Marketing Channels and Direct Marketing

            Customers often do not like getting email marketing messages, text messages (SMS) from companies about offers, and telemarketing calls because they feel like they are encroaching on their private lives and space.  These marketing methods are some direct marketing methods that are commonly employed to sell products and services.  In addition to direct marketing, middlemen are often used to promote products, often using direct marketing techniques.  Despite the evolution of digital marketing and social media marketing, direct marketing is still relevant today.

Direct Marketing

            Direct marketing is an advertising campaign that involves direct communication from the business to the consumer to elicit a measurable action (Kiwak, n.d.).  There are several different ways to direct market.  Telemarketing is still commonplace, where a business has marketing representatives calling prospects on a list.  Mailers and postcards used to be common.  Now, most companies use use email or text messaging (SMS) campaigns for their direct communication to customers. Voicemail marketing, grassroots community marketing, mailing inserts, marketing using mobile apps, and online tools that allow for direct marketing are also used (Kiwak, n.d.).

            Direct marketing channels work for any product or service but are not as effective or efficient as social media for most products and services.  Many people view direct marketing as annoying, especially direct mail, telemarketing, and email marketing.  It is also difficult to keep customers engaged with direct marketing (Webb, 2019).  Social media marketing, however, is more impactful and engaging, less costly, and has a potentially global reach.  In addition to better exposure, it social media allows for better market segmentation so that specific groups of customers can be targeted (Dowd, 2021).  Although direct marketing channels work for products, at large scale it is very expensive and less efficient compared to other marketing approaches like social media marketing.


            Middlemen are intermediaries in the distribution chain, which often perform their own marketing efforts.    Middlemen may be wholesalers, retailers, resellers, agents, affiliate marketers and brokers.  They are responsible for product placement and delivery as well as finding the right markets for a product or service (Adams, 2019).  In recent times, these middlemen have become online resellers and retailers, such as eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba, who market the product and sell the product from on behalf of the seller.  They charge a portion of the revenue for the use of their systems and their marketing and promotional efforts.

            Middlemen commonly not only have access to markets, knowledge of markets, and advertising resources to effectively reach those markets, but they can take on some of the risk and responsibility of the transaction, shipping, and inventory.  The middleman brings the products and services to customers that the selling company normally would not reach (Akers, n.d.).

What Products are Commonly Bought Through Direct Marketing

            Life insurance and real estate are things that are often purchased through middlemen, using direct marketing methods like telemarketing, email marketing, and direct mail.  For instance, when a consumer buys insurance, they speak to an insurance agent, not State Farm or Allstate.  When a consumer buys real estate, they speak with a real estate agent, not the seller.  Emails appear in email inboxes announcing nearby homes for sale.  Mailers arrive in mailboxes with special offers for insurance.  Those efforts are performed by the middlemen.

            Direct marketing is effective for selling products like Ridge Wallets and the newest Google Pixel, as emails arrive daily in the email inbox regarding these products.  Consumers may purchase those products using a promotional coupon code offered through the email marketing.  Why would a consumer buy a product through direct marketing?  Often there are promotional sales or discounts offered through direct marketing that make the price advantageous to the customer above other channels.


            Direct marketing is still a viable marketing technique, although social media marketing is now a highly used marketing method in the digital age.  Email marketing is a form of direct marketing, as is text message (SMS) marketing, which accounts for hundreds of messages every day in consumers’ mailboxes.  Middlemen use many techniques of direct marketing and social marketing but take the promotional load off of the selling company and reach out to the markets themselves.  Direct marketing can be used for almost any product or service, but is not effective or efficient at scale for many products, and it is often an annoyance to customers.

by Art Ocain


Adams, D. (2019, March 12). What is the Middleman in Marketing?

Akers, H. (n.d.). What is the Middleman in Marketing?

Dowd, M. (2021, November 2). The Advantages of Using Social Media Marketing.

Kiwak, K. (n.d.). Direct Marketing.

Webb, J. (2019, June 19). How to overcome direct marketing challenges.

Published by Art Ocain

I am a DevOps advocate, not because I am a developer (I’m not), but because of the cultural shift it represents and the agility it gains. I am also a fan of the theory of constraints and applying constraint management to all areas of business: sales, finance, planning, billing, and all areas of operations. My speaking: I have done a lot of public speaking in my various roles over the years, including presentations at SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Central PA Chamber of Commerce events as well as events that I have organized at MePush. My writing: I write a lot. Blog articles on the MePush site, press-releases for upcoming events to media contracts, posts on LinkedIn (, presentations on Slideshare (, posts on the Microsoft Tech Community, articles on Medium (, and posts on Quora ( I am always looking for new places to write, as well. My certifications: ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Web Application Security Professional (CWASP), Certified Data Privacy Practitioner (CDPP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), VMware Certified Professional (VCP-DCV), Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE), Microsoft 365 Security Administrator, Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator, Azure Administrator, Azure Security Administrator, Azure Architect, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, ITIL v4 Foundations, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner See certification badges on Acclaim here: My experience: I have a lot of experience from developing a great company with great people and culture to spinning up an impressive DevOps practice and designing impressive solutions. I have been a project manager, a President, a COO, a CTO, and an incident response coordinator. From architecting cloud solutions down to the nitty-gritty of replacing hardware, I have done it all. When it comes to technical leadership, I am the go-to for many companies. I have grown businesses and built brands. I have been a coach and a mentor, developing the skills and careers of those in my company. I have formed and managed teams, and developed strong leaders and replaced myself within the company time and again as I evolved. See my experience on LinkedIn here:

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