The annual Direct Marketing Association show is always a great temperature check for the industry as a whole and this year’s show was no different. Executive Editor Carol Krol will share her insights in an upcoming editorial in our October 26 print issue – be sure to check it out. For my part I was struck this year with just how much is fitting under the umbrella of direct. With tighter budgets and a dizzying array of places to spend it, marketers are widening their responsibilities pushing into customer care, public relations, product development and branding, just to name a few.
Before the show, I spoke with InfoGroup CEO Bill Fairfield about how his company would be aligning all of its services under one brand at the show. Fairfield pointed out, “While data may become more or less free, what is still important is how accessible it is and how it’s organized, if it’s in an appropriate context and whether or not marketers have the ability to use it.”
Post-show Ed Mallin, president of InfoGroup Services Group, gave me some insight into his company’s presence during the big event. The database giant has shifted its focus away from product sales and individual brand promotions to push forward a consolidated front focused on services and strategy. Mallin explained his staff has begun to get more training on writing strategic plans for customers.
“The show was a good dialogue opportunity,” Mallin told me. “We’re building relationships, supporting our clients and listening to what the customer needs.”
Over and over, hear many service providers speak to a newly placed emphasis on holistic strategies and context for every iteration of the campaign. As marketers are asked to do more – every service provider is also expected to understand the cross-channel challenges that will arise.