What Is Direct Marketing?

A direct marketing company attempts to sell goods and services to a target audience by reaching them through direct methods, such as phone calls and mail. Read on to learn more about direct marketing skills and tactics. Schools offering Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Direct Marketing Works

Businesses, advertisers, and organizations use various marketing methods to sell services and products to customers. But rather than creating a television commercial or buying a newspaper ad that reaches a broad audience, companies will launch a direct marketing campaign to reach a specific group of consumers. To reach a desired demographic, direct marketing firms often purchase lists and databases with contact information for potential clients. The goal of direct marketing is to sell products and services by getting as many consumers as possible to respond to a campaign. Direct marketing companies can achieve their goals through the following methods:

  • Bulk mail
  • Telemarketing
  • E-mail
  • Web marketing

Important Facts About This Occupation

Mean Salary (2014) $68,700 (for market research analysts and marketing specialists)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 32% (for market research analysts)
Similar Occupations Advertising, marketing manager, economist, public relations specialist
Work Environment Office setting

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills Needed for a Career in Direct Marketing

According to the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at the University of Akron, direct marketers work in the marketing departments of companies and for ad agencies (www.uakron.edu). Some direct marketers use their skills for their own businesses. But before starting a career in direct marketing, it's important for aspiring marketers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry. Those working in direct marketing must be able to perform a number of tasks, including:

  • Analyzing business data
  • Generating marketing ideas
  • Managing and running campaigns
  • Evaluating the success of marketing techniques
  • Utilizing a range of direct marketing methods, such as print, web and additional media

Using Direct Marketing Effectively

Direct marketing companies must use the applicable tactics carefully and in moderation. Companies and organizations buy databases that include people's addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. According to the American Marketing Association, one of the biggest issues the direct marketing industry faces is consumer concerns about privacy and potential misuse of personal information (www.ama.org). To combat consumer anxiety, direct marketing companies can use self-policing measures to ensure that contact lists are acquired legitimately. It's also important for direct marketing businesses to avoid invasive practices and to give consumers the chance to opt out of databases.

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