Direct marketing trends are being applied to small business advertising as technology filters down from big business to smaller ones. And the innovation continues daily.
Here are some of those trends, in no particular order.
• Building a total customer relationship
Companies are beginning to address the concept of creating a quality total customer experience, realizing that an excellent experience in one area can be easily offset by a bad time in another area.
Certainly it is easier and cheaper to retain an existing customer than to go out and get a new one.
Nowhere is this more evident today than in the philosophy of trying to build a great and long-lasting relationship between the customer and the business. The buzz word is "relationship marketing".
Considerable emphasis is placed on CRM, (customer relationship management) which means integrating all customer contact within your business.
This includes every seemingly unrelated customer points of contact from bill payment, servicing the customer, advertising inquiry, to follow-up. The trade journal is at destinationcrm and covers sales, marketing and customer service.
• The internet and tracking
With various two-way communication channels on the internet, the aggregate market data is driving certain aspects of the product. Consumers communicate with two-way dialog as never before with blogs, e-mails and web sites.
Tracking consumer behavior, buying decisions and values is gaining new sophistication in the field of web analytics. The web journeys on every computer (including the one you are using right now) are able to be tracked and analyzed. At DMNews.com you'll find the latest updates on this topic area.
• Restricted customer contact
Restrictions for contacting consumers abound. The national do not call list, fax removal numbers, do not mail lists and SPAM restrictions have become too intrusive, resulting in prohibitive legislation and regulations.
• The return of direct mail
In some quarters, direct marketing often means direct mail. For years, direct mail was seen as a preferred method of advertising to the individual.
Then along came the cheaper and faster web technology of e-mails, blogs, and the like. Soon marketers discovered its limitations, heralding the current move back to using direct mail.
Even companies selling web services use direct mail to draw customers. Perhaps you've seen materials from Yahoo, Experian, or the new AT&T.
Small businesses who are feeling frustrated by their advertising results would be well advised to re-examine their basic advertising strategies and tactics.
As a small business owner, it is up to you to pick and choose your marketing tools. You'll find you still have plenty of proven small business advertising activities to test.
With some original thinking and analysis, you'll be able to apply these direct marketing trends to your own small business advertising.