Direct Marketing

Direct marketing encompasses advertising measures aimed directly at individual customers and customer groups with the aim of providing a response from the target customer. Direct marketing usually only includes advertising measures in the form of physical products, but can also include further elements.

This means that print materials, advertising letters, catalogues or flyers are used, but that the advertising message can also be conveyed via email, SMS, telephone or mobile devices. However, these forms of mediation are not independent. Communication takes place directly from the company to potential customers or existing customers. No third-party provider is involved.

General information[edit]

Direct marketing is often equated with dialogue marketing. Direct marketing is the generic term, however, and dialogue marketing, along with direct advertising and database marketing, is understood as a sub-area of direct marketing. Direct marketing refers to all measures that address the customer directly and are not mediated by third parties or independent media. An advertisement in a print magazine or an advertising banner on a website is therefore not included in direct marketing. However, the call center that belongs to the company or has been commissioned by it does.



The main objective of direct marketing is to increase response rates. Targeted addressing and precise segmentation of the target groups ensures that potential customers become active while minimizing wastage.[1]

This activity is scalable insofar as an answer comes from the recipient of the advertising message. The difficulty of direct marketing lies in the fact that the response rates depend on the address pool the company has at its disposal. It is much easier and, above all, cheaper to motivate an existing customer to buy, than to acquire a new customer.

Direct marketing measures are not always aimed at the purchase of a product. They can also be used to obtain new address data, maintain your own image, generate interest or conduct market research. Even before the question of how to communicate is answered, the question must be answered as to which goal is being communicated. Direct marketing promotions can be divided into single-stage and multi-level promotions to strategically align campaigns.[2]

One level direct marketing[edit]

  • Selection of addresses based on different target group characteristics. Possible differentiation and segmentation characteristics are demographic, socio-economic, behavioural or consumption-oriented factors. It is also possible to differentiate between residential areas, population densities or non-existent market structures (competitors). For this reason, aspects such as customer history, the scope and completeness of data sets as well as database management and the analysis of this data are of particular importance.
  • Direct contact in the form of advertising letters, mailings or promotions at the POS (point of sale).
  • Acceptance of orders, questions; and administration of address data for subsequent actions.

Multi-level direct marketing[edit]

  • Selection of addresses (similar to single-level actions)
  • Qualification of existing data
  • Sending advertising letters, for example
  • Follow-up in the form of calls or emails: demand recording
  • Special offers tailored to the response that has already taken place
  • Acceptance of orders or further agreements for calls

Significance for online marketing[edit]

The expenditure for the different advertising measures depends of course on the budget. It is advisable to always plan direct marketing as a campaign and to be aware of the goals. For example, a campaign can consist of single-level and multi-level promotions: The former is used to generate addresses, while downstream measures are used for the sale of products.

Direct contact with customers plays an important role in online marketing, even if direct marketing does not always take place online. It creates trust when such marketing measures maintain customer contact and the customer does not have the impression that the online shop treats it as a data record. Although the data basis is a central factor in direct marketing, data protection and privacy are also central.[2]

This means that direct marketing can only increase response rates when dealing with customers, and their data is done within the legal framework. Customer proximity and customer satisfaction should not be neglected, especially since advertising to customers is often perceived as annoying. For this reason, direct marketing should always contain individual addresses and not automated mailings.

Another aspect of direct marketing is its scalability. Each individual contact can be evaluated. Data such as CPO, TKP, Opportunity To See, reach or ROI are extremely helpful for media planning and the subsequent analysis of individual marketing campaigns.

Ideally, the sole focus should not be on winning new customers, even if this leads to growth. Existing customers should also be included in the planning of direct marketing campaigns.[3] A middle way is certainly helpful here.


  1. What Is Database Marketing? Accessed on July 15, 2014
  2. What is Direct Marketing? Accessed on July 15, 2014
  3. What Are the Best Tips for Direct Marketing? Accessed on July 15, 2014

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