What Is Indirect Marketing?

“Indirect marketing” (IM) is a term that seems to be gaining popularity these days. Stamats’ Steven Kappler referred to IM in his recent Quicktakes brief, titled “The iPhone and Indirect Marketing.”

Kappler notes the “mobile marketing” buzz that’s emerged with the announcement of the iPhone and how teens “are using more indirect marketing methods to find out information and communicate that information.” I think what he meant by this sentence was that teens were using certain mediums that Kappler associates with IM. He lists cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, and social networks as IM “methods.”
So, according to Kappler, IM is defined by the “method” or medium you use to approach a student. This is somewhat of a defining moment for Stamats since the term “indirect marketing” does not appear in their online glossary. (However, after reading their glossary, “direct marketing” doesn’t appear either while “elevator speech” does…oops.) Nevertheless, IM is not generally used in the Stamat’s vocabulary. But maybe we can figure out what IM means by using a more common Stamat’s term, “direct marketing”?

According to Bob Sevier, Statmat’s resident marketing guru, direct marketing is “An interactive, integrative prospect communication and contact program that spans the traditional funnel of search though measurable action or behavior.”

If we were to put the prefix “in” in front of the word “direct marketing,” you would get a definition that would go something like this: “Indirect marketing is a non-interactive, non-integrative prospect communication and contact program that spans the non-traditional funnel of search though measurable action or behavior.” This actually comes close to what I think Kappler is trying to say.

It seems to me that “indirect marketing” is just another word for advertising mediums (like cell phones and social networks), which can be used in either branding marketing (which is indirect) or direct marketing efforts. If you search the Web for a definition, you’ll find how just how nebulous this term really is. (323 Words)


  1. I appreciate the comments regarding the article in QuickTakes. I have two quick comments for you. First, we are in the process of updating our glossary of terms, actually I am sure it will be a moving target since the world of marketing as we know it is evolving at a very rapid pace. Second, I will try to clarify what I meant by “Indirect Marketing” or IM. For me, Indirect Marketing is the marketing channels that are newer, more nontraditional, and more importantly, unproven channels of marketing of which we have no idea of longevity, viability, or importance. We know they are being used, but there is inconsistent data as to how much they are being used and how effective they are at reaching teens. The key becomes should you invest, how much, and for how long.


    1. I like your idea of indirect marketing, I agree that it is a very fast changing term and really could compare to a washing machine in 1904. I believ that the whole concept of marketing will change in the future. I have more questions about your ideas on indirect marketing.


  2. Thank you for your clarification Steve. I think Bob Sevier and Stamats have made a significant contribution to higher ed marketing by developing a clear and consistent language for campus marketers. However, I don’t think the introduction of the word “indirect marketing” is helpful at this point since its use of the word “marketing” means something different than the word’s traditional definition of referring to the act of selling. In your definition of indirect marketing, “marketing” refers to a medium. I think this use of the word complicates the clear vocabulary Stamats has become known for and adds confuson when discussing the IMC process (i.e. brand marketing, direct marketing, customer relationship management). For example, if we were to grant that IM refers to new media, it would become confusing to say that we were going to use some indirect marketing methods in our direct marketing campaign. That said, I agree with your main point concerning the effectiveness of these mediums and how we should be cautious of spending to much money on them.

    Morgan, I wrote an entry on “word of mouth” marketing and would be interested in hearing your thoughts on it. My take is that “word of mouth” is a result not a strategy. In my opinion, it’s another nebulous marketing term.


  3. 2007-10-10 Indirect Marketing ist ein Tool zur Implementierung und Umsetzung einer werteorientierten Unternehmensführung.
    Unterstützt wird die Sinnhaftigkeit von Indirect Marketing durch Erhebungen der Uni St. Gallen (Schweiz). Diese stellte fest, dass die wirklichen Assets bei einem Unternehmensverkauf immaterieller Natur sind. Das bedeutet, dass der Wert eines Unternehmens sich an den weichen Faktoren orientiert.
    Dies sind: der Bekanntheitsgrad des Markennames (Branding), der Marktanteil (Marketshare), die Innovationskraft, eine zukunftsweisende Unternehmensvision (Sustainability), der Unternehmensgeist (Corporate Spirit), eine inspirierende Unternehmensführung (inspiring Managing board), zufriedene Kunden (satisfied Customers), das Know-how der Lieferanten (competent suppliers), motivierte und engagierte Mitarbeiter (inspired employees), das Bild in der Öffentlichkeit (public Image).
    Vor allem durch Aktivitäten wie Stiftungen gründen, Social Marketing und Charity Marketing wird der Gedanke des Indirect Marketings zur Steigerung des Unternehmensimages und Unternehmenswertes genutzt. Gleichzeitig wird ein wertschätzender Umgang mit den Mitarbeitern, mit den Kunden, mit den Lieferanten, mit der Gesellschaft und auch mit der Umwelt vom Indirect Marketing gefördert. Damit ist das Indirect Marketing ein Instrument zur Schaffung von Werten durch eine höhere gegenseitige Wertschätzung und damit wesentlicher Bestandteil jeder Firmen-Ethik (Corporate Ethics).


  4. Google Translation:

    2007-10-10 Indirect marketing is a tool for deploying and implementing a value-corporate governance.

    Supports the sense of Indirect marketing surveys by the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). This found that the real assets of a corporate sale of intangible nature. This means that the value of a company on the soft factors oriented.

    These are: awareness of the brand names (branding), the market share (market share), the innovation, a forward-looking corporate vision (Sustainability), the entrepreneurial spirit (Corporate Spirit), an inspiring corporate governance (inspiring Managing board), satisfied customers (satisfied Customers), the expertise of suppliers (competent suppliers), motivated and dedicated staff (inspired employees), the image in the public (public image).

    Above all, through activities such as establishing foundations, Social Marketing and Marketing Charity is the idea of Indirect marketing to increase the company’s image and corporate value. At the same time, an appreciative dealing with the employees, with customers, with suppliers, with society and with the environment of Indirect Marketing promoted. This is the Indirect marketing a tool to create value through greater mutual esteem, and thus an essential part of every corporate ethics (Corporate Ethics).


  5. I’m not sure how well Google translated this (I only took basic German in college). But this definition of indirect marketing is one I haven’t heard before. However, this definition is so broad that it’s hard to know what doesn’t count as indirect marketing. For example, how would this explanation of indirect marketing differ from integrated marketing communications? I’m just not convinced that the term indirect marketing adds anything to the marketing glossary of terms.


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