What is a Direct Marketing Strategy?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A direct marketing strategy is a strategy developed to make a direct marketing campaign successful. In this form of marketing, companies approach consumers directly with the goal of spurring an action, such as buying or ordering a product, requesting more information, or visiting a website. This type of marketing eliminates intermediaries between companies and consumers, and it can be highly effective when it is organized well. Marketing companies which specialize in direct marketing can act as consultants to help companies develop the best possible plan.

Direct mail might be one part of a direct marketing strategy.
Direct mail might be one part of a direct marketing strategy.

Marketing strategies are key to any sort of marketing campaign, because companies want to market effectively and efficiently. They must think about the target demographic for the products they are advertising, and develop marketing techniques which will reach to this demographic. Developing a direct marketing strategy involves everything from thinking about how the product should be positioned to writing scripts for people who will be cold-calling consumers.

Giving away samples of new products might be part of a company's direct marketing strategy.
Giving away samples of new products might be part of a company's direct marketing strategy.

For example, a company launching a direct marketing campaign for a child care product would want to aim the campaign at families with children, and it might want to focus on a demographic like single mothers who would find the product especially useful. Other thoughts might include social, racial, and religious demographics which could play a role in the success of a marketing campaign; a company with strong Muslim values, for example, might focus on trying to capture the Muslim demographic. The company must think about how the product is designed, labeled, and described, with the goal of making it appealing to the target demographic, and it must think about how to reach potential customers.

Direct marketing may include sending insider deals to registered customers via text messages.
Direct marketing may include sending insider deals to registered customers via text messages.

Many companies use Internet marketing strategies for direct marketing, such as email. In this case, the company would need to acquire an email list of the target demographic, design an email, and decide on which action it wants people to take, such as clicking a link to a website, signing up for something, or buying the product. A direct marketing strategy can also include going door to door, leafleting, calling, sending direct mail advertising, and so forth.

Direct marketing strategies can sometimes backfire spectacularly. For example, a security company may find that door to door marketing is viewed as threatening and intimidating, driving potential customers away rather than having the intended effect of getting consumers to express interest in security projects. Likewise, a poorly branded or described product might alienate the targets of a direct marketing strategy, as for example when a product is deemed offensive by the people the company is trying to target.

Telephone sales is a common form of direct marketing.
Telephone sales is a common form of direct marketing.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Comfyshoes - That is amazing because developing an email marketing strategy is so easy. You really have to develop a database of your customers. You can do this by asking for their contact information at the end of the sales transaction.

This way you can send your customers email blasts offering various sales and targeted promotions for free.

It is best to pursue your existing customer base and not buy an email list because that will turn off a lot of potential customers and many people have spam blockers on their computers so you won’t even be able to use those email addresses.


Subway - I usually consider that junk mail and just throw those ads away. What works for me is when a company targets me via an online marketing strategy or an email marketing strategy.

Since I spend so much time on my computer these would be the most effective direct mail marketing strategies if a company were trying to target me.

What is amazing is that over a billion people use email but not a lot of small businesses use this form of advertising in order to attract repeat business.

In fact a poll conducted by Citibank proved that 60% of small businesses do not use email as a form of advertising.


Suntan12 - You are so right. If I watch an infomercial long enough I become convinced that I need the product.

I do think that the direct mail marketing strategy can also be very effective. I know that the response rate for direct mail is lower than other forms of advertising, but I am one of those people that love to receive mail.

I usually find out about new businesses this way. I always check my Val-Pak coupons. This allows me to try new businesses that I did not even know existed so for me this form of advertising is very effective.


I agree that door to door advertising would turn off a lot of customers. I do feel that an advertising strategy employing infomercials can be really effective.

These lengthy commercials allow a customer to understand what the product is all about. It also allows them the opportunity to purchase the item over the phone and is seen as a less intrusive marketing measure than telemarketing or door to door marketing is.

Many of these infomercials offer bonuses and an attractive price point that entice customers to buy. I also think that the use of product testimonials is very effective in getting the consumer to purchase the product.

The downside is that infomercials are not cheap as some can cost up to half a million dollars to produce.

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