Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Are You Talking to Me?

Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Are You Talking to Me?

Article excerpt

Keep it relevant and keep your customers coming back. Ed Kemp finds out what works best in direct marketing.

When it comes to successful direct marketing, relevancy is paramount, according to the second annual Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) 'Participation Media' study, which aims to provide an insight into the consumer experience of direct marketing.

As part of the research, which was conducted by the Future Foundation over several weeks last October, more than 1000 consumers were asked to keep a diary for one day detailing how they interacted with the direct mail that they received. Face-to-face interviews were also conducted with 1800 respondents to explore their attitudes toward the medium.

Respondents were briefed to note down in the diary each positive action they took in response to a mailshot, such as making a purchase, visiting a retailer, asking for further information, filing the item or passing it on to a friend or family member.

Eliciting action

Not surprisingly, it emerged that the more relevant the information, the more likely it was that a positive action would result.

Those surveyed said that the vast majority of the mail they receive from companies with which they have no prior relationship is irrelevant and unwelcome; just 15% of those who received such mail responded positively, compared with 65% for mail sent to existing customers.

Even when it comes to existing customers, marketers must invest in developing, maintaining and analysing sophisticated databases to keep track not only of their personal details, but also their purchasing habits.

The better brands know their customers, the more relevant and timely the mailings.

Customer magazines were judged to be the most pertinent of all direct communications, deemed relevant by 67% of recipients, with just 14% considering them extraneous.

This relevancy has helped the medium lead the way in the direct sector, by inspiring positive actions in 76% of those who received them.

Customer publishing is so successful because it combines the best of brand and response advertising, according to Toby Smeeton, managing director at Sunday Publishing. 'You only have to compare the 30-second walk from a doormat to the bin for junk mail with the 25 minutes of engagement for customers receiving magazines,' he says. 'Customer magazines combine some of the most powerful brand-building attributes of above-the-line activity with the best sales and loyalty aspects of below-the-line.'

Verbal recommendations

Customer titles are also best-placed to act as a catalyst to word-of-mouth recommendations. …

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