What it takes to be successful in direct marketing

1-to-1-MarketingThis post originally appeared on the Singapore Business Review, where I regularly contributes articles about branding, advertising and marketing.

Are you one of the many Singaporeans who receive physical or electronic mail only to thrash or delete it without a second thought?

You’re not alone; the majority of us simply disregard such materials as junk – mere inconveniences of life.

Much of today’s direct or electronic mailers are lost amidst an overload of generic communications and this has become a familiar issue in modern direct marketing techniques.

However, this is not an article written to challenge the effectiveness of direct marketing. The technique is still a very popular approach and is often used as a final touch towards a contact lead generated from websites or social media marketing.

However, when crafting your marketing campaign, where does your priorities lie? Some questions to ask include:

  • Are your customer’s needs and wants a consideration?
  • Do you only think in terms of the economical aspects of delivering your products?
  • Do you know which channels do your customer most prefer to receive your product?
  • Essentially, do you adopt a product-centric or a customer-centric approach?

These are important considerations to have in order to achieve a customer-centric direct marketing approach, or simply, 1 to 1 marketing. There are three key elements in 1 to 1 marketing.

Understanding your customers

It is no longer viable just to simply collect and focus on your customer’s first name and email address. 1 to 1 marketing uses profile segmentation to better understand your customer’s needs and wants based on their demographics. Every contact point with the customer is essential in drawing out pertinent information that you use to craft out your campaign.


Personalization nowadays is simply implementing an automated programme that places the target’s name into the email header. With so many businesses doing the same thing, it is gradually becoming ineffective.

To stand out, 1 to 1 marketing tailors the design, images and messages according to the target segments. This is made possible by certain software or agencies that are capable of providing this service.

Cross Media

Despite the rich resources available today, it is often a challenge for business to tap upon and unite the optimum amount of media to ensure that they receive sufficient coverage. With 1 to 1 marketing’s cross media approach, you can maximize your reach through the employment of various media.

For example, a single communication can start with a simple print material that includes a URL that drives the customer to a dedicated website. Through his interactions in this site, his preferences and needs are refined and reconfirmed by email, while other important information such as preferred delivery methods or other information are conveyed via SMS.

According to the Caslon PODi report (a worldwide compilation of the response rates recorded by different industries for specific marketing activities), response rates for static marketing ranged from an average of less than 2.3% (for direct sales efforts), to 3.4% in lead generation.

With the strategic use of 1 to 1 marketing, this approach could outperform generic campaigns by 2 to 8 times based on campaign objectives–lead generation, direct order, traffic generation, data gathering and loyalty programmes.

The need to reach out and grab your target audience’s attention is an ever-present factor and the means to do so are constantly evolving. In the face of the modern marketing landscape, 1 to 1 marketing may well be your niche to stand out and be noticed.

Published by

Johnny Koh

A project manager and a brand strategist, I have over six years of experience in advising businesses of various industries as well as the public sector in their branding and communications need.

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