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Direct Marketing leads to quicker results than Indirect Marketing?

Phil Kotler, 1975 considers “Marketing to be the analysis, planning, implementation, and control of carefully formulated programs which are designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives. It relies heavily on designing the organization’s offering in terms of the target markets’ needs and desires, and on using effective pricing, communication, and distribution to inform, motivate, and service the markets”.

Marketing represents a broad business activity which aims to boost customer awareness of products offered by a specific company through different marketing techniques and tools. Furthermore, it is a process of identification, anticipation and satisfaction of customer needs and wants in order to develop customer loyalty and attain organizational purposes.

Direct and indirect marketing sustain each other, they must be combined to reap the benefits of both.

Smith & Taylor, 2005 defines direct marketing as the distribution of information, products or services through any advertising medium that invites the individual to respond directly to the advertiser.

“Indirect marketing is the process of communicating brand cues after developing recognition as a brand through direct marketing tools.” as Shehzadi, et al. (2010) states.

For instance, PPC campaigns are part of direct marketing being designed to bring into the attention of online customers a product or service to be purchased. If the public will buy the product advertised online, it depends on the advertiser and the way the ad is built and message communicated. Nowadays, the purchase process of online products became easier and faster for customers, being seen as a convenient way for both buyers and marketers.

Indirect marketing, part of the promotional mix, brings companies’ products in front of their consumers by using: word of mouth, social media, newsletters, videos, e-books or PR. Marketers use indirect marketing after they made the brand known to the public through direct marketing and wish to maintain its interest alive, attain customer satisfaction and build loyalty.

Organizations see direct marketing as an important element of marketing communication, to connect with customers, sell and find out their opinions, impressions about a specific product and improve it for total customer satisfaction. To beat the competition, marketers keep an eye on customers’ responses and suggestions about the product and assess their feedback to make the right decision about product improvement.

However, to attract and retain customers, companies have to provide affordable and quality products/services and implement sales promotion strategies such as discounts or BOGOF (buy one, get one free). They connect customers emotionally with products and strong relationships are built and maintained.

Door-to-door selling could be an efficient selling technique for companies acting in a particular domain, as NGO’s for example. Potential customers can be approached face-to-face, in a psychological manner by the salesperson who has the freedom to adapt the speech according to the individual’s reactions and responses.

Direct marketing implies important advertising methods that support the selling process:

1. Door-to-door selling
2. Interactive consumer websites
3. Telephone selling
4. Indoor & outdoor advertising
5. Online display ads
6. Catalog distribution
7. Yellow pages online & offline
8. Promotional letters
9. Mobile messaging
10. TV home-shopping channels
11. Rdio advertisement
12. Newspaper/magazines advertising
13. Fliers
14. Direct mail

Through direct marketing or direct selling, marketers interact directly with target market to convey a specific message about a new company / product / service and foster a positive behavioral response from the audience. It is about advertising and the techniques used so the message can reach the target audience, trigger its buying decision and generate positive effects for the organization.

While direct marketing involves two-way communications with consumers, indirect marketing means passive and one-way messages to a target audience. Therefore, the public responds better to direct marketing and marketers gain results through lead generation. feedback, conversion rates, etc. . In this way, companies can assess easily brand awareness and recognition among customers.

Google Analytics provides data about organic campaigns and useful reports about website’s visitors and how engaged they are with the products / services / content can be generated.

When approaching indirect marketing activity, marketers use symbolic representations to get customers familiar with their brands, ‘position’ them in their minds and stimulate buying desire.

Symbolic representations:

Celebrity endorsement
Music (jingle)
Design (package, shop)

In some cases, customers could be more responsive to indirect marketing than direct marketing because they became aware of marketer’s intentions and became irritated by cold calls, online/offline ads or direct mail. Hence,  most of them see these as irritating methods and refuse to be psychologically manipulated by ads.

To get to know the audience and decide which methods to implement (direct or indirect marketing or both simultaneously) not to annoy potential customers, marketers need to be prepared to conduct market research.

And to know if direct marketing leads to better results than indirect marketing, marketers have to test strategies and explore different possibilities.

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