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Direct Versus Indirect Marketing

Today, people are exposed to around 10,000 advertisements every day. That amount is astounding. As a company, how do you compete with the 9,999 other businesses reaching out to your prospects? Better yet, how do you determine what form of advertising is the best for your company? Answering this question can serve a great deal in beating out the competition and, most importantly, attracting and retaining your consumers. While marketing takes place in hundreds of different formats, they are grouped into two categories: direct and indirect marketing.

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While marketing trends bring certain methods in and other methods out, there is no one size fits all solution. When developing a marketing plan, looking at these two categories of marketing help orient you in the right direction for contacting customers and bringing in business.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing promotes products or services to encourage an action or response from a target market. Marketing campaigns are oriented directly to potential consumers who are likely to purchase or respond. The most basic example is cold-calling—asking a customer if they are interested in buying a product or service. Email marketing, promotional letters, billboards, commercials, etc. are other examples.

Direct marketing offers measurability, targeting, and speed. By using this, you can easily measure the efficacy of a campaign by seeing who follows through with the desired action or response, and how many. Along with this, you can specifically target the campaign towards those you feel are more likely to buy. Direct marketing provides fast results, especially when used correctly, measured well, and targeted appropriately.

On the flip side, there are downsides to direct marketing. Modern audiences are less likely to tolerate heavy-handed marketing tactics. So, it is more likely to create a sour taste in people’s mouths when used poorly. It’s important to carefully consider how often and in what locations the campaigns should be used.

Indirect Marketing

Indirect marketing is focused on nurturing a positive, long-term relationship with potential customers through trust and familiarity. It’s designed to give a positive impression to audiences, so they’ll be more inclined to buy when they have a need. There are fewer expectations for immediate sales and, instead, an objective for long-term effects. Examples include SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media, referrals, and public relations.

Indirect marketing is cost-effective, provides long-term impact, and has the power to create loyal relationships because it lets the customer come to you and decide if they want to do business. It allows customers to judge whether your company is trustworthy or not. With many forms of indirect marketing, such as blogs or social media, a majority of the marketing is free, which makes attracting loyal customers more cost-effective than direct marketing. To put the cherry on top, by creating loyal customer relationships you’ll see a longer-term benefit.

Using indirect marketing is playing the long game. It can take a long time to see positive impact from this kind of marketing. It’s a lot like fishing—you must wait for the fish to first come across your bait, then see if they will bite. It takes both patience and determination. It can be difficult to put in consistent effort without seeing any reward, but to be successful, you must continue your marketing efforts. Blogs, for example, are not posted once every blue moon, but on a routine basis.

Each method of marketing comes with its own costs and benefits, so there’s no perfect, end all be all solution. Instead, it’s often a combination of direct and indirect marketing, used correctly, consistently and appropriately, that makes up a successful, strategic marketing plan. Here at Asher we can help formulate and create that plan so that you can gain and maintain your customer base.

More of our thoughts

As we bid farewell to 2023, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we've had as an agency this year.