DM Days NY focuses on the customer experience

Understanding each customer and communicating offers on their terms was the theme of the Direct Marketing Association’s DM Days show in New York last week.

DMA president John Greco spoke of direct marketing as a tradition in transi­tion. Ted Leonsis, vice chairman emeritus of AOL and chairman of Clearspring Tech­nologies, said that in addition to fragmenta­tion in media audiences and the US’s lag in the economy and in new media adoption, the challenge was putting trust first.

“Consumers can smell inauthenticity a mile away, and the worst thing you can be perceived as is to be tricky,” Leonsis said.

One way to get consumer trust, noted David Sable, vice-chairman and COO of Wunderman, is to introduce cause mar­keting elements to campaigns. He likened cause-related marketing to another CRM, customer relationship management.

Other sessions focused on better user experience. Oliver Chaine, founder and CEO of Magnify360, pointed out that site owners need to cater to many dif­ferent kinds of customers. By delivering a personalized experience and engaging customers, businesses will increase their conversion rates, Chaine said.

This lesson applies beyond merely digi­tal efforts — all media is improved with customization, Leonsis said.

“It’s not ‘new’ media any more, it’s ‘the’ media, and it’s not multichannel — every­thing is digital, and print supports what you’re trying in the Web 2.0 world,” he said. “This growth is not going to stop.”

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