Direct VS Indirect Marketing: Obtain the Best of Both Worlds!

The content on this page has become a little outdated, so based on reader feedback and new research we’ve produced updated definitions of both direct and indirect marketing:


Direct marketing, like television commercials and magazine ads, allow you to specifically target a demographic with a sales pitch built especially for them. But where do we get the information we need to build these marketing campaigns? It used to be that companies would spend a large sum of money on market research, which not too long ago used to be conducted most often on the phone, or in person.

That should no longer be the case today, with the expansion of our information providing technologies, namely the Internet. With the advent of the personal computer and easily accessible Internet capabilities, market research no longer takes an exorbitant amount of money! All of the information that you seek all lives within the ease of the click of a button.

Just because traditional marketing has spawned the creation of indirect marketing tactics does not mean that they can not be used in conjunction with each other. In fact, combining these two techniques can provide valuable information that you’ve garnered from indirect techniques for use in your direct campaigns later on.

So let’s first discuss the technical stuff, the very basic stuff that answers the questions: What is Indirect/Direct Marketing? What are the pros and cons of each?

What Direct Marketing Can Do For You

Direct marketing, as mentioned earlier, includes things like television and magazine ads, billboards, and telemarketing. These tactics allow you to target, directly, a demographic of your choosing with a customized message, made special, for them.

There are some obvious downsides to this method, the one that is probably the most obvious being the cost of it all. These methods are very expensive, and that can deeply cut into your return on the investment, especially if you’re a small business with a small budget.

What counter balances the cost to develop and run these campaigns is the speed with which you begin to see a return. This return is also easily measured, especially if the campaign was well thought out and well received. But how do we make sure that our campaigns will align the most precisely with the audience that we are targeting?

It used to be that thousands of dollars were spent on market research into what our target audience wants to see in a product or service, to produce a rapport amongst consumers. Campaigns were often run with the sole goal of increasing the customer’s trust in the brand being promoted.

This is not the case any more. People now-a-days like their businesses to be friendly, customer service often makes and breaks customer relationships. With the rise of the Internet and the subsequent social epiphany of social media, it is now easier, and cheaper, than ever to create this kind of relationship with your customers. All it takes is a person, or team, using indirect marketing techniques to gather the type of information you will need to create campaigns for your chosen demographic.

Indirect Marketing: Customer Rapport is the Key

Indirect marketing is social media accounts, blogs, and newsletters, that don’t try and sell you anything. These tactics allow you to build customer trust and loyalty, and allows you to build a rapport with potential customers by not shoving pushy sales pitches on them when they are interacting with you!

In fact, positive interactions on social media can lead to your audience base being converted from just potential customers to potential brand evangelists. Indirect marketing leads to this by providing a personalized point of contact from your business to them. This conversion from customer to evangelist all by itself can lead to a huge increase in your return on the investments you have made (as explained in our blog here) and the best part about it is that it barely costs you anything!

The only cost normally associated with indirect marketing is the salary, or salaries, of the marketers (and marketing interns!) tasked with writing articles and working with whatever social media accounts you have, be it Facebook, Twitter, or one of the more visual services like Instagram.

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There are downsides to indirect marketing tactics such as the time it takes to get yourself, or your business, well established on whichever social media platform you choose. There are a great many sources on how to market on social media (ours is here), and there are always more popping up, but it can take some time to get used to the ins and outs of things like hashtags and search engine optimization.

Another downside is the difficulty you may find yourself having measuring results from these tactics. A retweet, or a reblog, never necessarily means that the person is interested in buying your product or service. Perhaps, though, if we can combine both direct marketing techniques, with information gleaned from indirect marketing techniques, we can find ourselves in a happy land full of usable data that will provide a great benefit to your business!

Combine the Techniques, Reap the Benefits of Both!

Now things will begin to get interesting. With the potential to build stronger, closer relationships with your customers through social media, there is a potential to harvest information from these places that you can then apply to your direct marketing campaigns.

Information like what television stations your target audience watches most often, or what magazines or newspapers (online, or traditional paper ones) they are reading, and even when they may be online and actively checking their email are all pieces of intel that you can use to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck when you go to print, or send off that sales offer to your list of contacts.

Collecting this information and using it correctly will lead to larger returns on your investments, with a smaller financial input from your pocket and a maximization of the potential of your direct marketing campaigns. Combining older, traditional marketing techniques with the newer, less direct tactics of the new market is sure to make the return on every dollar you spend be the very largest it can be!

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