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What Is Direct Marketing? Definition and Guide

what is direct marketing

Direct marketing is a promotional method that involves presenting information about your company, product, or service to your target customer without the use of an advertising middleman. It is a targeted form of marketing that presents information of potential interest to a consumer that has been determined to be a likely buyer.

For example, subscribers to teen magazines might be presented with Facebook ads for acne medication which, based on their age, they are likely to need. Or members of the United States Equestrian Federation might all receive an email promotion offering special pricing on horse gear. Current residents of Wilmington, Delaware might receive a flyer announcing the arrival of Wegmans supermarket to their area. Conversely, people in Wilmington, Ohio would not.

Forms of direct marketing

Common forms of direct marketing include:

  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Fliers
  • Newsletters
  • Post cards
  • Coupons
  • Emails
  • Targeted online display ads
  • Phone calls
  • Text messages

The goal of direct marketing

While some marketing techniques aim to increase awareness or to educate markets about a company’s products or services, direct marketing’s sole goal is to persuade the recipient to take action. While getting a sale is the ultimate goal, some customers will not be ready to buy on-the-spot. But they might:

  • Visit a website
  • Call for more information
  • Return a postcard requesting a quote
  • Enter their name and email address
  • Make a purchase

Advantages of direct marketing

Unlike mass advertising, which is presented to everyone, direct marketing is presented only to people who are suspected to have an interest or need in your company’s product, based on information gathered about them.

For example, graduates of Princeton University might be sent an email announcing a new cashmere sweater now available for sale with the school’s logo on it. Only students, graduates, and their parents are likely to be interested in owning such a piece of clothing, so by limiting who receives the announcement, the manufacturer saves money on distribution costs and increases the odds of reaching people who might make a purchase.

Other reasons direct marketing is more successful are:

  • You can make the message personal, making the recipient feel it is meant just for them
  • It is more cost-effective to market to buyers who have been identified as likely to buy
  • It has a higher return on investment, since the likelihood of making a sale to a targeted customer list is higher to begin with.
  • It is measurable. Direct marketing uses a number of built-in ways to track the success of each campaign, allowing you to improve with each mail or email cycle.

Direct Marketing FAQ

What do you mean by direct marketing?

Direct marketing is a type of marketing that involves communicating directly with customers and potential customers in order to promote products and services. Direct marketing can be conducted in various ways, including email, text messages, catalogs, phone calls, and direct mail.

What is direct marketing and example?

Direct marketing is a form of advertising that involves directly communicating a marketing message to a potential customer, usually through mail, email, telemarketing, or door-to-door visits. Examples of direct marketing include mail order catalogs, flyers, postcards, coupons, and door-to-door sales.

What are the 4 main types of direct marketing?

  • Email Marketing: Sending promotions, newsletters, and other messages to a list of contacts via email.
  • Mobile Marketing: Reaching consumers through SMS text messages, mobile apps, and other mobile technologies.
  • Social Media Marketing: Using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote products and services.
  • Direct Mail: Sending promotional materials directly to consumers via post.

What are three direct marketing examples?

  • Email Marketing: Sending promotional messages, special offers, and other information to an existing or potential customer via an email.
  • Direct Mail: Sending promotional mailers, catalogs, brochures, and other materials to an existing or potential customer.
  • Telemarketing: Making phone calls to existing or potential customers to promote products or services.
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