Not all Online Marketing is Direct Marketing

I grew up in the direct marketing world starting with advertising agencies then moving over to the client side where success depended upon proper application of the discipline. But with everything changing faster than ever, I think we must sit back for a few minutes and get our bearings.

Let’s revisit the definitions of what direct marketing was to the earlier practitioners of the trade. The chart below does not represent all of the definitions out there. But the authors of these definitions represent some of the best-known leaders in the business over the years. (Click the image below to enlarge)

Yes, direct marketing elicits some form of response. it tracks response, applies testing as a core strategy and uses all available media to solicit a response. All of these tools characterize the direct marketing discipline.

So we are left with determining if new media fit this definition. For example, is the new “social media” concept a direct marketing strategy? Is this activity trackable or is there a “measurable response”? I submit that if this effort is not measurable, then it no longer qualifies as a direct marketing strategy.

Some online activities may require the creation of an entirely new discipline that does belong to any established marketing category. If forced to categorize it, then I would place it in the branding camp.

The measurability dilemma existed long before the advent of new media. And the explosive growth of the Internet has made the quantification challenge more complex.

Could you help expand on this idea of where these new applications Internet belongs? Clearly, some aspects of online marketing fit comfortably with the trade. But there are new ideas about how marketers should view the selling challenge that do not belong in the direct marketing camp. What is your view?

Posted on March 18, 2008 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing.