3 Direct Marketing Trends

In today’s presentation at Target Marketing magazine, we take a look at three trends for direct marketers to reinvent and make 2014 a game-changer for revenue and profit.

The first of these trends we’re observing is that we’re all in the business of generating and cultivating leads, whether you’re a business-to-business direct marketer, business-to-consumer marketer, or even a non-profit. In 2014 you’ll want to take on characteristics of a magnet and draw prospects to you.

You’ve heard the term content marketing. We like to think of content marketing as magnetic marketing. That is, you draw and attract your best prospects to you.

How do you do it? Resist the temptation to indiscriminately distribute your sales message. Instead, get in front of prospective customers with relevant, quality information that’s sought out in blogs, social media, videos, personalized web pages, and other low-cost ways.

You need to be everywhere, using content management workflow systems so that you earn media exposure instead of paying for it. Establish your brand as an authority, give solid information and insights, and build trust and confidence so your prospects are magnetically attracted to you and they opt-in to your sales funnel.

Which leads me to the second trend. When you magnetically draw prospects to you, you must begin a nurture marketing campaign. Once you’ve drawn in a prospect and you have succeeded in having them opt in to hear more from you, your marketing can become more influential using marketing automation software to deploy your messaging based on triggers.

Send a high-production value direct mail package only to those who have shown the greatest interest. Or, contact them via email and direct them to a landing page customized to their needs, using personalized URLs. 

Use social media or text messaging, so in this always-on mobile world, you have access to your prospect virtually around the clock with your message distributed in a format most relevant to them. Our research, by the way, tells us that not all marketing automation software is optimal for traditional direct marketers. For organizations that rely on direct mail, surprisingly, many marketing automation software systems don’t have robust technology in place to enable you and your production facility to automate personalized, printed direct mail. Contact me if you’d like to know who we believe has created the strongest marketing automation software for traditional direct marketers.

Finally, I conclude with a trend that could have been the first one discussed. But instead, I end with the beginning in mind because I believe that to be successful as you embrace these trends, you need to understand the ultimate game-changer.

And that’s the reality that people are being driven to wanting to know why they should do business with you or contribute to your cause.  A Ted Talk video titled, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, speaks to marketers about the importance of the way in our messaging. As direct marketer’s we’ve mastered messaging of the what and how as we describe features and benefits. But triggering response from people today often requires that you connect with emotions through a why message.

That is, those real reasons where you connect more deeply with your prospects and customers. If your messaging isn’t working as well as it used to, it could be because, as a culture, we’re evolving. We challenge you to think deeply about the emotion-based why component. Why do customers choose your organization and the product or service you’re selling? How do you enhance their lives, solve problems, or make things easier with what you are selling?

I encourage you to integrate these game-changing direct marketing strategies in your marketing mix. We believe these three direct marketing trends will help you move your 2014 results to new levels.



Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.