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Direct Response Marketing

Out With the Old! In With DR!

1 Dec, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

In his 1967 book Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard wrote, "Every exit is an entry somewhere." At no time is this thought more clearly defined by our calendars than at the close of one year and the beginning of another.

Thomas Haire
Thomas Haire

As we prepare to exit the tumult that has been 2008, however, there is much uncertainty about what 2009 will hold — for our lives, our businesses and our nation. However, this uncertainty comes with vast, wide-ranging opportunities — especially for those of us involved in the direct response marketing world.

While economic troubles have beset the United States during the past year — and while a possibly long-lasting recession stares American consumers and businesses directly in the face — major marketers of every stripe continue to tighten their waistbands. The collapse of the mortgage industry and the troubles faced by banks and those heavily invested in credit markets are affecting all businesses — from housewares to beauty products, from pharmaceuticals to consumer electronics, and everything else in between.

While all marketers are looking to shed excess fat from their budgets, a treasure trove of new technology is available to help them do so while also connecting them to the most likely purchasers of their products or services. From new services like Google TV Ads ("Do We Have a Bidder? Google TV Ads Wants You") to the ever expanding measurement capabilities of Web- and mobile-based advertising, marketers today have more opportunity than ever before to know exactly what effect their messages are having on consumers on a minute-by-minute — even second-by-second — basis.

Major branders have been turning more and more often to the concepts behind direct response marketing for some time now — especially in the past five years. However, the current economic climate has finally forced marketers still intent on spending the majority of their budgets on general branding campaigns to reassess their choices.

While this current economic downturn is scary to all of us, both personally and professionally, those long-time players in the direct response marketing world might do well to heed of some of the words President-elect Barack Obama uttered during his Election Night speech on Nov. 4, and apply them directly to their businesses: "This is our moment. This is our time."

As the economy drives traditional branding toward an exit, a door is opening wide for direct response. It is time for the DR world to stop accepting just a slice of marketers' budgets. Go for the whole pie! Traditional branding is nothing in today's marketing universe without measurable ways to gain and maintain customers. And measurable advertising can easily serve that branding message. Don't let the slow-to-change fool you with some cheap lingo about measurability not being the same as DR. Adding measurability to any campaign creates — by our definition — direct response marketing.

As we move into a new year, and begin the countdown to May's Response Expo 2009 in San Diego, you can expect the pages of Response to continue to highlight the best and brightest in direct response as it takes center stage in a marketing universe that has finally learned what many of us have known for so long: DR is the answer!

I wish you all the best for a wonderful holiday season.

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