In marketing, direct advertising or direct marketing is a method many businesses use to reach customers. Many types of advertisements simply send brands, logos or messages out into the world where they can be seen by anyone, which can have a scattered effect. Direct marketing sends materials to a specific customers, usually with particular discounts or deals included. This allows the business to send materials to only a specific segment of the market mix, which makes direct options ideal for target marketing, presenting both benefits and problems that marketers must expect.


When using direct materials to reach a target market, a large amount of customization is possible. The business does not need to stick to a general message or value offering. Instead, businesses can use databases of their customers to divide them based on past behavior and make value offerings customized to their apparent preferences. A number of direct marketing materials can be created for several customer segments if the business wants to extend its customization.

Potential Cost Savings

Direct mailing to target markets has the potential to save on marketing expenses. If the business only wants to target a particular segment, it does not have to spend money to send materials to all available consumers. Likewise, many businesses can use email and text message campaigns to use direct marketing in a transportation-friendly way, lowering costs associated with delivery. This is balanced by the costs of creating the materials themselves.

Unintended Effects

One disadvantage to direct target markets is their personal reactions to the marketing campaign. There is always a chance that the business will offend rather than attract customers. Many customers do not want to receive fliers, emails or text messages about deals. Even if businesses get permission to put customers on mailing lists, customers may not want or pay attention to recurring materials, deleting them or throwing them in the trash without looking.

Lead Times

Lead times for direct marketing materials can be longer than other, more general forms of advertising. This means that it can take a business a long time to write the marketing content, produce the associated images, secure the discounts the direct messages will provide, and print or send the messages to the target audience. If time is an important consideration in encouraging sales, direct target marketing can be problematic.