By Julie Sullivan, VP Marketing W.A. Wilde
With social media being, well, everywhere, it was no surprise that it made its presence at the June NEDMA Awards in four new categories:
- Best SEO Campaign
- Best Twitter Page
- Best Blog
- Best Other Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
What was surprising was the amount of entries in these categories – or lack thereof. Where competition was fierce in more traditional categories, there were only a sprinkling of entries in these new media categories. This is where I pause and ask the question, “Can someone please remind me, and all marketers, the true definition of direct marketing?”
From what I was taught and continue to practice, Direct Marketing really has two main principles:
- Engage in a one-to-one dialogue with your target audience
- Require your target audience to take some sort of action–call, click, move, you name it.
If you accept this definition, why is direct marketing synonymous with direct mail in so many marketers’ eyes? In the last five years or so, there has been no bigger trend than delivering relevant, personalized communications to build trust and credibility with your audience. For most companies that aren’t spending marketing dollars on broadband awareness campaigns, one-size-fits-all communications are passé–almost irresponsible in today’s marketing communications mix.
As a result, DR TV and radio, email, and yes even social media is about creating relevant, one-to-one dialogue with your target audience and motivating them to act in some way, shape, or form. If this is the case, why hasn’t direct marketing led the charge instead of being relegated to a category on the bar graph titled “direct mail” that decreases in size and budget year over year?
My plea to direct marketers is to strip the stigma of the red-headed stepchild that only creates unwanted credit card solicitations and rethink what it means to be a true direct marketer in this day and age.
How has your agency or company expanded the definition and importance of direct marketing for your business? Or is it thought of more as the dinosaur that used to have the stature of a T-Rex, but has shrunk to the size of a Flintstone vitamin?