The Process of Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is effective, because it’s grounded in tried and true principles.  Sure the ways to communicate have changed significantly over the last decade, but it’s nice to rely on measured results. In fact, we think it’s helpful to budget your direct marketing dollars just like you would any other investment in your business.  You wouldn’t consider buying a significant piece of equipment unless you knew your expected rate of return (ROI) so why would you invest in a direct marketing campaign without the same stated objectives.

 We know the purpose of direct marketing is to generate a response, however that response may not directly be a sale. The more complex the product, the more steps required to make the sale. Sometimes this is referred to as 1-step vs. 2-step marketing. The ROI can still be predicted it just needs to be tracked differently.

 Here is a comparison of 1-step vs. 2-step:


One vs. Two Step

Type of Product


One Step Simple Receives promotion orders product.  
Two Step Expensive / Complicated 1. Request more information, a free trial or sample.
    2. Sale converted through sales person, telemarketer, or web site.


Once realistic objectives are understood and the response mechanism defined, the rest of the directing marketing process follows a logical progression.

Six Step Direct Marketing Process:

  1. Set goals and objectives
  2. Determine the response mechanism
  3. Identify the target audience
  4. Choose the marketing channels
  5. Produce the campaign
  6. Review the results and reinvest

 The last item “Review the Results and Reinvest“ cannot be over emphasized.  No plan is perfect. Just like implementing a new product line or investing in a new piece of equipment, direct marketing has a learning curve involved. It’s about measuring the outcomes and adjusting to apply what’s been learned.