Direct Marketing Advertising: The Assents, the Dissents and the Ambivalents

Pradeep K. Korgaonkar, Eric J. Karson and Ishmael Akaah

Developments in information technology, shifting cost structures and improvements in understanding of the role of direct marketing advertising have all contributed to the increased popularity of direct marketing methods by large and small organizations in the United States as well as abroad.1 Thus, during the past two decades direct marketing advertising (hereafter DMA) has become an important advertising tool. DMA now accounts for about 54% of total advertising outlays (Statistical Fact Book, 1993-94). Also, more than 50 of the Fortune 500 firms are now members of The Direct Marketing Association (Akaah and Korgaonkar, 1988). Despite the growing popularity of DMA among various businesses, little is known regarding how consumers evaluate it. Do all consumers evaluate DMA as being informative, entertaining, and useful, or do they think of it as being useless, lackluster and primarily junk? Do consumers who like DMA differ in their past purchases, information needs, beliefs regarding DMA, and demographic characteristics? This study seeks to provide answers to these important issues relating to DMA.