In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we talk about the difference between directional and non-directional advertising.

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Because many businesses don’t understand the difference between directional and non-directional marketing tactics and how they both work together in a single strategy, as well as the situations to which they apply, they oftentimes aren’t used appropriately.

This can be detrimental to a company, and can result in the marketing efforts not delivering the expected outcomes or attaining the target ROI.


Both types of marketing play an important role in the customer buying cycle, but each must be used properly for optimal success. In a nutshell,

1. Non-directional – or creative – advertising works to foster a need for or an awareness of a brand to targeted purchasers who may or may not yet ready to buy. In many cases, the goal of this advertising is to build relationships with these potential buyers…to let them have a chance to get to know you as a thought leader or expert in your industry. Or to associate your brand with specific situations and positive emotions. There are many offline and online choices for this type of advertising, all of which would be chosen because they give you the opportunity to create emotional connections through words, images, video and audio. Online, most social media platforms – as well as the blog on your website – are good choices for this type of advertising, as is display and banner advertising on websites your target audience visits.

2. Directional advertising, by contrast, includes media your target market goes to when they are ready to buy and are now looking for places to purchase products and services. Today, the primary directional media are the search engines (including Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, etc), whereas in the past, people turned to yellow pages or classified advertisements. Whatever directional media your target audience uses should always be in your mix of tactics IF your products or services are of the type that people clearly either need or do not need, and if they need, they will go search out companies like yours.

For the remainder of this podcast, we’ll focus on non-directional marketing because there are generally many options to consider. Non-directional tactics help get your information to purchasers who will one day need your product or service, even today if you can motivate an impulse purchase.

We’ve put together 6 concepts to keep in mind when creating a comprehensive approach to non-directional, or creative, marketing:

1. Competitive Mindfulness: keep your eye on your competition, but don’t let them that dictate your choices. Appreciate the strengths of their approach, but know the weaknesses as well. In fact, you will have done well if you’ve done a SWOT on your major competitors’ marketing programs.

2. Purpose: You want to make sure that you differentiate between you and your competitors. Your purpose should answer the question, “why should someone buy from you over any other option, including doing nothing?”

3. Consistency: You will want to set a standard for your brand and then you want to ensure all of your messaging is consistent against that brand identity. As mentioned in an earlier podcast, Use Content to Drive Web Traffic, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which ultimately serves to increase customer loyalty.

4. Flexibility: Keeping your purpose and your brand identity in mind, you want to use your research of your target market segments to discover how to engage your prospects fresh new ways.

5. Emotion: We all want to feel connected, and interestingly enough, we want that same connection to the brands we buy. This is true for both business brands and consumer brands. Work to build a bond with your customers or clients on a deeper, more emotional level. But whatever you do, don’t be insincere or misguided. Make sure your emotional connection building is on target based on a deep (researched) understanding of your existing and prospective audience segments.

6. Loyalty: Think about how to leverage your existing customer or client base so that potential new customers see that positive relationship between you and your existing customers. They’ll want to join in, too.


There is no doubt that your business can benefit from using both types of marketing tactics.

* With directional marketing tactics – such as search engine pay-per-click advertising, you will reach customers who are ready to buy and who are looking for your product or service at the exact moment they need it.

* With non-directional marketing tactics, potential customers may see your advertising on a regular and consistent basis even when they are not in need of your product or service. But, because you have taken the time to develop their familiarity with your brand, and you now a relationship with these prospective customers, when the time to purchase arrives, you will already be top-of-mind.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn and be sure to share it with in your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing. Join us next time for more actionable marketing in minutes.