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Indirect And Direct Advertising

Copywriting is often cited as one of the most important things for a great advertising campaign. In the marketing world, copy refers to something that is a written form of advertisement, whether it be a billboard, flyer, magazine, etc. With this, a few types of copywriting are important to distinguish. 

Indirect Response Advertising:

Indirect response advertising aims to create brand awareness and relay certain values that a company may hold. This can be seen in larger brands such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi, which try to make their brand widely known and appreciated. 

Most of these types of advertising require a lot of funding, as brand awareness requires widespread communication with the population. 

Those companies that choose to combine brand marketing and direct response marketing often experience a lift in overall sales. The reason is that both are necessary in order to be considered at the time a customer is ready to make a purchase of a service or a product. Brand marketing helps keep awareness of a company’s product or service so that the recall, when needed, is high.

Indirect response marketing is considered successful when a potential customer knows that your brand exists and has your product or service on the top of their mind. Lastly, when the audience has a positive opinion about your service or product. It is important to know that retention rates increase when the customer sees the product or service they use in an advertisement. It is a confirmation of sorts. Referrals are higher when your customers are talking about your product or service to those who are already aware of them. Familiarity is key, and sales teams have a much easier time prospecting new business since they are selling something familiar.

Progressive Insurance, for example, does not receive a ton of new customers directly because of their commercials; however, it does raise awareness for the brand. The purpose is to get potential customers into its sales funnel, with the first step being brand awareness.

Direct-Response Advertising:

Direct response advertising relies on creating a specialized call to action for the consumers. This can easily fascinate and energize your audience to take action and support your brand. 

Due to the smaller amount of funding required, smaller, up-and-coming boutique brands such as Designer Optics sunglasses, Diotima fashion or anOrdain watches often use direct-response advertising to create initial customer awareness. 

Direct response marketing is the bread and butter of the advertising world. It’s estimated that companies spent $316 billion in 2018 asking for the sale. Furthermore, online direct response marketing is outpacing traditional media in ad spend for the first time.

Direct response marketing usually includes an offer, a clear call-to-action, and a reason to act sooner than later. 

Here is a wonderful article discussing in greater detail the art of writing a perfect call-to-action:  How To Write an Effective Call To Action. 


There are many examples of companies using these advertising tactics to increase customer interactions in the real world. Below are a few fictional examples: 

One company found that men filled most internal leadership positions; to increase gender awareness and intrigue girls, the company created an ad showing these statistics and stating that women can lead and often lead better. 

This example shows more direct-response advertising, as the company was directing the ad toward a specific audience with a specific call to action in mind. In most cases, this tactic can work amazingly with the correct application. 

Creating Your Audience:

To create an effective ad campaign, you first need to know your ideal client in depth. Here are some important things to consider when creating a targeted marketing campaign. 

  • What does your customer want from your brand?
  • What are your customer’s goals? 
  • What will your customer use your product for? 
  • What will influence your customers buying decisions?
  • What do your customers base their decisions on? 

Creating an audience profile will effectively know your ideal and future customer. Many businesses have trouble with this, as they want to create a generic brand that appeals to everyone; however, that usually results in not gaining anyone’s interest. It is best to create a highly specialized marketing campaign that strongly captures the attention of your chosen audience! 

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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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