The Direct Marketing Cycle

To maximize the return from direct marketing, all aspects of the marketing cycle should be applied. Is your telemarketing followed-up by post and email? And do your emails link with social media support? For efficiency, data driven marketing initiatives should be managed from a single master database.


The Master Database

There are two elements to the master database. The first are the existing records you have on file. These require cleansing, updating, de-duplicating, sense-checking (are they good prospects?) and gap-filling with absent b2b data fields such as contact names, telephone numbers and email addresses. This file can then be profiled to identify new business prospects which may be added to the database. Some companies prefer (or need) to start this process with a new database only.

After each update cycle (updates will become apparent from each initiative listed below), some prospects will be flagged as requiring no further action, whilst others will be set for future initiatives based on their previous response.

The master database should be populated with a drip feed of new business data prospects on a monthly basis, so as to maintain the continuous direct marketing machine. The volume of monthly data list additions need not be large; just sufficient to maintain the level of desired ongoing marketing.


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Telephone Marketing

Telephone marketing remains a fundamental element of the direct marketing cycle because it is the best way of engaging with prospects. There are three primary outcomes;

1.      No Future Action

Call results include decision makers declaring no possible future interest, and dead numbers.

These records should be flagged accordingly on the master database. The purpose of keeping them on file is to ensure they do not re-appear as new prospects from other marketing channels in future. For example; because all new additions to the master database will undergo a duplication / matching process, those matching a “no possible future interest” existing record will effectively not be added. You don’t need them.

2.      Possible Future Interest

Call results include the decision maker expressing a potential future interest, or the decision maker not being reached.

Where the decision maker has not been spoken with, a dated call back should be set and the record re-tried. Typically, within the next few days. As a general rule if this occurs five times then the record is best flagged as “no future action”. There is little point wasting marketing spend on calling perpetually unavailable decision makers, though the telemarketer should make every effort to contact said person by establishing when they are most likely to reach them.

Where the prospect expresses a possible future interest, the telemarketer should be gathering and verifying certain data fields. These include the key contact name salutation, first name, surname and job title, any direct dial number, postal address, email address and (most importantly) the best date for a call back. When gathering the email address, the prospect should be advised that it is to keep them updated via your monthly email bulletins.

3.      Current Interest

An expression of current interest will generally result in an appointment (or follow-up call by a sales specialist), an attendance at a seminar or workshop, or a face-to-face meeting. The telemarketer will gather and report on the relevant details, such as particular area of interest and other call notes. The contact name, job title, direct dial number, postal address and email address will be verified and/or gathered at this stage also.

The email address will filter into the monthly bulletins along with any other data field updates, such as key contact name information. But from a telemarketing perspective, this prospect is now ‘dead’; there is no further telemarketing action required.


All b2b data fields verified and added during the telemarketing stage of the marketing cycle will be updated to the master database on a monthly basis.


Postal Mailings

Warm prospects should be defined as those decision makers who have been spoken during the telemarketing initiative and expressed a “possible future interest”. These can be extracted from the master database the month prior to the call back and sent a postal letter. The letter text can be as straight forward as reminding the prospect when you last spoke with them (“date of call” from the master database) and that you intend to call them back on the date as agreed (“date of call back”). The letter should include the contact name and details of a sales specialist, should they have any questions in the interim.

The sales specialist needs to feed any such correspondence back to the master database controller so that records may be updated accordingly. Likewise, any returned mailing items need to be updated on the master database as “no more mail”. This ensures that the master database is continually fed with the information required for future marketing initiatives.


Email Marketing

All data selected for email marketing should filter from the master database. Numerous initiatives can be applied here. There should be a monthly newsletter to all customers & prospects. Customers may be segmented for specific mailings, as may old and new prospects. A track of each email bulletin needs to be flagged on every record, so that a contact history is maintained.

After each email campaign; the bounces and unsubscribes need to be removed, whilst those who have opened the email or clicked on a link should be updated accordingly. If a prospect has not opened a single email for twelve months, they should be considered for removal from the master database during the monthly update cycle. This ensures your ongoing email marketing campaigns achieve a high open rate, low bounce rate and maximize their effectiveness.


Linked-in Marketing

Linked-in offers an additional channel to the direct marketing cycle. In managing your Linked-in account, a specialist can attract new connections, engage in prospective discussion and set meetings where appropriate. New connections should be asked if they can be added to your email bulletins, and a monthly export of these should be updated to the master database.

Even if this service is not outsourced, the business should seek to add new prospects to their Linked-in profile on a regular basis, and new prospects filtered into the email marketing system. Even if only two or three new connections are established each month from this process, applying it as a part of the monthly cycle will make this marketing channel easier to ramp up if successful.


Other Social Media Marketing

Twitter and Facebook are excellent marketing channels for companies with regular new things to say. i.e. daily or weekly, rather than monthly. Otherwise it may be best to rely on a monthly email message. For daily broadcasts and updates for your customers and prospects a Twitter & Facebook feed can be created.

A YouTube channel can be set up for your videos, which can take many forms. Such as product demonstrations, testimonials, new service offerings etc.

New email entries to the master database can be sent a bulletin to invite them to join your Twitter & Facebook pages and YouTube channel. Email reminders can be sent to non-subscribers.


There are many elements to this full marketing cycle; database management, data cleansing, data profiling, b2b data list sourcing, telemarketing, direct mail fulfilment, email marketing campaign management, content writing, Linked-in marketing, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and overall campaign management. To most business owners this full cycle is a nightmare to even consider. Where to start? So they typically opt for one or two elements of the full initiative and try to make them work independently of each other. This leads to inefficiencies in marketing spend and poor overall prospect management. In reality it all hinges on a well-managed master database.


Responsiva can help you with all aspects of this marketing cycle. Some of the elements can be processed in-house, others are best outsourced. Responsiva will ensure that the full cycle is delivered and a monthly marketing machine is set into place.

To find out more about how this marketing cycle can be applied to your business, call Responsiva on 0800 118 5000 or send an email to