Direct Marketing

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

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

Reasons it’s Successful

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
  • For that reason it also 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.

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