Russell Parsons: Great marketing can come from anywhere so keep your options open

Marketers should be executing the strategic objectives of their brand with the most appropriate tools available but what could be the most engaging and impactful channels are being overlooked in the race to be new.

Russell Parsons

I witnessed something remarkable at the weekend. A real-world example of what we write about. After browsing a beautifully shot, wonderfully presented clothing catalogue sent by a brand she loved and trusted, my partner picked up her laptop and ordered something that had caught her eye.

A media channel that best serves the product, sent to someone who had 100% bought in to the brand, and an uninterrupted path to purchase. Seamless.

This pitch-perfect example of marketing in action was still front of mind when reading of the creation of The DM Trust, a merger of the IDM Trust and Direct Marketing Foundation which, among other things, is funding training for brands and agencies on how to create effective, responsible direct marketing that gets the job done and does not piss people off.

Elsewhere this week, the radio marketing body Radiocentre launched a series of quirky ads micro-targeting marketers, starting with Unilever’s Keith Weed, imploring them to spend more on the medium.

The two are a polar opposites in execution but are aiming for the same ends – reminding people that channels exist, are effective and, most importantly, should not be forgotten in the rush to execute brand strategy by using tools that might be newer but are not necessarily the most appropriate.

Direct mail’s reputation still suffers from the crudely targeted carpet-bombers that triggered the highly effective ‘no junk mail’ order on letterboxes nationwide. Despite some very notable cheerleaders, radio has been seen by some as a blunt medium that does not allow for creativity, blighted by annoying jingles and regulatory requirements.

There are still examples that underline the detractors’ arguments but they are few and getting fewer. If anything, they are victims of their maturity and the perception of some they are relics of a different age.

Both parties are swimming against the tide but both still have very strong cases for their effectiveness and reach worth making. It is sad that they feel the need to make the case for what should be marketing 101: marketers should be executing the strategic objectives of their brand with the most appropriate tools available. There are strong arguments for direct mail, radio, print, outdoor, TV,  social media or augmented reality. Marketers should listen to them all.

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