Direct Marketing – Black Sheep of The Market Communication

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Especially in the world of glamorous and fancy advertising that fall into the other category “ATL”, Above the line – above the line, above the limit, above all somehow it always sounded noble, royal! Besides, that line is divided into make-up artists and invented- probably so they themselves look even bigger and better.

So, I entered this sluggish world of advertising through the back door of direct marketing excuse my language, from behind. And when you enter the world advertising the product with the slogan is “It looks a bit silly but my back is no longer painful”, then people look at you with a bit of contempt and unwelcoming.

I guess that is why in the next twenty years I always apologized when people asked me what I was doing and what my job was.

But, the time and circumstances are changing and now we see that glossy and glittering advertising house is shabby, the facade is damaged, so that bricks become visible, the wind blows through the front door, and the back door, are sealed a long time ago. It looks like no one could fix it properly, except someone, here and there, patch a hole, so the water does not leak completely.

All that is the consequence of tectonics technological and social changes through which we pass and which change the world around us. All those assumptions on which the market was based, were transformed radically into its opposite:

  • Today, there are more products on the market than we have needs for. Due to practically unlimited offer, the functionality and characteristics of the products itself are not crucial for making decisions about shopping; today, the service that follows the product plays the crucial rule. More precisely – the product is in the function of the service which is being sold. PRODUCT is not important. SERVICE is what matters.
  • And thit is why consumers get more and more products for free! Because the PRICE of the product is no longer important – only the COST is counted…
  • When everyone offers everything, and everything is always offered, the PLACE of sale is everywhere. So, CONVENIENCE is what guides the customer when deciding where to buy something.
  • When the number of the channels for the market communication was limited, the PROMOTION was crucial for the customer to receive information about products. Today, this information and channels are so numerous that only murmur is left in which nothing can be seen or heard anymore. Some people do not understand that they should stop yelling, and start talking. That is how the BUYER can hear you.

Let’s add to this the changes in the media’s scene. Regardless of the fact that the development of the new information technology enabled launching thousands of new TV channels, the creation of new media and new media platforms led to the disappearance of traditional media. But at the same time, it allowed the creation of the new media: Now,  I AM television, YOU ARE  newspapers, SHE is a radio, HE IS  a billboard. Person – individual became a media that produces and broadcasts the program. By becoming creators of media content, and stopped being only customers, they connect themselves and start communicating with each other, they gather and form some new communities.

Agencies, advertisers, traditional media and house ratings would still somehow define these new group as “target groups” and give them fancy names, but it doesn’t work anymore,  as the final “power transfer” from the seller to consumer where His Majesty Consumer decides where, when, how and for what price he would buy something. And before that, he will be informed of this from someone like him, and then he will share his own experience about the product he has purchased. Thus, people connect to a kind of tribes within which they talk, exchange information and experiences and inform all those who are willing to hear.

It was this “tribalisation” of both the market and media that formerly “direct marketing” gave new meaning. All that because direct marketing was despised and laughed at – testimony of satisfied consumer, direct communication with the buyer over via phone, direct mail, calls to customer to offer a complementary product to person that already had purchased it, vouchers with  a birthday discount, a gift for shopping and the legendary “but that is not all”- is now back. The form has changed and modernized, and that is understanding the customer and having knowledge and experience on how to communicate with him “one-on-one”, became what is being sought.

Of course, at the moment I started this business more than twenty years ago, I had no idea about it, nor did I entered in knowing what would change in the world and I was following my genius vision. I started doing direct marketing, as Ivan Stanković said in his genius book “Fundamentals of How-to-do-ology” („Osnovi kakodalogije“,) under great pressure and necessity. But, this is another story… The one that I want to talk about is a biography of one company that, has become the leading multinational company for the TV sales in Europe by selling marginal products through marginal sales channels on marginal markets. And that was possible because the company was born and grew at the times of these major changes and was able to adapt quickly.

If the future of marketing is direct communication between customer and consumer, then the market is a conversation, and market communication is a dialogue. Then something can be learned from this story and then it makes sense.

Source: Media Marketing

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