Direct marketing is a difficult term to define. Collectively it accounts for many varied services such as appointment setting, email marketing, data cleansing, data brokering, direct sales, data supply, lead generation etc and encompasses usually a target driven exercise to make direct contact with an identified audience that research has shown should be interested in a particular service or product.
One key element is that it is nearly always fueled by data and as such company's like ours rely heavily on data cleansing, data supply and data brokering services in order to allow us to successfully carry out the other ranges of services on a one to one basis be it either business to consumer or on a business to business level.
"Direct Marketing produces or uses data from interactions with customers or prospects in order to target marketing activity, generate continuing business and maintain control over market expenditure" (IDM Institute of direct marketing).
Direct marketing is not quite as simple as it may first appear and requires a lot of logical and creativity skills to implement into business models effectively. Campaigns usually involve several aspects, foe example, a car dealership may employ a direct marketing company to cleanse their data. Then they may send out targeted emails and/or brochures to certain areas based on wealth, age etc featuring certain brands and models dependant on demographic breakdown. As the data has been cleansed it means the information sent out should reach a higher percentage of the correct target audience and the emails can have built in tracking to report back exactly how received and opened the email and even who clicked on through to the web site.
Armed with this information the company could then use telesales agents to market themselves better.
Recent online improvements has meant that the direct marketing world has had to adapt to new scenarios and methods very quickly and most companies are beginning to see the importance of today's low cost mediums like email, voip, and websites as marketing vehicles and as means of generating new business.