What You Need to Know About Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is arguably one of the oldest forms of promotion, going back to a time when it was only part of the sales and advertising process and official marketing was unknown. However, many modern marketers are still not sure how to define direct marketing. To answer this question, we need to look back at the history of the strategy.

Customers – who were not called ‘consumers’ at the time – received glossy brochures and catalogs from large retailers in large cities and towns, as far away as the American West, Outback in Australia, and Frozen North in Canada.

These potential consumers were beyond the reach of direct sales; In other words, door-to-door and face-to-face sales were common at the time. But, after studying their brochures and catalogs, they used mail orders to buy all kinds of items, from farm equipment to clothing, boots, and household nick-necks. At that time they were delivered by any means for direct mail – steam train, camel train, wagon, stagecoach, riverboat, and many more.

Modern direct marketing in practice

So, how is direct marketing different today? Direct marketing campaigns have evolved as part of the modern marketing and promotional mix and have embraced the most innovative marketing technologies, such as the social hearing aids and market research platforms of our age. But its basic principle remains the same: a promotional strategy that sends messages directly to consumers and usually seeks out a sale through direct feedback. There is no advertising media involved and no visits to a brick-and-mortar retail store.

In previous years this may have involved a direct mail response coupon that took weeks or months from the time of the order to successfully complete delivery to the client. Now it can include a toll-free phone number or click-through link in a social media ad, where orders can sometimes be fulfilled in minutes or hours – a speed that past direct mail practitioners never imagined. The possibility of a quick response is one of the many advantages.

This field is sometimes referred to by other names, such as:

  • Direct-response marketing
  • Direct mail advertising;
  • Direct advertising;
  • Direct selling.

What is direct marketing?

First, we define direct marketing: Investopedia, which seeks to explain everything related to marketing, business, and economics, defines direct marketing as “any marketing that relies on direct communication or distribution with individual consumers, not through third parties.” Media “. It adds: Call-to-action is a common cause in many areas of direct marketing.

So, this marketing world doesn’t involve big-budget national TV brand ads, flashy PR techniques aimed at editorial coverage in the mainstream media, highly creative print ads in the Sunday Press, glossy magazine ads, or billboard ads alongside traffic. – Shredded highways.

Rather, this marketer’s approach is to create a direct interaction with the consumer. Expensive, massive markets and vaguely targeted advertising campaigns using a middleman are gone. This is a sniper rifle vs. shotgun. One of the advantages for a marketer is a specific target, a business-to-business customer, or male or female on the street.

Types of direct marketing

As marketing develops, expect the direct marketing channels used by a marketer to evolve. This has been the case since the early catalogs fell into the hands of the Cowboys – but then inserted into a magazine gave way to ideas like discount sales coupons, as publications began to circulate more freely in the Wild West. Here are 3 common direct marketing strategies :

  • Print
  • Telemarketing
  • Retargeting


In countries with efficient postal services, a marketer may find that Print catalogs and direct mail pieces still have a place (in most cases where customers have opted for this form of direct advertising). But, despite that, direct marketing for more modern and cheaper digital channels has declined. The reality of COVID-19 could eventually lead to the death of direct mail marketing.


Another old direct advertising channel is available to marketing practitioners – such as telemarketing – although there is a place for direct marketing efforts.

The proliferation of call center operations, whether internal or outsourced to specialist call center companies, is proof that many marketers still have a knack for it. But the decline in the customer’s willingness to answer unknown phone calls and the rise of call-blocking and spam caller-recognition technology could mean that traditional telemarketing is losing its benefits and is heading towards unbearable extinction.

However, new forms of automated telemarketing are already in place. For example, location-based marketing systems can detect your phone when you walk past a specific store and create a message offering an uncomfortable discount on an in-store product, for example, shopping you within the next 15 minutes. If you accept the offer, the system will recognize your phone when you pass a month from now and create another, possibly complementary, product offer.


Highly targeted (emphasizing ‘targeted’ as opposed to ‘spray and prayer’) social media ads are also widely accepted through platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. Re-targeting campaigns using the above platforms as well as Google Advertising preferences is a useful tool for direct marketing to remind past visitors of an e-commerce website and make an initial purchase – or another purchase. Pop-up ads in a browser window that promotes a targeted offer may be part of this attack line. But beware of the nuisance factor, which is a serious inconvenience, and probably the diagonal matrix causes many click-through accidents.

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