I recently had the opportunity to attend an interview with Lester Wunderman at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference. As many know, Mr. Wunderman is one of the original Mad Men, credited with being a primary architect behind direct marketing (e.g., “1-800” number, magazine inserts, marketing strategist behind American Express card).
Fifty years ago Mr. Wunderman made a ground-breaking speech about the birth of direct marketing in this country (for a copy of that speech in its original form, click here). An amazing amount of what he spoke about in 1961 still holds true, even as we witness today’s remarkable transmogrification of communications and media. When asked if he would still use the label “Direct Marketing”, he responded “If I were to name the industry today, I would call it Personal Advertising—an idea driven by consumer data and made possible by the rapid explosion of technology.”
Personal advertising means collecting, analyzing, interpreting consumer data and turning it into actionable intelligence. It provides a detailed, predictive understanding of prospects buying and decision-making characteristics–purchasing habits, lifestyle or lifestage attributes, psychographic profiles, and most recently, digital device and destination preferences. The result is a more insightful ability to diversify product portfolios, redefine marketplace outreach, and better manage sales cycles. For existing customers, the more you know about what’s important to them, where they go for information, who’s at risk of leaving, and who are most loyal–the more customers you will keep.
Personal advertising also means shifting from low engagement to high engagement marketing tactics. It’s a form of interactive social engagement, moving from brand monologue to customer dialogue. Why? Because customers are in control. They’re talking about you, reviewing you, and comparing your prices. Remember, it’s the customer that determines your value and defines your brand…so listen to them and engage in their personal conversation! Marketing has always been where strategy and creativity converge. It’s where ideas sizzle, innovation comes alive, and customer relationships begin. It synchs with sales through a series of sequenced activities directed at acquiring and keeping customers.
Marketing analytics make it possible for companies to have a 360 degree view of their customer and make a connection in today’s demographically and generationally fragmented marketplace. The result is marketing that encourages immediate consumer interaction through creative messaging. It’s distinctive, customized and most of all, personally relevant. It leverages the always-on, device carrying connected consumer with an ability to message at moments of maximum influence. When orchestrated effectively, it enhances product awareness and contributes to brand equity while generating revenue producing sales.