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Digital Direct Marketing: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

If you want to reach today's savvy consumers, it's all in the palm of their hand. In this lesson, we'll discuss digital direct marketing and how it can be used to send targeted messages almost instantaneously.

Starbucks Gets Direct

It's no surprise that Starbucks is a frequent example of what to do right in marketing. That extends even into the digital arena, where their website's landing page has information about how to download their smartphone app, tips for signing up for their mobile rewards program, and a quick link for signing up for their email newsletter.

Once you're enrolled in all of Starbucks' communications channels, you also reap the benefits: news and information about new and upcoming products, special sales, discounts at their online store, rewards stars, and more.

How does Starbucks manage to stay at the top of its marketing game, reaching people with useful content wherever they are? A little marketing trick known as digital direct marketing.

What is Digital Direct Marketing?

Digital direct marketing is the new-fangled sibling of the traditional direct marketing you might remember from days-gone-by: when postcards, letters, and advertisements would show up at your postal address and you'd sort through them, reading some and likely tossing many more in the trash.

Just like it sounds, digital direct marketing combines the best of two worlds - direct marketing that delivers your messaging to your audience and a digital platform, so there's no postcard for a customer to address, stamp, and mail. Everything is done in the digital space; typically, this includes the mediums of email, web, and mobile. It takes addressibility (i.e. having some type of address where you receive things) and turns it into digital tactics.

Digital direct marketing is a favorite of marketers everywhere for a few reasons:

  • It's cheaper to produce and send or display - no printing or postage costs.
  • It reaches your audience instantaneously.
  • Its performance is trackable with metrics, so you can tell who clicked, opened, and viewed it.
  • It is easily customized with a recipient's personal information and preferences.
  • It is permission-based, which means customers have opted-in to receive your messages.
  • It can be segmented to reach only certain audiences with certain marketing.

So, where can you expect to see these digital direct marketing pieces? Let's take a look at a few different options.

Types of Digital Direct Marketing

Digital direct marketing is a much newer field than traditional marketing, but still includes numerous options for marketers trying to diversify their strategy.

1. Emails: Regardless of whether it's delivering newsletters, sales bulletins, coupons, or other information to a consumer's inbox, email can be an effective way to target consumers with the right messaging. For example, if you own a pet store and are having a sale on cat products, you can target only cat lovers and owners with your emails. Then, you can easily measure your results by tracking metrics such as open rate (how many subscribers actually opened your email) and engagement.

2. Mobile applications: Mobile apps give marketers a quick way to reach consumers, especially since push notifications can draw a customer's attention within seconds. Push notifications alert you to new content in your apps. Consider designing your own mobile app, offering customers a reward for downloading it, and using it to push information and special offers. Since we spend a lot of a day's time on our mobile devices, mobile direct marketing presents lots of opportunities for you to get to know your customer and for them to get to know you.

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