The Big Secrets of Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing or direct response advertising seemed a huge puzzle to a lot of people – probably not well grounded in internet marketing.


Some might even argue it doesn’t work!


Well, we’re all limited by what we know… 


To understand how direct response marketing works, we have to dig into its history…how it actually came to be.


The 18th century English entrepreneur and potter, Josiah Wedgwood is credited as the inventor and pioneer of many of the marketing strategies used today, including direct mail, and direct marketing.


Aaron Montgomery, in the 19th century also supported these ideas, and believed that using the technique of selling products directly to the customer at appealing prices could, if executed effectively and efficiently, revolutionize the market industry and therefore be used as a model for marketing products and creating customer loyalty.


He went on to produce the first mail-order catalogue for his Montgomery Ward Mail Order Business in 1872.


By buying goods and then reselling them directly to consumers, Ward was consequently removing the middlemen at the general store and, to the benefit of the customer, drastically lowering the prices.


Whereas, the term direct response marketing or direct response advertising was actually identified, named, defined, and coined by Lester Wunderman whom some considered to be the father of contemporary direct marketing in 1967…


In fact, he was the brain behind the creation of the toll-free 1-800 number, etc. 


And a simple explanation on how direct response marketing or direct response advertising works is:


Going into the history of how it started…before the advent of the internet…


Like earlier noted, direct response marketers sell via correspondence – mails.


What they do is…


They write their captivating adverts…and then put them in envelopes addressed to different people whom they’ve had the permission to post to.


They then go to purchase postage stamps at the post office.


They can, for instance buy postage stamps at say, 50 cents each…


And the product or service they want to sell with the advert could be worth say, $5 or thereabouts.


They’d now state in the adverts – their call-to-action (CTA) – that the receiver, if agreed to buy, should include a form of payment, (and probably, also, a return postage stamp fee) for the products to be sent over to them.


If anyone received their post buy didn’t buy, that’d be a loss on advert spending for them…


While anyone who bought brings a gain or profit to the marketer.


This system could be likened to how internet marketers use the present day media buying systems…


Where for instance, when leads or prospects buy your products or services after seeing your paid advert on say, Facebook or Google brings a profit to you…


But anyone who clicks on your paid advert, and gets to your landing page, but doesn’t eventually buy, would cause you a loss on the amount you’re paying for that click.


In just the same manner was how the direct marketers of those times calculate the profit or loss from their adverts.


And that’s the summary of the whole thing.


The bottom-line of what you should grab from that is on how to effectively acquire the “right” customers to your business using the appropriate “paid” traffic systems…


And that was my topic of discussion on Saturday, October 14, 2017… (some months back though :-)) at the Ibadan House, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.







… when folks of the Federation of Ibadan Students Union (FIBSU) invited me to give them a talk on “using the internet marketing systems to boost business productivity”.


I hope you enjoyed this brief discussion just like they enjoyed the detailed training on that day…? 🙂



Let me have your opinions (as usual) about this topic in the comments section below

Direct Response Advertising VS Traditional Advertising

For small businesses wanting to grow and expand like the big corporations, there’s the need to know which to go for between advertising the traditional way, or the direct response way…


For clarity sake, traditional advertising is the advertising done on the popular traditional mediums – newspapers, events sponsoring, billboards ads, TV ads, radio ads, posters, handbills, etc. – otherwise known as mass advertising…advertising done to reach a mass, non-targeted audience. 


This kind of advertising is normally beset with a number of disadvantages:



  1. They’re hard to change.



You can’t easily change an advert you’ve printed on billboards, posters, handbills, or that you’ve sent to the TV, radio, or for event sponsorships, etc.



  1. They’re not easily measurable.



For instance, you can’t easily measure how many people saw the adverts you placed on a billboard, etc.



  1. They’re not easily targeted.



You can’t easily measure how many bee keepers actually saw your TV ad for bee keeping…you can’t also tell whether or not they received your adverts in the right moments, like for example, were they sleeping or awake when your ad was running on the radio?



  1. You can’t easily decide on your budget for the ads.



TVs and radio ads have fixed billing costs.


You can’t change that.


The costs of printing and/or displaying handbills, billboards, posters, etc., are all fixed.


There’s practically nothing you can do to control that.


So, whether or not people see or get your adverts through theses mediums, you’re still going to pay – and they’re mostly huge payments.



Meanwhile, direct response advertising on the other end is that form of advertising that’s most result-oriented for any kind of business – whether small business or established large corporation.


The system of direct response advertising goes something like:


  1. Target the correct audience.


  1. Suck in the audience with a big compelling idea.


  1. Have an over-the-top offer with a clear CTA.


  1. Use creative and compelling copy to avoid losing them.


  1. Have clear metrics in place.


     6. Identify what a new customer is worth and what you’re willing to pay to acquire them.



You can now see for yourself where you should aim your advert spending at for maximum customer-acquisition and customer-monetization as a business looking to make much of their advert spending.


I was actually invited by MC Special – Olabamiji Akintunji to discuss this topic on Agidigbo (Online) Radio (, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria on Saturday, February 10, 2018.







…and I just felt you shouldn’t be left out of such an awesome discussion.


Share your thoughts about this topic in the comments section below