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What Is Direct Response Marketing?


Direct response marketing is designed to earn an instant response from consumers to a call-to-action embedded in the marketing message. Whether immediate sales or lead generation, successful direct response marketing campaigns create immediate action from those targeted by them.

And while direct response marketing messages can effectively raise brand awareness for certain types of products and services depending on where they exist in their lifetimes, the goal of any true direct response marketing campaign is to earn immediate return on investment (ROI).

While marketers can create direct response campaigns on various media, including radio, print, OOH, digital, and more, the most widely recognized direct response marketing success stories come from direct response television (DRTV). With a good product, an enticing offer, great creative, and a persuasive call-to-action, direct response marketing campaigns allow marketers to understand their success (or failure) more quickly than any other marketing method.

Among the key elements of any direct response marketing ad, no matter the medium:

  • A focus on the customers wants, needs, and issues. If you’re not addressing the customer about making their life better or easier, a direct response campaign will have one strike against it.

  • Urgency and scarcity is also crucial in messaging to increase response rates. “While supplies last,” “Call in the next 20 minutes,” and “This special offer expires in 48 hours,” are all examples of language that can drive urgency.

  • Strictly targeted media allows for a more personalized message that can help you achieve the customer focus noted above.

  • A compelling, clear, and direct call-to-action (CTA). Don’t muddle the message. If you’re trying to close a sale, ask for it. If you’re trying to generate a lead, ask the consumer to take the next step to drive that lead.

Key Benefits of a DR Campaign

Beyond the immediacy of response, quick understanding of ROI, and more, direct response marketing’s initial benefits are clear. But wait — there’s more:

  • It’s trackable and measurable. Direct response ads are designed for marketers to see exactly how many prospects and leads come from each campaign. That makes it easier for marketers to optimize campaigns as they go, reallocating resources to the media and messaging that is working to drive results.

  • Marketers create their own lifetime customers to whom they can deliver recurring value. Opted-in clients are nearly invaluable to marketers. These folks have already raised their hands to show interest in your message and brand.

  • And once they’ve done that, you have a direct line of communication with them about new products, upsells, and more. These prospects are now customers who want to hear from you about information they will find useful — and actionable.

Examples of Successful Direct Response Campaigns