Wake up to the end of the direct vs. brand warResearch firm eMarketer recently released a study, sponsored by Datran Media, calling for more “brand” measurement online and yet shunning the contributions that direct marketing has to offer the Web. In fact the study argues that a “myopic focus on direct response ads and immediate gratification” is one of the obstacles in online advertising growth. Seeing direct marketing underestimated in this way infuriates me. I’ve heard this anti-DR argument from many pros hocking display ads and creative agency services. Fundamentally this logic pushes mushy metrics ( clue: when your inventing the metric and it’s not tied to sales goals - that’s a signal). These false measures only justify higher spend on display and creative than the average buys made online.
While to a large extent successful direct marketers have embraced incorporating brand elements in direct campaigns – notably transpromo billing, data capture on brand Web sites and sale channels directly tied to social communities – many institutions ignore the idea that direct should be incorporated into brand. To this folks I say, “Wake up! The accountability cat is out of the bag.” When brands like Coca Cola and McDonalds invest in mobile and CRM it’s because they want direct data. Studies like this perpetuate the myth that brand and direct are still battling over online spend –it’s one incorporating strategy or it’s not working.