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How do businesses benefit from direct marketing?

While there are no doubt some out there in the business community with an aversion to direct marketing, wary of its ability to attract real customers in this high-tech era, there is still plenty of evidence that it works. Numerous studies have shown that when you attempt to engage directly with them - be it in person, over the phone, through the mail or online - it does indeed have a real impact.

That impact might not happen directly and overnight. It may not be so simple as emailing a person, asking them to buy and then receiving an order in the mail that same day. But what direct marketing can do is help companies build up name-brand recognition over the long haul, thus earning a greater level of trust and - perhaps eventually - more sales.

According to Business 2 Community, direct marketing most definitely still works. Julie Knight, one of the founding directors of direct marketing firm Marketscan, currently works in the United Kingdom market, where she estimates that 48 percent of consumers have responded at least once to direct marketing in the last year.

"Whether postal-, phone- or email-based, the power of direct marketing has been proven time and again," Knight noted. "And you don't need to be a marketing expert to harness its potential for your company."

Over the long haul, direct marketing has plenty of other effects beyond just making more sales. Here are three other ways that these strategies can impact your business in a positive way:

Better understanding customers
Companies need as much information as possible about their existing clients, and direct marketing can help in this regard. When people engage and respond, they're likely to share info about themselves, which can help with data enrichment as businesses try to paint a more complete picture of each customer.

Finding new sources of leads
Companies are always looking for new people who might eventually turn into customers someday, and direct mailings can help with this. That person who reads your marketing message today might not become a paying customer right away, but who knows what potential they have down the line?

Shaping future marketing campaigns
You can also use your current direct marketing campaigns to probe for information about what will work well with the next one. Is there a certain high-tech platform that consumers enjoy using? Is there a certain type of message that they respond to best? As you get deeper into direct marketing, you can discover all of these answers and more.