Best Practice

Direct marketing

Direct marketing (DM) is a huge market though the numbers are inflated in most published statistics by the industry's practice of claiming as 'direct' any ad that contains any kind of contact or response opportunity. This article is an overview of DM practice

The key distinctions

DM splits naturally into two: direct contact (mail, telemarketing, email, SMS, doortodoor); and direct response (media advertising, including most internet advertising) (26).

Both sell direct to the consumer, producing measurable results. However, the key to successful DM is building a continuing relationship with the customer as an individual (a single sale is rarely profitable enough on its own). It is thus the basis of customer relationship marketing (CRM), or 'onetoone' (24). And, because it is measurable and controllable, DM enables and depends on testing. Bird (1) calls these three italicised factors the 'Three Graces' of DM. They require direct contact, based on a customer/contact database.