Good DM needs senior back-up

For effective direct marketing, argues David Reed in “Direct fight” (MW November 1), the first requirement is a database. Up to a point, I couldn’t agree more. However, this alone is not yet the prerequisite it could be to move direct marketing forward. To make real mileage with your database, you must have a board director in the driving seat.

Take Heinz, for example, for whom we have built, run, analysed and implemented a strategic customer marketing database.

The power of its successful move into direct marketing has been fuelled by full corporate commitment at senior level. It has taken direct marketing beyond the product-led limitations of single-brand promotion and sales uplift. Heinz has focused data techniques first on finding and evaluating its customers, and then on meeting those customers’ needs.

At the same time, the effectiveness of its direct marketing approach is strengthened through the fact that it is developed in partnership with Heinz’s above-the-line brand awareness strategy, not in isolation.

So if you want to win the race for customer-focused business advantage, my advice is to move your direct marketing initiative out of the single track lane of brand manager-led campaigns, and into the mainstream motorway of corporate-led strategic marketing, and put your top team of drivers behind the wheel.

David Cheek

Marketing director

The Computing Group

Crawley

West Sussex

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