Direct Marketing Trends 2019

The No.1 question I get asked is this, ‘Alan, why is my marketing not working and can you fix it?”

2018 saw the reasons for failing marketing, strategies and tactics became more obvious than ever before. Research reveals some shocking facts that most marketers are still ignoring or simply don’t know about (and that’s a real problem).

Let’s have a good look at this.

Business has to be a success at some level otherwise it isn’t a business. That also applies to your marketing results.

We all want customers and as many customers as we can get a hold of. For years I have been talking about marketing as we know it being dead but again, I mean marketing as most people know it.

The big problem for you as a business has with marketing is that marketing men like to change everything when things sometimes just don’t need to be changed. They also love fads, doing new things and the glitz and glitter of what looks good rather than what delivers real results.

What is a result?

Surely a result is a profit and surely the results is a substantial return on your investment? Here is why your marketing isn’t working in 2018 and probably before.

First, the reality of today’s marketing.

I’m a huge fan of detailed research. It helps me to keep my finger on the pulse of consumer trends and how consumers are reacting.

Despite what you are being told to do from the majority of marketing men the facts reveal otherwise (also see the previous blog with numbers that are eye-opening).

Most marketers offer an out of the drawer approach to marketing your business - That is bad practice!

For example, over 54% of online consumers want video and in one report I read it was far higher. The problem with video is it is a throwaway once only watch. This really means video should be constant creation. Yet constant creation is more in the form of blog posts yet research shows u that only 18% want blog posts. Emails are still high but only if done properly. Images and imagery are climbing (I spoke about this in 2005).

And now SEO has gone and gone through a fast-changing revolution. Amazon is now just under Google for search. Also, Google snippets are killing links back to websites. Google are smart, they want you to stay on the Google page. They now offer snippets. Are snippets the only way forward? No because if you do a search right now it will also offer video snippets. Now we could optimise for video but this is also a problem because some research also revealed that after around one hour the video that came out on top was now shown as no longer relevant in most cases.

And of course, content marketing? Does it work? How should it be created? Well, reread the above because if you don’t have a strategy apart from the recommended routes to get traffic into your website it looks like the big boys Google and Facebook and Amazon are doing everything they can to stop consumers clicking through into your website. And of course, … content on social media for your business. This is a whole new story of course because despite the fact mass content is being consumed just because you put hordes of content onto your social media the chances of it being read by anyone are incredibly slim for most regular business.

This is another huge problem when so many self-named digital marketers are still pushing SEO and social content when the reality is most consumers (over 80% according to some research) do not trust any form of advertising via social media. In fact around the same number of consumers don’t trust adverts and rate marketing men just one point above politicians.

And look at this … Trust in business has as good as been shattered with over 71% no longer trusting what you put out there. Consumers now head to review websites to see if you can be dealt with.

This is creating a battlefield for marketers to get through. The acquisition has gone through the roof and has risen over 50% per acquisition cost. That is a huge leap for small businesses.

If we get our customers attention did you realise that research has revealed that getting a response is now 40% more difficult than just 3-years ago? Speaking to the deal maker or decision maker has 31% tougher.

And database marketing? With GDPR and new BREXIT rules that will be as good as impossible for the average marketer.

Now ask again, “why is my marketing not working?”

Here is the real reason.

Something very simple has been turned into something very complex. Marketing is a tool just like your van is a tool, your desk is a tool and all the other surrounding issues are tools for your business. Marketing is simply part of the toolkit and should be treated accordingly.

The problem most companies appear to have is they have accepted the mantra of marketing being a science only to be handled by marketing men yet your reality can be so very different.

2019 is an opportunity for you to break away from your crowded marketplace by doing things you may never have done before. This might be a simplification and stripping back on what you are doing to focusing on what actually works for your business (not everything is working right now).

For example, if your consumer wants to know where to go and what to do but they research, then look for reviews but the big one is this – over 60% ask others for an opinion?

This means the greatest source for building your business right now is … your customers. You have to satisfy your customers and get them to send you more customers or at least get them to create an incredible review for you for others to see.

This will tie into part two of this short report because as you will see in this the highly underused Direct Response marketing and direct mail or marketing on paper has to make a huge comeback. After will out of all of those asked 18% will read print with under just 1% reading online content.

Let's not forget … your customers are more impatient than ever. If you keep them waiting for 10-minutes or more for a reply they simply go somewhere else. Good service is no longer good enough. This has become an experience more than service. This is the critical point for you to check your customer experience is exactly as it should be.

This is all fascinating stuff yet it is the stuff you need to know to drive forward more success in your business.

Let me share a recent experience with you.

This was a hotel in Glasgow. The hotel is called Citizen M.

I will say I have never been to a hotel as good and I have been through a lot of hotels. The basis of the hotel is home from home. The lounge area is like sitting in your lounge (with strangers but feels as close to home as you will believe. The décor and attention to detail that makes it feel like home is just amazing. In the room itself, it is stripped right back so you are forced you use the downstairs but … You have free access to everything on show including what is in the little bar. No wife password, no pay to watch movies, it is just perfect.

And the restaurant (that is a big home kitchen) and business areas (which is your front room at home) were just so well thought it was truly brilliant. A overall experience for sure that was so well thought out from the beds to the staff, to service and more. And you know how when you walk into a hotel that waits at the reception to be serviced can take forever. You simply walk up to a bank of ipads and check yourself in. They took every issue, every complaint and every everything I don’t like about hotels and completely eradicated it. Definitely a hotel for the 21st century. Strangely enough, they didn’t use direct mail to stay connected to me beyond the experience. This was a mistake because if they had asked me to send them ten people I would have done it in a shot. Brilliant all the same just a stroke of marketing genius.

I will predict and have predicted for years that Marketing 2019 will have to go through a revolution where DIRECT RESPONSE MARKETING will be accepted into the mainstream and …

  • Direct mail will make a huge comeback but not the way most do direct mail (there is a secret and it is pretty incredible when the results pour in)

  • Smart use of online branding tools will get bigger and bigger and bigger. This will have to be supported with strong traditional branded colours, logos and imagery that gives you one-second mind identification.

  • PR will make a huge comeback for small brands and companies.

  • Also, the attraction factor will be huge

  • Artisan marketing will get bigger and bolder

  • A conversational voice and approach will be critical

  • Multi-outlet selling (regardless of what you sell) will be essential

  • Trust and review currency will be more relevant than ever.

  • The rebirth of alliance marketing at a guerrilla scale will be essential for growth

  • A voice and appearance of distinctiveness will have to be exaggerated for the overstimulated yes and minds online

  • A well planned referral program will be critical to your future

  • Simplification supported by detailed planning

It isn’t all bad marketing news.

It is a good thing to ask why is my marketing not working but also a good thing to find out so you can take decisive action.

I feel this BREXIT and other global changes this presents you with a huge opportunity to break away from the pack and take the lead.

But you need to get smart now - later will be too late for some.

You must take a different approach and much simpler approach.

0ver 80% of the public don’t trust marketing men – why should you?

This is a sign that a new approach to your approach to business results are needed.

Will you heed this warning and make those changes to your marketing approach?

Yours in change.

Alan Forrest Smith

223.7% Turnover Increase in Just 23-days Says I CAN HELP YOU.


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Direct Response Thinker, Creative and Advisor Alan Forrest Smith has been helping business just like yours to get incredible results since 1999.

*Research taken from Marketing Week online magazine & Hub Spot Research White Papers