Wading through marketing jargon like ‘direct and indirect marketing’ is inevitable if you run your own business. As your friendly local digital marketing agency, we thought we’d help out by explaining what it means, and how it works.
What is direct marketing?
In a nutshell, direct marketing is exactly how it sounds – direct. It’s essentially when a business reaches out and says “look at us, this is what we can do for you”. Examples of direct marketing include sales calls, print/email advertisements, direct mail or paid advertising on social media.
The benefits of direct marketing
The main benefit of direct marketing is how useful it is for boost sales and leads very quickly. Direct marketing also tends to generate a direct result, such as making a sale, so it’s pretty straightforward to measure the results and see if a campaign is doing well.
The downside to direct marketing
The downside is that direct marketing tends to need a bigger budget than its indirect cousin. Direct marketing methods are a bit like cooking with gas. They work fast, but once you switch the money off, things cool down very quickly. This is why direct marketing typically demands a larger investment as it’s something that needs to be done over and over for maximum effect.
Sending out direct mail or running a PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign can cost a lot of money, with the effect only lasting a short period of time before you need to try another approach.
There’s definitely a place for this sort of marketing, but many of us are wise to marketing strategies by now and tune out obvious promotional material. That means you’ll have to do a great deal of research into what direct marketing strategies work with your target audience.
What is indirect marketing?
While direct marketing is the traditional way of reaching customers that most of us are familiar with, indirect marketing is a newer, more subtle method.
Examples of indirect marketing include SEO, blog posts, sponsorships, referrals, online reviews, social media influences or product placements. Indirect marketing shows why a brand is relevant and desirable, rather than tells. It’s more about sowing the seeds, and getting customers to come to you.
The benefits of indirect marketing
Indirect marketing is a powerful tool for building brand recognition and loyalty in the context of what it is that you do. For instance, a sports personality with experience and respect recommends a particular sportswear brand.
This is indirect marketing, and it tells the audience that the brand is someone they can trust. SEO yields your website as a search result which is relevant to the search term – it makes you easier to find, and more credible too. Indirect marketing is a long-term game that, when played right, builds a solid, lasting reputation.
The downside of indirect marketing
The success of some indirect marketing methods are more difficult to measure than others. SEO campaigns can often show an increase in traffic and in conversions, but you have to be in it long enough to measure the growth. PPC is instant results which drop off again once the campaign stops. Organic SEO is a slower grower, but longer lasting.
Other areas of indirect marketing, such as campaigns to build brand recognition can be a more difficult thing to quantify. You might not see an immediate return on your investment, which can be frustrating.
Which one is right for your business?
There’s no simple answer here. Ideally, a combination of both, particularly if using indirect campaigns to keep things running, and a direct campaign for a particular project such as a product launch. If budgets are tight, then focusing on indirect marketing will help to grow your online presence, and build trust within your industry. Nothing is stopping you from occasionally dipping into some direct marketing along the way.
Whatever marketing strategies you try out, make sure you’re monitoring your website analytics and measuring the results as closely as you can. The results you get will be invaluable data you can use to improve your campaigns in the future.
To see how we might be able to help you with long term, stable growth, ask us about a free SEO and digital marketing audit.