Finding and properly identifying DM talent remains a critical issue for organizations seeking people who have the necessary skill set to take their programs to the next level.
I will not attempt to list all of the general qualifications all employees should possess and strive to develop such as interpersonal skills, integrity, strong work ethic, character and so forth. But rather, these comments relate to the down and dirty skills I look for in these job functions.
The first of several job functions I would like to talk with you about is the art director. Listed below are the essential qualities I seek in this field.
-Specialized training in design and art direction
-Experience with on-line produced and classic direct mail formats
-Not only computer literate but deep capability with Adobe’s design suite as well as Quark
-Concepting skills in all media channels. For collateral, it helps if the artist has a good knowledge of paper stocks and postal regulations as it relates to direct mail
-Attention to detail such as tracking codes, permit numbers and high quality presentation materials that are free of obvious errors
-Portfolio demonstrating multi-channel exposure, creative layouts and font expertise as well as the ability to change styles based on the brand requirements
-Art direction skills demonstrating the ability to bring out the power of the copy and product benefits in ways that do not draw undo attention to the graphics
On that last point, I have seen beautiful layouts that made it hard to read the copy. Putting excessive amount of body copy in reverse type, for example, is a no-no. This type of layout actually depresses response.
Copy is still king in direct marketing. But in my view, great graphics reinforce the copy and prompts the target audience to read the message.
What other skills would you add to this role? What is the toughest to find?