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Direct Marketing Basics

Types of Direct Marketing - What is Direct Marketing and Does it Work?

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Direct marketing is a staple for businesses - especially for nonprofits. If you have ever been called during the dinner hour by a telemarketer you have been the target of direct marketing.

Often considered annoying and invasive by consumers, direct marketing is an aggressive form of marketing that only works when carefully planned and implemented.

1. What is Direct Marketing?

Business people having casual meeting on the aisle
Klaus Vedfelt/ Riser/ Getty Images
Direct marketing is just what it sounds like - directly reaching a market (customers and potential customers) on a personal (phone calls, private mailings) basis, or mass-media basis (infomercials, magazine ads, etc.).

Direct marketing is often distinguished by aggressive tactics that attempt to reach new customers usually by means of unsolicited direct communications. But it can also reach out to existing or past customers. A key factor in direct marketing is a "call to action." That is, direct marketing campaigns should offer an incentive or enticing message to get consumers to respond (act).

Direct marketing involves the business attempting to locate, contact, offer, and make incentive-based information available to consumers.

2. Types of Direct Marketing

Three main types of direct marketing include:

  • Telemarketing: Direct marketing that involves calling people at home or work to ask for donations, an opinion, or for sales purposes.

  • Email Direct Marketing: This form of direct marketing targets consumers through their Email accounts. Email addresses can be harvested from websites, forums, or purchased. Some companies require you to receive announcements to use their websites.

  • Direct Mail Marketing: Advertising material sent directly to home and business addresses.

Other types of direct marketing include: distributing flyers; door-to-door solicitations; curbside stands; FAX broadcasting; television marketing (i.e., infomercials); coupon ads in print media; and voice mail marketing.

3. Does Direct Marketing Work?

That depends on how you define "work." Direct marketing does ensure people know about your business. But aggressive, misleading, or annoying direct marketing can leave people with a bad impression about your business.

Be sure to adhere to privacy and contact laws because there are stiff fines and penalties for direct marketers that violate direct marketing laws.

4. Should I Consider Direct Marketing?

Every business owner should consider direct marketing. However, the type of direct marketing that will work for your business depends on your industry, your business ethics, and your budget.

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