I’m just going to come out and say it: direct response marketing and I go way back. In fact, my first job in marketing was in direct response. (Cue record scratch sound effect.)

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’m excited to share a new resource that A Brave New co-founder Josh and I have been working on. It’s called Why Inbound Marketers Must Embrace Direct Response Principles.


In the world of inbound marketing, direct response definitely gets a bad rap.

We get it. Inbound is all about attracting, engaging, and delighting your audience — winning their hearts and minds with high-value content. Direct response comes across as the antithesis of that. It’s old-school. It’s sometimes seen as pushy. In other words, it’s all about straightforward communication that provokes the audience to take action as quickly as possible. 

But we’ve noticed that the core principles of direct response are actually essential to any highly effective marketing program — yup, even an inbound program. If you want to hear a deep dive into the six biggest lessons I learned from my time as a direct marketer, listen in on the latest episode of A Brave New Podcast.

And we also want to share this guide — to help you apply those principles in the right places to strengthen your existing marketing program. Don’t worry, we’re not trying to convert everyone into direct marketers. We just want to encourage you to add some powerful (and often overlooked) tools to your marketing approach. 

In this resource, you’ll learn: 

  • The core principles of direct response marketing 
  • What direct response gets right about human behavior 
  • How to incorporate direct response tactics into inbound marketing

Here’s a preview of what you’ll find inside:

Core Principles of Direct Response Marketing

The core of direct response marketing is clear and direct communication. The goal of the direct marketer is not to be creative, or clever, or create something that ends up in a list of Top 10 Raddest Ads of the Year. The goal of the direct marketer is to provoke the audience to take the desired action. 

Here's a preview of the first 2 principles that define direct response marketing, and how they all contribute to that single-minded goal.

girls-looking1. Know your audience through data only 

Direct response marketing views its audience through one lens and one lens only: data. Data that reveals someone’s actual behaviors; including. what actions have they taken in the past, and what provoked them to take those actions.? 

In the world of direct response marketing, it doesn’t matter one bit what your audience aspires to do, or what they say they’re planning to do. It doesn’t matter whether they saw your content. All that matters is what they actually do, or have done.

  • Organizations that leverage customer behavior data to generate behavioral insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth (Gallup)

boy-writing2. Measure only what matters

Impressions, website traffic, reach — the direct response marketer doesn’t care about these. Know what they do care about? How many sales were made. How many desired actions were taken.



To read more, and learn how you can adapt the principles of direct response to create a high-performing inbound marketing program,

arrow-lightdownload Why Inbound Marketers Must Embrace Direct Response Principles.

Written by: Polly Yakovich
Category: Content, Inbound Marketing
December 17, 2020
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