Letter: DM Tools Should Enhance, Not Replace, Human Contact

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I recently read Perry Kahn's article in the List News section ("What Fast, Effective List Research Means," Nov. 3). Though Mr. Kahn seemingly has all the 21st-century tools available to him down pat, he seems to neglect the most important part of list selection, human interaction.

Today's list management and brokerage professionals are savvy direct marketers who understand the need for human interaction. Certainly online count systems and order status Web sites are tremendous advances. But the intention of these tools isn't to replace human contact, it's meant to enhance it.

Direct marketing was never intended to be a turnkey, automated process. In fact, it should be a highly calculated, targeted team effort. Mr. Kahn's article makes the process of list selection look like tossing darts at a cork board.

We all feel the crunch of today's volatile business economy. And certainly it's true that time is of the essence in many current direct mail campaigns. But let's not cut out the necessary human interaction that should exist among mailers, brokers and list managers alike. It's this type of thoughtless direct marketing that breeds the type of anti-marketing feelings consumers are feeling today.

Rob Odri, Client marketing manager, American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ



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