Prominence of digital media brings measurability, accountability

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Last Monday, I began my work week in a bit of a direct marketing funk. After all, I was still smarting from the fact that I didn't receive the text message from Barack Obama that I had signed up for (which I mentioned in my last editorial).

The missive was supposed to let me know — personally — who he had chosen as his running mate. Sure, the news that Joseph Biden was the man was leaked before Obama's camp had a chance to send a message, but why not forward it anyway? To me, it's a perfect example of not following through on a campaign promise — a marketing campaign promise, that is.

My week covering direct marketing perked up, however, when I read last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, which featured a story about WPP Group's potential purchase of market-research company Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC.

I was thrilled to read the WSJ's analysis of the situation, including the fact that WPP is eager — as most agencies are these days — to offer more sophisticated services to clients that help them measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts. This focus on data is just another pat on the back for direct and digital marketers, who have used this kind of research and these sorts of tactics for decades.

This week's DMNews touches on this theme: Our main feature (p.16) focuses on the lists industry, and the sector's efforts to take their deep, broad knowledge of direct marketing tactics and expand them into digital marketing channels. Also, Spotlight (p.13) shines a light on Paul Price, global president of Omnicom-owned Rapp, the brand-evolved version of the former Rapp Collins. Price points out that the agency has always been very good at measurement, analytics and other direct strategies — and that those skills are in ever greater demand, thanks to digital media.

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