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Traditional Marketing vs. D2C Marketing

How Is Traditional Marketing Different From Direct Response (D2C) Marketing?

Traditional Marketing

The purpose of traditional (or general) marketing is to create an "overall knowledge and general demand" for a product or service. There is no immediate transaction or response generated from a traditional marketing message. For the traditional advertiser, the transaction or sale will happen in the future (hopefully) at a retail location. The location can be a big box or traditional retailer (Best Buy, Target), a grocery or drug store (Giant or Ralph’s Supermarket, CVS Pharmacy) or a specialized dealer (Lexus, Ford dealership). Traditional marketing relies upon Frequency (the number of times the advertisement is shown or displayed) and Reach (how many people actually view or hear the advertisement).

D2C Marketing Flips Traditional Marketing On Its Head!

With D2C marketing, the sole purpose of the message or advertisement is to get a sale or inquiry now. So in a very real sense, direct response marketing is the flip side of traditional marketing. When your target customer sees (or hears) your direct response offer, they are asked to respond immediately through a Call To Action (CTA). A properly designed CTA has the sole purpose of getting an immediate response. Here’s a good example: "Call this number now to receive your own Pure Sleep device and stop snoring for good – Guaranteed! Call within the next 10 minutes and we will give you a second Pure Sleep absolutely free, but you must call now!" Direct response marketing works immediately. With additional frequency, response will actually increase but we must have the immediate response for success. To put it another way, unlike traditional marketing that changes attitudes slowly and may lead to a future sale, direct response marketing changes minds instantly for an immediate sale or inquiry. We must get the customer to respond impulsively – thus the name: Direct Response Marketing!

Traditional Marketing:

  • Sells a product or service in the future.
  • Creates brand awareness and desire.
  • Changes or instructs future buying behavior.
  • Is emotional and broad: "The New Ford Mustang makes you feel young again."
  • A message primarily based on image and feeling.
  • Creates potential awareness.
  • Has very little or no idea what advertising is working, how effective the message is or if it’s financial sound to keep buying media. "I know that half of my marketing is working, I just don’t know what half!"

D2C Marketing:

  • Sells a product or service now.
  • Creates immediate revenue.
  • Models existing behavior and turns it into a sale.
  • Is specific and factual: "This Auri® Car Wax offer is only available through this special TV offer – so you must call or click now!"
  • Highly functional message with an immediate impulse response as its end goal.
  • Creates immediate customers and cash flow.
  • Knows to the exact dollar which message, offer and advertisements are working and which ones are not.
  • Knows exactly and on a daily basis what media to keep buying and what to drop.

Success With Direct Marketing Relies Upon Many Factors But The Most Important Are:

Offer: Is this a product or service with enough benefits for the target customer to spend his or her hard-earned money? The offer must convey enough tangible and intangible benefits to make the customer place an order. The consumer is constantly asking the questions, "What’s in it for me if I order this product? Will this product truly make my life better?" The successful D2C offer will always persuade the consumer toward an immediate sale.

Price: Directly related to product benefits is the product’s price. Are the benefits perceived worth the price paid? Can your target customer find a similar product at a better price from another source? The target consumer runs a continuous test in his mind to determine if the product’s benefits equal or outweigh price. Your message must pass this test or the campaign will fail.

Positioning: The product must be properly positioned both in relation to competitive products and in the target consumer’s mind. Is this the first product of its kind available? If not, is the product and offer convincingly better than anything available on the internet or at the local retailer? Likewise, the offer must speak directly to the target consumer. It must be clearly stated and demonstrate the actual benefits of owning the product.

So in summary, the most important difference between Traditional Marketing and Direct Response Marketing is that an affirmative nod by the consumer just won’t cut it in direct response. The target consumer must respond NOW or the marketing effort is a waste.

Don’t rely on just any agency for your great D2C product.