Sometime between the creation of metered mail and the invention of the telephone, some smart and savvy advertising person came up with the concept of direct marketing. Designed to bring a company's name directly to the attention of the population, it served as an effective, yet expensive, alternative to the more traditional methods of advertising. Although the methods may have changed, direct marketing is still an important element of advertising, even as it has become far more successful and far less expensive.
In the past, direct marketing would serve to flood a specific area with a company's name, information and typically a promotional incentive to try this business. Typically, it would be a mailer that was delivered to all the residents in certain zip codes, and less frequently it would be an automated phone call to all telephone numbers with certain exchanges. While this was effective in getting a company's name out there, there were several significant drawbacks. First of all, the marketing materials went to everyone, regardless of if they were a potential customer or not. A return rate of between two and three percent - meaning three out of every one hundred people who received the materials - was considered wildly successful. Furthermore, the intrusion of unwanted mail and unexpected phone calls could create a negative image in people's mind with the new company.
Today's direct marketing, as employed by search engine optimization companies looking to give their client's a greater edge in the business world, is a far more advanced version of that. Using algorithms to sift through the millions of people online, they make sure that their information is going to people who fit a very specific profile and have demonstrated in the past a desire for this type of information. This way, the client is guaranteed that their marketing efforts are being concentrated in ways to ensure the highest rate of return. This specificity is what allows companies with a very narrowly defined focus to still be successful, by matching them up with the perfect customers and their needs.
The knowledge that computers are capable of is changing so rapidly it is impossible for any single company to stay on top of these changes and utilize them properly and still focus on the day to day running of their own business. Search engine optimization companies already rely on analyzing this new information in order to produce the materials they need for their clients. In other words, this is nothing new to them, making them the perfect business ally for a company looking to find its target audience and introduce themselves. Direct marketing has certainly come a long way, and now it is more crucial than ever for a company's success.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who focuses on small business marketing trends and the internet. http://www.teamwildflower.com