The world’s biggest advertisers are turning to DM in all but name

Mondelez has become the latest global marketing behemoth to pin its hopes on the silver bullet that is digital communications. 

Russell Parsons

Last week, the Cadbury owner said it is planning to pump 50 per cent of its US media budget into digital advertising by 2016 after claiming it drives “twice the ROI of traditional TV advertising”.

Similar intentions – based on the notion digital media is the key to high return, low investment marketing – have recently being expressed by Pernod Ricard, Procter and Gamble and Unilever who collectively account for a hefty chunk of the total spent on advertising worldwide. 

As a result, when they talk on such subjects it would be advisable to listen. In explaining its switch, Mark Clouse, president of Mondelez North America, said: “You maybe wondering, does it really drive sales? Absolutely.”

Thing is, his speech was coloured by examples of Likes, Retweets and engagement, absolutely not the drivers of incremental sales growth.

You can impress with huge numbers for the above but the real reason these companies and their senior executives have been sold on digital is not the channel, digital, but the discipline – direct marketing.

It is hyper local targeting using mobile phones or offers to Twitter or Facebook followers that drive sales and they can all be filed under direct marketing.

The world’s biggest advertisers are not turning to digital channels because they are the next big thing anymore, they are using them in integrated campaigns because they tick the DM boxes – personalised, one to communication with a direct call to action.

They have found that not only are ‘they where their customers are’ (an early, now clichéd explanation offered by marketers for using social media in particular), they can directly market to consumers in a cost effective way. The DM way. 

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