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Direct Marketing – Andrew Bedford

Direct marketing is an area vastly underutilised by a

lot of IFAs but a major potential source of new clients

and revenue.

Direct mail, telemarketing, inserts, fax broadcasting and electronic media

are all effective methods of direct marketing though most companies use

direct mail as

their preferred method because of its price, cost-effectiveness, quality,

accuracy and the fact that it is accountable and measurable.

Recent figures suggest that direct mail alone generates an estimated

£20bn-worth of business

for companies every year in the UK, according to the Direct Mail

Information Service.

Direct marketing gives an IFA the opportunity to target the most relevant

audience for their services. It is more cost-effective than other forms of

advertising as you only invest in contacting just those people you want to

communicate with.

It is more responsive as the message can be tailored precisely for each

target group and each contact can be followed up individually. The response

rate from each campaign is also easily measured.

I have found that the success of a direct marketing campaign depends upon

a number of main factors –

the suitability and relevance of the service to the target group, the

quality, accuracy and relevance of the list

of prospects used, the attractiveness of the offer, the creativity of the

approach and its timing.

The quality of the list is the single most important success factor in a

direct marketing campaign. The more thought put into its selection, the

more accurate the targeting will be and the more responsive the campaign.

You should consider the type of audience for which your service is most

suited and then select your list based on a wide range of options.

These include area, industry type, turnover, size

of company, job function, etc, for business data and

area, income, age, marital status, homeownership, investment potential,

interests and lifestyle attributes

for consumer lists.

Use the AIDA principles (attention, interest, desire, action) when

constructing your message. Focus on your most important objective and keep

the message clear

to gain attention and create interest. The prospect must understand how

they will benefit from what is being offered and the message should close

with a clear call to action – complete the enclosed form, phone a number,

visit a website, etc.

Prospects should be targeted in manageable quantities. If the campaign is

too large, it carries the risk of the response being too great to cope

with. A smaller campaign may be easier to handle and responses can be

followed up more efficiently and professionally.

There are literally thousands of lists on the market. Because of the

increasing demand for smaller lists for niche markets and localised

campaigns and because rapid delivery is becoming more important, lists are

now also being sold online.

There are several different types of list available

and they are created in a variety of ways and come from

a number of different sources.

Many factors will affect your response rate. The

Direct Mail Information Service publishes figures on response rates to

different campaigns on its website at www.dmis.co.uk. However, many of

these campaigns

will have been done by large marketing departments

using top ad agencies and copywriters. Rather than spending your entire

budget on a campaign that delivers

a poor response, it is best to test your campaign first

on a smaller quantity.

Direct marketing can be a very cost-effective way

of generating new business activity in your target area. Now is the time

to invest.

Andrew Bedford is head of

marketing at Misys IFA Services

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