Improving Direct Response: How to Get More from Your Campaigns

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider:

Consumer behavior is ever-changing, and marketers must constantly adapt to gain new insights and improve campaign effectiveness.

In the old days, a direct-response marketer could simply run an ad with a large 800 number and wait for the calls to roll in. But the purchase path today is far more complex and less transparent, which makes it harder to pinpoint all the touches to understand why a consumer ultimately took an action.

Given the shifting and expanding competitive arena, and an increased number of brands in the consideration set vying for profitability, marketers have attempted to use bottom-funnel-only tactics as a shortcut -- trying to close the sale and create advocates without first building sufficient awareness, education and interest. But these tactics are no longer working as they have in the past. It’s time to modify the playbook.

What’s needed is a more thoughtful, full-funnel approach: top, middle and bottom. We know that consumers in the 50+ demographic account for more than half (52%) of all consumer spending -- and this includes $32.1 billion in direct response spending (Source: GfK MRI Fall 2019 - direct response includes any purchases made by mail, phone, internet).



But whatever audience you’re targeting, if you’re looking to create stronger connections and generate more sales, here are a few ideas to consider.

Know the consumer purchase journey. Never assume that consumers have sufficient information about your product or service; more communication is always a good thing. Create your own “cycle” to explain what the product or service is through a combination of different media.

Work with your marketing partners to gather deeper, data-based insights into the consumer purchase journey, leverage any insights you may have, and integrate your campaign across the platforms and touchpoints most likely to reach your target audience to provide a holistic customer experience.

Look for complementary context. Increase your impact by placing ad units adjacent to high-affinity content in every environment. When you’re advertising in print publications, incorporate high-impact single- or multi-page units as part of your overall mix to increase awareness and build consideration and preference. Similarly, in the digital arena, choose environments that offer not only traffic volume but audience engagement; site visitors should spend 10 to 15 minutes per visit to ensure maximum exposure for your campaign.

Look for ways to add to the overall experience rather than disrupting or detracting from it. You’ll generate tremendous levels of engagement and recall, which are foundational to building response.

Go native. Consider native advertising opportunities, which are closely aligned with surrounding content and attract high levels of engagement among readers and viewers. Research from Verizon finds that 79% of consumers want ads to blend with the page – one reason why native is so effective at building positive sentiment, trust, and sales.

Consumers are 47% more likely to make a purchase recommendation and 27% more likely to make a purchase as a result of seeing native advertising than they would have been had they not seen it.  So why not give your brand this kind of an advantage?

Get more out of mobile. Consumers are more likely to use their phones to learn about you and transact online than they are to call you. According to new statistics from the Pew Research Center, more than eight out of 10 Americans go online at least daily; that’s about the same number that have made an online purchase, according to another study from Pew. And they’re often using their smartphones to do so.

Emarketer predicts that mobile commerce, or mcommerce, will represent the majority of all ecommerce spending by 2021. Even when consumers shop in a brick-and-mortar store, they are still using their phones to compare prices (61%), grab mobile app coupons (63%), and read product reviews (62%), according to Statista.

So make sure you’re using your mobile presence to build relationships, learn more about your customers, and ensure that all their needs are being met. And, whether they ultimately buy from you online, in-store, or via your call center, make sure that your brand is speaking with one voice.

Bottom Line

By maintaining the discipline of a full-funnel approach, marketers can connect more effectively with consumers at every stage of the journey, and improve response and results.

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