Scope of direct marketing - Marketing Management

Scope and Importance of Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is broadly defined as any direct communication to a consumer or business recipient that is designed to generate a response in the form of a direct order, a request for further information (lead generation) or a visit to a store or other place of business for the purchase of a specific product or service (traffic generation). The emphasis is on direct marketing communication.
Dibb and Simkin1 define direct marketing as:

A decision by a company’s marketers to select a marketing channel that avoids dependence on marketing channel intermediaries, and to focus marketing communications activity on promotional mix ingredients that contact directly targeted customers.

Pickton and Broderick2 describe the essence of direct marketing with emphasis on its use of customer information:

Direct Marketing is a marketing system based on individual customer records held on a database. These records are the basis for marketing analysis, planning, implementation of programmes, and control of this activity.

Fill3 defines direct marketing as a strategy:

A strategy used to create a personal and intermediary free dialogue with customers. This should be a measurable activity and it is very often media based, with a view to creating and sustaining a mutually rewarding relationship.

Direct personal selling formed the bedrock of the direct marketing industry at the time of the establishment of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in the USA in 1917. The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations was founded in the USA in 1978 as a non-governmental, voluntary organization representing the direct selling industry globally to support direct selling associations in areas of governance, education, communications, consumer protection and ethics in the marketplace.

We have examined the nature of direct marketing and its role in the communications mix. The discussion that follows is not exhaustive, but it covers the main direct marketing tools and examines their application in different marketing situations. We start with direct mail and e-mail and its use which has seen enormous growth as a direct marketing tool over the past 30 years. We then discuss the use of telephone or telemarketing, which has been used particularly in B2B marketing. Telemarketing and the use of direct mail were the two main pillars of the direct marketing industry when the DMA was established. Direct marketing tools include developments in applying Internet technologies including database marketing and techniques of data mining and data fusion that are central to the direct marketing revolution. We also examine direct response in television, newspaper and radio applications.


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