You may have noticed that we are great believers in both Direct Marketing and Direct Response Marketing  (DRM).

And no, they are not the same!

Direct Response Marketing you might have guessed, asks for a direct response from the audience. It is not limited to sales e-mails or letters sent to individuals, it is a method for ALL advertising.  

Direct Marketing, on the other hand, is only focused on individuals. It looks to build and profit from your direct relationship with them.

Direct Marketing is directly opposed to ‘indirect marketing’. Whereas Direct Response Marketing (DRM) is opposed to what is often called ‘mass marketing’, ‘branding’ or ‘brand marketing’. 

In contrast to DRM, the aim of non-DRM marketing is simply to get your brand in front of your customers and prospects enough times so that when they are ready to buy; they have positive feelings about you and so buy John_Wanamakeryour products and services. Think Coca Cola, McDonalds, Apple and Gillette.

This type of marketing is often summed up by the now infamous remark of John Wanamaker (left);

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”



At risk of stating the obvious; advertising is either DRM, or it isn’t. You either asks for a response, or you don’t.

At this point I’d like to point out that ‘inbound’ techniques like Pay Per Click (PPC), DO count as DRM. PPC counts because it asks the audience to do something specific: click the link. This action is immediately measurable.

All DRM is measurable: You know if the audience did what you asked! And so if you find yourself wasting half your money with DRM, you know exactly where to look!*

Now just as advertising is either DRM, or not DRM, it is also either direct, or indirect.

Indirect Marketing is simply what Direct Marketing is not. Indirect marketing is advertising where you are NOT targeting specific individuals with your communication.

So again to keep things simple; Direct Marketing can never be indirect!


Direct Marketing can be DRM or Non-DRM, and

Indirect Marketing can be DRM or Non-DRM

This  is where many come unstuck. Plus throw in the inbound vs outbound debate (subscribe to my updates for a post soon on why you should quit worrying about this difference) and everything can get very confusing.

Fortunately, if you are not a large corporation with a huge marketing budget, then I have good news

You do not need to worry about wasting half your marketing budget!

For most businesses looking to build a sales pipeline; the focus needs to be close to 100% on Direct Response Marketing. That is; advertising which calls for a response and as such is easily measurable. And yes in my opinion this can include modern inbound and digital marketing methods such as content marketing, if done right. 


Once you have a pipeline you may experiment with more non-DRM methods, but only in so far as they are Direct Marketing, i.e. Focused on the individual.

And finally, and only when you have a marketing machine pumping out full throttle a steady stream of reliable, qualified, sales-ready leads; should you consider expanding into indirect, Non-DRM marketing.

[I will be looking at this topic further in ‘why you should forget about brand marketing’ – sign up to my marketing tips and I’ll let you know when it’s posted.]

If this post has been useful, or you disagree; let’s discuss in the comments below. I’d especially like to hear from you if you don’t feel my article has helped your understanding of this topic at all!

But just before you do, I’d like to add one important point:

I don’t see this as a debate on the importance of your brand – a very ambiguous term! Let it be clear that in so far as your business has the ability to bring in and retain customers, you are building a marketing machine. If this is what you refer to as your brand, then this is very important indeed! In this way; each DRM communication IS an opportunity for you to BUILD your brand. In fact, every communication is an opportunity to build your brand. [This post impacts mine and my company’s brand]

You do not want to be sending out conflicting messages here, and so consistency across all your marketing materials is key. That is why it is so important to integrate your marketing methods and collateral across the board.

So let’s try not to give ourselves a marketing headache.

If you do happen to be a marketing migraine sufferer, why not try my regular pill:

 Click here to sign up for marketing tips straight to your inbox. (Yes I’m now asking for a response!)

*There is an argument that poor performing DRM communications may still play an important role in the sales cycle and buyer journey. If you fear this to be the case in your situation, I have a suggestion. E-mail me, Ben, at and I will be very happy to share.