Advertising in national newspaper, TV and commercial radio is, however an expensive proposition which a firm from a developing country with a narrow sales base may not be able to afford. Moreover in products such as specialized industrial items, such national advertising campaign, in fact is not even required. In such cases, one of the most cost efficient methods of promotion is the direct mailing method
Two distinctive features of direct mailing method are that the system is selective and that it is personal. It is selective because the approaches are made directly to only those who have been identified as the target audience. It is personal because the letter and other publicity materials are mailed either by name or by designation of the identified receiver.
The crucial first step in direct mailing method is the preparation of mailing list. The mailing list will have to be up-to-date and comprehensive and, therefore, its preparation is a laborious process. Mailing lists can be prepared either by the exporting companies or can be purchased from merchandising service companies. But most companies would be able to prepare their own mailing lists on the basis of names and addresses given in the trade directories.
Once the list is ready, the letter and other printed materials are to be designed in a way so as to give a personal touch. The receiver must feel that it is not a routine letter but something different and personal and, therefore, should be glanced at. It must also be attractive to retain attention.
Direct mailing is generally less costly than conventional newspaper and magazine advertising. But here too, the real cost per unit will have to be considered. For example, the direct cost shot of mailing is the cost of the letter, envelope and the postage. The lump sum cost, if any will be the cost of producing the publicity materials attached to the letter and the cost of preparing the mailing list. The total of these expenditures divided by the number of letters issued is the average fixed cost per shot. Therefore the total average cost per shot is the summation of the average cost and the average fixed cost. Suppose the average cost per shot is Rs 5. A thousand letters have been issued. Ten percent response has been received. Therefore the real cost to be considered is not Rs 5 per shot, but Rs 50 per response.
Even taking into account the real cost per response, it is found that for many exporting firms in developing countries are trying to get importers or wholesalers interested in their products, direct mailing system is the most cost effective, provided sufficient care has been taken to design the product brochures, catalogues etc. his method can be a very significant medium for product promotion. For effective results from mailing lists, the most important prerequisite is the preparation of suitable sales literature introduces or creates interest in the company and its products, provides details about the products, serves as a reference materials of for use by the customers, stimulates enquires and answers possible queries. Sales literature will be effective when the literature is aimed at identified readers. Sales literature can take the following forms: company brochures or leaflets, product leaflets, price lists and catalogue containing full listing and basic description of specific products.
Though the oldest method, it continues to be the most widely used and effective means of reaching the buyers. Personal selling may have to be resorted to because: (1) restrictions on advertising and media availability may limit the amount of advertisements the firm can do; (2) low wages in many countries may allow a firm to have large sales force specially in developing countries; and (3) it may be very appropriate for industrial and durable consumers goods where personal discussion is very useful.
This involves an alive, immediate and interactive relationship between two or more persons. The major advantages of personal selling are:
1. The strategy can be adjusted to meet the requirements of the buyers.
2. The seller gets to know the prospective buyers’ reaction almost instantaneously.
3. He can collect information about the buyers, markets and environment.
4. He can provide technical and commercial information to the buyers.