Britt Brouse

The rise of social media and prevalence of online ratings and customer reviews on e-commerce sites tells us that today’s consumer values the opinion of her peers over that of the marketer or company.

Marketers and fundraisers still are talking about all of the new ways that the Obama campaign used online channels to net new, young constituents. While e-mail and Web 2.0 methods are valid avenues to pursue, direct mail remains an integral channel, with response rates that are much higher than those of e-mail.

What's the best way to get inside a prospect's mind? There are surveys, focus groups, market research and customer service centers to collect information about an audience, but sometimes basic direct mail testing is the most straightforward and profitable way to find out which approaches work best

You know the economy is in a sorry state when the entire American auto industry needs a bailout while consumers are being warned about what gift cards to buy for the holidays . . . in case that store, such as Circuit City or Sears, is no longer there when shopping time comes around. Wow. The turmoil that began in the banking, mortgage and credit sectors, before spreading to the stock market and now automotive industry (well, trouble has been brewing there for quite some time), is taking a serious toll on direct marketing across channels.

No matter how much planning goes into a mail campaign, it all comes down to that do-or-die moment when a prospect brings the day's mail into the house and sorts through it. The latest efforts, no matter how well-planned, will either be tossed in the trash or saved, and even then, only some mailings will ever be opened.

Even in this constricting economy, luxury prospects are still happy to spend. Greg Furman, founder of The Luxury Marketing Council, defines the luxury prospect base as the estimated 3.2 million American households with liquid portfolios of $1 million and more. "We believe it's definitely a hard market, but people are still spending," says Karen Fields, director of market intelligence for Exclusive Resorts, a luxury destination club.

More Blogs