The long-standing definition of direct marketing can just be tossed out the window. Today’s direct response discipline is currently driven by an evolving marketing landscape where the interaction of response, engagement, sales, and measurability is blurring the lines between direct marketing and general advertising. Neither is quite the same. It’s a whole new world.
Or is it?
Direct marketing hasn’t been about “direct mail” for decades. Now more than ever it cannot be defined in terms of any one medium, or as a channel, or in terms of any single technology. It’s not just about “going direct” to a consumer, either. But while the lines are blurring, direct remains a distinctly unique discipline demanding particular skills and techniques.
Nearly all communications today are direct. They all target a segment of consumers or businesses, attempting to generate a first-step response or action to engage with the advertiser. To approach any marketing communication today without direct marketing discipline limits a consumer’s motivation and options to respond—as well as a marketer’s ability to track meaningful response and actionable data.
Increasingly, response is no longer measured only in terms of leads or sales and associated costs. The first visit to a store or website, the first text response – each can be just as important as (even critical to) the first sale. While measurement criteria now recognize that true engagement may take time, you—and your business—deserve more than an accounting of exposed “eyeballs,” accumulated click and open rates, or mentions in the press. The lines between general and direct may have blurred, but fuzzy metrics such as these are just not acceptable. We maintain that hard-nosed “old-school” numbers such as cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale, and maintaining a positive R.O.I. have inherent and timeless value. They remain part of what makes direct marketing programs from DMW Direct a different and desireable marketing discipline for our clients.
This is my first post in a series of 5 blog posts examining the idea that “All Marketing is Direct Marketing.” Keep an eye out for the next installment where we’ll take a close look at some brands that have made the journey from direct to brand to “the new direct.”