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A Definition of Direct Marketing

In News by olga

Direct marketing is a marketing method and a form of advertising which involves the delivery of a marketing message to an existing group of customers or identified targeted prospects.

Used by businesses and non-profit organisations alike, there is a specific aim of influencing the customer or prospect to perform a specific action e.g. place an order, make a charitable donation, solicit a request for information or prompt a visit to a physical store or a website, etc. Communication is direct to customers, on an individual basis and is not through a mass medium. Communication generally does not involve an intermediary person or indirect media, although could be practised to tight service level agreements by an outsourced marketing agency.

Direct marketing can be through a variety of channels – including text SMS, direct Email marketing, direct mail and catalogue distribution, telemarketing and point of sale interactions. Direct marketing needs to be measurable, so campaign effectiveness can be subsequently analysed and modified to create an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship between the organisation and the customer or prospect.

More than just direct mail

A common misconception is that direct marketing is the same as direct mail. Direct mail is a family member of direct marketing and just one of the channels available that can be used.

Five principles of direct marketing

We now go on to explore five principles of direct marketing which are an expansion on the definition we gave above:

1) A marketing method and form of advertising

Above all else, direct marketing is just one type of marketing and a form of advertising. It’s one of a tool of marketing techniques and advertising methods open to the Marketing Manager. Direct marketing involves the identification of a target group, which could be existing customers or new prospective identified customers that are seen as being suitable for use to achieve the objectives of the campaign.

Also read this previous post which discusses family members of the integrated marketing approach, one of them being direct marketing.

2) Aims to influence the customer or prospect to perform a specific action

The whole purpose of a direct marketing campaign is to influence. The direct marketing campaign objectives need to be defined prior to the campaign. This definition enables the measurement of the degree of success after the campaign. Examples of actions which may be targeted include sales orders, subscription renewals, attendance at a physical store or website, making a charitable donation, etc.

3) Communication is direct and individualised

It sounds too obvious but it’s important to remember that for a form of marketing to be direct marketing it has to be direct. This means the marketing has to be directed to an identified individual and it can’t be a part of a mass campaign (e.g. Event sponsorship, Every door direct mail, Radio, TV, etc.)

4) Direct marketing can be through a variety of channels

Direct marketing is a multi-channel activity, where any of the family members of direct marketing can be used to solicit the required action (e.g. SMS, direct mail, direct Emails, etc.)

5) Direct marketing needs to be measurable

Although measurability isn’t strictly 100% necessary to practice direct marketing it is for organisations wishing their direct marketing activities to be effective. If objectives are not set it’s hard to know if the campaign has been a success or not.

Online references to direct marketing definitions

We’ve brought you our definition; here are some other pages worth visiting for you to complete further research:

1) Tech Target

2) Wikipedia

Call Baker Goodchild

To speak to a member of our team about your direct marketing requirements, you can give us a call on 0800 612 1972 or get in touch with us online and we’ll get back to you.