Direct Marketing suffers from an identity crisis.
Not because direct marketing strategists do not understand the concept. But rather many marketing newcomers are not going through the learning discipline they need to see the big picture.
Indeed, a little knowledge about what direct marketing does in the wide world of marketing is a dangerous thing.
In a recent article from direct marketing leader Stan Rapp, he brings forward his case as astutely as ever with this statement.
At a time of great change, we reach for new words to describe what is happening, even though they later may prove meaningless. Marketers are no exception. While absorbing the shock wave of exponential connections to consumers (and consumers to one another), they have rushed to embrace digital marketing as the wave of the future. It's a combination of words – “digital” and “marketing” — that makes little sense. “Marketing” is about the efficient and effective movement of goods and services from producer to end user. “Digital” describes a powerful new communication technology. The marketing of the future is much more than a form of technology.
Mr Rapp thinks as I do that direct marketing envelopes all media including broadcast, print, direct mail, freestanding inserts, the online medium, email and cell phone marketing. All one-to-one selling defines the strategic playing field for experienced direct marketers.
Within direct marketing, there exists specialists such as direct response television, online, direct mail, CRM, database, catalogs and alternate media. But the experienced direct marketers knows how to use multiple media, or one medium alone, to maximize ROI.
Why do direct marketers keep harping on a purer definition of direct marketing?
The reason is quite simple. Clients who have a myopic view of what we do will not understand the depth of our potential contribution.
A good example is what happened to MDs. They had to fight -- and our continuing to do so -- to differentiate themselves from Optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists and PAs. An MD has far more training and greater depth of knowledge of how to diagnose, treat disease and perform surgery.
There is a place for all of these practitioners. But an Optometrist is not the same as an Ophthalmologist. It is important for the patient to recognize the difference.
What say you?