The term "direct marketing" describes a marketing subdivision interested in building and consolidating equally advantageous relations with clients by setting up reports, studies and information on responses or reactions to different products and the transactions they make.
Direct marketing deals with target clientele not by way of intermediary channels or advertisements, but deals directly through more direct means like traditional mail or even internet and email. Nevertheless, this marketing technique may create certain inconveniences, such as unsolicited mail.
Quite often marketers use different terms to state a clear distinction between traditional media advertising and the method of delivery used in direct marketing, which consists of any type of medium that has the potential of carrying the message to the client.
Generally, in a modern western society, direct mail through traditional post has become the standard method for delivering direct mail. Sometimes exclusive tariffs are being applied due to the large amount of mail being sent. Such an example of custom pricing is that practiced in the States for sending junk mail. The charge for doing this is lesser than usual rates, but there is a requirement that the marketers organize the mail in special ways in order to cut down the handling costs.
An entirely new industry sub sector has developed to better facilitate the creation of custom documents, cover and wrappings and generally all sorts of materials designed for direct mail marketing.
There are two different ways to support commercial products and services through direct marketing. The direct auction method is employed for products that are well known (who do not needed demonstration) precluding in this way the utilization of a vendor or a sales outlet. The process of creating potential opportunities for a sales department, unexpectedly, was preferred for merchandise that required demonstration or for expensive goods.
What the USPS calls "advertising mail" is in fact a type of direct mail using record analysis to sending people appealing offers. Such an example would be junk mail about products or services designed for golf players, sent to people who are generally interested in golf.
In most rural regions, this type of advertising was positively received, being given external factors (distance for example) that made purchasing products by mail to be more convenient. Still there are people who don’t agree with it, for which reason in the US there have been adopted laws that don’t allow the sending of promotional mail to those persons who opted out.
Another phenomenon that occurs mostly in the continental America and Europe is the delivery of promotional material with no stamp via mail, distribution firms or local publishers.
A special type of marketing, whose purpose is to obtain a straightforward, precise and proven result, is the direct response marketing method, which requires a responses by the client for the marketer ─ unlike the direct marketing strategy, where the vendor engages the prospective purchaser directly. Television is most easily employed nowadays for interactive commercials, where viewers give an "engage" response by phone, internet or other means of mass communication. Surprisingly, publications, broadcasting and tabloids generally get lower response rates. In addition, purchases by mail may be employed, by means of a mail order that the buyer sends to the seller, but it is slower and very often replaced by 1-800 numbers.
The difference between direct response ads and regular television advertisements is the fact that the latter is more interested in branding the products in the marketplace instead of expecting direct immediate responses.
In addition, there is another notable difference between direct marketing and direct response marketing, which uses intermediary broadcast media to establish a direct connection between the two parts involved, the client and the marketer.