Direct marketing is an often misunderstood discipline within the broader scope of the marketing practice. Some businesses are built entirely on the direct response model, while for others, brands may use direct as simply a support tool to their wider consumer marketing efforts.
What’s important to understand are the core differences between the two approaches. In the typical/traditional construct, producers sell to consumers through any number of intermediaries, depending on the category. There may be one, two, or even three intermediaries that “separate” the producer from the consumer. (See image above.)
In this case, there may be multiple marketing messages for the consumer to decipher: one from the producer about the brand, one from the retailer about sales periods and specials, and maybe even messages from another party, like a centralized organization interested in spurring category sales (think Milk Board, or the Beef Checkoff, as examples.)