Being Direct
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For the last two years, I've taught a class at the University of Wisconsin in Madison
and was wrapping up things from last semester when I thought of this issue's topic.  
It seems pretty simple...what is direct marketing?

Those of us that have been in it awhile probably don't even think about it.  I asked
my students (juniors and seniors in college) at the beginning of the semester, and
here's what some of them had to say:

  • "It's about marketing directly"
  • "Selling directly to consumers"
  • "How to retail effectively and efficiently"

In other words, they didn't know.  Probably the best definition I've seen puts it like
this: Direct Marketing is a measurable marketing method in which products or
services are offered to a targeted audience and a direct response is solicited.

The key points are that it's measurable and that a response is solicited.  That
doesn't always mean that a response is given, just that one is requested.  The main
misconception about direct marketing is that it is strictly direct mail.  The sticking
point is that it really isn't necessarily a medium but rather a way of marketing.  It's
including a Web address on a TV ad, mentioning the phone number several times
on a radio spot, including a reply form in a newspaper placement and sending a
direct mail piece with a reply card enclosed.

On the first day of my first job in the industry, I had no idea what I got myself into but
quickly deduced that direct marketing was just junk mail.  While direct marketing
began mainly as direct mail, it has evolved into so much more.  And if it's not done
correctly, it can be considered junk...junk mail, junk radio, junk TV and junk space
ads.  By doing careful targeting using the most appropriate medium available, you
are connecting products and services with people who should have some, if not
significant, interest in purchasing them.  That's what direct marketing is.
Getting the Envelope
Opened
Being Creative With
Your Envelope
Copywriting That
Gets Attention
Getting a Better Print
Price
The Value of Testing
The Right List
A Better Letter
Designed to Mail
A Little Humor in
Your Copy
The Power of Word
of Mouth
The New Mover
Market
Making Your Print Ad
Copy POP
Past Issues
'Tis The Season
A Look Back
The Growth of Direct
Retailing
E-mail
Think Green to Save
Green