Direct Marketing Versus Indirect Marketing

There are many factors to reflect upon when considering small business advertising and marketing strategies. We can’t all be advertising geniuses and entrepreneurs. Fortunately, developing a basic understanding of the underlying and governing principles of advertising and marketing is simple enough; in doing so, it is likely that you will discover that you are much more familiar with some of the mechanics of marketing and advertising than you even thought. Let’s begin by examining the two major forms of marketing strategy: direct marketing and indirect marketing.

What is Direct Marketing?

In essence, direct marketing is an advertising strategy that aims to target a specific audience or consumer profile and succeed in stimulating that group to engage and respond directly to the product or service being marketed. Direct marketing also aims to measure the response to any directly marketed materials. Traditionally, direct marketing strategies and campaigns have included telemarketing, flyer distribution, coupon printing, and direct mailing. Today, we see many direct marketing campaigns that use the internet and mobile technology to engage with consumers online; examples of this include: direct text messaging marketing, email “mail-out” distribution, and targeted online advertising.

What is Indirect Marketing?

Indirect marketing differs from direct marketing as it typically involves a third-party distributor or seller. This is how the majority of us purchase most of our consumer goods. Typically, indirect marketing does not aim to achieve the highly specific consumer audience as direct marketing does. A good example of indirect marketing advertising is that of the traditional storefront window display where a specific product may be displayed prominently within in a retailer’s commercial space. The retailer’s commercial space is what separates the product being sold from the consumer; therefore it is considered to be indirect.

Pros and Cons of Direct Marketing and Indirect Marketing Strategies

Traditionally, indirect marketing has largely dominated the mass strategy marketing system. It enables businesses to cast a wide net and aims to attract a large and diverse consumer audience. Additionally, indirect marketing through a third party enables some businesses access to amenities that they do not have themselves for example, retail space. However, indirect marketing does negatively affect the marketed product’s profit margin, whereas direct marketing is effective at cutting out the “middle man” or third party, resulting in larger returns.

Additionally, direct marketing succeeds by appealing to a specific consumer audience or target market that has demonstrated a higher probability of responding favourably to the marketed product or service. However, direct marketing strategies, especially those targeted online, continue to be controversial as rights to consumer privacy are called into question. The measure of quantitative success enjoyed by direct marketing strategies continues to motivate growth and implementation of such practices.

Which Marketing Strategy is Best for My Business? Direct Marketing or Indirect?

The answer is not as clear cut as direct marketing or indirect marketing, nor is a matter of which advertising technique is right, rather, we are talking about utilizing a variety of methods and approaches at our disposal in order to maximize our advertising and marketing dollars. Therefore, the reason why we consider it to be a marketing strategy is because there are many factors involved. Additionally, depending on the kind of business and its relative size and capital, some forms of marketing may be more feasible and appealing than others.