The rise of digital is the rise of direct

‘Marketing is changing at an unprecedented rate’ concluded an Accenture report last week. Of course, it doesn’t require a report to tell marketers of the dizzying rate of change in the sector but coming from such a source, the declaration has plenty of credibility.

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The reason for the statement? In a poll of 580 senior marketing executives globally Accenture found a third tipping digital channels would account for 75 per cent of their media budgets within the next five years.

This is quite staggering when you consider even the most digitally advanced marketing organisations – P&G, Mondelez, SAB Miller and Pernod Ricard – are considerably behind that figure with their own digital channel allocations.

It is the sort of prediction that sends shivers up the spines of those responsible for traditional channels such as direct marketing but it shouldn’t.

Apart from changing media consumption habits, the development driving the marketers polled by Accenture to embrace a digital future is data.

Data to target, data to personalise, data to analyse return on investment. In other words – direct marketing.

Direct marketing is still seen as a pejorative moniker by many, another name for advertising mail or worse still junk mail but it is a much broader church than that. At the heart of it, it is data-driven communication. As is digital marketing. The rise of digital marketing is the rise of direct marketing.

Whether you are targeting prospects using addressed mail, which still very much has its place, or geo-location via a smartphone at the core of all of it should be how best to reach and serve the customer.

What channel you use is incidental, it’s all direct marketing.

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