The Perfect Couple: Content Marketing and Direct Marketing

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Direct Marketing (aka Direct Response Marketing, aka DM) and Content Marketing are often seen as two very different aspects of marketing. But in fact, as Wayne Hendry (@ideakid88) so aptly tweeted: They are two sides of the same coin.

Earlier this week I was honored to be the ‘guest tweeter’ at Content Marketing Institute’s content marketing Twitter chat. The topic was how Content and Direct can (and should!) work together.

I have pulled together some of the conversation here.  Great insight and learnings and hopefully you’ll learn something that will help you in your marketing plans. This was a lively group of intelligent marketers!


The first question help define what direct marketing actually is along with why content marketers should care: Direct Marketing (aka direct response marketing) refers to marketing efforts aimed directly at a consumer to drive a specific action. It’s all about finding out what resonates with your audience so that they’ll respond.

Mike Myers ‏@mikemyers614 added: Direct marketing and content marketing are perfect compliments…getting a targeted #audience to do something specific in both.

Next question was about using DM to inform your content.

Angela J. Ford ‏@aford21 uses customer responses to direct her marketing, and turns questions she hears into blog posts with step by step solutions.

And Marcel Digital ‏@marceldigital adds (over  two tweets):

Direct marketing and direct engagement give you SO many content ideas – it’s straight from your clients! What are user questions? Issues? Ideas? How can you take that information and provide REAL value? CONTENT!

The real key here is seeing what your audience responds to in DM and using that to inform your content. From Lars Helgeson ‏@larshelgeson:  A great way to develop content is by seeing what resonates with your audience. What do they respond to? Write that.

Remember that one method of communication with your audience can inform all your communications. Listen to your audience when they talk to you!

Rosaline Raj ‏@creativechaosc: When you have direct feedback from customers, you have a major advantage in creating valuable content.

Crowd Content ‏@CrowdContent added:  If you’re successfully executing direct response mrkting, content should be built around what your audience responds to.


Thanks EELECTRIK marketing‏. @eelectriklady for this oldie!

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A couple of quotable tweets:

From Varun Kumar ‏@varunkr842  – Direct #Marketing is the gas station for your #contentmarketing vehicle #CMWorld

And from Liliana GH ‏@Liliholl –  DM warms up your leads and content marketing helps them to convert.


And from Blue Fountain Media ‏@BFMweb – With direct marketing you’re saying check this out and with content marketing you’re saying here’s why #cmworld

Liliana GH @Liliholl reminded us: You want your DM to have the customer asking for more.

Q4 asked how your content marketing can help drive DM tests. There are many answers but consider what content is read most. Test those themes in a mailer, DRTV or space ad. And if some of your content creates social media buzz, use that in your DM to engage your audience.

Tons of brands use content marketing well in their direct marketing. Everyone knows ShamWow, Nautilus and infomercial experts, but also look at Apple, Nissan, Discover Cards, and Dove.

Regarding how social and community management can support DM programs, think about how you can use your social posts to reinforce messages from your DM. If DM is touting a product benefit, soc. posts can talk about the same.

Social and community are all about listening and responding to customers:

Simply put by Lars Helgeson ‏@larshelgeson:  I think they go hand-in-hand. Your strategy should be integrated for better reach and exposure.

Lynn Suderman ‏@LynnSuderman also reminded the group that “affiliate & refer friend programs are an easy 1st step.”

Jeremy Bednarski ‏@JeremyBednarski  “Your content, DM and social should all work together for a consistent message.”

Marcel Digital ‏@marceldigital “It gives you the language for copy that your audience is using to understand the need for your service / product.

SurveyGizmo ‏@SurveyGizmo  “If you know what your audience is talking about, you can better respond, and put yourself in the position to be of relevance.”

Importantly too, social and communities can ID hot buttons. If you hear ‘they use cheap materials,’ test a message around quality in your DM.

As always, keeping a tab on your competition is so important and social/community can help you do that, while giving you great ideas for your DM (or content).

The Gary J. Nix ® ‏@Mr_McFly  “When listening, you’re not only listening for brand mentions. You have competitors, industry thoughts/changes, sentiment, etc”

Vanessa LeBeau ‏@VanessaLeBeau2  “Social media is a great way to learn what your competitors are offering and how their consumers are responding”








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