Post #7: Direct Marketing

What is direct marketing?  Does social media marketing count?  What about an email sent to thousands of people?  Paper mail?  Does that still exist?    Companies spend a fortune on direct marketing.  How can that rate of success be measured?

I receive many emails each day, mostly from retail stores.  Typically, I delete 50% of these based on uninteresting or irrelevant subject lines.  If the subject mentions a sale, a free gift, or a time-sensitive offer, I’m more likely to open it.  I believe that utilizing big data for targeting email campaigns breaches privacy.   However, those emails are significantly more likely to affect my purchases.

For example, I regularly receive emails from travel websites for flight deals.   I usually do not sign up for these emails.  The websites track the routes I search, and contact me about various available flights.  These travel sites , such as (LINKS*) Orbitz, Kayak, and Hotwire,  act as intermediaries between customers and airlines.  This is an email from Airfare Watchdog, which alerted me of a cheap round-trip flight to New York City.

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The subject lines of these emails can be deceiving.  This particular email states $268 for this flight.   If a customer clicks through or completes the transaction, online fees add an additional $35-$50, which puts the flight at over $300.  This psychological pricing tactic is effective because it impresses a low price into customers’ minds and creates excitement over the deal.  Sometimes, even though fees are attached later, this initial impression is enough to persuade customers’ purchases.

Travel businesses thrive off of this psychological manipulation,.  Is it wrong?  Maybe.  Does it work on me?  Absolutely.