The development of electronic messaging and the internet has completely changed the game for direct marketing and introduced new tools and options to capture customers’ attention. At first, all this abundance of channels that allowed salespeople and marketers to reach their target audiences directly and deliver their pitch seemed like only the sky was the limit.
However, in time direct response marketing received some negative publicity due to the often unsolicited nature of certain promotional messages, and this led to establishing new regulations such as the Canadian Anti-Spam Regulation. Where does all this leave brand positioning and is there a link between these two concepts?
Selling Or Brand Building?
Direct response marketers claim that the purpose of any business, and subsequently the focus of all marketing efforts, should be selling and not brand building. In other words, according to them, a successful marketing strategy is the one that can boost revenue and increase profit, rather than the one that is brand-oriented.
On the other hand, ad agencies emphasise the power of branding and they insist that brand equity is the only way towards success. It should be said that direct marketing enjoys the benefit of being able to trigger a measurable action from customers, while it’s more complicated to measure the effects of your brand building efforts. As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, which means that the synergy of these two marketing approaches is what works in the long run.
The point is to take advantage of all the tools that you have at your disposal. Pushing sales without creating a recognisable brand identity is sustainable only for a short period of time. The same goes for polishing your brand while neglecting the importance of growing your revenue. Finally, the better positioning of your brand is, the more you will be able to sell.
The End Justifies The Means
A general definition of direct marketing describes it as a type of advertising that allows companies to communicate their messages directly to customers through direct mail, targeted television, email marketing, telemarketing, catalog distribution, websites, SMS, all kinds of ads, and social media.
Some of these methods are considered very intrusive and annoying, especially telemarketing and unsolicited cell phone messaging, and as much as they can be effective, they can also alienate your prospects and result in a damaged brand reputation. That’s why you need to find the best communication channel to reach your target audience. It’s worth mentioning that people are more likely to engage in an interaction with an established brand than with some unfamiliar company, which is why your brand building plays an important role and practically supports direct marketing.
A Matter Of Trust
When making a purchasing decision, consumers tend to select items by the brands they have heard of. If we take into consideration that almost 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, it’s clear that popular brands have more chances of winning this popularity competition. This, basically, means that your sales pitch will be more effective if it’s supported by strong brand equity. But the link between direct marketing and brand positioning doesn’t end here because one of the best methods of improving brand awareness and establishing customer loyalty is through the use of social media networks, which essentially belong to the direct marketing arsenal.
Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram should be integrated with other direct marketing methods for achieving the best result. That’s why websites feature those “follow us” links to social media handles. When we’re discussing social media, especially Facebook, as a direct marketing method, it’s important to stress that brands can now target their audiences based on all kinds of criteria, including age, relationship status, technology interest, or even the type of mobile platform they use, connect with them, and offer the option of online shopping directly through their easy-to-use eCommerce Facebook stores. This way, direct marketing is combined with brand positioning which results in better brand visibility, while generating revenue.
Email Marketing Isn’t Dead
Not only is it alive and kicking, but it’s also one of the most cost-effective direct marketing strategies, as it can generate a 38% ROI, which is more than any other marketing strategy. The catch is, however, in creating compelling emails accompanied by killer subject lines if you don’t want your messages to end up in spam.
In order to convert your email campaign and align it with branding efforts, you should establish your brand’s voice and narrative. This means that you should use the same tone for your emails, and be consistent about the image that you want to create. The template you use for your emails is also important, so make sure to pick the appropriate colour scheme for your email campaigns, use the logo correctly, and be careful about the typeface consistency.
Even a seemingly unimportant element, such as your signature can make a big difference, so be very meticulous. Don’t forget that a branded landing page is also a must, and do your best to create it having customer experience in mind, as that’s a surefire way to boost your conversions.
Direct marketing and brand positioning are inseparable, and if you want either method to fulfil its promotional potential they should rely on each other.