The future has always represented a break from the past, of course, but could that statement be more true than today? For many individuals and businesses, because of the economy, they feel a mixture of dread and uncertainty about the future. Yet for nearly as many, because of our new president Barack Obama, there is also hope in the air for the first time in almost a decade.
Regardless, we know the future will be very different than the recent past, no matter where you sit-copywriter, direct marketer, designer, printer. And don't forget about the prospect, who knows that many things are suddenly different for her and her family-not necessarily better or worse, but often somewhere in the nebulous middle.
So, frankly, the challenges and obstacles are simply too big to not require more radical thinking ... on the behalf of everyone, President on down. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote a Jan. 21 column entitled "A Radical in the White House" that featured a similar theme. He isn't using the word "radical" to indicate a political preference, but rather indicating that Obama must change the fundamental nature of how things are done in government: "This is a radical moment. It is a moment for radical departures from business as usual in so many areas."
Similarly, anyone involved with direct mail would be wise to think about the fundamentals of their business. Then keep the good stuff, jettison the bad and bring in the new! Look at fundraiser Mal Warwick, founder and chairman of Mal Warwick Associates in Berkeley, Calif. and Washington, D.C. Last January he saw the U.S. economy heading south and published a paper entitled "Fundraising in Tough Economic Times." Well, those times have gotten tougher, so Warwick recently readdressed the topic in a new paper in which he lists three possible fundraising strategies: defensive, selective and aggressive.