Right Now, What Does A Direct Marketer Need to Know and Be Able to Do?

By | June 14, 2012

The term “integrated marketing” is loosy goosy. That’s the conclusion of Dana Todd who spoke at a panel discussion at the SES Conference, writing for DM News on March 22.

We’re all supposed to understand it, but what does integrated marketing really mean to the guy or gal who has to pull it off?

Dennis Lonergan, president of Eidolon Communications, made the point clearly in the April issue of Marketing AdVents published by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DC). In his article “Moving from “Multi” to ‘Omni’ in Hot Pursuit of Channels,” Lonergan wrote,“The term ‘multi’ barely begins to cover the variety of channels through which cutting-edge organizations reach out to current, past, and potential supporters. Originally, it described the coordinated use of direct mail and email. Then social media got added to the mix. Along the way, a trend began to develop that I’ve dubbed ‘omni-channel’ marketing.”

Now at the campaign planning table, along with direct mail and email professionals, Lonergan says he finds folks from advertising, corporate relations, entertainment relations, special events, foundation relations, search engine marketing, editorial,  special project messenging, and website architecture.

Direct Marketing Firms Want SuperMarketer
The Engage Group, an online campaign production firm in Columbia, MD, recently moved to recuit an online campaign/account manager. In addition to the normally expected job requirements — proofing, copy editing, working on deadline, managing and manipulating data, knowledge of production and data hygiene, etc.  — assignments included the ability to manage and manipulate data, build web pages in systems like Convio, Salsa, or Sphere; manage the social community, send email out through tools like Mailchimp; and familiarity with content management systems like Drupal or WordPress.

No doubt, the account manager’s job isn’t what it used to be. Demands are considerably tougher and good people are more difficult to find.

Writing in the March 2012 issue of their eNewsletter, Reston,VA-based Production Solutions noted that, “Many of our industry colleagues reach out to us for assistance when they are looking for trained account managers and production managers. In recent months, the volume of these calls and emails has increased significantly. Even with the high rate of U.S. unemployment, our colleagues find it a challenge to find qualified and motivated account/production managers.”

In the face of exploding digital communicaitons for newer technologies like mobile and social media, a move to specialization may explain why it’s so difficult to find generalists. Experienced DM account managers have left to pursue careers in emerging technologies.  With the influx of digital communications, many of the solid account staff have chosen to become specialists in other channels,” says the production Solutions article.

So what skills ARE required?
Quad/Graphics has formed a new services group, Media Solutions, to help marketers and publishers more efficiently and effectively integrate print and new media channels. Joel Quadracci says, “Our integrated services approach extends our traditional strengths in print into web, mobile, e-mail, e-reader, tablet, in-store and emerging channels … We have built a continuum of content solutions – including creative, photography, video, imaging and more – and are using new, integrated workflow and content management systems to help clients more efficiently and powerfully drive their content across all forms of media.”

Quad also talks about brand strategy, creative development, photography, video, computer-generated imaging, content management, dynamic web imaging, premedia production, page production,color production, workflow strategy and management, channel-deployment strategy, multi-platform digital editions, tablet and mobil apps, custom apps, and interactive print.

In short, the next time you’re sitting next to a direct marketer, know that you’re looking at somebody who knows more than most of us ever learned. Salud!

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