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Q. Isn't Direct Response and Direct Mail the same thing?
I hear these two terms thrown around a lot. I always thought they meant the same thing. I'm very confused.

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A. Marketing expert, Joe Gracia, responds:

Don't feel bad. A lot of people are confused about the relationship between Direct Response and Direct Mail marketing.

Hopefully, we can clear up the confusion.

No, Direct Response and Direct Mail are not the same thing.

Direct Response is a marketing strategy, while Direct Mail is one of many Marketing Vehicles that can be used to carry out whatever strategy you choose to use.

"Direct Response marketing is a marketing message that asks for a response -- an immediate action -- as opposed to Awareness Marketing that doesn't ask for any action at all."

  • A Direct Mail letter that offers you a special deal on a product and asks you to send in your payment, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Newspaper Ad that asks you to bring the printed coupon to the dealer for a discount on the product, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Telemarketer who calls you to request a donation to a local charity, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Radio Spot that promotes the offer of a free informational booklet, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A TV Infomercial that asks you to call to order a product, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Door-to-Door Salesperson who asks you to allow him to demonstrate his product or service, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Door-Hanger that asks you to call to receive a free brochure about a new service, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Flyer that asks you to call to reserve your seat at a free workshop, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Free Workshop/Seminar that asks you to purchase a product or service at the end of the presentation, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • A Web Site that asks you to sign up for their free newsletter, or request their free info-pak, is a form of Direct Response Marketing.

  • An E-mail letter that asks you to visit a new Web site, is a form of Direct Response Marketing..

  • This list could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

Is it clear now, that Direct Mail is just one of many Marketing Vehicles that can be used to deliver a Direct Response message?

Please keep in mind, that all of the above Marketing Vehicles don't have to deliver a Direct Response message. They all could be used to carry out the Awareness strategy as well.

A Direct Mail letter that merely tells your target about your new product, but never asks them to take any specific and immediate action, is not Direct Response -- it is simply an ineffective Awareness letter.

Avoid the Awareness approach and learn everything you can about the Direct Response approach to marketing, and your efforts will pay off.

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