What is Direct Advertising?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Direct advertising is a strategy aimed at reaching consumers without the need for some type of intermediary to establish the connection. Also known as direct marketing, it calls for using various sales and marketing tools to present consumers with the opportunity to do business directly with the company. In order to accomplish this goal, direct advertising can take on several forms.

Direct advertising targets certain consumers.
Direct advertising targets certain consumers.

The process of direct advertising is in contrast to indirect advertising or marketing strategies that tend to focus on advertising and marketing goods and services in a manner that motivates consumers to seek out those products from local retail outlets. An example of indirect marketing would be magazine ads touting a product while noting in the body of the ad that the product is sold at fine stores everywhere. Instead of interfacing directly with the manufacturer, the consumer purchases the product from a local or online retailer.

Telemarketing is an example of direct advertising where marketing strategies rely on making a direct audio connection with the consumer.
Telemarketing is an example of direct advertising where marketing strategies rely on making a direct audio connection with the consumer.

One of the most commonly recognized types of direct advertising is direct mail. Here, the producer is selling directly to the consumer by creating a postcard or other mailing piece that is delivered by the postal mail service. The advertisement lays out the benefits of purchasing the product and provides the customer with the opportunity to make the purchase directly, either by going to a web site or replying by postal mail. Many companies make use of direct mail as a means of generating mail orders and eliminating the need to sell products through third parties.

Email advertisements are another example of this type of advertising. Just as with direct mail pieces delivered by post, email advertising involves delivering a solicitation to a potential buyer by emailing directly to the consumer. Usually, the consumer has the opportunity to be redirected to a web site to learn more about the product, or may go directly to a web page and place an order. In some cases, the email advertisement may include a toll-free number to call to place the order or obtain more information.

Telemarketing and voicemail marketing are also examples of direct advertising. These marketing strategies rely on making a direct audio connection with the consumer. In the case of telemarketing, agents call upon consumers and attempt to engage them in dialogue that will result in the placing of an order. Voicemail marketing is more passive in that the consumer receives a canned audio message that can be listened to at leisure. The voice mail approach usually provides a telephone number to call for more information or to place an order.

Television marketing is also a popular approach to direct marketing. Corporations prepare what is known as an infomercial or information commercial that promotes their product line. Throughout the broadcast of the infomercial, the consumer is provided with information on how to contact the corporation and place an order. As with all forms of direct advertising, television marketing minimizes or even eliminates the need to sell the product through retail outlets.

Advertising directly is not always looked upon with favor. Unwanted email solicitations are considered “spam” and are generally thought to be a nuisance. In like manner, direct mail is seen as generating what is known as “junk mail.” Telemarketing has a number of detractors that see the approach as being too intrusive. Even the passive approach of voice mail advertising is viewed by many as being invasive and unwelcome.

Corporations may employ direct advertising using an infomercial that promotes their product line.
Corporations may employ direct advertising using an infomercial that promotes their product line.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Oasis11-Direct mailer advertising targets people within a certain zip code that falls within a certain demographic profile.

I recently received mailers for a prestigious private school because I lived within 10 miles of the school. I know that the response rate is very low on direct mailer advertising. I believe it has the lowest response rate, but if it is focusing on a local market short of performing a telemarketing campaign, this is the most cost effective way to reach potential consumers.

Telemarketing also gets a low response rate because people are often annoyed to be bothered with a sales pitch when they answer the phone.


Direct mail advertising services like Pac Mail and Value Pak offer coupons for consumers in order to use local business services and products.

This direct mailer advertising is an easy way for a local business to get noticed and increase their business traffic.

I have found new places to eat and shop that way. I love when I see t he Smoothie King coupons because it is usually buy one get one free.

Those smoothies are delicious. I know that direct response advertising is related to infomercials. I like the real estate infomercials the best.

I love to hear about how supposedly people made a lot of money in the real estate market. You really have to be careful with some of that programming because it is so skillfully produced that you will be very tempted to buy the products that they are selling.

I bought a pack of Mighty Mend It that way. It really works.

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