Should Branding Drive Direct Marketing Creative?

In some refreshingly frank language, H. Gordon Lewis, expert copywriter and author of 31 books as well as David Lewis, President and CEO of Merkle commented on this very question in the October 29, 2007 issue of DM News.

You can find these comments online on under the title “Does brand have a place in today’s DM?”

Here are some things they wrote.

H. Gordon Lewis excerpts:
“I have no problem with brand advertising, but would argue the same amount of money can be used to generate more revenue and loyalty than brand.
If you have a budget of half a million dollars, how much do you want to spend on selling something and how much do you spend to build an image? A lot of people use brand marketing as a crutch. My position is looking at the bottom line. In direct marketing, we build lists of customers who buy product and that is gold. Anything else is false gold or some kind of alloy.”

David Williams excerpts:
“I think both camps have lost focus on what is truly important --- [that is, to develop] multimedia strategies and programs that enhance the value of relationships with consumers over time.
The challenge today is not about which approach is better; it is figuring out how to create an effective blend of universal, unique offers and messages delivered through multiple media at the right time to drive results.”


The editor of the magazine made this assessment of these two articles.


“… Williams just beats him to the punch with an argument that speaks to longer-term relationship… just as direct focuses and amplifies branding, branding can drive direct.”

Do you think branding can drive direct as stated by the editor? Do branders give you sway on creating “unique offers” designed to drive results as stated by David Williams? Do you think direct marketers have missed the point in the discussion? Is this really a case of just missing the point?

Posted on November 7, 2007 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, Direct Response Creative.