A direct marketing strategy is when a company advertises to a specific target audience by going directly to them. Direct mail, flyer distribution, email, and other forms of direct marketing can all be used to accomplish this. This is not, however, a direct-sales method.

Unlike other forms of brand promotion like radio and television, direct marketing allows you to communicate with your target audience directly.

Direct sales, on the other hand, communicates the message to your customer through human engagement. While this can be a complex idea to grasp, a general rule of thumb for distinguishing between the two is that when there is an actual personal human interaction between you and the consumer, direct sales, not direct marketing.

In contrast, many businesses use a sales team to carry their marketing message to the market through telemarketing and door-knocking. In that situation, Smart Circle International is used for the corporation and its executives, whereas direct sales are used for people who speak with customers.

This misunderstanding of direct marketing vs. direct sales produces two key issues. If you are a salesperson, you are attempting to make sales with no marketing, and if you are the owner of the firm, your sales reps will have a more difficult time making sales simply because you are not following the appropriate process.

Direct marketing generates direct sales.

Consider yourself behind the wheel of a manual stick shift automobile with six gears. It would be impossible to start an automobile in third gear, and even if you did, the car would drive the entire time incorrectly because the original process was faulty.

Consider this scenario: you send out a postcard or a leaflet with your offer on it, which is first gear. Second gear begins when your customer reacts, and you capture their information. You or your salespeople phone them back to set up a third-gear appointment. They see or hear the presentation in fourth gear. That’s fifth gear, they think. Obtaining referrals is sixth gear.

In essence, direct marketing should handle at least the first two or three steps in your marketing process. The direct sales process should pick up where your direct marketing left off. What marketing media you use is not only up to you, but it is also determined by the audience you are attempting to attract. Different consumer markets will receive information through various mediums.

Rossi Eason is a direct sales and network marketing coach who specializes in offline and online lead generation tactics and referral systems. He founded The World Marketing Center, a coaching platform for network marketers and direct sales professionals.