Good DM is a triumph of creativity

Direct marketing is a broad church but it does have one guiding principal – it is data driven and includes a call to action. I mention this fundamental after flicking through the campaigns chosen by Cannes Lions as the best of the best last week.

Russell Parsons

Very few are recognisable by what most men on the street and for that matter many marketers would define direct marketing as. There’s barely a physical piece of mail about never mind an unaddressed door-drop.

Exhibit A. The Grand Prix winner: BA and OgilvyOne’s ‘The magic of Flying’, which users a channel unfamiliar to most direct marketers: outdoor. Billboards reacted to BA flights passing overhead by displaying real time data on the flight while pushing people to a site where they could access content about the plane’s destination and, of course, book                                      tickets.

Elsewhere, Mondelez’s Argentinean chewing gum brand Beldent conducted a live social experiment involving twins at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Buenos Aires. You can read the full details here but safe to say that the follow-up social campaign ticked the direct marketing boxes.

As did a Columbian ad for Xbox 360’S FIFA game to advertise that it now included Columbian Soccer League teams. The ad ran at half time during a game and used first-half animated highlights in the game’s style and pointed gamers to a direct sales site. A 200+ per cent increase in sales was the result.

None, I’d wager, would have been picked out of a line-up as DM but all used data and prompted a direct response.

These examples and the others pulled out for commendation demonstrate two things. Firstly, that direct marketing is alive and well but not as we once knew it and secondly successful campaigns are those packed with creativity thinking.

Few brands, granted, have the budgets of BA, Microsoft or Mondelez. However, a brand does not need millions it needs imagination.

The advantage of direct marketing is that it is not confined to one channel. It is a discipline not a media.

There are infinite possibilities to make your DM stand out. What’s required is a little creative thinking – pushing the boundaries of DM to reach more people and get a better response.


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