The Role of Direct Marketing in the IMC Program

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Long the stepchild of the promotional mix, direct marketing is now becoming an important component in the integrated marketing programs of many organizations. In fact, direct-marketing activities support and are supported by other elements of the promotional mix.

Combining Direct Marketing with Advertising Obviously, direct marketing is in itself a form of advertising. Whether through mail, print, or TV, the direct-response offer is an ad. It usually contains a toll-free or 900 number or a form that requests mailing information. Sometimes the ad supports the direct-selling effort. For example, Victoria's Secret runs image ads to support its store and catalog sales. Both Marlboro and Benson & Hedges advertise their cigarettes, achieving a carryover effect of their image to their direct-response merchandise catalogs. Direct-response ads or infomercials are also referred to in retail outlet displays. Sometimes an advertisement will be sent through direct mail. CBS has tied into a Blockbuster video mailer to advertise its new fall lineup and offer a sneak-preview CD.

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