Direct Marketing Industry Taboos – Know Your Dos and Don’t

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Do’s and Don’ts of Direct Marketing activities directly (no pun intended) impact on the campaign success. The list below is by no mean exhaustive but will provide the serious marketers with an interesting overview.

Telemarketing – Do-Not-Call-List

The unpopularity of cold call telemarketing, also known as untargeted, unsolicited (“without-permission”) cold calling, has caused the US industry authorities to take action in attempt to curb the rampant abuse of privacy.

They created “National Do-Not-Call-Lists”, which at inception in 2003 has generated 62million opt-ins. It imposes heavy fines on telemarketers for violations. Canada and New Zealand have continued with the tradition on the quest for “Do Not Call” Lists.

Email Marketing – Permission Marketing

Similar to direct mailing and telemarketing, the industry has seen great discontent with the abusive, indiscriminate mass marketing e-mailers called spam. E-mail spam, also known as unsolicited bulk email (UBE) or unsolicited commercial email (UCE) has grown exponentially to some 80 to 85% of all the email in the world. Essentially, this means that about 80 – 85% of all emails are junk mail/ email or “noise” and only about 15 – 20% are legitimate.

With junk email figures climbing, pressure to make e-mail spam illegal has been successful in some jurisdictions, but less so in others.

Most of the more legit marketing fraternity has since adopted an approach called “Permission Marketing”, which allows the respondents to click on the unsubscribe link to “de-list”.

Spamming – Avoid At All Costs!!

The issue of unethical spamming takes on many forms which modern marketers need to know and be wary of infringing. These are namely email spam, instant messaging and chat room spam, forum spam, mobile phone spam, online game messaging spam, spam targeting search engines (spam-dexing), blog, wiki and guestbook spam, spam targeting video sharing sites.

There is also the non-commercial spam by evangelists trying to propagate their own causes; and of course, not to forget the more traditional broadcast-fax spams.

Many spammers tend to choose to overlook the far-reaching adverse consequences of their actions.

In exchange for a handful of responses, spammers are unwittingly sacrificing their marketing ethics, brand image, industry reputation and the most significant of all, sacrificing their potential customers. Once branded as spammers, customers will avoid them at all cost. And the customer is lost forever.

A word of caution here is for you to weigh the consequences before you even attempt to spam. Avoid spamming databases at all costs.

Direct Response Infomercial – Window Period for Do-No-Call restrictions

Almost every one of the TV-response marketing or infomercials include hotline numbers for potential customers to call in and some even include email addresses to write in as well.

Yet an important point to note is that under the US Federal Do-Not-Call List rules, should the caller purchase a product, you the marketer IS EXEMPT from Do-No-Call restrictions over a period of time as a business relationship has been established. You are then free to conduct cross-selling and up-selling activities to the customer.

Postal Direct Mailing – Bulk Discount if You follow the rules

You will enjoy bulk discounts charged at special rates based on the mail volume you commit with the postal services. However, you will be required to adhere to certain pre-set format guidelines. Countries which provide such discounts are the US and UK and other developed countries in Asia.

Given many industry dos and don’ts, you should note never to abuse direct marketing “rules”. Always remember that direct marketing messages when sent rampantly and indiscriminately, only serve to put off consumers.

Consumers often dismiss junk mail as noise and your message & effort would surely be lost in the trash bin should you attempt this route.

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