Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Direct Marketers Viewpoint

With all of the focus on the upcoming Presidential election, there has been an unprecedented number of pundits out there predicting all sorts of things for 2008. Couple that with the continuing struggles in the housing market, and the naming of 2007 as the Year of "Subprime," and you have an interesting forecast -- to say the least!

BtoBOnline has reported on how all of this impacts the viewpoint of direct marketers. In the article, Amy Syracuse reports on those items foremost on our minds. Not surprisingly, the economy heads off this list. Between the mortgage crisis and the state of consumer spending (or lack thereof), it behooves us all to keep a wary eye on the economy. More than ever, diversification across industries is key. Also, if you think that your marketing strategy is set -- think again. We respectfully submit that with this existing climate, we all need to test, analyze, learn -- then adjust accordingly.

Also on this list of what keeps us up at night are the concepts of Green and Social Marketing. You know how we feel about social media and marketing -- we've driven that point home over the last six months or so. Regarding environmental concerns over direct mail, the article reports that in addition to increasing federal government scrutiny, the "DMA will ramp up its green initiatives this year. The group will unveil target goals in June to reduce members’ environmental impact through paper procurement and use; mail design and production; packaging; recycling and pollution reduction; and list hygiene and data management."

In addition to what our association and government are doing, we strongly believe that by using a solid targeting and analytical approach, you can more effectively implement direct mail campaigns -- this will both provide you with better response rates and help to save precious environmental resources.

Finally, in terms of what the role of direct marketing will take in 2008, the article quotes our good buddy, Bob Frady, of LiveNation.com. Bob (pictured above -- and you were wondering who that handsome devil was, right?) is the VP of Direct Marketing at LiveNation, and an incredibly savvy direct marketer. Here are his thoughts: "Marketers might also reconsider their metrics. [Today] a consumer will see a promotion, then, rather than follow the neat path we’ve laid out for them, they’ll go searching for in-depth levels of information about what we’re offering. Many times we’ll lose the tracking we’ve put in place. … Traditional direct marketing measurements need to be tweaked to capture how customers are actually behaving.”

This is great insight, and it goes hand in hand with not only marketing smarter when developing your direct marketing strategy but also closing the loop to ensure that your efforts are worthwhile by tracking the effectiveness of each marketing program. Frady also pulls in the customer behavior piece which becomes more complex as responders utilize all of the different channels available to them today to spend their dollars with you.

Overall, these are some great viewpoints that provide a roadmap of what to manage for -- and to -- in 2008. It's also going to be fun to see how the role of politics -- and each Presidential candidate -- plays into all of this as November gets closer.

No comments: