Indirect Marketing 101: Shifting from Selling to Creating Impact
Author: Team WH
Published On: 22-09-23
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Do you get bothered by ad commercials in the middle of your favourite TV shows? In today’s fierce business landscape, every brand strives to promote its identity across all channels. However, the target audience often gets annoyed with the relentless promotion and feels overwhelmed by “Spam” advertising.
Does it mean one should stop advertising and expect customers to discover products or websites by accident?
One straightforward and effective solution to this challenge is indirect marketing.
Essentially, companies heavily rely on indirect sales channels to cater to their target audience.
But what is indirect marketing, and why is it popular among businesses?
Let’s explore the indirect marketing meaning in detail and learn what are indirect marketing channels to help create a lasting impact.
What is the Indirect Marketing Process?
There are two different aspects of marketing – direct marketing and indirect marketing.
While both aspects can generate results when implemented cautiously, promotional efforts do not always require cold calling and constant spamming. There are many subtle and indirect ways to attract the target audience and increase brand visibility.
Indirect marketing allows businesses to showcase their services, products, and brand identity without hard selling or being too upfront. It entails avoiding spamming potential customers with requests to buy products or services.
Instead, marketers can focus on offering valuable information to their target market, expecting them to learn more about their brand. It relies on the assumption that many potential customers may not buy the product or service immediately, but when the genuine need emerges, they will turn to a brand they trust.
In short, it is a customer-centric approach that prioritises addressing the target audience’s needs, pain points, and desires.
Now that you know the indirect marketing meaning, it’s time to learn the types of indirect marketing.
What are the Types of Indirect Marketing?
Indirect marketing includes multiple strategies and tactics to engage with potential customers without direct promotion. Here are some of the indirect marketing types to create a positive brand impression:
1. Public Relations (PR)
Public Relations, or PR, is about positively influencing a brand’s reputation through various communication channels.
Common tactics include securing positive news coverage, responding to media inquiries, creating press releases, building relationships with journalists, and engaging in PR stunts. PR enables businesses to build trust and credibility among their target audience indirectly.
2. Content Marketing
Offering valuable content can help capture the target audience’s attention. Content marketing aims at building awareness and adding value to a prospect’s life. With the help of informative posts, businesses can inform their audience about products and services.
Marketers can create blog posts, videos, and podcasts to bring awareness about their product or service.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) can help businesses to rank their websites on the top search engine result pages. It involves on-page and off-page activities to make a website rank in the SERPs.
For SEO, businesses can use relevant keywords, provide valuable content, and build authoritative backlinks to make their content more discoverable. It attracts organic traffic and increases their chances of reaching potential customers searching for information actively.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is undoubtedly another effective indirect marketing technique. It allows brands to market to a broader audience using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
However, for social media marketing, it’s crucial to share value-added content regularly. Marketers can use influencer marketing and User Generated Content (UGC) strategy to influence their audience. Many businesses post their customers’ experiences on social media platforms to gain traction.
5. Referral Marketing
Referral or word-of-mouth marketing is more authoritative and fruitful than most marketing tools. However, businesses should aim to exceed their client’s expectations to earn a referral. Marketers can launch referral programs to attract new customers or ask existing customers to write reviews.
Why to Use Indirect Marketing?
As indirect marketing addresses a large audience that does not directly promote a business, it caters to a broader audience and has many benefits. Let’s look at the top benefits of indirect marketing to propel business growth.
1. Builds Demand and Awareness
Indirect marketing strategies like content marketing and social media engagement help increase brand visibility and recognition among the target audience without aggressive promotion, leading to higher brand recall.
Additionally, only a few people actively search and are ready to purchase offerings. Most potential customers are yet unaware they have a problem or solution. Indirect marketing generates demand and opens up a pool of potential customers.
2. Establishes Trust and Credibility
When brands offer valuable content and engage with customers, they build trust and establish their business as an authority in the industry. It allows marketers to show their expertise and knowledge about their niche and present them as thought leaders.
Indirect marketing is more cost effective than traditional marketing, especially for small businesses or startups with limited budgets. They are a lot less expensive than investing in teams to cold-call customers or Google ads.
Additionally, indirect marketing efforts continue to generate a compounding effect over time. Every blog or video a brand publishes on different platforms contributes to its reputation.
4. Longer-Lasting Impact
Indirect marketing focuses on building relationships rather than immediate sales. It helps create a lasting impact on customers’ minds.
Though it is the equivalent of taking a long route, businesses will establish their credibility during that time and emerge as reliable brands. It is often challenging to achieve through direct marketing alone.
5. Less Intrusive or Disruptive
Indirect marketing allows marketers to be discrete and less intrusive to their target audience until they pay attention willingly. Rather than pushing the content in front of them, marketers convince them to engage and learn more about the offerings. It helps build relationships with the customers and can gain loyalty.
What are the Examples of Indirect Advertising?
Here are two successful indirect marketing examples highlighting why most brands now prefer having brand awareness through indirect channels.
1. Airbnb’s Neighborhood Guides
An excellent example of indirect marketing is Airbnb’s neighbourhood guides. Airbnb is a popular online marketplace for lodging and travel experiences. Its neighbourhood guides offer valuable information about nearby places of travel destinations, providing insights into local culture, attractions, dining options, and activities.
Neighbourhood guides enabled Airbnb to build trust and drive engagement. Consequently, by positioning Airbnb as a helpful travel resource, more users explore the platform and ultimately book accommodations.
2. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign showcased a more diverse perspective towards beauty in their advertisements.
Instead of emphasising traditional beauty standards and focusing on idealised models, Dove celebrates the beauty of real women across all ages and ethnicities. It featured women’s natural beauty, encouraging viewers to embrace their unique appearance and feel more confident in their skin.
The campaign helped build an emotional connection with the brand and promoted its positive brand perception.
In a world where consumers can easily get overwhelmed by a plethora of advertisements, indirect marketing offers a refreshing and effective approach to building meaningful connections with the audience.
By shifting their approach from selling to helping, businesses can create lasting impacts and nurture customer loyalty and advocacy. Further, the principles of indirect marketing fit well with today’s connected and conscious audience.
Most successful brands use a mix of both aspects – direct marketing and indirect marketing. Businesses must carefully weigh both approaches to find a balance most suitable for their objectives and target audience.
1. Indirect marketing vs direct marketing: what’s the difference?
Direct marketing is when a business communicates with potential leads directly for promotion. For example, if an organisation uses TV ads and commercials to promote its products and services, it uses direct marketing to urge customers.
However, indirect marketing follows a customer-centric approach. It focuses on providing content and experiences to engage potential customers without bothering them for a response. Publishing blog posts, video tutorials, and case studies is an example of indirect marketing.
2. Why is customer engagement crucial in indirect marketing?
Customer engagement is crucial for brands because it facilitates meaningful connections between customers and brands.
Using indirect marketing channels and tactics, brands motivate customers for interactions and feedback, building loyalty and creating positive brand perception. As a result, the potential audience transforms into the brand’s advocates and shares relevant personal experiences, aiding in its organic growth.
3. Are there any challenges associated with indirect marketing?
While indirect marketing does not pose any major challenges, it may take longer to yield tangible results than direct marketing.
As indirect marketing does not bring immediate results, it requires consistency, patience, and a deeper understanding of the target audience.