Direct response advertising (DRA) has several centuries of history. In pre-technical age, there were magazines and catalogues of the direct response advertising. People received the products they ordered by mail. The direct response advertising is a quite popular marketing tool. In the antecedent times, there were companies that made sales via mail. Later, this kind of advertising moved to the television, where people, after having watched an ad of a TV shop, could call and order directly the product of their choice. Nowadays, the DRA is spreading in the Internet.
Using the direct response advertising, an advertising company may address each consumer directly. However, it all started with the mass marketing, when they tried to cover the biggest target market segment with the lowest cost per contact. Consequently, it tended to a more detailed definition of the target market. The marketing categories divided the target market of the direct response advertising into smaller segments, for instance, it segmented the market with the people of the same sex and age category. In its turn, the niche market segmented this category to the people who are married or have children. The community or group marketing allowed advertisers to address directly people who practice the same hobbies or sports, etc, bringing them the ads related to their interests. Finally, it all grew into one-to-one marketing, where they address a consumer by name and try to meet his specific demands. A good example is a computer selling company, where they assemble the computers with parts ordered by customer.
The preciseness of covering the advertising target market often beats all other Media. The direct response advertising is mainly aimed to improve the sales level. It is not that convenient for improving the consumers' knowledge about the product or for brand asset making. In fact, the DRA is used at the point, where a consumer is to make his choice and purchase. However, the satisfaction of each single consumer improves the image of the company and evaluation of its services.
One of the advantages of DRA is a possibility to evaluate its productivity. In addition, it allows the manufacturers to make a personal contact with the consumers and to develop a relationship with them.
The negative side of DRA is its expensive cost. The print ads, coupons, mail delivery and maintaining customers' databases require many funds. The US population has become quite mobile and the customers' list has to be updated all the time.
In general, this marketing tool finds its place in the integrated marketing communications. Used properly, it may bring good results with clear advertising goals defined and the proper target customers' segmentation