Direct marketing or one-to-one marketing involves direct communication with carefully selected individuals to obtain an immediate response. Because you are communicating to an individual, you can carefully tailor your message and your offering to the needs of that particular individual. A very good and detailed customer database is a prerequisite to a direct marketing program.
Direct marketing could take the form of face-to-face selling, telephone selling (telemarketing), direct-mail marketing, catalog marketing, direct-response television marketing, kiosk marketing and online marketing.
The biggest challenge is in getting the database in the first place. In more developed markets, “mailing lists” or customer databases are commodities that are bought and sold. In the Philippines, however, there are few ready-to-use databases. And those that are available may cost too much for the typical small business.
But there are ways of putting together a usable database. For instance, the telephone book can be mined for information. If you are selling to business markets, the Yellow Pages can be a rich source of data about potential clients. And if you’re selling to retail markets, you can make cold calls to people who live in a particular area, for instance.
More likely, you would want to build up your own market database. You do this by looking for opportunities to get personal information from your market. Are you selling an item that comes with a warranty? Then the warranty form becomes a source of customer information. Are you selling a consumer commodity? Then perhaps you can create a promotion program that encourages your market to mail or fax you a survey form.
There are a number of ways to build your customer database. Once you have this database, it becomes a powerful asset that you can use, especially for pushing new and future products.