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Direct Response Marketing

Guest Opinion: When Marketing Gets Accountable, the Accountable Get Marketing

1 May, 2008 By: Greg Banks Response


It seems three questions keep arising in our business:

  • 1. What happens when longstanding direct marketing abilities, such as results accountability, become required across the entire marketing spectrum?
  • 2. What becomes of the direct marketer's role in the overall marketing mix now that we can measure the "untrackable?"
  • 3. What happens when integration of a fragmented consumer, media and marketing landscape becomes a necessity for success?

The answer to all three questions is the same: direct marketers must rise to their destiny to become leaders of integrated marketing. Or when marketing gets accountable, the accountable get marketing.

Greg Banks
Greg Banks

All Accountable, All the Time

The new generation of marketers is changing its focus to such things as integration and accountability for all marketing, not just direct marketing. The major drivers are:

  • 1. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) with more training in finance and business operations are rising through the ranks to hold full profit and loss responsibility in most major corporations.
  • 2. The Internet, with its ability to measure every click, has been a wake-up call about the value of accountable marketing principles.
  • 3. The fragmentation of the marketplace continues unabated across the Internet; across TV in forms of broadcast, cable, satellite and fiber; across narrower and narrower vehicles; through database technologies; wireless devices; and more. "Mass market efficiencies" are no longer available.

Add it all up, and we see that all marketers must now be able to continuously measure and improve results, show accountability for profit and loss and manage complex processes involving fragmented audiences.

Measuring "Untrackable" Results

Direct marketers honed their craft over the years on media, such as DRTV, direct mail and telemarketing, that allow direct tracking through devices such as toll-free phone numbers. At the same time, mass marketers honed their craft on media that allow mass purchase efficiencies, such as general TV, print and radio (we used to call these "untrackable").

But the line of demarcation is going away. We can now measure results all the way to ROI from even formerly "untrackable" media. We can measure responses even when there is no direct response device. We can dissect individual media results, even when multiple media overlap in time. We can attribute a sale to a marketing investment, even when the sale takes places weeks or months later.

How? By merging the techniques of mathematical wunderkinds, such as econometricians, with the business savvy of the direct marketers, we now have the tools, such as time series regression analyses, to measure all marketing spending. The kinds of measurements that only direct marketers have enjoyed for decades are now available to all marketers: the econometrician's nonlinear equation.

The New Leaders of Integrated Marketing

Think about the challenges facing this new generation of marketers, who must not only make money, but must simultaneously organize scores of fragmented marketing disciplines. The typical CMO of a major U.S. corporation must manage departments and/or supplier agencies across such specialized disciplines as creative, branding, direct, interactive, diversity, sponsorship, retail, public relations, channel, media, promotion, in-store and more.

Somebody has to "integrate" all these specialists! So the "direct tracker" of yesteryear now becomes the "accountable marketer" of the new generation.

With a long history of measurement and accountability, with proven abilities to manage complex processes and with new measurement tools, the direct marketer is the best person to manage the new world of integrated marketing.

Greg Banks is the founding president and CEO of Javelin Direct, an Omnicom agency that specializes in integrated accountable marketing, direct marketing, interactive marketing and CRM. He can be reached at (972) 443-7000 or via E-mail at greg.banks@javelindirect.com.


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