DM should shine in current market: DMEF

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Several direct marketing indus­try up-and-comers discussed how brand and direct marketing are merging as well as emerging new technologies during a Direct Marketing Educational Founda­tion teleconference last week.

The panelists included Gary Laben, president/CEO at KnowledgeBase Mar­keting and the 2008 DMEF Corporate Commitment Award winner, as well as the five Rising Stars Award winners: Janet Barker-Evans, SVP, Draftfcb; Todd Leiser, VP of database marketing at Rodale Direct; Joseph Pak, sales operations senior analyst at Google; Joe Pych, founder and president of NextMark and Jeff Yowell, founder and president/CEO at Datacore Marketing.

Company heads are holding market­ing departments accountable like never before, which is benefiting direct market­ing, according to Barker-Evans. However, she added, “Clients don't think [a direct effort] will be as creatively driven or as brand-building” as traditional advertis­ing, she said.

This, she continued, offsets some of the gains direct marketers have achieved in clients' eyes by offering measurability.

By being able to show ROI or cost-per-acquisition, direct marketers also end up constraining their own budgets , even when the results are good, according to Pych.

“Marketing is moving away from pure branding and more into an area where quantitative results are required,” he said. “Direct marketing budgets don't grow as fast as marketing/communications budgets, which aren't tracked directly to sales.”

Marketers can bridge the gap between branding and direct response by using some of the newer communication tech­nologies, other panelists said.

“In some markets, mobile marketing works extremely well,” said Pak. “In oth­ers, direct mail, TV, print and newspaper are still staples. Technology allows us to bring these together and change directions when you want to reach consumers in a more cost-effective manner.”

Technology requires marketers to be nimble, said Barker-Evans. “As new plat­forms emerge, you have to be able to use them effectively. A lot of people use these platforms today, but maybe aren't using all the principals of direct marketing to help them achieve a return on investment.”

That's where direct marketing is headed, she continued — using its fundamentals of to effectively deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, no matter what the media.

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