Q&A: Edwin Lee, SolutionSet VP

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Edwin Lee was recently appointed VP at SolutionSet after serving as a group account director at iCrossing. He talks with Direct Marketing News' Frank Washkuch about his goals and how he expects direct and digital marketing to continue to cross paths in the future.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): What are your near-term goals?

Edwin Lee: I think for me, coming from technology and digital marketing, coming to SolutionSet was a very exciting opportunity. It is the coming together of digital and direct marketing. Really what we do in digital marketing is direct marketing but at a little faster pace. It's the same marketing strategies, same content strategies, just different mediums. We used the same underlying business concepts to create a powerful program in the digital space and the offline direct marketing space too. I'm pretty excited about the combination of that.

DMN: A lot of people consider digital and direct two distinct practices. Can you elaborate on the overlap?

Lee: A good example is that as I learn more about the direct marketing space in the context of list marketing, list segmentation, and follow up and post-sell contact,

it's the same thing that good online retailers are doing these days. Basically, you create awareness campaigns through banner or search and then get consumers to visit your site, then they buy something or they don't. Then there is the post-visit contact strategy in the digital space, like remarketing and retargeting. You then follow the e-mails and you complete the cycle again, and then you have the consumers in your customer file. Now we can utilize online and offline tactics together in the same timeframe for a stronger sell. So what I am trying to do is to bridge these gaps more internally, and what I am seeing in the first couple of months, and we have been getting some great opportunities with brand name brands that are recognizing the power of strategizing across online and offline channels.

I think you are right. Most companies think of them as different animals. Even internally, companies may have an offline direct marketing group and an online marketing group and they never talk. So looking to an agency that can pull them together under one umbrella and talk to their customer the same way in offline channels as the online channels and then have similar context strategy with both is pretty powerful.

DMN: Are any industries doing this better than others?

Lee: Actually, from what I've seen, the direct marketing retailers have been into digital marketing a little bit earlier. They are experimenting with some of the more advanced tactics. Because again, with the business practices of digital marketing and all performance media, not just awareness driven marketing, it works exactly like you would run a direct marketing campaign. You test the response, and if it is there, you adjust your campaign. You test your campaign, then you adjust it. In the digital field, it just happens a lot faster, you get your responses on a weekly – almost a daily basis if you want it – and then you adjust your campaigns.

DMN: What are your predictions for the next year or two?

Lee: We are in early talks with a couple of big clients. I am excited to come up with a fully offline-online program for our clients that involve the analytics of direct marketing and online marketing as well. Then we will run that for a few months…and see what is running well, and see how online affects offline and vice versa, so we can actually prove that we drove “X” amount of sales.

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