By Hallie Mummert
Target Marketing talks to industry experts about the trends that are shaping the way direct marketers do business.
If it feels as if the floor is moving beneath your feet these days, it's not just your nervous knees knocking together as you map out your direct marketing program's path. Major changes in culture, technology and process are occurring that will radically alter today's business model, pushing direct marketing in new directions, too.
This business revolution is both information- and customer-driven and, if direct marketers don't catch up with these trends, it could be government-driven. Of the eight industry experts interviewed for this article, more than half expressed concern that direct marketers are not recognizing the impact of change, continuing to run their businesses the same way they have for decades.
So in addition to sharing their interpretations of the current direct marketing climate, these experts also offer some advice on how to adapt to your new environment.
Measure Success by Customer Value
Ten years ago, direct marketing and marketing were very different, recalls Martha Rogers, Ph.D., founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, a management consulting firm in Norwalk, Conn.
Direct marketers had the edge on marketers because they had the names and addresses of their customers. Now, Rogers explains, marketers have made big strides to learn who their customers are, while direct marketers have made little progress to advance their customer knowledge and apply it to their practices.
For example, she says, success still is measured by response rate and cost per sale. But what about the 98 percent or 99 percent who don't respond to your campaigns? Is there any cost associated with their non-response? "If [these non-responders] are only 0.5 percent likely to open your next campaign because your last effort was not relevant to them, your successful campaign actually cost you money and value," Rogers points out.