In this article we explore a number of direct marketing channels. We provide a definition then explore a range of direct marketing channels and explore why some marketing techniques are direct whilst others are not.
What Are Direct Marketing Channels?
Direct marketing channels are a series of marketing methods which can be used to practice direct marketing. A direct marketing channel, as the name suggests, is always direct and always puts the organisation directly in contact with the customer or targeted prospect.
It’s the use that makes a channel direct, not the channel itself
Channels can be both direct and indirect in their use. It’s important to remember that a channel can be used both directly and indirectly. For example:
- SMS text – Sending a targeted message directly to a contact is direct, a mass broadcast to non-opted-in contacts is highly inadvisable but would be indirect
- Social media – Sending a message directly to a contact is direct, whereas a mass broadcast is indirect
A number of techniques which aren’t direct are associated with low-quality techniques and are best avoided (e.g. random number mobile text messaging, random number telesales, emailing from bought lists from unknown sources, etc.)
Examples of Direct Marketing Channels
Here are some examples of direct marketing channels:
1) Direct Mail – Perhaps for many, direct mail is the most recognised of direct marketing techniques and approaches. The key to remember is that effective direct mail needs to be to targeted contacts and could be through a variety of formats, e.g. brochures, letters, pamphlets and postcards, etc.
2) Direct Email Marketing – This involves sending an email to an opted-in email address for marketing purposes and is a classic use of direct marketing. This could additionally involve embedding a video which could contain another direct marketing message.
3) Event Marketing – Having staff at an event (e.g. in a booth) that talk directly to contacts is a proven effective form of direct marketing.
4) SMS Marketing – Sending a marketing message via an SMS text to a known contact is a direct marketing technique.
Examples of Indirect Marketing Channels
The following are all examples of marketing, but they are not direct:
1) Affiliate Marketing – Whilst often effective at obtaining affiliates, this form of marketing is “scattergun” and is all about trying to stimulate interest from anybody that will listen.
2) Event Sponsorship – A general sponsorship of an event would be indirect as it’s not targeting to an individual.
3) Online Advertising – Whenever advertising online, although the advert is directly to a person, it’s not to a known contact so is indirect. This can include PPC as well as banner advertising.
4) Press Releases – These are a mass broadcast to anybody that will read the message and, as such, are indirect.
5) Print Advertising – Any print advertisement is indirect as it’s not targeted to a specific individual. This could include billboards, magazines, posters, and stadiums.
6) Search Engine Optimisation – SEO involves optimising a site to bring in a variety of visitors and is not direct targeting at an individual level.
7) Social Media (indirect) – General social media account usage, e.g. tweets or posting a video on YouTube, isn’t direct marketing as it’s not targeted to an individual contact.
8) TV and Radio Advertising – This is a wide-scale broadcast that posts a message to a mass audience and is not direct.