NEW YORK (BtoBOnline.com) – To take the pulse of the direct and database marketing industry, BtoB East Coast Bureau Chief Christopher Hosford conducted a virtual roundtable, with executives from leading direct marketing ad agencies, to talk about how marketers can gain better customer insights that give better direct marketing results. Participating in the virtual roundtable were Lauren Goldstein, VP-strategic planning, Babcock & Jenkins, Portland, Ore.; Dimitri Maex, managing director, OgilvyOne, New York; Michael McLaren, president-MRM East, New York; and Billy Mitchell, president-senior creative director, MLT Creative, Atlanta.
BtoB: Given today’s digital marketing environment, what is direct marketing to you?
Michael McLaren: The word we pound into people’s heads here is relevance. The battle for relevance is everything. People will engage more readily with a message that’s relevant to them. The more we can identify and understand target-specific messages and offers, the level of engagement and conversion jumps dramatically. Also important is the landing page the offer drives you to. Once you land there, the more the environment reflects that you know something about me and what I’m looking for, the better. Once again, the engagement conversion levels jump off the page. Relevance rolls off the tongue easily, but it’s hard to do when sending millions of messages out to wide sets. It’s an opportunity for marketers who get it right.
BtoB: What major direct marketing trends are you seeing?
McLaren: One of the key trends becoming more and more important is the ability to customize and personalize communications with different customer or prospect groups. The ability to do it was limited in the past, but today’s direct marketing techniques are more sophisticated. Then there’s targeting, which is a key dimension. We’re starting to see some pretty interesting technology where you can identify people, locate them through geolocation and customize offers based on what we know about their history. A lot of marketing these days is opt-in marketing, and you must be respectful of privacy concerns here. One way to do that is with a quality-value exchange. If you offer something the prospect sees as valuable, he’s more likely to volunteer information about himself. It’s a give-and-give situation.