Straight Talk: Brand and Direct Work Together
December 1, 2009

The direct people. The brand folks. The sales force. Richard Rosen, in his 2009 book "Convergence Marketing: Combining Brand and Direct for Unprecedented Profits," speaks to all three audience segments about how best to sell to customers across all media—which includes combining the best of what each camp brings to the table. He presents unique tools, such as his Rosen Velocity Scale, that attempt to create more profit while strengthening brand loyalty.

An Optimism Retrospective
December 1, 2009

I have a sign above my desk that cannot be argued with: "A year from now you may wish you had started today." Author Karen Lamb's advice gently nudges me toward action steps no matter the size of my goal, nor the type, personal or professional. It is advice I share with my clients, as well.

Your Chocolate’s in My Peanut Butter!
December 1, 2009

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.

Marketing to the Digital Community
November 4, 2009

In his 2009 book, "The Nature of Marketing: Marketing to the Swarm as well as the Herd," Chuck Brymer writes a chapter about a blueprint for a consumer-driven society. President and CEO of DDB Worldwide, he mentions Walt Disney World's Epcot Center and how it was originally designed to be a real community with real people. While Epcot-as-real-community didn't pan out, another type of community has in the last few years: "We now live in a digitally linked community where we share more of our lives, our emotions, and our preferences than ever before."

4 Ways to Create Buzz for Your Brand
October 7, 2009

The concept of creating "buzz" for your brand, in order to get the attention of consumers and the media alike, is suddenly a popular one. With the talented new player—social media—on the multichannel team, direct marketers now have more opportunities to generate buzz as well as revenue.

The Power of Failure
October 1, 2009

I want to talk about the F word. Not that F word, of course, but one that perhaps conjures up just as many emotionally negative connotations: failure. We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to admit that it could happen to us or has happened to us. Like superstitious old wives, we even think we might bring it on by talking about it. Many of us might remember the shock and dread in the pit of our stomachs when seeing a math test or English class essay riddled with red slashes. We try to forget about failure as quickly as possible.

The Power of Advergaming
September 23, 2009

Advergaming has been around for years, but it’s never been more popular than right now—and for good reason. More and more, consumers congregate online for shopping, research and entertainment purposes. While tactics such as banner ads provide an opportunity to target online, they fail to engage consumers the way advergames can.

Activity Highlights: Colleges
September 17, 2009

It's September and the college campuses are again teeming with students, which is always a pleasant sight after the dormant months of summer and especially with so many other national problems on the horizon. Last night, my wife and I were at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., to hear a lecture by author James Howard Kunstler ("The Long Emergency"). Arriving just before nightfall, we strolled through the hilly campus full of gorgeous old stone buildings, huge oak trees and bustling students off to study at the library. It reminded me quickly what a great privilege it is for anyone who can attend such a university.

Straight Talk: A Conversation Starter
September 1, 2009

In the B-to-B world, especially when you're targeting benefits managers and human resource managers from corporations with at least 5,000 employees, sending yet another #10 envelope and follow-up email just won't do the trick. These folks are bombarded on a daily basis and tend toward the purge/delete response. But they might, just might, stop for a second with high-impact direct mail, especially if it not only catches their eye, but also starts a conversation.