Regardless of the specific products or services a business sells, some form of marketing is essential. It doesn't matter how good the product or service is if nobody knows it exists. A company can choose to go with direct marketing, indirect marketing or a mix of the two methods. Each type of marketing has advantages it provides for businesses.

What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is a form of advertising that influences consumers to take actionable steps in response. It is critical in direct marketing that the consumer response is measurable. For example, when a company hands out coupons for an item, it can measure and record how many of those coupons are used by the customers.

Three popular examples of direct marketing include direct mail, email and telemarketing.

Advantages of Direct Marketing

One of the main advantages of direct marketing is that it enables businesses to segment and target specific customers to deliver personalized messages. Knowing the traits of consumers allows businesses to focus their marketing on people who are likely to become customers.

A benefit of knowing which consumers are apt to respond is that businesses can optimize their marketing budget and save money on advertisements that could prove ineffective. Companies can focus on those who matter the most for their business.

Direct marketing also gives companies a way to keep in contact with their current customers. Efforts aimed at bolstering existing customer relationships work toward retaining these customers, while presenting new sales opportunities to them.

What Is Indirect Marketing?

Unlike direct marketing, companies use indirect marketing to focus on platforms where there they have no direct communication with customers. This strategy is useful for keeping customers and increasing their loyalty, as well as expanding the business and brand.

One of the common ways companies market indirectly is by using public relations to present a consistent image. A company may use media outlets to showcase and promote its brand, which informs and interests potential customers.

Other than public relations, other means of indirect marketing include social media, blogging, referrals, online reviews and search engine optimization.

Direct marketing has measurable results, but evaluating results is not that simple when it comes to indirect marketing. There are no one-on-one interactions with customers involved in indirect marketing, so to measure results, the company must take extra steps.

These steps could include sending out surveys to customers to get their feedback.

Advantages of Indirect Marketing

A company's brand and perception are essential when it comes to indirect marketing. An effective indirect marketing strategy expands a company's brand and builds its reputation as a company that is worth doing business with.

On the business side, indirect marketing is an attractive option for companies because it is much cheaper than direct marketing. With direct marketing, customer and market research is required to target the outreach efforts, whereas indirect marketing reaches a general audience.

Indirect marketing also enables outreach to groups of customers that the businesses may not concentrate on otherwise. As social media and the internet connect the world, marketing efforts by companies can reach places they never intended.

With enough time, loyalty on a large scale can develop through indirect marketing. Brands that thrive on brand loyalty include Apple, Nike and Starbucks.