Archive for May, 2007

Future of direct marketing

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Last night’s seminar IDM seminar, “Fundamental Shift in B2B Marketing” got me thinking about the future of direct marketing again. Perhaps inevitably it revolved around online and community based approaches to gaining consumer (in a business context) trust and interest. Usually coverage of online marketing is very consumer-orientated, with talk of FaceBook and MySpace – difficult to take into a business context. But clearly there are opportunities for business community building, as was pointed out last night. LinkedIn, anyone?!

The secret to CRM & Marketing data management?

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

If you’re a reader of marketing data consultancy Marketing Improvement‘s informative email newsletter, you may remember an article entitled “Decouple The Data – the secret to CRM & Marketing?”. In the piece, marketers are encouraged to take a copy of data from core applications and use it for campaign execution in a more flexible tool. It’s a common and compelling approach but it has drawbacks that I felt were somewhat glossed over.

It’s certainly the case that marketing departments are “always experimenting with new ideas, new sources of data and new segmentation” and as such need the kind of flexibility and lead times which corporate IT systems cannot offer. In fairness, the demands made by marketing campaign managers sometimes make me cringe, but this is a dynamic discipline which must be able to respond to events. Consequently, adding a new field or even a value to a look-up list can become necessary at short notice but which could represent months on an IT development road map. Marketers can’t wait!

Marketing Improvement’s solution is to “decouple the data”, taking a copy from central systems and setting up regular data feeds to a marketing database. They do make it clear that such a system should not exist in isolation, but this is to simplify the issue. How frequent will the update feeds be? Who will provide them? Can you easily make changes? Will you be sent just new and amended data or everything? Who will load this data? How will any changes made in the marketing database (such as privacy updates or address corrections) be sent back to the central system?

Implementing a stand alone marketing database is often the right approach, allowing Marketing to get on with its job unhindered. But think carefully before abandoning an existing corporate system that with a little effort can be coaxed into meeting your needs.

When Sales ask why a key contact didn’t receive the mailer that just went out and you have to start explaining arcane data processes, you may reflect that you don’t have the best solution!

Blogging advice for Charles Dunstone

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Here’s a piece of advice for Charles Dunstone, and anyone else who gets into a spot of blogging bother (see “Institute of Direct Marketing MembersÂ’ Convention” previously). Speaking at last week’s IDM seminar “Interactive Marketing”, Matt Dkye, Head of Planning at DDB UK, recommended having a “disaster recover plan” in case of blog-flaming incidents. Sounds a little like the emergency plan that we all have in our back pockets for adverse incidents, right?

Also at the seminar, fellow speaker Nic Howell, New Media Age Deputy and Features Editor, quoted ad guru Howard Gossage as saying “advertising should be one half of an interesting conversation”, leaving the other half to be had by other means. That’s good news for direct marketing, and taking the conversation beyond the “first date”, as Nic put it.