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Direct response marketing and social media have not evolved yet.

This morning as I was laying in bed deciding if I should get up. I start thinking of the strangest of things. One of them being direct response marketing, which is built on the premise that the customer is required or prompted for an immediate response. Of course it comes in many forms. “Act now”,… call this 800 number within the next…”order now and we’ll also add…”. You all get the point.

So my thoughts were, can there be a business model that ties in social media to direct marketing? I immediately went and Googled, “direct response marketing and social media”, and  the results look like this:

social-media-and-dr.jpg

Thats great, the results show 3 links with stars that point back to Emerson Direct sites. Apparently we are one of the few companies actually engaged in thinking and writing and actually trying to meld the 2 disciplines into a viable working business model that clients and companies can utilize in driving traffic, sales, and eyeballs to their products and services.

Ok so here’s the deal.  I looked at the first result on the page and the original article came from Hollis Thomases at Clicks, the article Social Media Advertising: No Direct Response Proposition asserts that because of the ROI driven impatient nature of most DR marketers, the social media marketing model does not work. A valid point given the amount of time it takes to establish and grow any social network. But is it really? Or is that just a knee jerk reaction? Given the explosive growth and the phenomenal nature of social networks, my question would be, Why wouldn’t you want to go after targeted traffic congregating in one place? Isn’t that the challenge? To find that traffic, that demographic, so that you can market to it?

Hollis states that:

The problem with reconciling direct response (DR) advertising and social media is that to most advertisers, it’s all about a mathematical equation. If the numbers don’t work, they see the campaign as a failure. This mentality just doesn’t jibe with how social media ad campaigns succeed. Social media is about nurturing. In fact, the process is really more marketing than advertising, period. So unless the DR marketer is comfortable with the “D” standing for “delayed,” channel your ad dollars elsewhere.

I can again, partially agree with that but… Here are some questions that marketers and advertisers can ask themselves:

1) Why can’t Youtube, Flickr, and any type of VOD(video on demand) be a vehicle for a DRTV type of marketing? There are already a ton of advertisers taking advantage of viral videos. What do you see in the first 10-20 seconds of a lot of the video you see? A quick spot. What about URL’s watermarked on the bottom of videos? Why or what is stopping a DR marketer from tryinig to piggyback or create a DR spot that is used only in a Youtube type format? has it been done? I’m not sure. But I’m going to venture to say yes it has. Perhaps because of the fear of a low ROI or the time it takes for some of these social media sites to evolve it has driven marketers into a position of paralysis by analysis?

Isn’t a viral video a type of DRTV? Think about it, it spread so rapidly because the RESPONSE is so instant! The same holds true for direct mail for example. Isn’t a viral email the same as direct response mail? Your response to the email is direct, immediate and viral. Your attention is captivated and you must act. And what do you do? You send it to your favorites, the people that are most like you. Targeted, immediate and impressionable.

So the question remains: Can you or do you build relationships, which is the basis of social media in favor of a direct and immediate reponse? Or is there a happy medium? The only way for DR marketers to find out is to try. Sure it’s easy to say it doesn’t work and to fall back on what you know, but why would you ignore one of the most amazing technological advances to come along since Google?

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2 Responses to “Direct response marketing and social media have not evolved yet.”


  1. 1 Ian Denny March 17, 2008 at 5:49 am

    I’m an enthusiastic amateur. And I love nothing more than instant responses to a campaign, so there’s some truth in it.

    But surely you can’t dismiss social media?

    You can create interest in topic and surely that can enrich DR copy?

    Opinion on a topic can produce a great foundation layer to any campaign. Direct response doesn’t always naturally capture opinion.

    But whatabout testimonials? DR copy is enriched when feedback is incorporated. And that quicker way to get commentary, reviews etc from real people than through social media?


  1. 1 Social Media Marketing is NOT a Direct Response Channel | 10e20 Blog Trackback on April 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm
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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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