Direct Sales Marketing Promotion Methods
In retail marketing, products are also sold directly either by the producer or retailer. These retailers follow different direct sales marketing promotion methods such as
- Face to face selling,
- Direct mail,
- Catalogue marketing,
- Telemarketing; and
- Kiosk Marketing.
1. Face-to-face selling
Perhaps the oldest form of direct marketing is the field sales call. Field sales call holds good in most industrial companies. These companies heavily rely on a professional sales force to identify prospects and develop them into customers. They also hire manufacturers’ representatives and agents to carry out direct selling. In addition to manufacturing companies, many consumer companies and service firms resort to direct selling. Insurance agents, stockbrokers and distributors working for direct marketing companies such as Avon, Amway etc.
2. Direct mail
Direct mail marketing aims at sending an offer, announcement, reminder or other items to a person at a particular address. Direct marketers send thousands and thousands of mail pieces each year — letters, fliers, fold-outs, etc.
Direct marketing involves mailing audiotapes, videotapes, CDs, computer diskettes to prospects and customers. Generally, in marketing, mail was handled by postal and courier services in a traditional way. However, three new forms of sending mail have created a sensation. They are — Fax mail, E-mail and Voice-mail.
1. Fax mail: Through fax mail, one can send a paper-based message (text/picture) to another, anywhere in the globe over telephone lines. Computers also serve as fax machines. The unique feature of fax mail is that the message sent is received instantaneously. Marketers send fax mail announcing offers, orders and events to prospects and customers. Published directories provide fax numbers of companies and individuals.
2. E-mail: Electronic mail enables users to send a message or file from one computer directly to another. The message is received instantly at the receiving end. The message is stored until the receiving person switches on his/her computer. Marketers send sales announcements, offers and other messages to numerous e-mail addresses.
3. Voice mail: Voice mail receives and stores oral messages. Telephone companies sell voice mail as a substitute for answering machines. Marketers set up a programme that necessitates dialing a large number of telephone numbers and they leave their messages in voice mailboxes.
3. Catalogue Marketing
Companies mail one or more product or service catalogues to select addresses. Generally, catalogues are in printed form. Sometimes, companies send CDs, videos or go on-line. In catalogue marketing, the company should manage its customer lists carefully. Some catalogue houses mail video catalogues to their best customers. When catalogues are put on the internet, printing and mailing costs are considerably saved.
Some companies add essays and informative stories to their catalogues. This “magalog” style creates an anticipation for the next catalogue. It also helps distinguish the catalogue from the countless others, particularly during the holiday season when numerous catalogues clutter customer’s mailboxes. The justification is that
the more customers know about the product, the more will be their purchases.
4. Tele Marketing
Telemarketing has become a major direct marketing tool. Many customers routinely order goods and services by telephone. Britain’ s Midland Bank operates entirely by telephone (now adding fax and internet channels as well) and has no branches or physical presence. Midland Bank virtually sets the trend for the future in the telemarketing.
The success of telemarketing depends upon choice of right telemarketers, training them well and providing them with attractive performance incentives. Telemarketers should have a pleasant voice, pleasing manners and their calls should be made at the right time. It can be late morning and afternoon to reach business prospects and evening hours to reach prospects at home. The telemarketing supervisor may offer prizes to the top performer, in order to motivate them.
5. Kiosk Marketing
Kiosks are customers’ order placing machines. These are in contrast to vending machines which dispense actual products. Kiosks are placed in stores, airports and at other prominent locations. For example, a shoe company may place its machine in several of its stores. In this machine, the customer may indicate the type of pair of shoes he wants and its size. Pictures of shoes that meet his requirements flash on the screen. If the particular shoes are available in the stores, the customer can dial an attached phone and type in a credit card number and address where the shoes should be delivered.
The success of direct market devices depends upon the key elements which include:
1. An updated record of the names of existing, former; and prospective customers. These customers may be suitably classified into groups.
2. Recording the outcome of communication with target groups.
3. Provision for measuring and recording actual purchase behavior of customers.
4. Follow up measures for continuing communication whenever it becomes appropriate.
By using direct marketing promotion, the channel is kept direct i.e., retail sales are effected direct to consumers. Thus, the extra charges or commission payable to intermediaries are eliminated. Some of these savings are passed on to the consumers who will purchase because of the low price.