Brand and direct lines are beginning to blur

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Your editorial, "Creativity abounds in today's DM work," draws a particularly interesting insight to the state of DM and client-side marketing.

Over the past decade, tremendous strides have been made in DM, often at the mandate of a CMO stating, "don't give me data; give me information."

In that timeframe the improvements have been dramatic - not only technically and analytically, but also even creatively.

The missing link has been another mandate from the CMO: "Don't bring me brand concepts; give me marketing that leverages brand and positioning elements in DM."

That subtle shift in message would have profound implications for more traditional branding and the marketing industrial complex.

It's only a recent phenomenon that we've begun to see a rising awareness and measurable gains in marketing acumen using direct methods among brand marketers.

A DMA study, "The integration of DM and brand 2007," brought this point to light, showing positive signs of progress. The study shows that while branding and direct marketing are traditionally two distinct disciplines, the line is in fact beginning to blur.

It's time brand and direct marketers overcome the barriers that separate them, and start focusing on methods to cross-pollinate disciplines and get back to the business of marketing.

This may sound like brand bashing, so at the risk of alienating my direct colleagues, it should be noted their relentless focus on database has them missing the broader strategic brand and positioning implications so critical to competitive success.

In other words, there's plenty of opportunity to go around.

Dave Katz

Insight consultant principal

Decision Sciences


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