There’s a lot to be said for the usefulness of certain cloud services. On the direct marketing side, “software as a service” (SaaS) offerings such as MailChimp have helped many small companies improve their email marketing campaigns.

But as a company grows, its direct marketing needs change, and managing it all in-house can be stressful and counterproductive.

Starting out

When starting with direct marketing you need four things:

  • the software platform to send emails or SMS messages;
  • a delivery resource to set up and run the campaigns;
  • a marketing list of emails and phone numbers; and
  • perhaps a graphic designer to create marketing collateral.

There are SaaS products available for most of these steps. SMSPortal can be used to manage SMS campaigns, while MailChimp can help with emails. There are great designs from DIY email-building products such as BEE Free or EDMdesigner. However, a delivery resource can be difficult to come by.

Growing bigger

Corporations and larger companies growing in size may run into difficulties when managing the automated process and controlling the incoming data.

While it is relatively easy to set up and send an SMS campaign of 10,000 messages using a spreadsheet, it becomes more challenging to handle that volume five days of the week, every week of the year. Using typical SaaS packages, you can create a new campaign and spreadsheet for every day of the year. That’s a huge task in anyone’s language.

Managing important incoming leads is another concern. Depending on how your platform receives leads, you may need to download these manually each day, make a note of them in your spreadsheets and send them on to your call centre for outbound marketing. It’s one of the most important cogs in the marketing process and can easily fall prey to administrative errors.

Don’t forget the expense involved when going it alone. Emails will cost anywhere from 0.25c to 5c each, and SMSs anywhere from 12c to 20c each (the larger your volume, the lower the price). Your marketing department has to be geared towards doing a lot of manual work, which can risk delays on campaigns and lost leads.

Outsourcing the process

The alternative is to go with lead-generation services such as Olico, where direct-marketing processes are automated and easier to manage. Marketers can set up a campaign once and the service will automatically segment a new batch to send each day and process the leads received.

Large enterprises looking for hundreds or even thousands of leads a day would need to set up an initial meeting with Olico to discuss the products or services to be marketed and their unique selling points. As an analytics-driven company, Olico needs to know how much a client earns per sale to calculate the ideal amount to spend on direct marketing for a positive return on investment.

There are a few benefits that a lead-generation service such as Olico offers:

  • As a third-party marketer, it is usually able to buy emails and SMSs far more cheaply because of purchasing volume.
  • If required, a database of 20-million marketable consumers in SA can be classified according to demographics to help with targeting.
  • Using Leadify automation software, the risk of the direct-marketing process is eliminated, as it is responsible for the design and upkeep of the delivery platform.
  • By integrating with dialling or lead-management systems, the third-party marketer can send leads directly to clients’ call centres. Olico has long-standing relationships with top call centres and can integrate its efforts directly with these centres and sell on clients’ behalf.

All this means that through Olico, clients have access to a world-class direct-marketing lead-generation service that allows them to focus on converting sales leads to confirmed sales.

While companies can certainly go it alone when it comes to direct marketing with the intention of keeping costs down, using an outsourced lead-generation service can be the wiser decision. Not only will the cost of sending out collateral drop, but the daily grind of the marketing process will also be far less burdensome, while the risk of losing leads plummets too.

The big takeout is that, for larger companies, an outsourced lead-generation service provides return on investment.

This article was paid for by Olico.