Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Shift in Direct Marketing is Happening NOW!

As time goes on, all of the excitement around social media, viral and online marketing seems to be changing our world. Even the folks that have been around the block a time or two are referencing this change. Check out this post from our friend, Dean Rieck, on his Direct Creative Blog. He recently interviewed copywriter extraordinaire, Bob Bly, and asked him what he thought the future holds for traditional direct marketing -- i.e., direct mail and print advertising. Talk about a loaded question!

Anyway, here's what Bob said: "I do not think print will disappear, but right now, all the focus and excitement is about online marketing. I am not a futurist so I don’t make predictions, but many feel that online marketing is fundamentally changing the way marketing is done … specifically, giving the customer a greater voice and moving away from advertiser-generated copy and content."

Dean then questioned Bob about what effect the internet will have on direct marketing over the next few decades. Dean asks some tough questions! How Bob answered this question is the whole point of today's post. Here's what Bob said: "The web is moving marketing from an advertiser-to-prospect model, where the advertiser sends promotions out to prospects, to a customer-centric model, where customers instead of marketers do a lot of the selling. Examples include viral videos where prospects pass your video on to other prospects, and Web 2.0 sites (e.g., where customer-generated content (reviews) is more influential than marketer-generated content."

Hence my initial comment about how our direct marketing world is shifting. We love this shift. The idea of customers selling on behalf of marketers is an idea whose time has come. Think of all of the time we spend trying to isolate that perfect consumer or business that may be willing to hear our message. Think about the hours of sleep lost over whether the DM campaign that's hitting mailboxes in the next week will reap us a .5% or a 1.5% response rate -- and the repercussions of either. With this shift, it's all about the customers preferring our product, and preferring it so much that they discuss why they prefer it. What a concept!

Therefore, we really like the direction that our industry is heading in -- and we agree with Bob Bly and his comments. We've already started to encourage our clients to integrate these concepts into their marketing strategies now -- to be proactive as opposed to reactive. The shift has already begun -- and it will be interesting to be a part of this, and to create success around it for our business and those with whom we consult. It'll be a fun ride!

If you'd like to share what you're doing within your business or with your clients to integrate social, viral or online marketing into your marketing plan, we'd love to hear your story.


Ted Grigg said...

I love your optimism about online, viral and social marketing.

But a large number of companies still don't have a relational database. And many of those that do aren't using even 1/10th of the leverage offered by traditional media like direct mail.

The companies who really have their act together should be able to push the dinosaurs aside by flexing their marketing muscle with new media.

You are so right. This is going to be a fun ride with those companies that are ready for it!

Nancy Arter said...

Thanks Ted! And, you are definitely correct -- there are lots of companies out there that are way behind the curve ball that traditional direct marketing offers.

It's a good thing that we're out here to help move them along!

Thanks for your comment!