I was intrigued by the debate in your letters pages about whether direct marketing is tactical or brand building. The obvious answer being it can be used for either purpose.
More interesting I think is the use of direct marketing to build brands where being visible through advertising in the wrong place can detract from a cult or high ticket luxury goods product’s appeal to its consumers.
There are brands that people see as their own private discovery and do not want promoted to all and sundry. This calls for what we have christened “secret society” marketing. Highly targeted, individually addressed mailings are perfect for this.
The mailings, of course, don’t look like mailings but are brochures that communicate the mythical and real values of brands. Ideally they should include some personal invite to a small-scale event in a suitable venue where they will meet like-minded individuals.
This is not to say advertising does not have an important role, it is just that you have to be very selective about which media you are seen in.
FFwd Precision Marketing