It's been an interesting fourteen days.
From a mention in a NYTimes article to being publicly lampooned by a fellow consultant starting a new blog to participating in a wonderful webinar put on by the good folks at the Web Analytics Association to speaking at ACCM where the good folks organizing the conference dealt with a confluence of industry challenges and swine flu fears and economic collapse, to being derided by a long-time industry consultant/expert about the future of direct marketing to the end of the Catalog Success publication ... it is a two-week period that makes an industry insider step back and take notice.
Where the heck is the direct marketing industry headed?
What I've learned is that the real story is being told in meetings at the companies that you and I work for, by our co-workers. The future of direct marketing is being scripted, one meeting at a time, based on the perspectives and personalities of the individuals making decisions.
Every time you attend a meeting to discuss whether the merchandising team wants an additional four pages in your October catalog ... every time your web analytics funnel analysis suggests that you're losing customers with $14.95 shipping and handling ... every time you're told that you are making the business too complicated because you manage 125,000 keywords ... every time you're told to add another e-mail campaign to make up for sales that the online marketing team failed to generate ... every time store sales suffer when you cut back on banner advertising ... every time you meet with your co-op about improving customer acquisition performance by building new models ... every time you listen to a phone call in your call center and hear a 66 year old woman struggling with your website ... every time your online marketing executive laughs at you when you suggest monitoring conversations via Twitter ... every time your catalog marketing director tells you that only 29 customers are actually using iPhone apps in your customer base ... every time one of these things happen, the future of direct marketing is being written.
Nobody can talk about these meetings. Consultants sign non-disclosure agreements, and employees will get fired if they share trade secrets publicly. That being said, members of MineThatData Nation continually ask to see case studies that can be used to map-out the future of direct marketing.
What's a person to do?
Next week, I'm going to introduce a Multichannel Forensics case study. We'll spend a few weeks talking about these issues at a fictional company, and we'll discuss how Multichannel Forensics can be used to help guide the direction of this company.
Maybe best of all, we can have an honest discussion about the future of direct marketing, while talking about a fictional company!!