By Leigh Andrews
So when exactly did this type of marketing make the cross over to direct marketing? Sadly I don’t have a herbal specialist in my little black book to contact, but I do know quite a bit about direct marketing. Late last year, I blogged
that marketing has become a very complex process as messages tend to be spread across multiple platforms, including social media
, making them that much more difficult to avoid. In fact, my colleague Melanie Heyns recently wrote
about the fact that the telesales aspect of direct marketing often makes consumers want to run for cover as it is unsolicited and we dearly value our personal space in this age of information overload
, where we have barely a moment to ourselves and far too many passwords to remember. But this doesn’t mean it’s better for the information to come straight to you instead.
I’ve long thought that the response rate of direct marketing is shockingly low. In 2008, Edlee
stated that 1% to 3% is seen as a good response rate. Different sources give different stats, but most seem to still be around this level. Companies sending unsolicited pamphlets and ‘junk mail’ seem to realise most of this is just a waste of paper that gets tossed in the bin. Heyns also wrote
that direct marketers are, according to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), now only allowed to contact you during the following hours: Mondays to Fridays between 8:00 and 19:00 and Saturdays between 9:00 and 12:00. And direct marketers are also forbidden to contact consumers on public holidays and Sundays, so we are supposedly no longer subjected to awkward phone conversations interrupting our after-work relaxation and ‘switch off’ time. The CPA was lauded
for these rights that would be afforded to frustrated consumers, but things don’t seem to have changed much. Many still cringe when their home phones ring in the evenings, and with cell phones, it’s even worse.
Back in 2010 I wrote about mobile marketing
as the next big direct marketing trend, but this came with a number of potential pitfalls as a cell phone tends to be seen as a more personal or private mode of communication, with many people being hesitant to answer a call from an unknown or private number. But there’s also the text invasion, which I likened to the constant ‘Viagra promotional’ spam messages that flood our inboxes – mobile marketing is starting to become a nuisance. Key among the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of mobile marketing: advertising must be clear regarding all terms and conditions associated with offers; and promotional messages can only be sent via SMS to consumers with a ‘recent’ commercial relationship with the company – this ‘recency’ is defined as six months. If this time frame has lapsed, the company has to ask the customer to reconfirm their opt-in
, to receive further mobile communications. An underlying fundamental of this is that content providers must obtain approval from subscribers before sending them messages. And if you’re still being constantly harassed over the phone? Add your details to the national Direct Marketing Association’s don’t contact me opt-out registry
But then, the ‘opt-in’ process itself can sometimes be a headache. Marketers looking to narrow down exactly which areas their potential contacts are interested in will often send out an email or direct them to a website to tick the topics they want more information on – the Voiceofreason website
pokes fun of this with a ‘spam checklist’ (have a look, it made me giggle).
So it’s by no means a new topic, and an ongoing frustration for many. Whereas you had to do the searching yourself if you wanted information in the best, it’s now all just a click away and getting increasingly overwhelming. What are your thoughts? Is direct marketing a necessity, or is it going the way of the dinosaur? Does the industry need a rethink about when and how best to contact consumers? Share your thoughts on our blog