On Target-Everything Old is New Again
By Alicia Orr Suman
HAVE YOU BEEN TO A MALL LATELY? Check out the fashions sported by the teenage girls: In their low-slung jeans and halter tops, they look like flashbacks to the 1970s. Walk into the music store, and they're promoting the Beatles' album (which, by the way, my 5-year-old daughter thinks is "cool"). I thought I was alone in noticing this 1960s-1970s redux. Then I read a column by Karen Heller in The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday Magazine last weekend about the state of fashion, music and popular culture today. Basically, it said that there's nothing new. Everything's been recycled—a throwback to the 1960s, '70s or perhaps the '80s. For instance, Heller notes how recent movie releases are " … recycling television shows from the '70s (Josie and the Pussycats, Charlie's Angels), as well as movies (Shaft)."
In direct marketing we also recognize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As Steve Bogner, president of NRL Direct, writes in this month's "List View" column, "When looking at the past 26 years that I've been in the list services industry, it seems as if the same concerns keep resurfacing." Among those he cites: postal rates, privacy issues, list price negotiation and broker compensation. On the subject of postage cost increases, Bogner writes:
When I began my career at Walter Karl Inc., the industry was bracing itself for a postal increase. Sound familiar?
Of course it does. It's one of the perpetual challenges faced by the direct mail and catalog industries. This year, right on the heels of one postage rate hike, we may be facing yet another one. (For more insights on how the postal issue and others are rearing their heads again, turn to Bogner's column on p. 90.)
The Golden Rules: Ideas to Test
Bogner is correct in stating that many of the challenges we as direct marketers face don't change much with the passage of time. Lucky for us, another constant is that there are proven rules and strategies for meeting those challenges head on. While no rule fits every situation (and there are certainly instances where it's correct to be a rule-breaker), rules are great starting points for ideas to test. And having rules—and the ability to test them—is what's so great about direct marketing, isn't it?
If you're looking for a source of great test ideas, look no further than Target Marketing's online Article Library full of testable advice from hundreds of previously published articles. Visit: www.targetonline.com/doc/article.html.