What is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing refers to a type of advertising that reaches the audience directly but without the use of the traditional forms of advertising. The traditional forms are television, newspapers or radio spots. Businesses that use direct marketing will incorporate distributing catalogs, promotional flyers and street advertising.

Direct marketing is different from other types of marketing in a couple of ways. The first is that it sends its advertising message straight to the consumer without the use of commercial media. The second differentiation is the “call to action” that is directed to the prospective consumer. Responses are tracked and measured by the advertiser.

These responses include the consumer calling a toll-free number or visiting a website. The advertisers consider this a direct response to viewing the advertisement.

The types of companies that use direct marketing typically do not have large advertising budgets. Often their brand is not well-recognized. However, if a direct marketing campaign is executed well, it can have a positive return on the investment. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the message is clear and not overly complex. The message usually is very simple and straight to the point. Typically a product or service or event is offered the customer. This is explained in the message and then the consumer is encouraged to participate.

The term “direct marketing” was coined by Lester Wunderman in 1967 and has been in use ever since. The original idea of direct marketing can be traced back to Europe’s 15th century.

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Bill Spink November 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Congratulations on a very brief post on a very complex subject. A few notes from someone who has spent the last few decades in direct marketing to avoid possible misconceptions. Direct marketing also can, and does, include messages in paid commercial media. Direct Response TV (DRTV) is a huge medium—various Medicare and insurance plans, as well as products such as OxyClean are examples. Newspapers and magazine ads featuring coupons and toll-free numbers are also a key medium. Also, many large and well-known national brands also employ direct marketing in print and mail to supplement their brand TV campaigns – GIECO and Capital One are two examples of this. Just a few notes to add to a well-done piece!

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