What is Direct Marketing and What Do I Do Exactly?

A lot of people hear the term “direct marketing” and still don’t quite understand what I do. Just like any job with a vague title, it takes a bit of explaining. Direct marketing is the direct interaction with the consumer – this could be in the form of mail, text, email, catalog, etc. Of course with any type of marketing, we are trying to increase consideration of a brand or sell a product or service.

Have you ever received an email telling you about the latest products from your favorite store? Or got a coupon in the mail for 25% off? Yup, that is direct response also known as direct marketing. According to DM News, the overall marketing spend by companies in 2016 will be about $163 billion. Yup, billion. Direct Marketing is a huge industry and the reason companies spend so much on these tactics, is because they are effective!


Direct Marketing Email: Zappos enticing me with $30 in rewards

Above is a marketing example from Zappos, I received this in my inbox. The intent is to make me aware of their new rewards program and prompt me to sign up. Once I meet this “hurdle” (that’s inside lingo, ya’ll) I will get $30 to spend online. Juicy offers like this usually don’t come along very often, they are used to incent the email recipient to act and act quickly. Typically the returns on this form of marketing will outweigh the incentive spend, meaning they need to spend money to make money.

I work for a bank and market credit card products, every single campaign takes a lot of planning, coordination, and resources to get the marketing in the hands or inboxes of consumers. Executing one campaign takes about 17 weeks – over four months! These campaigns will also overlap (having two or more going at once). The job requires a lot of brainpower, as there are many aspects to consider: budget, timing, approvals, reviews, etc. Make sure to take your, Ginko! The marketing manager’s main campaign goal is to ensure the project gets completed on time and on budget.

Another interesting form of direct marketing is mail – this could be a coupon, catalog, offer, or just a letter asking the recipient to act. We name this “call to action.” Typically the mail will include an action – call, text, click, or visit. Believe it or not, there are millions of these marketing pieces entering the mail-stream each and every day!


A Nordstrom digital ad on Vogue.com beckoning me to “shop now”

Direct tactics are getting more involved as we are now a highly digital-based society. Ads pop up on your favorite site, maybe perhaps even the exact pair of jeans you were looking at on Nordstrom.com a few days ago. What a coincidence! Sophistication of data and cookies makes marketing easier – ensuring the most relevant message gets to the correct recipient.

Direct marketing is exciting for marketers because not only do we get to work creatively on the mail, email, or ad, we also get to review the results of the campaign and use the analytical side of our brains. In addition, we test various setups, which is my favorite part. This could be different colors, designs, layouts, copy. All these factors can play into how effective the marketing is. I love seeing how a test performs!

Do you have an interesting job? I’d love to hear about it!

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