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


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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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 -

Direct Marketing Forum
  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 in 2017, every brand’s desired customer. Millenni...
  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 of communication. It still has its place in non-pro...
  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 messages > Convenience.
  Email Marketing Tips
One of the best email marketing tips is to make it personalized. Email users are more likely to read an email that is addressed to them than a general one that they can tell is sent to hundreds of others. We all want to feel unique and special...
  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 with this contention.
Personal selling as a pil...
  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....
  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 possible. ...
  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 situation. Thanks...
  Direct Marketing: Access Customers Directly
As I understand, direct marketing helps to access customers directly, but not to sell goods without tax....
  Marketing Mix and Direct Marketing
What is the relation between the Marketing Mix and Directing Marketing?...
  Innovativeness and complexity of product - reason
When products are innovative or with complex concepts, indirect marketing may not work well. Direct marketing may be the only channel to sell and know customer requirements. The feedback from customers could also help in reinventing product faster to...
  Speed and Response are Key
I think direct marketing is a combination of diferentiation and how we get the customer but speed and response are key in this method. How we know what the customer needs before they want it....

Direct Marketing Special Interest Group

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Direct Marketing Education & Events

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Best Practices - Direct Marketing Premium

Expert Tips - Direct Marketing Premium

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Usage (application): Checklist of Other Direct Marketing Activities

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Usage (application): Psychological Issues and Requirements for Telemarketers

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Usage (application): Understanding the PROs of Telemarketing

Resources - Direct Marketing Premium

Media Selection: Media Characteristics, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

This presentation elaborates the concept of media, related to consumer behaviour and businesses. The presentation includes the following sections:
Usage (application): Mass Media, Media Selection, Channels, Advertising, Media Types, Media Scheduling

Regulation of Direct Marketing

Public complaints about the volume of direct marketing received have generated debate about whether direct marketing in certain communications media s...
Usage (application): DM regulation

Evaluating Direct Marketing Campaigns

Paper by Jedid-Jah Jonker, Philip Hans Franses and Nanda Piersma contains a survey of the recent literature on the evaluation of direct marketing camp...
Usage (application): Direct Marketing

The Internet / Social Media Revolution

Video shows how fast social media is growing. And gives a clear status of the position of social media by 2014.
Great starter for a discussion, p...
Usage (application): Social Media, Internet Strategy, Internet Impact, Digital Revolution

Introduction Into Permission Marketing (PM)

Presentation that introduces the concept of Permission Marketing, including the following sections:
1. Introduction of PM
2. Definition of P...
Usage (application): Direct Marketing, Email Marketing, Internet Marketing, Search Marketing

Funny Intro to Marketing Concepts in 2 Minutes

Funny explanation of direct marketing, advertising, telemarketing, public relations, brand recognition, customer feedback, demand and supply gap, comp...
Usage (application): Initial Understanding of Marketing Terms, Marketing Intro, Marketing Fun, Trainings, Workshops


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