Standard Article

Direct and Interactive Marketing

Part 1. Marketing Strategy

  1. Frank J. Mulhern

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem01020

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Mulhern, F. J. 2010. Direct and Interactive Marketing. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 1.

Author Information

  1. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Direct marketing consists of marketing communications that use direct media technologies such as direct mail and print catalogs. Interactive marketing is an extension of direct marketing into media technologies that allow two-way communications between a buyer and a seller. Examples of interactive marketing are e-mail, online ads that can be clicked through, and e-commerce web sites. The advantages of direct and interactive marketing include the ability to precisely communicate to individuals with addressable messages that can be customized in ways that make messages more relevant to consumers.

Direct and interactive marketing techniques typically include a response mechanism that allows consumers to respond directly to a communication and potentially make a purchase. Compared to mass media communications, direct and interactive marketing is much more precise and measurable. The ability to measure direct and interactive marketing effects allows marketers to design communication programs that target consumers based on recency – the amount of time since last purchase, frequency – the number of previous purchases, and monetary value – the total expenditures a customer makes over time. The strategies, methods, and metrics of direct and interactive marketing are becoming more central to marketing strategy as digital technologies allow interactive marketing communications to take place through television and mobile devices.


  • direct marketing;
  • interactive marketing;
  • database marketing;
  • digital media;
  • interactive media