Logo - Business Development Bank of Canada - BDC

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is any marketing activity that communicates directly with a potential customer through mail, emails, flyers, phone calls, text messages or other channels. It is different from traditional marketing, such as TV commercials and billboards, which does not target any one recipient.

Direct marketing typically includes personalized messaging that invites the recipient to call a phone number, visit a website, attend an event or buy a product. It allows companies to easily measure the effectiveness of a campaign by tracking its response rate––the percentage of people who took action on the messaging. Also, by targeting specific audiences who are more likely to respond, direct marketing is often more cost-effective than traditional advertising.

One of the challenges of direct marketing is that direct mail or text messages can be seen as junk mail or “spam.” To respond to this, companies should make sure only people interested in receiving promotional materials are contacted by asking customers to “opt in” and agree to receive the marketing material.

More about direct marketing

Companies planning on using email as a direct marketing channel need to be aware that Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. This law bans commercial emails from being sent unless the recipient has provided consent.

Related definitions

Find out more in our glossary

Your privacy

BDC uses cookies to improve your experience on its website and for advertising purposes, to offer you products or services that are relevant to you. By clicking ῝I understand῎ or by continuing to browse this site, you consent to their use.

To find out more, consult our Policy on confidentiality.