Direct Response marketing convinces possible consumers to take action. This can range from placing an order, calling in for additional information, or following a link to a webpage.
Direct response marketing has many positive characteristics. For one, ad effectiveness is measurable because sales correspond to trackable media. Additionally, the sales copy used is often some of the best salesmanship a company has to offer. If an ad about a totally new brand or product generates lots of consumer activity, it’s safe to say the authors are solid copywriters. What’s more, it’s easier to accomplish because a direct response is issued to a very specific target audience.
Direct Response Need Not Be Money
With this tactic, a firm doesn’t need to expect an automatic monetary payment. The bait to bite doesn’t even need to involve a purchase. The goal pushes for the consumer requests additional info, signs up for an email newsletter, or follows through on whatever offer the company makes. Other options for response include giving their phone number, exploring a website, a reply card, coupons, or a fax back form.
However the consumer responds, once the response is made, there is an opportunity to collect as much contact information as possible allowing a firm to prolong the consumer-market connection.
Direct Response in a Vacuum
But direct response marketing is naturally hit-or-miss in a marketing vacuum. Without the presence of a brand, there is a limit to how much activity or revenue a few direct response ads generates.
The best way to encourage a consumer to follow a direct response ad’s direction is to already have a presence in their mind. This means advertising in more indirect ways, so the consumer relates the direct response ad to the social world they already know intimately. After a firm increases a brand’s background presence in the market, direct response ads simply remind the consumer of a social fact. So copywriters no longer need to instill new trust to elicit a response, e.g., “just do it.”
The other name for making a brand a social fact is mass marketing, or “branding.”
Branding allows firms to perpetually remind customers and uninitiated about a brand, in addition to other services and offers. The more frequently a brand runs in various media, the more likely a consumer keeps the brand near the top of their mind when a direct response ad reaches them.
Think of Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. Their “image” marketing has become so unstoppable that Andy Warhol launched an entire artistic aesthetic on this development. He stood back in amused self-assurance as the divide between marketing and artistic expression dissolved.
To build great brands, firms must have solid public relations. The problem is in the cost of maintaining a lasting and positive presence in the market. Some methods, like Internet, print, radio, or TV are useful – and PR helps. PR also can positively impact negative online search – a challenge even for the most successful direct response companies.