Welcome back! In this Part 2 of our interview with Rich Schefren, internet marketing pioneer and “guru to the gurus”, we uncover what the future of direct response marketing holds. His insight on the subject is both understandable and surprising. Use this information to your advantage to prepare a future-proof business model that can capture the eyes and wallets of every target consumer.
In the first part of this series, we talked about the foundations of a successful business. To sum up, you need the right motivation to keep your own business moving forward, you need a team people motivated to perform their task, and you need to motivate your customers with an irresistible call-to-action (CTA). Motivation isn’t everything, though. You also need to believe in your product before you start selling it.
With all that out of the way, let’s get into what the future of direct response marketing holds.
Direct Response Marketing and eCommerce’s Future Are in AI
That might not be all too surprising. Artificial Intelligence is being used in nearly every industry, becoming more accessible with each passing month. Even now, e-commerce uses AI in a wide variety of ways, especially for marketing campaigns. The catch is that most businesses using it are enterprise-level, not small businesses or entrepreneurs or startups.
AI only works if there’s data to feed it where it can learn. What’s the best data? Yours, of course. If whatever platform you’re using can consume the data you feed it and provide next-steps or methods for increasing revenue, then you need to be using it. Learning your behavior, the behavior of your existing customers, and the behavior of your potential customers, an AI can give you profound insight into how to keep those customers hooked with insanely good lead generation tools.
Landing pages, direct mail, email marketing campaigns, and online advertising are much easier to create today. The source codes and AI that power all of them can already help you reach a specific audience, a target market, and raise brand awareness to entirely new levels. Your CRM will be filmed with phone numbers, email addresses, and other customer contact information. Use this to your advantage and submit some form of marketing, of brand advertising, every chance you get so customers can take immediate action. Use direct response marketing to create incentives likes giveaways to increase your conversion rate. You already have a piece of the future in your hands. Use that AI to improve your marketing techniques and create a sense of urgency that’s trackable, traceable, and gives you a return on investment you can barely fathom.
That also applies for previous data—data from years ago. Good data isn’t only what you have right now or yesterday or last month. You should keep years of data for your business. That will help you see overall trends. Spikes, dips, plateaus, and flatlines from the past will help you sell better in the future.
Again, this is based on your data. However, AI also works incredibly well when using another company’s data. But that is meant more for seeing global trends, competitor analytics, and applying what works (or doesn’t work) with another company to your own. You need both types of data and you need to start collecting it today.
Big Tech Is Not A Friend for the Future of Direct Response Advertising
That’s a bold statement, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, are not your friends. They’re your competition.
The problem you, as a business owner, have with big tech is that they make complex data accessible. Google Ads and Facebook Ads make creating and analyzing your marketing efforts a cinch. Being too reliant on these companies can hurt you in the long run if you allow only that company to take care of your data and visibility. Visibility meaning reachability, discoverability, SEO. You need their platforms, their products, to utilize the measurable results that are produced towards a better, more targeted marketing strategy. But don’t let your guard down––these digital marketing channels are not always your friend.
These big tech companies will only grow larger, which also means your competition will grow larger. And that’s part of your solution to this problem: start viewing them as your competition. Use the tools they offer to promote your business and reach your target audience but be aware of what these big tech organizations are offering so you can compete.
Customer Attention Is Scarce
Consumer attention spans are dwindling. Even today, browsing Tik Tok or Instagram gives us the ability to switch to new sensory inputs with a swipe of the finger. That will certainly expand in the future with new services releasing, existing social media platforms improving, and attention spans growing shorter.
What’ll you do about it? Stay on top of new, even lesser-known, platforms to utilize. If you can sell your product somewhere, then you should put at least minimal effort into building a presence. There will always be a new platform to utilize, and you might miss your golden ticket if you wait too long or don’t take the risk.
For today’s world, it’s actually better to reveal part of the meat of your product at the very beginning of your promotion. Let’s say you have a YouTube video for the “Top 5 Ways to Grab Your Customer’s Attention”. Instead of doing the standard intro where you tease what will be revealed within the video, you start the clip by saying “The first way to grab your customer’s attention is…”. After the bit of info, you do the introduction and continue like normal.
This type of marketing strategy works because viewer attention is hard to grab. It elicits an immediate response, being to consume that content right now as if it’s only available for a limited time. Maybe the consumer is interested but doesn’t want to view your video right now, or your thumbnail comes up while they’re watching something else. You need to give away a piece of info that’s valuable to grab their eyes and ears, reel them in, and keep them there for as long as possible. This opportunity is fleeting.
Become a Customer’s Partner, not Provider
Consumers generally want to put less and less effort into something. If you can take away some of the pain points usually handled by the consumer and handle them yourself, instead, then you’ll get customers for life. This is also going to be the future of e-commerce and direct response marketing.
This doesn’t need to be confused with a concierge service or a live-in personal assistant. Here are a few direct response marketing examples of businesses who act as partners to paint a clearer picture:
- Netflix reinvented the way we consume media at home. Cable TV existed, Blockbuster existed, most homes had catalogs of VHS tapes and DVDs to pop in at any moment. But Netflix took away the need to browse through an entire library that may or may not be organized. High-quality streaming movies at home with just a few clicks? Everyone loved it. And even better, Netflix learns what each profile likes: genres, actors, movies, series—anything. And with that data, they curate what you see. No homepage is the same because it’s catered to you, the viewer.
- Todoist, the list-making app, gives you the right list for exactly where you are. Let’s say you made a grocery list. The app can bring up that exact list in the form of a notification on your phone’s lock screen when it knows you’re at the store by using location services. Other list apps do this, including built-in reminder apps on iOS and Android. Taking away the need to unlock your phone, find the app, and then find the list was all taken away. Now, you simply tap on the notification and all the information you need comes up instantly.
- Smart coffee makers learn the style of coffee you like and the time of day you want to drink it. This one device can make coffee as strong or light, with milk foam or black, and at 7am or 2pm. You no longer have to think about groggily going through the cabinets when you get out of bed to make a cup of coffee. This machine now does all the work for you.
These are examples of what we have today. Imagine what we’ll have in 10 years! How automated and consumer-centric every aspect of life will be. Take this into account for our own business, innovate, and provide a glimpse of the future for your customers today. You are your customers’ partner throughout the lifetime of their product use.
Privacy—Where’d It Go?
Privacy is a big concern these days with people paranoid that big tech is following them to the bathroom and blackmailing them with their own content they once thought was safely stored only for their eyes. It’s a real concern, and a valid one. Why would anyone want a business following their every move and taking every chance they get to sell you something?
This also leads into the idea of overconsumption. With your data being everywhere and always up-to-date, online businesses can sell you exactly what you want 24/7. Everything is targeted directly to you all the time. There’s no more hit-or-miss billboards grabbing consumer attention on the highway, or hour-long infomercials. Now it’s in podcasts, web ads, pop-ups, and phone notifications that have specific offers. It’s amazing and terrifying, and you better hop on board as a business if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. These strategies work because they have a clear CTA, a clear call that took a user’s private data and transformed it into a product they absolutely want.
To be fair, it’s safer to say that privacy concerns will change, the data that’s collected will change, and people will lower their idea of personal boundaries. Data collected about you is slowly becoming anonymized, with ties to your device or network rather than you as a human-being. The future of direct response ads will continue to utilize these methods, whether it violates a person’s privacy or not. With more of it happening, the more accustomed to it the population will become.
Slowly but surely, every consumer is being conditioned to trust big tech and businesses. And for the most part, most businesses can be trusted. You don’t want all of the nitty gritty details of a person’s life. Instead, you want information that can help you sell your product better. That’ll only grow more powerful and useful in the future.
Is your direct response marketing business ready for the future?
Now’s the time to start prepping, reorganizing, and collecting. And standing beside you, as your partner, DirectPayNet offers merchant accounts for all business types so you can accept payments from those newly hooked customers.