Successful Direct Marketing Methods
Stone B. Successful Direct Marketing Methods. – NTC Business Books, 1994. – 654 р.
Before 1975 there were a number of books written about letter writing and mail order advertising. But, strange as it may seem, never before had there been a book written about the totality of direct marketing. Successful Direct Marketing Methods was the very first.
It has been said that timing is everything. This certainly proved to be true in my case, for a quiet revolution was taking place–not only in the United States, but around the world. Direct marketing was, at last, becoming recognized as a major discipline, a discipline that was more measurable than any other.
Direct marketing agencies sprang up everywhere. Fortune 500 companies embraced the concept. Direct marketing seminars sold out to capacity audiences. The Direct Marketing Association attracted thousands instead of hundreds to its annual conventions. And the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation was on its way towards getting direct marketing taught in college classrooms. Direct marketing had truly arrived.
Direct marketing grew at such a rapid rate that revised, updated editions of Successful Direct Marketing Methods were published in 1979, 1984, and 1988. Now we have the 1993 edition.
The world of direct marketing is a vastly different world than it was in 1975– All of the intervening years have been evolutionary. The driving force of evolutionary changes has been refinement and sophistication of data bases, the ability to target market as never before.
But the changes have not been restricted to mechanical techniques. Perhaps even more evolutionary is the way we think about direct marketing today. Where back in the 70s and '80s traditional marketers thought of direct marketing as a stand-alone discipline, they now embrace it as a part of their total marketing mix.
The evolution has brought us from a stand-alone discipline to becoming an integral part of integrated communications. Direct marketing integrated with general advertising, sales promotion, and public relations is the latest trend. Will the evolution stop here? Probably not.
A peek into the future, as envisioned by some of our leaders, might foretell future developments. In the year-end issue of The Delay Letter, Bob DeLay, former president of the Direct Marketing Association, provides these quotes from Harris Gordon, partner, Deloitte & Touche, and Jeffrey Steinberg, senior consultant, Deloitte & Touche:
"The impact of advanced technology on direct marketing will accelerate in the next 5-10 years as households, as well as businesses, 'plug' into more advanced, interactive technologies that provide better targeting, increased media choices, and quicker response time. The enabling technologies will be: GDIs (interactive CDs) and photo CDs used with home computers and entertainment systems; large scale cable TV channels; and interactive TV. The increase in cable channels will be based on fiber optic cable or current cable technology augmented with advanced data compression techniques.
"Interactive CDs and photo CDs will allow direct marketers to build personalized disks that show pictures of the offer on a TV or computer screen. L.L. Bean is now testing such a system. A click of a button will show a sweater from a catalog page in the color you desire. Future revisions of the software might allow the consumer to enter an order and credit card number saving time and order entry.
"With the advent of hundreds of cable TV channels and the like conversion of the phone system to fiber optic delivery, there will be an explosion of choices. Where we now have two primary home shopping channels, there may be 50–fashion, electronics, collectibles, etc. Combined with interactive TV, viewers will be able to electronically request promotional material and products without using the telephone.
"While all this sounds fancy and grandiose, it is not going to happen next year. Probably in the next five years on a limited scale. And, definitely in the next ten years. What does this coming convergence of technology mean for you today? It means that you will need to start planning to become a rapid response organization. Your firm will need to be able to select merchandise, develop offers, fulfill orders, and analyze back-end performance much faster than you do today. Processes that took weeks will need to be done in days or even hours since a new catalog or promotion will be airing every day. This capability will require leading-edge information and database marketing systems, a flexible management structure, technological savvy, and an overall low-cost infrastructure. As a result, the leading direct marketers in the coming interactive age are going to be the ones who can make decisions quicker and react to a large quantity of electronic orders".
Richard C. Anderson, vice chairman/CEO of Lands End, Inc., said this about the future:
"The mere promise of change has elected a new American president. Hopefully the most formidable achievement lies just ahead: taking a sharp axe to the federal deficit strangling not only the American economy, but disturbing the world community as well.
"If we begin to see this happen, I firmly believe those of us in the specialty catalog business can realistically envision a very positive future, for three commanding reasons.
"First, our very special segment of the marketplace – highly educated, professionally active, yet family-oriented customers, with incomes to match their professionalism – is growing faster than any other group.
"Second, their impatience with the time-consuming rigors of shopping, crowded malls with clogged parking lots, and stores with fewer and more indifferent clerks is also growing.
"And finally, in these more realistic times, they are becoming more and more insistent on high-quality products that deliver genuine value, not adulterated by the customary middlemen markups they encounter in the general retail environment".
Yes – direct marketing is in the forefront of new evolutions and new revolutions yet to come. The best of success to you in the exciting world of direct marketing!.."
The full text of the book can be found at bookstores, e-bookstores and libraries.
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