Differences between Direct Marketing and Direct Mail

Apr 29, 2016 | News


A common confusion we’ve heard over the years surrounds what is the distinction between direct marketing and direct mail.

Some, incorrectly assume they are “one and the same thing”. In this article we explore the difference between the two with a view to finally “once and for all” provide some clarity on this topic!

What is direct marketing?

We’ve provided a very detailed definition for direct marketing in our separate article. A shorter definition of direct marketing is provided here:

“Direct marketing is both a marketing method and a form of advertising which targets a customer or prospect with the view to influencing them to take a particular action. Marketing communication is always direct and can be through a variety of direct marketing channels. Measurements are put in place to measure the effectiveness of the direct marketing campaign, so future campaigns can be tweaked to improve effectiveness.”

Here is a working definition for direct mail:

“Direct mail is the marketing of products and services through promotional printed advertising materials which are posted to the recipients home or business address.”

You can read more on this topic through Baker Goodchild’s detailed article which provides a definition for direct mail here.

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Direct marketing is the parent of direct mail

In a family setting, direct marketing would be the parent and direct mail the child. This is because direct mail is just one of a range of marketing options open to organisations to use within the direct marketing family.

There are a variety of direct marketing channels which can be used. These include direct mail but also direct Email marketing, event marketing, SMS marketing, direct social media marketing and telemarketing amongst others.

An integrated direct marketing approach works better

In general it’s best to adopt an integrated approach marketing and practice direct marketing in an integrated manner rather than through direct mail as a silo.

Organisations could for example plan a medium-long term campaign where direct mail is supplemented by marketing emails, SMS messages, social media contact and/or telemarketing calls. Not all of the channels need to be used; the most important factor is that contact is part of a planned structured campaign where results can be measured.

This brings benefits such as:

  • Brand recognition – Skilfully planned marketing campaigns will positively develop brand recognition. It’s especially important to have opt-in consent, as a lack of this is often where brand issues creep in (there is no point in marketing to anybody who doesn’t want to receive marketing communications!) Too much contact is generally harmful, whereas “just the right amount” of contact will nicely reinforce brand image and awareness.
  • Economies of scale – Benefits are realised through multiple investments. These have an exponential benefit with the sum of the parts being greater than each individual investment

The same could be said of integrated benefits for direct mail campaigns with indirect marketing too. So for example integrating direct mail with TV, Radio and billboard advertising will generally reap higher returns than a silo approach.

Contacting Baker Goodchild

If you’d like to learn more about Baker Goodchild’s range of direct mail services why not call us on 0800 612 1972 or complete our contact form. We can discuss direct mail and how it can comfortably fit into an integrated direct marketing, approach. 

Contact our team to find out more - click here.

Contact our team to find out more – click here.