Scovotti, Carol; Spiller, Lisa D.
September 2006
Marketing Management Journal;Fall2006, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p188
Academic Journal
Sales attributed to direct marketing activities continue to grow worldwide. Despite its growth, there is no agreement of what direct marketing is. Terms like directed marketing, relationship marketing, interactive marketing, etc. are used to describe direct marketing activities. This term de jour approach promotes ambiguity and misinterpretation among marketing managers and inhibits researchers from selecting an acceptable definition to interpret empirical results. The need for greater shared agreement about what direct marketing encompasses is critical. This study examines conceptual and operational definitions of direct marketing in an effort to determine a common framework on which marketing managers and scholars can agree. Definitions found in Principles of Marketing, Advertising, and Direct Marketing textbooks yield highly diverse views about the nature of direct marketing. On the other hand, practitioners with direct marketing experience present a significantly more unified view. When practitioner input is compared with the definitions found within textbooks, six key dimensions emerge -- historical foundations, customer relationship building, database analysis, electronic media and print media. These dimensions account for 64.3 percent of the variance with coefficient alphas for each dimension ranging from .60 to .85, indicating medium to high reliability. Based on the synthesis of practitioner and scholar perspectives, a conceptual definition is proposed.


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