Direct Marketing in Action
How does this work in practice? If you’ve ever paid off an auto loan, you may have noticed a torrent of mail offers from car dealerships right around the five-year mark. They know, from your credit history, that you’re nearly done paying off your car and you’ve had the vehicle for several years, so you might be interested in trading up for a newer model. Based on your geography and any voter registration information, you may be targeted during election season to participate via telephone in political polls and to receive “robocalls” from candidates and parties stomping for your vote.
Moving into the digital world, virtually any time you share an email address with an organization, it becomes part of a database to be used for future marketing. Although most organizations that engage in email marketing give the option of opting out, once you become a customer, it is easy for companies to justify continuing to contact you via email or text as part of the customer relationship you’ve established. As you continue to engage with the company, your behavior and any other information you share becomes part of the database record the company uses to segment and target you with offers it thinks will interest you.
Similarly, marketers use SMS (text) for marketing purposes, and direct marketing activity takes place in mobile apps, games, and Web sites. All of these tools use the data-rich mobile environment to capture information about consumers and turn it into productive marketing opportunities. QR codes, another direct-to-consumer mobile marketing tool, enable consumers to scan an image with a mobile phone that takes them to a Web site where they receive special information or offers.