Direct Marketing
Direct Response Marketing

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Addressing commercial messages to individual consumers. Explanation of Direct Marketing (1498).

What is Direct Marketing? Description

Direct Marketing involves a "direct response" from a consumer. It is a technique that is used to address commercial messages towards individual consumers. A synonym which is sometimes used is "One-to-one Marketing". It differs from regular advertising in that it does not place its messages on mass media such as newspapers or TV. Instead, the marketing message of the service or commodity is addressed directly to the consumer. This sales and promotion technique uses promotional materials such as leaflets, brochures, letters, catalogs, or print ads that are delivered individually to potential customers via so called "addressable media":

  • The mail (Direct Mail).
  • Telephone (Telemarketing).
  • Humans (Door-to-Door Selling, Party Plan Selling).
  • E-mail (E-mail Marketing).
  • Internet (Behavioral Targeting)
  • Mobile phones.

Direct marketing is dependent upon the use of customer data and lists, normally in databases. Hence also the terminology: Database Marketing. These databases are searched and "crunched" to select those consumers that have the optimal chances for sales success.

A related form of marketing is Direct Response Marketing. Contrary to Direct Marketing, in Direct Response Marketing the customer responds to the marketer directly. Its most common form today is Infomercials via television presentations, to which viewers respond directly via telephone or internet. Coupons in magazines and newspapers are another type of Direct Response Marketing.

Origin of the Direct Marketing model. History

Researches have found the roots of direct marketing in Europe when it emerged from the Middle Ages (and feudalism) and entered the Renaissance. The first trade catalogs were issued by printer-publishers of the 15th century soon after Gutenberg’s invention of a moveable type (c. 1450). Credit for the oldest extant catalog (1498), which gives prices for inexpensive books by Greek and Latin authors offered, goes to Aldus Manutius of Venice.

Steps in the Direct Marketing method. Process

  1. Strategic decisions. Researching. Targeting. Set the objectives. Media choice.
  2. Communication of the offer.
  3. Customer response and ordering of the products. Donation. Subscription. Membership. Attending a demonstration. Asking for more information.
  4. Fulfillment. Filling the order. Distribution. Customer service.
  5. Database Maintenance and Customer Relationship Management.

Strengths of Direct Marketing model. Benefits

  • Cost-effective.
  • Effectiveness can be measured directly by comparing purchasing behavior of targeted vs. non-targeted consumers.
  • Direct contact with the customers.
  • Consumers receive commercial messages which have been adjusted to their profile. Convenience.

Limitations of the Direct Marketing approach. Disadvantages

  • Sometimes criticized for generating unwanted solicitations (Junk Mail and Spam).
  • Privacy concerns. Legitimate Direct Marketing firms should offer methods by which individuals can 'opt out' of these lists upon request. Direct Marketing agencies must respect the do-not-call list maintained by government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Book: Edward L. Nash - Direct Marketing: Strategy, Planning, Execution -

Book: Bob Stone, Ron Jacobs - Successful Direct Marketing Methods -

Special Interest Group - Direct Marketing (One-to-one Marketing)

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