Direct marketing is a sub-discipline and type of marketing. There are two main definitional characteristics which distinguish it from other types of marketing. The first is that it attempts to send its messages directly to consumers, without the use of intervening media. This involves commercial communication (direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing) with consumers or businesses, usually unsolicited. The second characteristic is that it is focused on driving a specific "call-to-action." This aspect of direct marketing involves an emphasis on trackable, measurable positive (but not negative) responses from consumers (known simply as "response" in the industry) regardless of medium.
If the advertisement asks the prospect to take a specific action, for instance call a free phone number or visit a website, then the effort is considered to be direct response advertising.