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Future of Direct Marketing

On January 12, 2009 , the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released a qualitative report on the future of direct marketing. As you would expect, direct marketing is here to stay because it is measurable, interactive and accountable.

The DMA polled over 35 well-respected direct marketing leaders from a broad array of verticals and channels such as: Herschell Gordon Lewis of Lewis Enterprises; Alan Moss of Google; Jeanniey Mullen of Zinio; and Akira Oka of Direct Marketing Japan Inc., about their opinions on the future of direct marketing and their industry.

Specifically the DMA asked these leaders questions about the short- and long-term future of direct marketing. Questions included:

  • Where do you think direct marketing will be in 5 years? 10 years?
  • How should direct marketers prepare for these changes?
  • How will your industry/segment change during this time?
  • How is the state of our nation’s economy impacting your industry/segment?
  • How do you think the election of Barack Obama will affect the direct marketing community?

So just what does the future of direct marketing look like and how can marketers begin preparing for tomorrow today? The report revealed that customers will continue to be in control. If your business cannot provide them with what they want, there is a long line of competitors behind you that will. In addition, marketers will be held accountable to produce measurable results. The health of the economy has made every marketer think and re-think where to put each dollar of their marketing budget. The proof will be in the numbers, forcing marketers to test their campaigns, provide results through metrics, and justify their spending.

The DMA also made recommendations based on the survey results. One of the recommendations was that marketers ask the customer’s preferences. Marketers need to ask customers what they want to receive, how often they want to receive it, and through what channels. In addition, marketers should incorporate Web 2.0 into multi-channel marketing strategies. Marketers need to capture and capitalize the abundance of data that digital channels offer, and to track and measure performance using back-end data anlaysis.

To read the full report and get insights from 35 well-respected direct marketing leaders on the future of direct marketing and their industry visit the DMA’s online bookstore.

Sallie Burnett
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