get a data count for you. This is the total number of records that match your criteria, your “data pot” so to speak. From this pot you can decide on how many records you need for your campaign. In some cases the number of records will be less than you expected, in which case you can expand your criteria by targeting additional industries, for example, or by extending the geographical boundaries. Again, a good data broker will be able to advise on the best way to increase the data pot numbers while maintaining the campaign focus.


John Keating is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and director at Databroker.


Travel the world and steal some ideas

June 01, 2010 by Drayton Bird

One of my heroes is Murray Raphel, a brilliant, inspiring speaker and a most excellent marketer.

If you see any of his books, buy them. They're all good, practical, down-to-earth stuff bereft of meaningless jargon.

This is hardly surprising because his family ran (and for all I know still runs) a retail business in New Jersey. That's a bit like direct marketing. You know the next day if something has worked.

Murray once said something I have never forgotten: “Search the world and steal the best".

I do this all the time. And I advocate it for two reasons.

  1. I can never have enough ideas, but they are hard to come by. So I belong to the W.A. Mozart School of creativity. Mozart said, "I never tried to be the slightest bit original".
  2. Contrary to what many, maybe most imagine, what works in one country very often works in another.

So wherever I go I look out for ideas I can steal and transfer — particularly America, where customers have the most money and the most highly-paid people trying to take it off them.

I see many examples in all sorts of places. Some have been transferred; some haven't. And I am just amazed at how poorly multi-nationals exploit this potential synergy.

One instructive case was a few years ago when I was running (or at least failing to screw up) the O & M direct Amex account. One of my main objectives was to move good ideas around the world.

We were selling an accident insurance policy with a pack that was doing OK in the UK (sounds like a song title, doesn't it?) and they had another doing as well in the US. Both were typical long-copy sells.

Then I saw some copy in our Singapore agency. A client had the idea of just letting people have the policy for a month at no charge, then they could decide to keep it or stop it.

The mailing looked like crap — and pulled like crazy. (Moral: good ideas matter more than fancy execution).

We tried it in Hong Kong. It worked there. Then in Spain. It worked there too. Then in London — and so on.

It was always hard work getting local markets to accept ideas from elsewhere because of the not-invented-here syndrome, but it made a lot more sense than starting from scratch.

The golden rule to bear in mind was laid down by Confucius: "Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that divide them". 

If there is no cultural reason why something won't work, try it. Don't change it except where absolutely necessary.

Drayton Bird is a renowned direct marketing teacher, speaker and author. Find out more about him on his profile.

Surge in Digital Sponsorship

February 17, 2010 by Jackie Fast

Sponsorship, once a symbol of corporate excess, is now finding its place within the business world—especially in the digital sector, where sponsors know how to best maximise ROI from these channels.  By its nature sponsorship creates ideal digital marketing opportunities.  It has the flexibility to provide platforms for brands to create exclusive content and online experiences as well as being able to engage directly with their audience.

Marketers are desperately searching for new and economical avenues to create stronger relationships between their brands and target audiences. One avenue that’s resurgent is sponsorship, which is proving a powerful way to engage with consumers while cost-effectively growing the business at the same time – a win-win situation for all involved.

For example Silverpop, a U.S.-based organisation that provides worldwide Web-based solutions, signed up to exclusively sponsor the 2010 DMA Digital Tracking Study.  This partnership has provided Silverpop with a sought-after tool to reach out to the top marketing professionals in the UK, a market that they are developing.  Additionally, this has helped the DMA to provide the latest research to its members. 

Although partnerships are not a new theory, strategic business sponsorships can be new territory.  However, providing they fit, they can be immensely successful.  As digital marketers are usually first on the starting block I anticipate this trend will continue to grow across other sectors for those companies looking for more cost-effective and engaged marketing.

If you aren’t part of the digital sponsors who make up more than 50% of the total sponsors at the DMA, you might be wondering what you are missing.

Jackie Fast of Direct Marketing Association

Direct marketing matters

April 08, 2009 by Georgina Harris

Cheap and effective, direct marketing is the art of contacting your customers in person with the right message at the right time. Ideal for small businesses, because it can produce a lot of bang for your buck, the best-known types include:

direct mail

as well as phone and SMS marketing.

With briefs, factsheets and expert contributions covering questions large and small, the Marketing Donut shows you how to plan and run your own direct marketing campaign.

And, crucially our experts show you what to do after your campaign – you will learn how to measure your results so you can improve your sales, spend your limited funds only on what works, and build up a mailing list that is marketing gold dust.

Our experts include the legendary Drayton Bird, the direct marketing revolutionary who is lauded by everyone from the CIM and IDM to Campaign, and a team of hand-picked experts from Royal Mail including Tim Lees and Andrew Miller. As well as getting insider expertise on how to run your firm’s own direct marketing, you’ll also find some of the sharpest (and occasionally, funniest) writing on the web. Site launches on 20 April.

Syndicate content