Direct marketing is an area vastly underutilised by a
lot of IFAs but a major potential source of new clients
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
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
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
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
Andrew Bedford is head of
marketing at Misys IFA Services