Direct Marketing vs Digital Marketing

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As a part of our series discussing direct marketing, we’re now comparing the differences between direct marketing and digital marketing.

This is a topic which many seek clarity on and we hope to clarify some questions readers may have had through this article. First, let’s start by defining both direct marketing and digital marketing.

Direct Marketing – A Definition

Please read through our separate article which defines direct marketing here. We’ve provided a short definition here:

Direct marketing is an advertising technique and form of marketing that targets a group of customers or prospects with the aim of influencing/encouraging them to follow a course of action.

Direct marketing can be through a variety of channels. To be effective, direct marketing needs to have measurements put in place. This ensures that measures can be put in place for continuous improvement.

Digital Marketing – A Definition

Digital marketing is the promotion of brands and marketing of services and products through a variety of digital media channels, some internet (e.g. search engines, Facebook, Twitter, and PPC) and others non-internet based (e.g. SMS and MMS).

As with direct marketing, measurements and analytics need to be put in place to get the most out of digital marketing.

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Digital Marketing Channels

Digital marketing is not just another marketing channel which can be managed in exactly the same way as others. Digital marketing requires new fresh approaches and a different understanding of the way that the digital customer behaves.

There are also different socio-economic groups for digital customers (which tend to be younger on average). Customer segmentation can be particularly useful for digital customers and help with strategically focused marketing campaigns.

A digital customer will operate in various ways, e.g. via an online app, via a search engine, via social media, etc. All of these channels are quite different from traditional channels like direct mail and require individual knowledge of how each operates before marketing can be successfully undertaken.

Examples of Internet-Based Digital Marketing Channels are:

    • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    • Pay Per Click (e.g. Bing Ads and Google AdWords) – this is a form of paid advertising which is served through various areas of the internet.
    • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – this is used to drive ranking improvements organically without the need for paid advertising, e.g. content marketing strategies such as blogging and online PR.
    • Internet Advertising – paid advertising across a variety of methods, e.g. banner/display adverts, in-app advertising, PPC (as mentioned above), social media advertising, etc.
    • Social Media Marketing – this is another form of organic marketing utilising social media sites and networks such as Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Yelp, and YouTube.

Examples of Non-Internet-Based Digital Marketing Channels are:

  • Apps – many companies advertise through a range of downloadable apps
  • Digital display advertising (e.g. football stadiums and roadside adverts)
  • Mobile phones (including SMS and MMS)
  • A wide variety of other forms of digital media

Use Both Direct Marketing and Digital Marketing Together

The best approach is generally to use a variety of marketing channels to manage a business. It’s perfectly viable to have campaigns for direct marketing and digital marketing which run together simultaneously. As we’ve explored previously, integrating technology with direct mail can bring massive improvements to a campaign.

As with other marketing investments, the sum of the parts tends to be more than the individual elements. Marketing departments need to plan detailed campaigns over the medium-long term which make the most of the marketing budgets available.

Contact us here at Baker Goodchild to discuss direct mail and direct marketing related services. Call us today on 0808 271 3101 or message us via the contact form and we will reply ASAP. We can discuss approaches to direct mail and its integration with other marketing techniques in use within your organisation. 


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