Punchy title isn’t it. And, alas, it’s even true. I, for one, am heartily sick of headlines telling me, and the rest of the world, that direct mail is dead … email is dead … telemarketing is dead … broadcast PR is dead … and so on with any other channel that someone wants wilfully to kill off in order to make a point (or, more worrying, has been written by someone who actually believes what they say).
The real point is that, despite protestations to the contrary, none of those individual elements are dead. They are simply evolving. They are part of the past, the present and the future, and need to be embraced in combination with the plethora of channels now available.
The best one I saw recently was “direct marketing is dead…” Well, direct marketing has never been more alive. It’s evolving all the time. And increasingly all marketers are evolving into direct marketers by the nature of the channels available.
What’s key to all this is that little has fundamentally changed about human interaction. We’ve always been social animals. It’s just that now we have technology that helps us keep in touch more easily, more widely, and – arguably – more superficially. The internet, Skype, tablets, smart phones and smart TVs have been added to post, email and telephone. And it’s fascinating to see just how quickly the ‘channel’ and ‘delivery’ and data opportunities are growing.
Also fascinating to see who’s keeping up and how they’re using the variety of tools – even those that are allegedly dead. Last week, we received a text message from our local, The Writhing Hare, which showed the menu for that night’s Italian night. Guess what – we picked up the telephone, rang six of our friends, and booked a table for eight. Very simple marketing. Very inexpensive. Highly effective. Oh, and the pub was packed.
Horses for courses – it’s about using the right channels in effective combinations – and measuring results efficiently so that marketing attention and resource is focussed effectively. Which can be challenging in itself as the channel that reaches the consumer is increasingly less likely to be the channel through which the consumer ultimately buys …
But it’s worth remembering – humans have always interacted on a social level – but now businesses are starting to understand that the consumer should be the centre of communications. It is the consumer that makes their own choices about how they want to deal with retailers, brands, leisure centres etc. They will choose whether they post a coupon, pick up a telephone, go online, send an email, or use social media to buy, ask a question or make a point.
The businesses who listen to their customers and respond accordingly will be the ones who succeed.
We’ll welcome your thoughts or comments on this post – and if you need any help with your marketing or communications strategy and/or activity – across channels or through specific channels – please don’t hesitate to give me a call. If I can help, I’ll be happy to. If not, I’ll at least point you to someone who will provide sensible strategic advice.
Partner, Tuffill Verner Associates
Tel: +44 (0)7967 148398 / +44 (0)1787 277742
Victoria Tuffill is a direct marketing consultant with over 30 years experience. She founded Tuffill Verner Associates consultancy with Alastair Tuffill in 1996. She is also founder and Director of Fraudscreen – a data tool that assists in the prevention of 1st party fraud. Her experience ranges across businesses including publishing, home shopping, insurance, utilities, telcos and collections.
© Victoria Tuffill and Tuffill Verner Associates, September 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Victoria Tuffill and Tuffill Verner Associates with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.