DIRECT MARKETING: Definition and How It Works

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Surely, there is no doubt that one of the best media to use in promoting a brand are social media platforms and this is why Direct Marketing is uncommon. It is one of the oldest forms of marketing strategies in which companies are able to interact with their target audience directly. Further in this article, you will learn what direct marketing is, the types, examples, elements, and the meaning of direct marketing mail & response. 


Direct marketing is a situation whereby a company or business organization communicates directly with its customers through mail, emails, or an SMS campaign.

Understanding Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing strategies and has been in existence before the development of technology. It is a form of communication between a company and its target audience. Through direct marketing, business organizations and companies are able to interact with consumers about their brand, without the inclusion of a third party. It is usually done through SMS campaigns, emails, etc, thereby, cutting down the company’s cost on a middleman or third party.

It often comes in the form of spam messages such as spam emails, junk mail, or SMS. Many times, direct marketers often personalize these messages by inputting the name of their various recipients. This form of marketing usually gets a fair percentage of engagements, but only if the company manages it properly. Since it comes in form of spam messages, then it should be targeted at consumers who will need their brand or product.

For instance, if the company sells children’s clothes, then its target audience should be couples or individuals with children. If a random recipient without a child receives such spam messages, it may come across as annoying. 

What are the 4 Main Types of Direct Marketing?

There are several types and examples of direct marketing such as; content marketing, experiential marketing, catalog marketing, print ads and so much more. However, it consists of four main types, they are;

  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Direct selling

#1. Email Marketing

Email marketing usually consists of advertisements for the promotion of the company’s brand, electronic newsletters, promotional emails, etc. This type of marketing is very common among companies because it is one of the most effective. It is a situation whereby companies send well-crafted messages to specific customers. Through email marketing, many companies and businesses have been able to communicate directly with their customers.

#2. SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is the same thing as text marketing. It is also one of the most common and effective methods, although it costs more. SMS marketing is when a company or business organization sends a promotional message or advertisement directly to consumers through text. These messages are usually very short and persuasive. Sometimes, it contains informative messages about the company’s brand such as updates and new offers or packages. However, this type of marketing is permission based.

#3. Direct Mail

This is one of the oldest forms of marketing. Direct mails are letters, brochures, printed ads, flyers, etc. It is a type of marketing that enables a company or business organization to directly interact with customers about their products. Direct mails are usually made to give out information about a brand such as; new updates, special offers, available packages, etc.

#4. Direct Selling

This is when an issued worker of a company or business organization sells products directly to their customers. This form of marketing is a traditional one. Many times, the issued worker has to go door-to-door with the company’s product, trying to convince and persuade customers by telling them about the content of the product and how it works. Although this form of marketing is quite old and time-consuming, it is very effective because it helps build a healthy relationship between companies and their customers. 

Read Also: DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER BRANDS: Marketing Model and Benefits

What are three Direct Marketing Examples?

Direct marketing can be carried out in different ways and this leaves us with a lot of examples. Below are some examples of direct marketing, they include;

  1. Kiosk adverts
  2. Telemarketing
  3. Online marketing

#1 Kiosk Marketing

Kiosk marketing is a very effective way to promote a brand. This is simply because kiosks are usually located in crowded places such as shopping malls, large grocery stores and other huge multi-purpose stores. It is a small booth that is usually set up in high-traffic locations, enabling customers to get a better view of the company’s brand. Through kiosk marketing, many companies and brands have been able to reach their customers and gain a wider audience.

#2 Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a form of marketing that deals with phone calls or internet promotions. It is a situation whereby companies or brands reach out to their customers by calling them. These calls are referred to as promotional phone calls. Through these promotional phone calls, many companies are able to persuade their customers and enlighten them more about their various brands. 

Telemarketing is often practiced by businesses when there are new updates and special offers available. Although telemarketing comes with restrictions and is sometimes permission-based, it is also a very effective method used to get more traffic and reach a wider audience.

#3 Online Adverts

Online adverts are a way of promoting a brand via the internet. With the rate at which technology has developed, almost everyone makes use of the internet. This is why online adverts are very common and influential. So far, it has proven to be one of the most effective forms of marketing.  

What does Direct Mean in Marketing?

The term ‘’direct’’ in marketing stands for the direct communication between a company and its customers. It is a way companies and various brands are able to interact with their customers and also open to receiving a response, therefore creating a relationship between them. This is why direct marketing is highly effective.

Moreover, if this form of marketing is not carried out properly, it may not turn out as effective as it should be. This is why companies and brands have to be very careful in selecting the customers they choose to interact with, because some messages sent may not be beneficial to everyone. One customer may find a spam message as being beneficial or informative others may not.

Direct Marketing Mail

Direct marketing mail (DMM), is one of the first types of marketing strategy used in the promotion of goods and services. Although it is an old form of marketing, its effectiveness is guaranteed. Surely, there is no doubt that marketing strategies have changed over the years, however, the majority still make use of it.

DMM is a type of marketing campaign that helps companies to get more personable with their current customers by reaching them through a mailbox, with the help of the United States Postal Service or other types of delivery services. It is a way of tailoring more messages about a particular product to customers. Through the DMM, you will be able to reach your already existing customers who have ordered from you and are familiar with your product.

One of the advantages of this type of marketing is that brands will be able to interact with their customers directly, helping them identify their various needs. Furthermore, the companies that make use of DMM are the ones who are able to identify their target audience. Many times, these companies usually have a list of the people who have bought their product and are familiar with it. This way, the company is able to cater its messages specifically to them. Consequently, causing the customers to buy their product again.

In addition, there are several examples of a DMM. Below are some of the most common and frequently used, they are;

  • Letters and envelopes
  • Catalogs
  • Dimensional mailers
  • Self-mailers
  • Postcards 

What are the 3 Elements of Direct Marketing?

The elements of direct marketing are those essential key takeaways, that a business or brand must pay attention to while applying the direct marketing strategy. They are the things a company must take note of. By applying these elements, you will get the attention of your target audience and also influence a much larger crowd. Below are the three elements of direct marketing, they include;

  1. The type of media.
  2. Available offers.
  3. Creativity.

#1 The type of Media

When it comes to marketing a product directly to consumers, the choice of media is very important. As a business owner, your choice of media and the time of marketing will have a great impact on the number of responses you’ll get back.

#2 Available Offers

Available offers and updates are usually the main part of marketing a product directly. These offers are mostly about updates, special offers, and newly available products. If a company or brand should make an offer for a certain amount of money and it does not seem fair enough to the consumer, then it can lead to low response rates. 

However, if the offer is quite enticing and seems fair enough then it will lead to an increase in response rates.

#3 Creativity

Creativity is one of the basics to pay attention to while marketing a product. It is all about the presentation of a product like the things said about the product and how it is packaged. This element is highly effective when applied right. 

What is Indirect Marketing?

Indirect marketing is a type of marketing whereby companies and individual businesses focus on building trust and healthy relationships with their customers through advertising. Instead of trying to sell a product quickly, indirect marketing shifts its focus to building the trust of its customers. Surely, the eventual goal is to increase traffic but this sort of marketing focuses on gaining trust first. With this type of market strategy, companies will be able to get more potential customers.

There are several types of indirect marketing, some of them are;

  • Social media
  • Public relations (PR)
  • Content marketing
  • Referrals
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Direct Marketing Response

Direct marketing response is a form of marketing whereby businesses or brands aim at receiving a direct or immediate response from the consumer. When it comes to marketing, having a good product is not enough. This is why many businesses apply different types of marketing strategies in order to make their product known. 

Many times, businesses often try to present their product in an enticing way, in order to gain the attention of their target audience and increase engagement. This is what direct marketing response is all about. It is a situation whereby companies market their product by making offers, which will gain the attention of their potential consumers and create a leeway for them to respond almost immediately. Some examples of direct marketing responses are; social media ads, search ads, hosting webinars, etc.

In addition, businesses that use this type of marketing often focus on getting their customers to act (respond). One of the advantages of this form of marketing is that it helps companies to keep track of their activities and how their target audience responded.


The aim of marketing a product is to create awareness by sending out persuasive messages to a target audience in order to increase engagement. However, direct marketing comes with several other advantages. Apart from capturing the attention of your target audience, direct marketing helps to build a strong and healthy relationship between a company and its consumer. 

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