First Up: Credit-Crunched Consumers
You know the economy is in a sorry state when the entire American auto industry needs a bailout while consumers are being warned about what gift cards to buy for the holidays . . . in case that store, such as Circuit City or Sears, is no longer there when shopping time comes around. Wow. The turmoil that began in the banking, mortgage and credit sectors, before spreading to the stock market and now automotive industry (well, trouble has been brewing there for quite some time), is taking a serious toll on direct marketing across channels.
In particular, marketers who use lists scored with consumer credit and mortgage information are experiencing this sea change firsthand. Below, two experts in marketing to consumer lists using credit information discuss what to expect and where to focus dollars now:
1. It's Prime Time to Focus on Data
"When times are challenging, marketers really need to be able to show measurable results in their campaigns," says Denise Hopkins, vice president of product development and marketing for Experian Marketing Services, a provider of consumer and business credit reporting and marketing services. "Marketers are going to have to justify the work that they're doing, and they can certainly do that if they focus on using the data-so the data is there to support them," she adds.
"The answers are in the math," agrees Brian Rice, CEO and co-founder of Red Clay Media, a direct marketing agency specializing in direct marketing, data analytics and consumer trends experience. He says data models and conversion on response across channels are directing his agency's creative decision making. "We're strictly listening to the data, i.e., the consumer . . . that this is a predictive analysis of where we need to move to, whether it be on placement, media buy or channel," he says.