September 09, 2007


This message comes to us from the most recent e-mail newsletter of the Seattle Direct Marketing Association:
  • "The direct marketing industry has been changing at a feverish pitch. First came email, then blogs, RSS feeds, rich media, word of mouth, viral, social networking and user-generated content. The SMDA is evolving right along with it, and we'll soon be introducing a new tag line "Thinking Outside The Mailbox" to help define the SDMA for the future."
Let's compare and contrast that statement with what DMNews told us last week:
  • "In case there were any lingering thoughts that the printed word is dead, consider this: Hewlett-Packard has launched a $300 million-plus, integrated marketing campaign that reflects just how important printing-related services and products are to the company ... the campaign is one way HP is trying to drive its Print 2.0 strategy ..."
Maybe it has always been this way, but the marketing voices we have to listen to seem to want to polarize us.

It's like going to a direct marketing Farmers Market, where everybody is SCREAMING at you about how 'right' they are for your business. You find a dizzying array of booths ...
  • The "print" booth.
  • The "e-mail" booth.
  • The "compiled list" booth.
  • The "list rental" booth.
  • The "portal advertising" booth.
  • The "affiliate marketing" booth.
  • The "shopping comparison site" booth.
  • The "search marketing" booth.
  • The "RSS" booth.
  • The "blogging" booth.
  • The "facebook/twitter/social-graph" booth.
  • The "word of mouth and viral marketing" booth.
  • The "PR" booth.
  • The "loyalty marketing" booth.
  • The "multichannel marketing and operations" booth.
  • The "business intelligence and SAS programming" booth.
  • The "web analytics" booth.
Each booth has a small but fiercely loyal tribe of believers. Each tribe is able to "prove" to you why they are right. And each tribe "is" right ... to an extent.

I want to be presented with a bowl of direct marketing cioppino. Instead, all I see are cutting boards full of uncooked ingredients, arguing with each other about why each individual ingredient is best.


  1. I'm with you on this topic, 100%. Bring on the cioppino.

    As a long-time direct marketer (mainly using dm and tm), I see all the channels (social networks, blogs, e-mail, mobile marketing, etc) as potential tools in my direct marketing tool-kit. I do not believe that it is print vs. interactive, for example.

    As always, marketers need to use the channel that will best solve the business problem and best allow them to connect/sell/communicate to their prospects or customers. It's that simple, no?

  2. Yup, it's probably that simple.

    Print is really important for folks with a sixty year old customer. Print isn't dead in that audience.

    Most of those other tools are important when the average customer is under the age of 40.

    If your customer is between the ages of 35 and 50, you probably need to do everything!

  3. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Kevin ...
    again, this neat cut between old and young does not stand up to the facts. Many baby boomers buy more over the Internet than many younger segments. Besides, older folks represent the largest, growing segment of the population with the most wealth.

    Research shows unprecedented adoption of interactive media by the older generation.

    Regardless of age, people consume the Internet, email, broadcast, print, direct mail and all media based on their personal preferences. That's why strong direct marketers sell to people the way they want to be sold to.

    We really have to respect the one-to-one selling principle. This approach is fundamental to the CRM strategy. The company who heeds this admonition will get the better results.

    Suzanne and Kevin make a strong case that it's not either or, but a well rounded strategy that assures success.

  4. People would be fascinated by the data my clients show me. Many clients measure response by age/income/marketing channel ... very interesting stuff.


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