Editor’s Notes: There Is No ‘Right Way’
My father used to say "there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything."
On that, he was wrong. I've found there are usually more ways to accomplish your goals than can be comfortably comprehended. Spotting the ways likely to be most effective in that instance is the hard part.
This comes up all the time in marketing, where half the experts have a favorite channel you "have to be on" and a laundry list of things you "have to be doing" the ways they say you have to be doing them. Punditry can be a goal-oriented profession.
I don't think you "have to be on" or "have to be doing" anything. There is no one channel that is "The Answer" for direct marketing in 2012.
According to our 2012 Media Usage Forecast, 96 percent of our readers market through email and most of you are increasing budget for it. This month's cover story will show you some great things Daryl Nielson and his team are doing with email at HP.
However, email is not "The Answer." As you can see in DataBytes, email direct marketing led to $63.1 billion in sales during 2011. Telemarketing generated nearly five times that: $303.6 billion—despite significant consumer pushback, the ongoing effects of Do-Not-Call and, frankly, being the poster channel of that supposed scourge called "interruption marketing," with horror stories of families who burn with hatred at being interrupted by sales calls during dinner and on weekends.
If any channel were the one must-use channel, up until now I would've said it was email. Email still has an enormous ROI of nearly $40 for each dollar spent. But it has its limits. You hit diminishing returns on that investment and email alone will only drive so much growth.