Direct marketers should not lose sight of what’s important in the rush to the new

In marketing services journalism as much as among marketers themselves, there is a tendency to focus on the new media channels at the expense of the traditional.  

Russell Parsons

Augmented reality, QR codes, social media, mobile et al all dominate attention and are afforded a disproportionate to use amount of time in terms of copy and discussion.

The reasons are obvious – there newness commands more time and it also leads to more calls from up high to help them get to the bottom of all these new toys.

Among some in the direct marketing community particularly there is often over compensation. As a result of years of pejorative references and negative stories to “old fashioned” and “traditional” channels such as direct mail, telemarketing and door to door there has been a clamber to justify its place by co-opting any and every media as DM.

This is fine and entirely appropriate for any channel to move with and reflect the times. What should not happen is for other means of communication to be sidelined prematurely when they are entirely the right way to get a brand’s message over through a fear of being seen as old hat.

Some interesting stats were reported by Marketing Week earlier this month that point to such thinking being prevalent.

According to a report by fast.MAP, in partnership with the Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) and the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), marketers are guilty of over estimating use and usefulness of new media.

For example, half as many consumers favour customer care contact via email than marketers believe actually do, while marketers underestimate the proportion of consumers who want to use the phone by seven percentage points.

Elsewhere, the report found landline phone shared top spot with email as consumers’ preferred routes when contacting a customer service team. Additionally, when shoppers need help or advice they prefer face-to-face contact than using a website or interacting on social media.

The numbers do not mirror my point exactly but they do underline the crux of the argument. For many people and in many circumstances traditional is still the best. It might not win any innovation awards but sometimes a piece of mail is best, sometimes a phone call (read a previous missive on the benefits of cold calling here) is best and sometimes a knock on the door can work.     

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketing through the ages: The 2000s bring the dilemmas of digital

As part of our 40th birthday celebration, we asked previous editors to sum up marketing and Marketing Week during their time at the helm. Ruth Mortimer was editor in the early 2010s as the impact of digital led to real challenges over scale versus consolidation of power, audience versus context and personal versus personalisation.

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here