The Types & Benefits of Direct Marketing

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  • 0:00 What Is Direct Marketing?
  • 0:24 Types of Direct Marketing
  • 2:06 How Direct Marketing Works
  • 3:05 Benefits
  • 4:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

In this lesson, you'll see how businesses build awareness of their products through the use of direct marketing. You'll also see how businesses decide what type of direct marketing to use and what benefits there are.

What Is Direct Marketing?

When a company sends marketing materials straight to the customer, it is a form of advertising called direct marketing. Most businesses engage in one or more types of direct marketing, and it is one of the most effective methods of marketing. In this lesson, we will look at the types of direct marketing that are available to businesses today, how they work, and their benefits.

Types of Direct Marketing

There are many types of direct marketing from which businesses can choose. You're probably familiar with several of them, and you might even appreciate them and look forward to receiving the messages from the businesses.

A restaurant, for example, may offer discounts via cell phone texts. All you need to do is provide your cell phone number, and the restaurant will send you coupon codes. This is a type of direct marketing.

You might also receive mail, often referred to as junk mail, from random businesses that want your business. For example, many people receive credit card offers in the mail. Some small businesses will even leave a flyer at your door, and in some neighborhoods, some landscaping businesses place sample rocks in small bags at various homes to advertise their businesses.

An online pet supply company may send out catalogs and flyers to their current customer list as well as to new potential customers. This is another type of direct marketing.

Yet another type is the cold call, where a business (such as a travel company) calls a list of phone numbers to tell them about a special it has.

If you watch any amount of television, you'll see a commercial. Commercials, short televised videos with a marketing message, can reach a huge audience at once, unlike all the other types we've mentioned so far that only reach one potential customer at a time.

Another type of direct marketing that you might see when driving around is the billboard. These are huge signs next to roadways that display a marketing message from various businesses. You might see a huge picture of a delicious steak and mashed potatoes from a nearby restaurant, or you might see a company's message about how much it cares about your health and why you should choose the business because of that.

How Direct Marketing Works

Direct marketing begins when a company researches what kind of people are its customers and where its customers can be found. Each business then builds its own database filled with people's names, possibly addresses, phone numbers, and maybe email addresses as well.

Then, the business decides what type of direct marketing to give to its list of people. If most of its customers watch television in the early afternoon, then a television commercial in the early afternoon would be a good choice. If the people in the list live in a certain neighborhood, then perhaps sending the whole neighborhood marketing letters through the mail might be a good choice.

Once the business has decided what type of direct marketing to use, then the company will prepare a message that will attract more potential customers. Once this business prepares this message, it then sends the message out via the direct marketing type chosen. The chosen message will have a call to action, a message that invites potential customers to do something, like purchase an item or visit the store.


Most businesses rely on direct marketing to survive because one of the biggest benefits is that it gets the message straight to potential customers.

Another benefit is that the businesses control who sees the marketing message. It's important for businesses with limited budgets to reach their intended audiences and not waste money on sending their messages to people who won't become customers. For example, a company that sells surfing supplies would be wasting its money if it advertised to people with a fear of water.

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