Targeted, Relevant, Timely: Direct Marketing Success Is About Doing It Right

I’ve been asked just about every question related to using the mail stream better, smarter and with a greater degree of success. I always lean back on three reactions a direct marketer must trigger, simply to gain opportunities: An action of “Yes, I’ll buy” or “I’m interested in more” or “Not now, but maybe later”… each are about hitting the key emotions to move the mail recipient to act. Yes, action! A.C.T.I.O.N… just like the cheer often witnessed at a sporting event, but for the DM’ers of the world… it’s bliss.

DM euphoria can be achieved by putting timely efforts into a succinct package that compels the recipient to act. So, you might ask yourself, “How can I ensure that I’m covering these elements correctly?” Thanks for asking, I’ll do my best to help you understand its importance and provide benchmarks to set your mind at ease. For starters, pay attention to the things that matter; meaning, those elements you can measure. Doing this ensures you never undermine your hunt for greater ROI.

I usually give a few descriptions of good DM. Let me begin with the one we can all relate to. Okay – you accomplish your morning rituals, shower, brush your teeth, use the restroom, and as you complete this last task you are concerned you won’t have enough bathroom tissue (“TP”, in my house) to satisfy your personal hygiene requirements.

Get my drift? Move ahead a few hours. You make the trip to the mailbox (a daily ritual that is as sacred as, well, apple-pie and Chevrolet) and low and behold there is a coupon for a free roll of TP when another of same value is purchased. Now, you happen to be a non-brand loyal who is a fairly conscience shopper and you are going to the grocery to acquire this toiletry along with some other, hmm, less important items.

The previous example is one every household can understand; whether we loathe the direct marketer or are amazed of “how did they do that?” the business of direct marketing greatly influences our buying patterns and is becoming increasingly refined and more capable of “wowing” the consumer and business mindset.

There are over 100 ways to qualify, mend or create direct marketing segmentation. Each of them extends worthy time and energy in pursuit of the DM holy land: ROI that rocks. Let’s look at some key methods:

o Targeted DM. It’s making sure the list of folks with whom you are communicating is a properly profiled audience. Not an easy feat, but obtainable through either painstaking soul searching or simple business intelligence. We should all know who our best prospects are but sometimes we don’t. There are many ways to validate, but be sure to test all theories and never stop second-guessing yourself.

Dig, dig and dig deeper to ensure that your audience is either profiled to match your existing house file or you have studied your direct competition enough and realize your selling horse products to a list of horse owners will work. Hint: Think about targeting down to the minutia. How about, age of the horse, will that help you? I Bet it will. Or, maybe household income of the owner, or, zip codes where you’re having more success than others will enhance results.

o Relevant DM. It’s knowing when the last piece of “TP” is coming off the roll. How do we know such details? Well, my example is extreme, but really not too. For example, now that POS (point of sale) data is captured at the grocery store, marketers can begin to forecast consumption of product based on the last time of purchase, time before that, and where you purchased the unit. Thus, giving the marketers a fairly good idea of when you’ll be looking to acquire more.

On the other hand, relevant DM’ers know that the household of sedan vehicles might be interested in an SUV or minivan. Why? Because our households are ever changing; everyday, each of the 220 million US consumers changes… they get rich, they get poor, they expand and they contract. And as a result, they need to buy new things and that… is… relevant.

How do we capitalize on relevance in the household to motivate a purchase for our product or service? We test hypothesis of relevance based on demographic and psychographic shifting. We look for Hotline information- not necessarily from data but from propensity or profiling.

o Timely DM. It’s being instinctual about the art. Now, how can I get timely to figure into a decision? Timely is sometimes the hardest thing to know. How can we predict the trends of a household? Much easier when we know the baby is coming and they’ve registered with everyone and everywhere, giving us delivery dates and sex details.

Timely knows that those of a multi-family dwelling unit, who earn high incomes, could or should be able to afford a house and a mortgage. So, it makes sense that new home solicitation targeted to the aforementioned market is timely. And given the right, compelling offer they will ACT.

Direct Marketing Success is about capturing the rhythm of interest by instinct & skill. It’s the nose of the DM expert or CMO who understand that he or she must use the senses of observation combined with any and all analytical information that can be added to the formula.

Buy Your Wine Direct From the Winery

How wine is sold is subtly changing. Until recent history wine was sold through an arcane system known as Three Tier Distribution that came about when prohibition ended. The winery or brewer or distiller has no choice in how they get their product to market. Gradually however, this is changing as states approve wine being shipped directly from the winery to the consumer.

The 2016 Direct-to-Consumer (DtC) wines sales report has some interesting information. It confirms that wineries are focusing more of their strategies on marketing their wines directly to the consumer. In fact, this method of distribution isn’t just for the smaller wineries; the large wineries are now focusing more attention on this outlet. Greater than 5 million equivalent cases of wine were shipped direct to the consumer and it wasn’t limited to less expensive wines either. Sonoma wineries had the highest grow rate in 2016 of nearly 30%.

Wines and Vines has a 2016 database of 9,069 U.S. wineries that they have divided into 5 categories based upon number of cases produced annually. The largest combined categories are called Limited and Very Small producers, each producing up to 4,999 cases per year. These two categories represent 79% of all wineries shipping direct to consumers, roughly 3,600 wineries in each category. If Small Wineries (totaling 1,570) are added to the prior two categories they represent 96.4% of wineries in the U.S. The take-away from this information is that wineries each producing 49,999 cases of wine and less annually, while selling DtC, have a significant market presence.

The five million cases of wine shipped DtC in 2016 represented a 17% increase over 2015. This was made up of single or multiple bottle shipments. “The value of 2016 shipments rose 18.5 percent over 2015, topping $2 billion for the first time and culminating at $2.33 billion”, as reported by Sovos ShipCompliant/Wines and Vines. The average price of a bottle of wine shipped to the consumer in this format was $38.00; far from the $15.00 per bottle of wine making up the greatest number of bottles shipped. Jon Moramarco, Managing Partner of BW 166 LLC reports that the average bottle of wine sold “off- premise” was $9.29.

This points out that consumers are not shy about buying expensive wine on-line/phone and receiving the wine via FedEx, UPS or contract shipper. With the number of wineries growing at approximately 5% annually, most are in the limited and small producer category, therefore it would appear they are the group most receptive to reaching out directly to customers. With DtC shipment representing 8.7% of domestic wine sales there is plenty of room for growth.

The very large wineries, in 2016, represented 13% of all DtC shipments which was a 183% increase over 2015. However, it appears they did this by reducing the price of their shipped wines. The average price for the wine shipped by the 64 largest wineries (producing >500,000 cases) fell to $16.00 per bottle. Obviously, there is some elasticity in the wine business. There are some exceptions however, some Napa and Sonoma wineries did raise prices and still realized an increase in shipment and therefore values.

The varietals that have seen the greatest increase in shipment volumes since 2011 are: Rosé (+259%), Other White and Other Red (+174% and 172% respectively) and Pinot Gris (+101%). Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blend wines are still the stellar performers in annual increases in DtC sales. The Red Blends are surprising because they are relatively new for people to try.

In all the good news for direct shipments to almost all states (expect Utah, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi) all regions/states producing wine saw increases. Sonoma County’s 2016 surge is worth noting – “to the tune of $100 million over 2015 – was so impressive that, despite the region representing only 18 percent of the total dollar value of DtC shipments, Sonoma County accounted for 27% of the $363.6 million added to the DtC shipping channel during the year,” as reported by Wines and Vines.

Direct to Consumer, as a channel of distribution is becoming more important to a winery’s success. Yes, technology is an important tool to selling direct, but the ramifications on reducing costs cannot be over stated. This channel allows wineries to respond in real-time to changes in markets, need to promote products; even promoting products geographically. Shipping costs can be less than the discounts required to distributors.

If used correctly, DtC marketing can increase cost effective sales, reduce marketing costs and create brand loyalty by the wineries knowing their customers in more depth.

Using Direct Marketing to Advertise a Business

Direct marketing advertising enjoys great popularity amongst many business owners around the world. In fact, it remains to be a preferred method of advertising despite the emergence of other new marketing strategies. If you are a business owner, considering this marketing technique, this article was written with you in mind.

Take a look at the following tips on you can use direct marketing advertising to generate positive action from prospective customers.

Understand your market. Defining your target market is just the first step. To be effective in your direct mail marketing campaigns, you need to get to know your niche more closely. Essential demographics such as their age bracket, range of income, profession, status, preferences, and other details can play a big role in putting together your marketing plan. Although conducting market research may require time and money, it is a very important aspect to achieve success in your direct marketing campaigns.

Understand your own business. How well do you know your own company? More importantly, how well do you know your products and services? Can you confidently say that your customers will be 100% satisfied with the products or services you offer?

How do you want your market to perceive your brand name? What kind of image would you like to build in the market? Do you have strengths that can make you rise above your competitors?

The above questions can help you understand your own business. Getting your prospects’ attention can be a difficult task. You need to pick a niche and focus on your chosen market. In preparing your direct mail marketing campaign, see to it that you will be able to deliver your promises. Keep in mind that failing to meet your customers’ expectations can badly affect your company’s image for a long time.

Get your message across. Direct marketing advertising is considered to be the most effective method of reaching out to your target market. Why is this? Because you are actually launching a message to a targeted niche. Each marketing mail is sent to one specific recipient.

By conceptualizing a clear and strong message, you are helping prospective customers to remember your brand and understand the benefits of what you offer. Here again, we cannot overemphasize how important it is to spend time conducting market research.

Furthermore, perfecting a marketing copy that will encourage positive customer response is important. To come up with an effective message, consider who your recipients are and choose words that call to positive action.

In order to make your direct advertising more successful, you need to master the art of persuasion. You must always conduct follow ups with your leads. This means repeating your mail marketing campaign to the same group of market on a regular basis, between intervals. For instance, after a month or a few weeks, prepare to send a new batch of marketing mails to the same market. Lastly, always make sure that you track the results of your campaigns so you can make the necessary adjustments or changes quickly.

Copyright (c) 2010 Luie De Von.