Marketers look to teach mass marketers at DMC luncheon

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New York - At the Direct Marketing Club of New York's March luncheon, questions were raised concerning how mass marketers can teach mailers about direct marketing and, in return, how marketers can sell direct response to mass marketers.

The luncheon was sponsored by Experian, a provider of value-added information solutions to organizations and consumers. The discussion began after salad, the standard chicken entrée and tiramisu. Moderator Rosemarie Montroy, chief marketing officer of Direct Media Inc., jokingly asked for the one mailer in the room to please stand up.

"Mass marketing is done by a company that sells through a multi-level distribution system," said Richard Shaw, president and CEO of Shaw Wunderman. "The mass marketer does not sell to the consumer."

The challenge of mass marketing lies in the fact that marketers don't know which individuals are buying their products or when.

"Mass Marketing is volume messaging," said Rob Mason, brand manager on Johnnie Walker, Diageo. "It is not discreet, so the transactional databases have the benefit of who and when, and the benefit of using segmentation tools."

The question of how timing and metrics differ was next raised.

"For mass marketing, perspective is critical in order to have access to how something is performing," Mr. Mason said. "In the direct marketing world, measuring is a bit more difficult, because there is no way to track the consumer and it is a bit of a leap of faith."

The panelists cited relying on e-mail as the key to realizing that metrics are easier to check than direct marketing. An example of this would be click-through rates.

"Creating visions for a client is very important," said Kevin Dean, vice president of product marketing for Equifax. "With that has to come a path in measuring to see the kind of impact this marketing can bring."

It also was noted that prospecting never herds profiting right away.

"It is hard to sell metrics to someone who is used to mass marketing," said Stefanie Pont, managing partner for Pont Media Direct. "You know that you're going to loose money on the acquisition, but the blessing of direct marketing is that you can show up with results."

Picking the correct timing brings a whole new perspective to mass marketing as well.

"We have seen the proliferation of marketing and how consumers are inundated with advertising at a tremendous rate," Mr. Mason said. "The mass marketing world has an abundance of data that they don't know how to leverage."

Marketers have to individually ask themselves if direct marketing is the appropriate thing to leverage for their brand.

"With Johnnie Walker we know that three to five percent of consumers in the United States are regular Scotch drinkers, so the mass approach would waste a lot," Mr. Mason said. "So with the category we work in, direct marketing makes a lot of sense."

The level of customization also depends on the financial status of the company.

"Mass marketing really has no such thing as a one to one, because of the scale and margins," Mr. Shaw said. "In reality, they need to create segments to market to."

Marketers of all categories are looking to leverage multichannel outlets.

"We only use information provided by the consumer," Mr. Mason said. "We are looking to go into the mobile area, but people are still sensitive to give out their cell phone numbers."

Therefore, a lot of what marketers can do is controlled by how much information the consumer is willing to give.

"Marketers have to drive efficiency across all challenges and take one idea and leverage it across all available channels," Mr. Mason said.

An example of a successful multichannel marketing campaign was provided by Johnnie Walker's Home for the Holiday's campaign.

Using its database, the company sent mailings offering recipients their own custom made Johnnie Walker label for free. In return, the Scotch brand donated $5 for each label made to the building of new homes in New Orleans.

"People received something in the mail that drove them to the Web," Mr. Mason said. "Through this way, we gained information about the consumer and leveraged that in the retail section where every bottle of Johnnie Walker purchased in Louisiana created an additional $5 donation."

The campaign ran from August to September of last year.

Ms. Pont gave a second example of a successful campaign Pont Media Direct produced for Sprint.

"We took the direct mail and extricated the creative message into the e-mail database," she said.

So just where do those database names come from?

"In the spirits industry we are only allowed to mail to people who have raised their hands to receive information from us, which sort of puts handcuffs on us in a way," Mr. Mason said.

Consumers can sign up for information via Johnnie Walker inserts, the Web site, banner ads, and offered initiatives for movie tickets and tasting events.

"Direct marketing operates on a shorter timeline," Mr. Mason said. "So when we do it again it will be toward a broader range across all channels, because that will be the key to greater success."

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