Direct Marketing
Direct Response Marketing

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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) Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group
Special Interest Group (177 members)


Forum discussions about Direct Marketing (One-to-one Marketing). Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

topic Marketing Mix and Direct Marketing
What is the relation between the Marketing Mix and Directing Marketing?...
Comments3 comments
topic Advantages of Direct Marketing
The summary of Direct (Database) Marketing (DM) mentions the following advantages of this approach: 1. Cost-effective 2. Measurable 3. Direct contact with the customers 4. Adjustment of commercial...
topic Reasons for Email Personalization
One of the best email marketing tips is to make emails personalized. The receiver of an email is more likely to read a personalized email that is specifically addressed to him/her than a general one t...
Comments1 comments
topic Door-to-door Selling and Party Plan Selling
I would question the inclusion of 'door-to-door selling' and 'party plan selling' in the general description of direct marketing or direct response marketing - and many direct marketers would agree wi...
topic Media Richness Theory versus Media Synchronization Theory
Direct Marketing has really come to stay as one of the most utilized forms of marketing. It is traditionally a form of face-to-face marketing which 'has long been known to be the most effective form o...
topic One to One Marketing
I think one to one marketing is to impress the customer at one sight. This can be achieved by giving a proper presentation to clients....
Comments3 comments
topic Is Internet Marketing a Form of Direct Marketing?
As per the above description, internet marketing is form of direct marketing. I don't agree with this because even internet medium is now catering to large audience although better segmentation is po...
🔥 4 Tips on Targeting Millennials through Email
A recent study by Kristin Naragon shows that email as a marketing tool is far from ‘dead’. In fact, it is the best way to reach Millennials who are, with an estimated purchasing power of $200 billion ...
topic Direct Marketing: Access Customers Directly
As I understand, direct marketing helps to access customers directly, but not to sell goods without tax....
Comments2 comments

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Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Direct Marketing (One-to-one Marketing). Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Direct Marketing Frequence
We are currently trying to get the right frequence of communication to our customers. Is it 4-5 times a year or less. We are in a testing stage right now but I would like to have your comments on this...
Comments4 comments

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Direct Marketing (One-to-one Marketing). Here you will find professional advices by experts.


Telemarketing Activities Go Beyond Selling!

Checklist of Other Direct Marketing Activities
The word telemarketing has been used for the first time in the US in 1967. Remember that besides the actual selling ov...

What are the Pitfalls of Telemarketing?

Understanding the CONs of Direct Marketing
Direct marketers and their customers usually enjoy mutually rewarding relationships. Sometimes, however, a darker side o...

Understanding Telemarketing Skills

Psychological Issues and Requirements for Telemarketers
Telesales people require different skills than direct sales persons. Many people - both buyers and sellers - prefer to h...

Customer Relationship TYPES

CRM, Relation Marketing, Branding
Next time you're using the term "CRM", remember there's an R in it... The R of "Relationship". Actually, customers (wan...

Measuring the True Effectiveness of Advertising Channels

Advertising Effectiveness
Large firms are spreading their sometimes immense advertising budgets over multiple channels (online, TV, radio, print, ...

What are the Drivers behind Telemarketing?

Understanding the PROs of Telemarketing
In today’s business scenario, no matter what industry we consider, people make a broad use of the phone and IT tools for...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Direct Marketing (One-to-one Marketing). Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


Media Selection: Media Characteristics, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Mass Media, Media Selection, Channels, Advertising, Media Types, Media Scheduling
This presentation elaborates the concept of media, related to consumer behaviour and businesses. The presentation includ...

Regulation of Direct Marketing

DM regulation
Public complaints about the volume of direct marketing received have generated debate about whether direct marketing in ...

Evaluating Direct Marketing Campaigns

Direct Marketing
Paper by Jedid-Jah Jonker, Philip Hans Franses and Nanda Piersma contains a survey of the recent literature on the evalu...

The Internet / Social Media Revolution

Social Media, Internet Strategy, Internet Impact, Digital Revolution
Video shows how fast social media is growing. And gives a clear status of the position of social media by 2014. Great s...

Introduction Into Permission Marketing (PM)

Direct Marketing, Email Marketing, Internet Marketing, Search Marketing
Presentation that introduces the concept of Permission Marketing, including the following sections: 1. Introduction of ...

Funny Intro to Marketing Concepts in 2 Minutes

Initial Understanding of Marketing Terms, Marketing Intro, Marketing Fun, Trainings, Workshops
Funny explanation of direct marketing, advertising, telemarketing, public relations, brand recognition, customer feedbac...

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