DMA: 'We Are All Direct Marketers Now'

  • by January 14, 2009
DMA report cover"We are all direct marketers now, whether we know it or not," states Michelle Tiletnick, research manager of the Direct Marketing Association, to conclude the executive summary of the DMA's new 78-page qualitative report, "Future of Direct Marketing."

So where is direct marketing going, and how should it get there? Condensing the report's insights from 35 direct marketing leaders, the DMA offers the following findings:

"Where will direct marketing will be in five and ten years?"

  • Customers will be in control
  • Measurable and accountable marketing will increase
  • Traditional direct marketing (mail, catalogs) will decrease while digital marketing rises
  • Marketers will increase the use of multiple channels--but with a single message
    "How should direct marketers prepare for these changes?"
  • Invest in the future (technology, staff, mindset)
  • Ask customers for their media preferences
  • Test everything
  • Be open-minded



The 35 experts queried for the report represent 19 industry categories, including:

Catalog/retail: "Traditional retailers will become more direct, and direct merchants will look to stores as a means of competing with larger rivals and growing their brands," according to Neil O'Keefe, the DMA's vice president for the catalog and multichannel segment.

Agencies: Sid Liebenson, executive vice president and director of marketing for draft fcb, predicts that "direct marketing will become more integrated with marketing in general" in the coming years, "but these mainstream marketers will be reluctant to call what they do 'direct marketing, and to the rank and file, even 10 years from now, they'll still associate direct marketing with 'mail order' or--forgive the expression --'junk mail'."

Interactive Marketing: According to Alan Moss, Google's director of online sales and operations, "the current state of the economy may accelerate movement down the path that direct marketing has already begun traveling over the past few years--the path towards increased measurability."

Email: Jordan Cohen, senior director, industry relations for Goodmail Systems, predicts the reinvention of email as a "killer app ... able to support all the functionality of a website [streaming video, rich media graphics, one-click shopping, one-click bill pay and more] with the added bonus of being able to push the content to an audience of opt-in recipients."

Media/publishing: In 2009, Mobile Marketer Editor Mickey Alam Khan expects "resources will be moved to the Internet and even mobile, although those two channels will not be able to pay the bills for most media companies, especially with the way they are set up today."

Social media: "As social and mobile channels develop, the metrics and analytics available will become more useful to brand and merchandising managers alike. Rather than simple volumetric measurements (how many people saw our YouTube 'viral' video, or 'friended' us on Facebook?), you can anticipate learning about how influence spreads through a network, and across channels," notes analytics expert "Wandering" Dave Rhee.

2 comments about "DMA: 'We Are All Direct Marketers Now' ".
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  1. Jeffrey Ogden, January 15, 2009 at 7:54 a.m.

    Very telling. One trend that grows by the month is the customer is in control. Caller ID, Satellite Radio, DVR's, etc. -- they have so many way to block the advertising message. Today, marketers must get more creative and listen to consumers.

  2. John Schulte from National Mail Order Association, NMOA, January 15, 2009 at 3:11 p.m.

    While no one could predict the technical wonder of the Internet and home computer, Montgomery Ward and Richard Sears new direct marketing was king long ago.

    As a long time mail order (now called direct marketing) person, I also new that direct marketing was king. And it was mail order (direct marketing) people that first understood what the internet had to offer them. Internet marketing is direct marketing in electronic format.

    If you want to be a better web marketer, learn more about mail order selling.

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