What are the differences between advertising and direct marketing? Understanding the answers to this question can help you increase your response rates. In this two-part series, you’ll learn the basic differences between the two approaches, and you’ll discover how to be “direct” in six simple steps.
Advertising and direct marketing are not the same thing.
Chet Meisner, in The Complete Guide to Direct Marketing, defines these often-interchanged terms in a clear-cut manner. Within the context of what the author calls “The Strategic Marketing Pyramid,” he defines marketing as, “… the sum total of all activities that have to take place to move a product or service from seller to buyer.” This “sum total” includes a wide range of sales strategies, promotions, marketing approaches and media.1 Included in the pyramid are two activities: advertising and direct marketing. Each has a valuable place in your overall efforts.
Paraphrasing Meisner, he explains that advertising serves to build brand or awareness, while direct marketing serves to generate a trackable response that intentionally moves a customer closer to an individual sale.2
In other words, your advertising efforts build awareness about you, your company, and the benefits that you can provide. These are the “I’m here when you need me” messages. They’re important, but they do not prompt an immediate response from the people who read them; rather, they defer decision-making and delay action to a later time.