On "DM's key strength is in measurement," congratulations on a column that gets to the heart of the matter by assessing where direct has been, is now and has the potential to go. Metrics are the differentiator, and they are the key reason that CMOs from companies not previously invested in direct are now including it in their mix. The other, closely related key reason is relationship marketing, for the ultimate goal of customer value.
Direct's big chance is right now because with digital, all marketing is direct. Marketers who don't know direct are at a disadvantage, and direct marketers have a window in time to apply their expertise in metrics and relationship marketing to new media and to integrated marketing.
In the pre-Web era, a direct-response ad defined itself versus a brand ad by its use of an 800 number or other "reply device."
That will never be the case with a URL in an ad of any kind. The boundaries that separate brand advertising, direct, PR and sales promotion are convenient for budgets and staffing, but they ignore the effect on the target audience of every advertiser.
With the inevitable blurring of marketing-mix boundaries because of the Internet and multichannel growth, all marketers need to be aware that their prospects and customers don't think in terms of channels and, instead, expect all communications from a company to be consistent in terms of branding, offers, and appropriate use of data for customer service.
At New York University, we prepare the future leaders in interactive marketing with a graduate degree that teaches them how to apply the best practices of direct, especially measurement, to all aspects of interactive and integrated marketing.