Direct Marketing is the total of all activities by which the seller who direct efforts to a target audience using one or more media for the purpose of soliciting a response by phone, mail, the internet or personal visit from a prospective customer. It can be meant as having as few marketing intermediaries as possible between the seller and the buyer.
Traditionally Direct Marketing meant a direct interaction between the buyer and the seller devoid of any marketing intermediary. The best example can be a rythu bazaar (an Indian concept where the farmer comes to the market place and sells his product directly to the end consumer). This way the costs of distribution can be saved and the benefit can be shared between the buyer and the seller.
The Advantages of direct marketing is that the consumers can be reached selectively, consumers can be segmented, and they can be reached with better frequency. The seller can plan his campaign to be specific and the programs can be made flexible. Timing can be monitored. Programs can be personalized. Direct marketing is more economical and the measurement of effectiveness of the promotion can be quite accurate so that possible interventions and corrective actions can be initiated.
The disadvantages of direct marketing can be that the image of the direct marketer might not be as glamorous and sweeping as that of a marketer whom used TV, and Press advertising. TV and Press make the marketers appear big and they will be perceived as big companies. Content support in direct marketing might also be difficult as the maker of the product might not be the best person to market it too. That is the concept of different horses for different races come into the picture. Production and marketing are two different ball games and may be the same person might not be the best person for both the jobs.