Editor’s Notes: It’s Not ALL Direct Marketing
I said in October that everyone is doing direct marketing—and everyone is, to some extent. But not every marketing effort is direct. And at DMA2010, where one of the messages was "it's all direct marketing," it was never more apparent that it's not.
There are at least two very separate approaches to marketing: direct marketing and branding. They go hand-in-hand, but they are still different disciplines with different tools, techniques and measures of success. The lines get a little blurry when you talk about certain types of lead generation, which can look a lot like branding, or when Target Marketing columnist Andrea Syverson talks about your brand as a tool in direct marketing. But the purpose of your campaign will dictate the proper approach. And, at that point, branding and direct marketing become very different. Prioritizing both in the same campaign can put you out of business.
Is your goal to create a favorable impression of your company and products in the hope that will lead consumers to investigate further and climb deeper into your sales funnel? I think everyone reading this magazine knows that is not direct marketing, it's branding.
Direct Is Special Now
Branding is a fine and noble marketing technique that needs to be a part of every marketing strategy. But we cover a different approach in Target Marketing, and its tenets are as different as the blitzkrieg was to trench warfare. If your marketing campaign aims to capture actionable information, opt-in participation, or even sales, then you're practicing direct marketing and this is the magazine for you.
Direct marketing isn't your signage, it's your salesman. It doesn't warm prospects up, it breaks the ice and convinces them to take action right now. And it's targeted and trackable with hard data so you can use real facts to do it better next time.
Branding is what it has always been; an essential way to let the public know who you are and why they should do business with you. But the proliferation of media you can use to direct market today—mail, email, mobile, Web display ads and search engine marketing, even physical display ads when they're combined with mobile response codes to prompt on-the-spot participation—mean direct marketing has never been a more powerful technique than it is today.
Take a look at our cover story and IHG's focus on email or Jeff Molander's E-commerce Link column for glimpses of the future of direct marketing, and see how the new channels fit like gloves.