Marketing: Meaning and Forms of Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing

Meaning of Direct Marketing

The marketing without intermediaries is called direct marketing. In this type of marketing, the producer himself encourages or motivates the customers to buy goods or services. Direct marketing helps to establish relationship, strengthen, deepen and maintain it. Different writers have defined direct marketing. The important ones have been given as follows:
According to William J. Stanton, Michaela J. Etzel and Bruce J. Walker, "Direct marketing as using advertising to contact consumers who, in turn, purchase products without visiting a retail store."
According to Philip Kotler and Gray Armstrong, "Direct marketing is marketing through various advertising media that interact directly with consumers, generally calling for the consumers to make a direct response."
Immediate reaction is expected from customers in direct marketing. Direct mail, catalogue, telephone, television and Internet etc. are widely used in direct marketing. Recently, direct marketing has become wide and popular. Producers, sellers, service companies, nonprofit organizations, catalogue merchants etc. use direct marketing.

In conclusion, the marketing done only through advertisement without help of any middlemen is called direct marketing. In this method, sellers and customers keep direct contact through different media. Advertisement is compulsory in direct marketing. Mail, telephone, television, internet etc. make it more effective.

Features of Direct Marketing

The features of direct marketing are: no middlemen, customer oriented, various forms, direct distribution channel and direct contact between producer and customers etc.

1. No middlemen

In direct marketing system, selling and buying take place keeping direct contact between marketers and customers through different media. So, no middlemen are found in this marketing. Since no middlemen work in it and no commission is given to them, the cost is saved and the customers can get goods at the cheapest price.

2. Customer oriented

In direct marketing, relationship between sellers and customers becomes deep as well as strong. The sellers give emphasis on the wants, desires of each customer. It is one-to-one marketing. As the producers remain in direct contact with customers, they make marketing mix keeping the customers at the center.

3. Forms

The channels which help to conduct direct marketing are taken as its forms. So, there are many forms of direct marketing. They are direct mail, and catalogue marketing, telemarketing, television marketing, Internet marketing, etc. Any of these forms can be direct marketing.

4. Direct channel

Marketing channel becomes direct in direct marketing. In this marketing channel, no middlemen can be found. The producers themselves deliver products to the customers directly. Customers also keep direct contact with producers or distributors through different media. Selling and buying take place directly between them. As the channel becomes short in this marketing, distribution cost also becomes least.

5. Direct contact

There is direct channel in direct marketing. Since no middlemen remain in this form, direct contact is established between sellers and customers. Producers can keep contact with customers one by one. This makes easy for the producers to know about the purchasing power, wants and interest of the customers. Direct ransacking taking place. Distribution cost is also reduced due to direct channel of distribution.

Forms of Direct Marketing

The forms of direct marketing are direct mail and catalogue marketing, telemarketing, television marketing and online shopping. This is made clear by the following figure:-

1. Direct mail and catalogue marketing

a) Direct mail marketing: The main form of direct marketing is direct mail marketing. Products can be delivered to the selected customers through post office, courier, fax, e-mail etc. Defining direct mail marketing, Kotler and Armstrong say, "Direct-mail marketing through single mailings that include letters, ads, samples, foldouts and others sales people on wings sent to prospect on mailing lists." Help of customers' list is taken to prepare mailing list. While sending mail to thousands of customers, it costs more than other channels. However, it has proved completely successful in sending books, magazines, donation, insurance etc. Direct marketing is being widely used to send new products, gifts, clothes, food grains, industrial goods etc.

b) Catalogue marketing: Producers prepare catalogues of different products and send them to selected customers through different channels, especially through mails etc. The customer's order for goods after studying descriptive catalogue.

Defining catalogue marketing Kotler and Armstrong have said, "Direct marketing through catalogue that are mailed to select list of customers or made available in stores." If anything is needed to ask, telephone is used in catalogue marketing.

2. Telemarketing

Using telephone to have contact with customers to sell any product to them directly is called telemarketing. Defining telemarketing, Kotler and Armstrong have said, "Using the telephone to sell directly to customers is telemarketing." Call center is arranged for receiving customers' calls. In this marketing, sufficient information is given to the customers to make selling easy and all information about goods or services is given through telephone. However, telemarketing has also troubled the customers. So, Association of Telemarketing has said, "We want to target people who want to be targeted." Nowadays, cellular phone has become more popular.

3. Television marketing

Using television to sell any product directly to the customers is called television marketing. There are two forms of television marketing. They are Direct Response Advertising and Home Shopping Channel. Magazines, books, CD, tape and other products are suitable for first form and second form is suitable for ornaments, dulls, clothes, equipment, electronics and other products. Quality Value Channel (QV), Home Shopping Network (HSN), Value Club of America etc. are the major Home Shopping Channels of the world.

4. Online shopping

Online shopping is electronic marketing. It is also called Internet marketing. Producer, seller, bank, transport, hotel and other organizations provide descriptive catalogue of products through computer online. Customers look at the online messages in computer and demand for wanted products staying at home. Suppose, if any customer wanted to buy CD player, she/he can look at all brand CD players in computerized catalogues and can select any of them. Defining online shopping, Kotler and Armstrong have said, "Shopping through interactive online computers services, two-way system that link consumers with sellers electronically." Online shopping has remained at its infancy as yet. Online shopping system has not become so successful as expected due to lack of low number membership and less use of computers. But, CompuServe, Prodigy, and American Online are successfully operating.

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