What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing encompasses channels where marketers can send messages straight to consumers without the help of third-party groups.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Direct Marketing?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Madeline Martini | Aug 11, 2022

This process allows companies to better control and customize their content. Most recently, the practice of direct marketing has evolved into direct-to-consumer brands, which keep advertisements and products under the brand’s name. No matter the form, direct marketing references demographic data to tailor messages to specific audiences.

What is the role of direct marketing?

  • By applying direct marketing, businesses can deliver a more personalized experience to attract and retain their ideal customers.

Organizations can reach more people than ever through digital platforms, but direct marketing encourages a more focused mentality. A company following this discipline will single out consumers who share a certain trait that makes them more likely to invest in that company’s products. Narrowing the field through direct marketing saves time and money, which is why the e-commerce industry has leaned toward this approach.   

Although the strategy is practical, it also resonates with customers looking for something more than the typical ad. Direct marketing materials like detailed newsletters add a personal touch that sets businesses apart from the competition. People appreciate learning more about a topic and receiving updates in a timeframe and format they prefer. If companies keep these factors in mind, direct marketing becomes a way to build stronger bonds with consumers. 

What are direct marketing examples?

  • Direct marketers now have a slate of options at their disposal, ranging from flyers to social media platforms.

Direct marketing mediums boast a long lineage that has blossomed with the growth of new technologies. Flyers, catalogs, brochures, and other physical ads are still relevant methods for reaching individuals. However, companies may want to digitize their strategy when pursuing younger and more tech-savvy audiences. 

While emails and online newsletters remain available, the spread of social media has altered the direct marketing landscape. Algorithmically-tailored content and direct messaging on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and other channels have become convenient routes for businesses to connect with consumers. Even though innovative products dominate the marketing scene, companies should still study their audiences and determine the methods that best appeal to their desired customers.


How do I get started in direct marketing?

Those looking to enter direct marketing should prepare to adopt a research-heavy and customer-first mindset.

Direct marketing places the customer at the center of the marketing strategy, so professionals should begin with the consumer. A business can determine an audience by finding a strong common trait among people that may draw them to its products. Once a company has its target audience in mind, it can structure the rest of its strategy around the preferences of its most promising customers. 

The art of storytelling becomes a powerful tool for getting individuals to associate themselves with a brand. With a customer-centric mentality, companies should craft ads showing how their products improve the lives of consumers. Businesses can then experiment with different media and observe which forms evoke the most response. Paying attention to these details will lay a solid foundation for a direct marketing campaign.

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