MY BIG TAKEAWAY FROM THE DMA ... GO ON A BRANDABOUT!
I'd already started Andrea Syverson's new book BrandAbout before heading off to this year's DMA Annual Conference. Syverson coined the term BrandAbout from the Australian aboriginal tradition of a walkabout — a time to take a break from the daily grind ... look up ... get out and take stock of where you are. And, more importantly, make the necessary course corrections to where you should be heading!
Walking around the exhibit hall, it was clear that many direct marketing suppliers, whether they know it or not, have heeded her advice. Legacy vendors have broadened their view, embraced new technologies and are presenting themselves in dynamic new ways.
The mood was upbeat. Attendance was up and many of the session rooms were standing room only. I heard lots of good feedback about Larry Kimmel, the new CEO of the DMA and his opening keynote that focused on change and the branding challenges our association and our industry are facing.
Years ago, direct marketing used to be the stepchild of Madison Avenue - sitting on the sidelines getting the occasional pat on the head.
Today, as Kimmel said in his keynote, all marketing is embracing the tenets of direct marketing - analytics, accountability, cost per order, lifetime value, etc. - adding up to that all-important ROI. But, many new media marketers don't see themselves as direct marketers. They don't think that mobile or SEM is really direct marketing. But, in fact, the old rules apply for the new media. And, as Kimmel pointed out "direct marketing is not channel specific, it never has been."
Stan Rapp in his recent column feels that the DMA has missed the mark with its new branding initiative. Simply saying you are "new and improved" just doesn't cut it. It will be interesting to watch Kimmel and the DMA — or the iDMA — move forward with their message. Personally, I wish him and my DMA friends all the best.