Direct Marketing: Meaning, Types, Components, Advantages and Disadvantages


Meaning Of Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing refers to type of marketing campaign where companies directly target a specific group of potential clients for communicating information. It is defined as method of promotion under which information regarding company’s product and services is presented to target audience, without the involvement of any advertising middlemen. This marketing is also called targeted form of marketing, focusing on communicating the information of potential interest to a group of customers that are determined to be likely buyer. The direct marketing seeks to attain definite action among targeted group of clients such as placing order, visiting the website, signing up for trial or requesting information about company products.

There are many formats of direct marketing that are used for communicating information by marketer, like direct mail, telemarketing, SMS marketing, newspapers, face to face marketing, coupon/vouchers, postcards, and webinars. Email marketing is widely used method of direct marketing by companies. The direct marketing method differs from indirect method of marketing. The key motive of direct marketing lies in making customer to buy the product or services, whereas indirect marketing takes more of a backseat approach. Indirect marketing aims at building brand awareness and establishing loyal audience that will continue buying from company for a longer period of time.

Types of Direct Marketing

Various types of direct marketing are as follows: –

Email Marketing

It is simplest, affordable and measurable means of establishing connection with customers. Companies use email marketing as a tool for directly sending the promotional messages of their product and services to specific group of clients. Transactional emails, promotional emails, newsletters, and adds in business emails are some of the examples of email marketing strategies that works effectively. 

Web Push Marketing

Web push marketing is a type of direct marketing whereby notification messages are shown to customers while they are browsing over internet. The messages get displayed in the form of notifications on small rectangular section of mobile or laptop screen through the browser that customer uses. These web push notifications help marketers in establishing the one-to-one communication with subscribers without having any need for address or any other customer data. The information stored in subscriber’s browser is simply utilized for identifying them.

Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing involves sending distinct promotional content to users on their mobile devices. The mobile marketing is launched by marketers to inform customers about best deals and sales, and also to give them regular updates on order status.

Messenger Marketing

Messenger marketing approach carry out promotions and marketing via creating chatbot for distinct messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram. It enables companies to keep on answering the customer questions every day on autopilot mode, making it possible to place an order right from messenger conveniently and find out more information regarding the brand.

The list of direct marketing types does not end here, there are other types of direct marketing as well that businesses can opt to use:

  • Social Media: The social media is widely used by businesses for doing their promotion and growing their audiences. It also assist companies in getting the feedback about their products in form of comments. 
  • Direct Selling: Direct selling involves posting the mails carrying promotional messages regarding the brand, product and services. It consists of postcards, catalogs and envelope mailers. 
  • Telemarketing: Telemarketing approach of direct marketing involves reaching out to the potential clients over phone calls, in an attempt to sell particular product or services. This is regarded as an efficient tool for finding the prospects and following up on marketing campaigns. 

Components of Direct Marketing

There are four key components involved in every successful direct marketing, that are as follows: – 

Contact Database

The contact database is very essential component of direct marketing, in absence of which carrying out marketing is literally impossible. It is simply the collection of records containing information regarding clients, both potential ones and existing ones.
Companies having a quality contact database, has a chance to communicate with large number of clients simultaneously and at the same time, with each client in individual manner.

Unique Offer

An offer is simply the deal offered by companies to attract customers, comprising of low price, exclusive bonus or may be an opportunity to try product for free during limited period of time. The proposal of companies is essence of every interaction with their group of target customers. Therefore, they should make every possible effort to make their offers as much unique and attractive as possible.


The creative component of direct marketing deals with making the offers as appealing as possible, in order to evoke emotions among customers that will result in wanted response. Even though, this component does not rank as highly as database or offer, but then also it cannot be neglected at all. In presence of high-quality database and worthful offer, a good creative will greatly enhance the rate of response. In simple terms, the text content and layout of offer is one that is called creative.  

Communication Method

These are the media components of direct marketing, the one who carries responsibility of deciding how the key idea of proposal will be conveyed to target segment. There are distinct ways to transfer the message to clients such as orally, writing or visually. 

Advantages of Direct Marketing

The advantages of direct marketing are as follows: – 

Targeted Audience

The direct marketing does not focus on large group of customers unlike indirect marketing. It takes effort to establish communication only with the potential audience and specific groups as per their buying behaviour and interest. Direct connect with the targeted audience improves chances of getting success in marketing campaign. The more targeted the company’s campaign is, more successful it is likely to be.

Avoids Middlemen

Direct marketing follows business to consumer (B2C) strategy where companies directly interact with customers and promote their products. It eliminates the role of all intermediaries and middlemen such as dealers, wholesaler, distributors, retailers, etc. from their whole process of selling. Product and services are sold off directly to the final consumers. All this helps in saving the commission of middlemen and shortens the selling process. 

Enhance Profitability

This form of marketing improves the profitability of companies by avoiding the large marketing and advertisement costs. Direct marketing eliminates the role of middlemen and thereby saves high commission costs. Also, companies need to carry out less advertisements and publicity that again saves huge amount of money. Thereby, all these cost savings measures lead to raise the profitability of firm. 

Effective personal interaction

Direct marketing promotes personal interaction in between the seller and buyer. This enables in collecting the information and feedback that help companies in getting exact idea on strengths and weakness of their campaigns. In this manner, it enables them in taking the appropriate steps needed for improving their overall operations. 

Raise Customer Loyalty

It help firms in increasing customer loyalty due to the involvement of more personal touch and direct interaction with customers. Better personal connection among customers and company ultimately helps in improving the customer loyalty. 

More Accuracy

Direct marketing is more accurate means of marketing as compared to other methods. It helps in knowing the effectiveness of direct marketing campaigns, in presence of right metrics and key performance indicators in place. 


It is quite affordable method of marketing and advertisement as compared to indirect marketing where large number of middlemen are involved, thereby bringing a huge cost to companies. A direct communication is established with customers by the company via emails, internet, telemarketing etc. All this ultimately saves the marketing costs via lowering the advertisement and promotional expenses. 

Better performance measurement

This form of marketing provides accurate feedback immediately to the seller or marketer. So, this way, it helps in measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaign in real time via analysing the result and feedback.  


The direct marketing campaigns helps in delivering the detailed information on product and services to consumers. Companies via direct marketing campaigns present targeted sales opportunity in a way that enables people in thinking about the offered value proposition. Customers get access to all such information that they need to take meaningful decision in an environment comfortable to them, like their office or home. 


It is more suitable for newly established or small companies having limited number of products. An indirect marketing involves large marketing campaigns that are focused on large number of peoples and require huge amount of money. Small enterprise carries limitation of capital and thereby, they can’t afford the expenses involved in big marketing and advertising campaigns. Also, it is favorable for all those group of peoples who don’t have enough time to visit retail stores for shopping purposes. 

Disadvantages of Direct Marketing

The disadvantages of direct marketing are as follows: – 

Not suitable for all business

The direct marketing is not suitable for targeting a large group of customers but only helps in targeting a specific group. It is also not good fit for big corporations having strong brand value with huge range of product/services. 

Low response rate

It has been proved by different marketing researches that direct marketing has less conversion rates as compared to other forms of marketing campaigns. Identification of potential customers and collecting data of individuals is a quite difficult task. In case, the collected data lacks accuracy then the response rate of customers become low and campaign cannot be conducted in proper manner. 

Annoying and intrusive campaign

Direct marketing is considered as annoying and intrusive campaign by many peoples as they get annoyed and irritated due to unwanted telephone calls and emails that keeps on coming regularly from marketers. Customers may even over the period of time starts disliking this marketing strategy. When people find the marketing strategy of company annoying, then it can create negative brand association among them. 


It involves several fixed costs as a postal system is required in order to send the direct mails. A mail piece also needs to be designed that again needs additional cost. The return-on-investment (ROI) analysis should be done in order to find out how feasible direct mails is for the company.  

Time consuming

Direct marketing is a quite time-consuming process in case, if personalized messages are created for everyone that are on the marketing list. Although it can be an effective strategy to implement by company, involving writing of hundreds of messages and thousands of phone calls but eventually helps in building trust among targeted audience. 

Targets many non-interested peoples

Many times firm end up sending the direct marketing mails to the group of peoples who have no interest at all in what is actually being offered. These types of emails are called spams and when in mail box, it is called junk. On the part of company’s budget, it is simply the wastage of money. The people are just going to delete and throw them away, or hang up on you. 

Requires warm market to begin

Direct marketing for many new businesses denotes the marketing done to their friends, family and relatives. Any present customers of the company are also included in this mix. The belief is that all these folks are going to become brand ambassadors for company. But in reality, always holding conversations with core peoples can be uncomfortable for company, at many point of times.