Posts Tagged ‘ target demographic ’

Direct Marketing – and why you shouldn’t discount it.

For many companies it’s a real challenge to decide which advertising medium to use, especially in today’s tech-driven environment. One bad decision could cost a company their entire marketing budget, so how do they decide which medium is right? There’s the Internet, newspapers, magazines, television, radio, social media and more. But for some reason, the channel that most seem to discount these days is direct marketing – and well, that’s just crazy.

With social media on the rise, and being significantly cheaper than other mediums, many companies are going for it. Great if you are opening the hottest new club in town, but what about if you’re trying to sell hearing aids? Twitter may not be your best bet! So, when deciding what channel to use, the first step is to identify your target market and the best way to reach them.

Let’s stick with the hearing aid example. Although an increasing number of seniors own computers and are savvy about navigating them, studies show there are better ways to reach them in a more targeted fashion, like by direct mail.

While Internet spending has increased dramatically over the last several years and newspaper advertising has decreased dramatically, direct mail spending has remained virtually flat. Flat doesn’t sound good, does it? But really, this means that it’s a tried and true marketing medium that has stayed consistent throughout the years.

Direct marketing, as defined by Wikipedia, is a form of advertising that reaches its audience without using traditional, formal channels of advertising, such as TV, newspapers or radio. The goal of direct marketing is to allow businesses to communicate directly to the consumer through the use of advertising techniques such as flier and catalogue distribution, mailing of promotional letters, and street advertising.

There are several advantages to direct marketing. Here are a few:

1. It enables you to send your message directly to the consumer, without interference.  For instance, when it comes to TV spots, how many people now Tivo and DVR their favorite TV shows, and skip right through the commercials, blasphemous to an advertiser, but it happens nonetheless!

2. It also allows you to personalize your message to each consumer. “Dear Mr. Jones, we would like to offer you a special discount…”

3. Direct mail also can include a call to action, which allows for tracking. For example, if you ask consumers to “bring this coupon into the store to receive your discount,” you can actually tally up the amount of coupons the store receives to see the success of your campaign. Other calls to action include, “call this number” or “logon to this website.”

4. Although there are many forms of direct marketing – telemarketing, e-mail marketing, door-to-door leaflet marketing, broadcast marketing – direct mail remains the most popular.

5. In a study conducted by The Direct Marketing Association, it was found that 57% of the campaigns studied employed integrated strategies.  Of those, almost half (47%) launched their campaigns with a direct mail piece.

6. Additionally, although we were using the hearing aid company as an analogy marketing to seniors, direct mail can also be used successfully to market to all age and ethnic groups.

Direct Mail and Coupons

For the first time since the Depression, the Gen Y group and their followers, the Gen Z group, are saving more money than any of their predecessors. Although not a definite, this could be attributed to the rise of coupon usage. Where it used to be taboo to use a coupon (think standing in line behind the blue-haired lady in the grocery store, with her handful of coupons), it is now the norm and almost expected. Don’t want to spend the money for your morning latte? Probably will if you have a 50% off coupon. And what better way to receive a coupon that by having it mailed directly to your house?

So when determining how best to spend your precious marketing dollars, first and foremost consider your market and how to reach them, then make sure your messaging is clear and if using direct marketing – consider making your consumers an offer. And don’t discount direct marketing – it’s how many consumers get discounts and they love that, so you should too.

Brand Identity Chain

“Who do you think you are” used to be asked of people when they said or did something rude or presumptuous. But now, it’s an important question that provides valuable insight into what motivates your target market to buy.

Welcome to the world of identity marketing. According to Robert Maxwell – president of research consulting firm Chelsea Media – it is no longer enough to create a brand identity to reach members of your target demographic group. You must first understand the social and pop cultural influences upon which people within your target demographic create their identity and lifestyle, then position your brand as one that integrates with that identity.

As explained in plain English by Maxwell in Advertising Age magazine: “If consumers identify with Prada and also identify with Michelob, Volvo, “24” character Jack Bauer, rock group the Killers and Doritos, marketers suddenly have a ‘brand identity chain’ – a group of consumers who share similar identities as well as product and media consumption.

“In fact, anything in the media marketplace that contains symbols consumers might use in constructing their identities qualifies as a brand. That includes companies, services and, most important, news and entertainment. The building blocks of news and entertainment – personalities, TV programs, characters, sports teams, bands, channels, websites and so forth – are all laden with symbols that invite connections with a consumer’s identity.”

Now consider your target market. If it’s the 18-to-34 male mobile entertainment enthusiast, his brand identity chain is likely to include Red Bull, first-person shooter/car racing video games, Scarface, hip-hop artist Chamillionaire, YouTube.com, Honda Civic, Toyota Scion – and probably also Jack Bauer and Doritos. All of these interests and preferences combine to shape his self-image and determine the other brands he buys.

So how can you make your brand one of the building blocks of your market’s identity? Let’s return to the Scion for an example. A CGA (computer-generated animation) commercial for the Scion tC uses video game-style graphics and action as the vehicle changes body colors while driving through a hip cityscape to a techno music track. The creative team for the commercial recognized video games and techno music as building blocks of the tC target market’s identity, and based the vehicle’s brand identity upon those elements.

The take-home message: let your brand enhance the identity of your consumers, and the resulting sale will be more than a purchase – it will be part of who they are.