What's better than a Direct Marketing or Indirect Marketing

Direct Marketing vs Indirect Marketing requires a serious analysis to be understood. Both systems originate from the marketing communication method called “promotion”. Communication between the buyer and the seller is one of the most important points in marketing. Sans proper communication, there’s a high chance of misunderstanding cropping up between the two sides, eventually leading to chaos in the marketplace. Let’s check out the difference between the two and how they can be combined to reap the benefits.

Direct marketing vs Indirect marketing infographics

direct marketing vs indirect marketing infographics

Direct marketing

Direct marketing, like magazine and newspaper advertisements, or TV commercials, help you to target a particular demographic section with a sales pitch, especially built for them. But do we get the information required to build these marketing campaigns? Even not so long ago, companies would spend huge sums of money on market research that was largely conducted in person, or on the telephone.

That’s no longer the case these days with internet arriving as the de facto channel for providing information. Besides, advent of the personal computer and easy access to internet via smartphones and tabs, direct marketing research no longer requires any exorbitant amount of money. All the information is available at the click of a mouse button.

Just because conventional marketing spawned the creation of various indirect marketing tactics, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used together. In fact, combining the two approaches provide important information that you have collected from the indirect techniques to use in direct marketing campaigns later.

Direct Marketing words arrow bow aiming new prospects customers

What direct marketing can do

Direct marketing techniques like TV and magazine advertisements, telemarketing, and billboards, allow you to zero in on your market with customized messages.

There are of course some downsides to this method though. The cost factor is one of the most obvious of them all. Direct marketing can be very expensive, which may have a big impact on the return on investment, particularly if you are the owner of a small business.

But the speed at which you begin to see the return, counterbalances the cost involved in developing and running the campaigns. The returns can be measured easily, especially if the campaigns are well made and warmly received.


But how does one ensure that your campaigns align the audience you want to target? Earlier, companies used to spend thousands of dollars on market research on what customers want. The campaigns were often carried out with the only goal to increase customer trust in the brand.

This, however, is not the case anymore. People nowadays want their business to be service oriented which often makes or breaks a buyer-seller relationship. With the spread of the internet and the subsequent reach of the social media, it’s now both cheaper and easier than earlier to forge such a relationship with your customer.

All it takes is a team, or even in some cases just an individual, using indirect marketing methods to collect the type of information required for creating a campaign for the chosen customer section.

Indirect marketing: Focusing on customer rapport

Indirect marketing involves newsletters, blogs, social media account promotion and similar other activities that don’t physically sell anything. These allow a business to build customer loyalty and trust and also build a rapport with potential buyers by not going for ambush marketing when they’re interacting with you.

In fact, a positive interaction over the social media platform could lead your audience being converted from probable customers to brand evangelists. Indirect marketing can lead to this and in turn cause a quantum leap to your return on investment. The best part of the whole exercise is that the cost involved is minimum.

indirect marketing

The only cost usually associated with indirect marketing, is the remuneration to the marketers, or marketing interns, who are given the task of writing the copies and working with all the social media accounts that you have. It could be Twitter, Facebook, or visual medium services like Instagram.

Indirect marketing, like the ones mentioned above, are not entirely without downsides. For instance, it takes time to establish your presence over the social media platform. There are many sources about how you can market on social media and several new variants are constantly cropping up. But it takes time to get used to the rules of the game like search engine optimization (SEO) and hashtags.

Another downside that indirect marketers often face is the difficulty to measure the results from these methods. A re-blog, or a re-tweet, never means that a person is interested to buy your product or service. Maybe, combining both the techniques with information collected from various indirect marketing campaigns, you can happily land useful data that extends great benefit to your business.

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What’s the difference between direct and indirect marketing?

Both direct and indirect marketing are methods to establish communication with customers. But they usually differ on some key factors.

  • Purpose: Purpose of Direct marketing is targeting a selected customer segment. Its purpose is to press customers to buy a product or service. The marketer, because of the advantages of direct communication, has the ability to be aggressive in convincing the potential customer. The purpose of indirect marketing, on the other hand, is to remind of a product or service which customers are already aware of. Indirect marketing induces brand recognition. For a mass-market product, like free moving commercial goods, repetitive communication is important and serves the purpose well.
  • Response: In direct marketing, the marketer can record the immediate response of the audience because it’s selected and targeted, involving one-to-one direct communication. But the same is not available in indirect marketing because its mass media oriented i.e. one-to-all communication.

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Costs involved in indirect marketing are also lower in comparison. It uses tool like emails and internet, and personal referrals that are much cheaper compared to the traditional advertising modes like the print media and television. Direct marketing, on its part uses the latter methods that are costlier than other promotional channels.

  • Target audience: The audience of direct marketing is a well-targeted and selected group. And thus, sans the correct analysis of the target audience, direct marketing may turn out as a disaster for the promoter. Indirect marketing, as already said, is mass media oriented. In most cases, they don’t have any traceable target audiences.

Both direct and indirect marketing are communication tools for informing about a product or service to the customer. But it’s the process of delivery and selection of customers that leads to the difference. Breaking down further, it’ll reveal that the response, purpose, targeted audience and cost may differ considerably between the two marketing channels.

indirect marketing cars

So which one for you?

That, undeniably, is the biggest question. Should you invest more in indirect marketing and completely ignore direct marketing? Or should you do it the other way round because that suits you better? Most companies face this dilemma and there are more that go on to make their biggest mistake i.e. paying no attention to the strengths and weaknesses. Opinion may differ among the management. While one section may stand besides indirect marketing, like telling stories, building a good rapport with the target audience, and setting up loyalty and sharing values, the other may demand swift action and faster results and naturally tilt towards direct marketing.

indirect advertising

Combining the two, reaping benefits of both

Things will now begin to become more interesting. With the possibility to build a stronger and closer relationship with your customer via social media, there’s a great potential to harvest information from these sources. This information, in turn can be applied in your direct marketing campaign.

Information like the TV channels watched by your target audience, or the newspapers and magazines they read (both traditional and online), and even the time they will be online to check their email, are all required to ensure that you generate enough buzz for your buck before you go for print, or send that sales offer to those in your contact list.

Collecting information and using it properly can lead you to pocket a larger return on investment. With a small financial input from your side, you can rake in the maximum from direct marketing campaigns. Combining the traditional and older techniques with the newer and less direct tactics, you can ensure return on every dollar spent behind the campaigns.

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Indirect it is?

An effective marketing strategy will mix the best of both worlds of direct and indirect marketing. The benefits and drawbacks of each strategy must be clearly laid out. But the way marketing has evolved over the years, the signs are obvious that the indirect way is the future. The key to success is to focus your resources on indirect marketing. It, however, doesn’t mean that you completely abandon your direct marketing channels. You can combine the two and leverage the respective strong points and bridge the weaker ones.

The HubSpot State of Inbound (2014) report says that budgets for indirect (inbound) marketing have been increasing significantly in the last few years. If you are wondering whether blogging will be of any use, the report says, “A company’s blog produces the strongest tie-in with a positive return on investment, 13 times more than marketers without a blog.”

Consider a direct-indirect marketing mix under the following circumstances.

  • If you already have an established business: That is, you have a target audience to cater and people are already buying the products and spending money. But you can’t stop there. With sales flowing in steadily, you have to put some more effort regarding long-term inbound marketing strategies.
  • If you have a startup: Time is a very important factor for all new companies. You should put in place your indirect marketing plan as soon as possible. Social media and blogs are a great way to kick-start your campaign. Blog posts will help to build brand recognition and interest for your business. Mix the strategy with some direct marketing methods. For instance, provide social media and print advertisement links on your blog posts, or handout flyers with direction that gives more information.

Direct Marketing vs Indirect Marketing – Final words

Knowing the difference between the two marketing systems and the way to harmonize them to get the maximum from your business is what’ll set you apart from the rest of the pack. Solely depending on one may not give the desired results.

Remember, direct marketing is all about being aggressive and chasing your customers with sales pitches that may or may not lead to revenue. Indirect marketing is all about connecting with the audience, giving them information, and getting customers come to you.

Take a stock of the marketing activities carried out thus far. If you realize that customers, or a large part of it, is distancing away from you, start to tone down with the proper hooks and begin adding some value to them.

  • Start to sell more personal stories
  • Share metaphors
  • Connect with the target audience and find ways to find out how to help them.
  • Build on those relationships.

If you realize that you are somewhat obsessed with jabs and asking for no sales, when the time is proper, start focusing to get comfortable. If it makes you to break into hives, try the following.

  • Practice closing your sales with a family member, business partner or friend i.e. someone who you know will give you a constructive, honest, and unbiased feedback.
  • Designate a “close” official—someone who can close the deal—to prime the sale after you have brought in the customer.

Businesses are no longer carried out the way they used to be. The game has much changed and those who manage to keep abreast of the changes are likely to build a long-term and sustainable business. There’s an art to pitch products and services. Knowing how to master the art is the key to whether your business survives the test of time.

With direct marketing leading the way, ably supported by indirect marketing, your marketing mix can rake in both prompt revenues as well as customer loyalty in the long term. Sustainable indirect marketing helps to build brand recall. It ultimately benefits your business.

Recommended Articles

Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the Direct marketing or Indirect Marketing so just go through the link.

  1. Top 10 Important of Marketing Research 
  2. Direct Marketing Benefits | Advantages And Disadvantages | Types
  3. 10 Best Tools of Direct Marketing | Business Marketing Tools
  4. 11 Important Skills a Digital Marketing Manager Must Have