What Is Direct Marketing and Direct Mail?

Direct marketing is good only for mass marketers and mail-order firms.

Sales and marketing executives, influenced by the number of mailings they see for magazine subscriptions and mail-order firms, may conclude that direct marketing is unsuited for their business. Mail order is only one purpose for direct marketing and rarely sells anything through the mail, is not appropriate for big-ticket items.

Although it’s a challenge to sell an expensive item strictly by mail order, direct marketing can play an important part in generating leads and in supporting the efforts of salespeople, has been used to help sell diamond jewellery, sports car, expensive travel, real estate, yachts, antiques and collectibles, mutual funds, and just about every other product you can think of.

Direct marketing is accountable. It’s advertising you can justify and track. It’s ideally suited for small business, it can be adopted to fit your budget and your changing business goals. Originally direct marketing referred to a direct sale, as in mail order, but today it’s used to accomplish many marketing goals. Direct mail and direct marketing are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, may take many forms and use most media; it is not limited to the mail although mail is the most popular medium, gives you many options beyond sending self-contained mailers, and it includes most, if not all, advertising media.

-Magazine and newspapers
-Telemarketing
-Free standing inserts

Direct marketing focuses on providing benefits for buyers, and the chapters on constructing creative mailers and campaigns focus on the power of benefits.

If you don’t already think about your marketing in terms of benefits, now is a good time to start. Direct mail is like no other form of advertising in that you control the medium and the message. When you buy an ad in a magazine or newspaper or a commercial on the radio, you’re buying only a portion of the medium. With direct mail your message is alone. You control everything, from the size, texture, and colour of the paper you use to the number of pages and the way you address your potential clients or customers. In addition to controlling your message, you control who receives it and when. You can send one message to your existing customers and another to potential ones, or in the case of business mailings, to people in a specific industry or profession.

Direct marketing is the most testable form of advertising. Every mailing and every direct response advertisement you run is an opportunity for you to test something and gain information that can help improve your marketing in the future.

To be effective in direct mail, it’s not necessary to mail to every breathing human being, just to those people who are your most likely customers or who are already your customers. Start thinking in terms of precise targeting