What happened to direct marketing?

I’m worried to say that I fear direct marketing as a skill has disapeared. how many people even know what a johnson box is and how to use it? In our rush to become integrated, 360 and digital we have have forgotten that a key piece of the marketing mix was about how a brand has a conversation on a one-to-one basis with a consumer.

Please don’t tell me that this is email marketing, because the majority of the 270 million hits I get on google with these two words relates to technology suppliers who are getting better at delivering you a message and also (thankfully) giving you some analysis as to how well (or badly) the consumer interacted with it.

But who and where are the specialists in email design, the craftsmen (and women) of direct mail and the experts of SMS and bluetooth? We seem to have forgotten that these skills are far more important than the words digital and interactive.

My previous employer, RMG Connect in Paris, was a specialist in DM – but only because they were a specialist in the charity fund raising business, which is still by and large a paper business. There are experts there of how much text vs images on a letter, what the call to action should say, the cost and type of goodies to put in the envelope and even what the envelope design should be.

But this is a dying art – so little talked about and yet so key to the future of communications.

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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