Editor's Note: Your Chocolate’s in My Peanut Butter!
While DMA09 might have been the Direct Marketing Association's most lightly attended show ever, I can report having some of the most productive meetings ever in my 17 years at this annual show. In particular, I got the chance to have some very interesting conversations about how direct marketing and branding need to work together like never before—discussions that continued when I got back from San Diego.
This merger (or collision?) is causing power struggles inside and outside marketing organizations, as what once were two separate budgets—handled by two separate teams—are becoming one. So, is branding's chocolate in direct marketing's peanut butter or vice versa? And if it doesn't matter—and it really shouldn't to marketers themselves—can't they be brought together to create a product as lasting as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?
If you've read consultant and author Richard Rosen's book, "Convergence Marketing," then you know his answer is an unequivocal "yes." The challenge, he told me at DMA09, is that brand marketers and direct marketers don't speak the same language and haven't always had the highest opinions of one another's work for decades.
Let's skip the semantics part, for what appears to be the bigger issue: turf wars. Clearly, the unification of two mostly warring clans will not be a smooth process. If this movement needed a Hollywood movie title, "There Will Be Blood" is probably not too far off. And yet companies need these two processes, and thus their practitioners, to walk hand in hand in order to be successful in the new customer-driven marketplace.