Some of Canada’s leading creative and marketing pros were asked for their take on the challenge of marketing across an increasing number of channels to an increasingly sophisticated audience. Today’s question (part 2):
“What role does direct marketing play in the media mix and how has that role evolved?”
An age of relentless communication provides a golden opportunity
Max Valiquette Managing Director, Strategy at Bensimon Byrne
“The role of direct marketing evolves constantly. When the first piece of direct mail was delivered it amazed and interested recipients. Then, as more and more pieces of commercial mail arrived, people quickly became accustomed to it – forcing evolution to re-engage DM’s audience.
“With so many of our communication being entirely digital, it’s obviously a huge opportunity for direct mail marketers because as our physical mail boxes empty (bills and most correspondence are now digital) we marketers can reach the heart of that anticipatory moment. A good piece of direct mail can do something truly special as DM becomes more significant in an age of relentless communication.”
Customization technology means that all marketing is direct marketing
Paul Tedesco VP, Business Unit Director and Direct and CRM specialist with RAPP DDB
“Fifty years ago, direct mail focused on delivering your message into the hands of an interested customer with pieces like catalogues. Today, if we’re being honest, all marketing is direct marketing. There’s no way to get away from it. Everything we do, every interaction we have with a customer, should now be based on some kind of customization, segmentation and priority. We’re even delivering content to people’s televisions based on viewing habits and occupations and interests. So I think that all marketing is direct marketing. We probably need to lose the modifier “direct” and just call it marketing.”
Whether marketers like it or not, today’s customers expect a two-way conversation
Jennifer Campbell GM, Direct Marketing Strategy, Canada Post
“Direct marketing (and direct mail in particular), has always played a key role in the media mix. We’ve gone from just a few direct channels to many. It’s exciting that so much of today’s media involves a two-way interaction. Traditionally, marketing communication has been one-way, whether that was through mass media or the direct channels. As it evolves, we can increasingly leverage data and the insights. We’re able to use direct marketing to engage our target audience through many different channels. We need to start that two-way conversation, because people are going there, whether we marketers like it or not.”
Acquisition tactics should radiate from a direct channel
Ryan Harper Senior Marketing Manager for AIIM Group
Direct mail – and direct marketing as a whole – needs to be the key cog in the media mix. I’m a firm believer that DM should drive all other tactics. At one point, direct mail was the go-to channel and everyone’s mail box was bombarded. Then email came along and marketing teams decided that they could send out a lot more messages for much less money. But today we’re finding that while sending emails is cheaper, you’re not getting a good return on that investment.
“Perhaps email works as a vehicle from a retention standpoint because you’re engaging with someone who already deals with your company. But from an acquisition perspective, combining all tactics should be key focus with the campaign radiating from direct mail and direct marketing.”