Why Direct Marketing isn’t Going Anywhere.

Direct marketing is somewhat difficult to define in one sentence. However, the authors of Contemporary Direct and Interactive MarketingSpiller and Baier, define direct marketing as, “…a database-driven interactive process of directly communicating with targeted customers or prospects using any medium to obtain a measurable response or transaction via one or multiple channels.” The two words that stick out in this definition are: communicating and measurable. To put it simply, direct marketing in 2016 is all about utilizing essential data obtained through lists to personalize a consumers experience with your brand through data-driven techniques. Without a proper list with current data, direct marketing techniques such as direct mail and emails may not prove beneficial.

Measurable, data-driven services that support direct marketing techniques such as direct mail, email, and display advertising grew 7.3% or $11.6 billion in 2015 alone, that number is expected to grow to $11.72 billion this year, according to the Direct Marketing Association. In terms of communicating, the Winterberry Group stated that 90.2% of global panelists specified their efforts are focused on positioning predictive analytics and segmentation to better target and engage key audiences. In other words, it is important to stay focused on the consumer and personalizing their customer journey by analyzing collected data.


Direct marketing has grown significantly over the past few years and it seems as though it is here to stay.  In 2015, direct mail accounted for $46.8 billion of spending and is expected to rise to $47 billion in 2016. According to Magna Global, programmatic video already accounts for one-third of total digital video spending in the US, and that number will rise to two-thirds of total video spending by 2019.

Although my initial response to print media was to toss it out, I quickly found that there are many benefits to keeping print media around. Even though social media usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010 with 35% reporting using social media, compared to just 2% in 2005, that is not enough to say goodbye to print media.

Pew _ SM Data
Pew Research Center, 2015

It is not enough to just assume your audience will be following your every move on social media, which is just one reason why print media can be helpful when trying to reach those who are offline. Jonathan Mitchell of Arjowiggins Creative Papers Research has stated that cross media campaigns deliver the highest response rates. Depending on the goal of a brand’s marketing strategy, print media can be used to push more consumers online to visit your site.

Has your company integrated direct marketing? If so, has it helped you reach a target audience that you may not have reached on social media or online marketing?

One thought on “Why Direct Marketing isn’t Going Anywhere.

  1. I agree…direct mail isn’t going anywhere! Direct mail is a marketing technique that offers a personalized targeted message directly to current and potential customers to promote products and services. Direct mail is a great tool to cultivate the customer relationship and drive traffic to emerging media such as websites, mobile apps, or social media networks. Additionally, email marketing is one of the most powerful direct marketing tools used today. Email marketing is an easy, affordable, actionable, and highly effective marketing channel used to reach specific consumers through targeted messages. According to Devaney and Stein (2013), “Email is effective because it’s permission-based. The people on your email list have given you the go-ahead to send them messages. They’re bought in”. That’s why it’s important for marketers to develop an integrated marketing plan (which includes direct marketing) to effectively and efficiently communicate the brand value to the consumer and build long-lasting customer relationships.

    Devaney, T., & Stein, T. (2013, October 1). Why Email Is Still More Effective Than Social Media Marketing. Forbes. Retrieved October 5, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/capitalonespark/2013/10/01/why-email-is-still-more-effective-than-social-media-marketing/


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