Should you market your great new product or service via retailers or sell direct to the consumer? That’s a question that gets asked every time an entrepreneur considers how to bring their product or service to market.
On one hand, having a retailer sell your product is easy or easier in that you make the product or deliver the service and the retailer (or in some cases the distributor) is there at the point of sale to the customer. No individual orders to fill, less inventory headaches. But the retailers take a hefty cut of your profit in providing that service.
On the other hand, direct sales puts you in control of the customer relationship in every way. From customer acquisition, delivery of product/service, to customer satisfaction and a future customer relationship. Direct selling also includes (but is not limited to) multi-level marketing companies such as Amway, Young Living, and Herbalife to name three.
I have often found that people really do not understand that direct sales – (i.e. selling directly to consumers or corporations organizations or institutions with no retailer involved), is an overall “strategy”, whereas direct response as a practice employs specific strategies and tactics such as claims, offers, guarantees etc. to generate customer response and sales.
You can use direct sales without using direct response strategies and tactics. Let’s say you have your product up on Amazon.com. A potential customer finds your product, purchases it, and you ship it (or have it shipped FBA – Fulfillment by Amazon) to the customer.
How did the customer find you? Good question! That’s where the marketing comes in. Of course you don’t have to market the product or service. You can put up a website with some nice photos or your great product, a cool story, have your own Amazon store page, and wait for the customers to find you. Good luck with that.
When coming up with the idea for this great product or service, there were clear reasons for doing so. There had to be distinct advantages or innovations that made your idea viable and potentially desirable. This is precisely where many entrepreneurs fall down. Here are six examples how and there are many more:
- The company does not find ways to talk about the POD’s (points of differentiation), or promote the benefits to the consumer or corporation.
- There aren’t product or service claims (the only, largest, fastest, most elegant etc.) that help explain the value proposition to the prospect so they can make a more informed (and better) decision.
- There’s no offer or guarantee of customer satisfaction, (and yes I understand that REFUND is a four letter word to many companies).
- There’s no-follow up strategy for unconverted leads.
- There’s no effort to increase the size of the customer purchase and CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value).
- There’s no re-engagement strategy for lapsed customers.
Smart direct response marketers know that the days of YELL and SELL (think Billy Mays and I wrote about that almost seven years ago) are over. That does not mean that creating your brand and positioning your product/service for direct sales should ignore direct response marketing strategies and tactics.
And contrary to popular belief, your direct response marketing does not have to be cheesy. The techniques noted have been successful and will be successful because they acknowledge the way people behave and process ideas.
In creating your new product or service you’ve done the most amazing thing – coming up with it in the first place. A direct sales model can be the right approach for many brands. Using direct response marketing strategies and tactics is essential to helping you achieve the goal of having a successful business.