At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is Direct Sales Marketing?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Direct sales marketing is a type of advertising intended to help promote the direct sales efforts of a particular person. The materials used in such marketing can be provided by the company for which a direct sales representative is working, or can be generated as original content by a direct seller. Such marketing often includes the use of brochures, fliers, and catalogs to promote the various merchandise offered by a direct seller, and to notify others of upcoming sales or parties. Direct sales marketing can also utilize newer technology such as social networking websites and similar media.

The typical use of direct sales marketing is to promote the merchandise and services offered by someone involved in direct sales. “Direct sales” refers to the selling of merchandise by an individual who is not part of a retail location, often from a person’s home or through door-to-door sales. A direct seller typically establishes contacts and networks of people interested in purchasing his or her merchandise, which is provided by a company that pays a commission to the seller based purely on his or her sales. While there are different forms of direct sales marketing, most marketing is intended to help make new contacts and let established customers know about new products or sales.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Pamphlets, fliers, and catalogs are often used in direct sales marketing. These materials may be available from the company that provides the merchandise for a direct seller, though original content can also be produced to help promote certain products. Someone interested in generating these types of original direct sales marketing materials should ensure that creating such advertising is allowed by the company for which he or she is selling. Posting fliers in locations that allow such postings and leaving pamphlets at people’s doors can be excellent ways for someone to make new contacts and remind customers that they may need to order new products.

Technological innovations such as the Internet have also been incorporated into effective direct sales marketing. Direct sellers often send emails and messages to friends and family about new products, as well as e-invites to parties and events to demonstrate and sell merchandise. As social networking websites have become more popular, such sites have also provided new avenues for direct sales marketing. Certain companies can establish pages on these sites to help individual sellers create more robust networks and contact customers, and sellers can also use their personal pages to contact customers, announce parties, and let friends know about upcoming deals or events.

Discussion Comments


@Moldova – I also think that development of a web based marketing strategy is important as well.

Promoting your business on social networking sites and referring them to your website is important. You also have to have a lot of business cards with you at all times because you never know who you might meet.


@Sneakers41 -I think that having a marketing plan is important because there is only so many times that you can contact your friends and family.

Networking at business events and going to meet ups for stay at home moms might offer some direct sales recruiting opportunities. The direct sales business is like any other business. It is all about numbers and the more people you talk to the better your results would be.

If you take a look at the Direct Sales Association website you can really see a number of direct sales businesses that you can start. I think that if you start with a company that sells a product that you would buy then it would be easier for you to market that product because you already have personal insight as to why a customer would buy the product.


@Cafe41 -I agree and that is why I never started a direct sales home business because I was always unsure how to proceed and felt a little intimidated by all of the parties you had to have.

I also think that there is a large emphasis on recruiting additional members to your team. This allows you to earn more income because you get a percentage of what your team sells so it is important to develop a strategic marketing plan and train your new recruits well so that you could earn substantially more.

Most people that earn a good income in the direct sales business usually have a strong team that markets to customers regularly. This part of the compensation is often higher than your personal sales so many people shift their focus to recruiting.


I think that the hardest part of the direct sales business is the sales and marketing aspects. Since you do not have a store location you cannot rely on foot traffic and have to generate interest in your product line in other ways.

A lot of direct sales opportunities explain that one of the best methods of marketing to the public is my inviting friends and acquaintances to come to a party so that you can demonstrate the products for them.

While the first party might be easy to set up the subsequent ones require more work. A lot of these companies will allow you to offer an incentive for someone else to host a party and they would get free products. This is a word of mouth type of marketing method that relies a lot on referrals and repeat business.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Businessman with a briefcase
      Businessman with a briefcase