Tough times won't slow digital DM

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Karen Tripi
Karen Tripi

Recent financial news and the actions taken by our government to stimulate the economy have created many discussions on how the marketing industry will be im­pacted in 2008. Some have already alluded to a slowdown in the DM job market, which surprised me because I am not seeing that.

After reading these statistics and predic­tions, I have to presume that they were based on traditional direct marketing practices only. When it comes to interac­tive marketing and digital marketing, I am actually seeing a higher than usual demand to find good people to fill open positions in these categories.

There are two fundamental reasons for the divergent observations and opinions here. The first is short term. In an unusual or challenging economy, companies look to cut costs and try new things without negatively impacting results. You have to continue ac­quiring customers and generating additional income from existing customers. Cutting these costs means pulling back on traditional direct marketing efforts — print, mail, TV, etc. — and increasing efforts in the alterna­tive, less costly channels, namely interactive and digital. For the job market, this is going to result in a lower demand for traditional direct marketers and a higher demand for interactive and digital direct marketers.

The second fundamental reason is long term. When you look at the big picture, we know that there is a general shift towards interactive and digital direct marketing. This shift is going to continue through all economic cycles. Additionally, we will prob­ably see this shift accelerate further at the beginning and the end of each year as mar­keting plans and budgets are approved.

I have learned through my experience in this industry, as well as my clients' experi­ence, that you must be vigilant with keeping up with the changes in this industry, regard­less of the economic climate. To stay at the forefront of the one-to-one market you must be up to date on all new channels, technolo­gies, and tactics as they evolve. If you are this type of direct marketer, you will not ex­perience a slowdown in this job market. In fact, you should be in high demand.

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