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Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is the use of consumer-direct channels to reach and deliver goods and services to customers without using marketing middlemen. Direct marketers can use a number of channels to reach individual prospects and customers: direct mail, catalog marketing, telemarketing, interactive TV, kiosks, Web sites, and mobile devices. They often seek a measurable response, typically a customer order, through direct-order marketing. Direct marketing has been a fast-growing avenue, partly in response to the high and increasing costs of reaching business markets through a sales force. Direct marketing has been outpacing U.S. retail sales. It produced $2.05 trillion in sales in 2012, accounting for approximately 8.7 percent of GDP.2

The Benefits of Direct Marketing

Consumers short of time and tired of traffic and parking headaches appreciate toll-free phone numbers, always-open Web sites, next-day delivery, and direct marketers’ commitment to customer service. In addition, many chain stores have dropped slower-moving specialty items, creating an opportunity for direct marketers to promote these to interested buyers instead. Direct marketers benefit as well: They can buy a list containing the names of almost any group (left-handed people, millionaires), customize and personalize messages to build customer relationships, reach interested prospects at the right moment, easily test alternative media and messages, and measure responses to determine profitability.

 
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