‘Must-have’ deserves recognition

In the advertising section of The New York Times on Thursday, December 4, I was pleased to see an article titled, “In This Season’s Must-Have: The Humble Coupon” which demonstrates the diverse and creative technological applications used for advertising accelerated by economic need.

While I was happy to see statistics on the performance and flexibility of coupons, I was disappointed it comes across as news to the general public and business. Despite PR work on the image of direct marketing, marketing professionals still need to brand ourselves and to educate businesses and consumers about our value to them.

Insert media, in addition to coupons, offers well more than 1 billion places to advertise, is the lowest-cost medium, and reaches the ultimate hotline/most responsive customers who just received their merchandise. Marketers can target demographically, by source and regionally, in some cases. The channel is an avenue for partnerships, endorsements and reciprocity; provides simple and clean reporting, accounting and analysis; and offers shared impact rather than direct impact from postal increases.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, “In 2008, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — will spend $176.9 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.1% of all ad expenditures in the US.

“Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures will generate approximately $2.057 trillion in incremental sales. In 2008, direct marketing accounted for approximately 10% of total US gross domestic product. Also in 2008, there were 1.6 million direct marketing employees in the US. Their collective sales efforts directly support 9.3 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 10.9 million US jobs.”

So while I am pleased that the Times is finally touting the advertising “must-haves” of the season, I wonder why they have not yet given more credit to the direct marketing industry.

Why, in general has it taken them and mainstream media so long to say something constructive and more balanced about this important contributor to profit centers?

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