B-to-B Insights: Attain Success in an Integrated World
Add Brand, Subtract Performance
The direct marketer is in a decidedly awkward position when it comes to chanting along with the CMO’s mantra. By instructing all channels to speak with one voice, odds are the CMO is instructing the direct marketer to say things that aren’t going to be helpful in sparking immediate response. This doesn’t mean that direct marketing can’t be used to deliver a brand message. It certainly can, but that’s not its primary objective.
As the table below demonstrates, the more brand messages you shoehorn into a direct communication, the less effective it is at delivering the offer and getting the response you seek because your customers are unclear as to exactly what it is you want them to do. This is why I urge marketers not to employ their general brand advertising agencies for direct response work. General agencies, as a general rule, don’t understand offer strategy. What’s more, their creative teams typically view direct marketing as uncool, and they are prone to presenting high concept work that’s more stimulating to them than it will be to your customers.
Create a Peaceful Co-existence
Am I suggesting that you stroll into the CMO’s office and tell him to stuff his brand? Of course not.
What you should tell him is how you intend to leverage the brand to generate peak performance for your direct campaigns. Explain how you’ll employ brand advertising graphics and brand messaging to make your direct communications, and the offers they promote, more credible, valuable, exclusive and desirable.
While you’re there, you might also explain that since direct marketing is a medium of action, it also can support the brand by encouraging customers to interact with the brand. A direct marketing communication can drive customers to a hot, creative, educational Web site; it can put information in their hands; it can encourage them to speak with a sales person or to view the product firsthand, at point-of-sale or in their homes and offices.