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0 Comments | Jan 06, 2011

Has Direct Marketing Lost its Punch?

A very savvy marketer I know (and a dear friend) has started a company, and is formulating her brand strategy. In her SWOT analysis, under Threats, she listed “Direct marketing is no longer that it used to be.”

Powerful observation, and one that really struck me. On the surface, this is very true. Look at  the history: Direct response mail got squashed by email marketing and “green” marketing. Email marketing has lost much of its effectiveness due to the sheer quantities that assault our mailboxes, as well as the danger it poses in the form of viral attack. We unsubscribe to newsletters as quickly as we request them, register for webinars we don’t attend, and who even answers their phone anymore?

For sure, the business of marketing has gone through a tremendous upheaval in the past three years, (strangely coinciding with the launch of Soapbox in early 2008… hmmm). The economy has devastated marketing budgets, causing most organizations to make drastic, often knee-jerk, cuts on spend and staff. The advent of portable media has sent us all scrambling to get face time. Social media has turned marketers on our heads, causing us to scurry about in an effort to learn the how-to’s and inherent value behind tweeting, posting, uploading, and the like.

Is Direct Marketing a goner?  I don’t believe so. What marketers must understand is that, by itself, direct marketing is no longer going to fuel a strong pipeline. That’s not to say that DM is dead. We just need to view direct marketing as a component of a new three-pronged marketing paradigm that also includes an informational, interactive, optimized web site and a strong community of active followers.

Direct marketing should be tightly woven into the fabric of our web sites, and used to stimulate our communities to raise their hands to start a dialogue with us. Still hugely important, just used differently than we did even three years ago.

Direct marketing, web sites, social media: that’s a powerful one-two-three punch.

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