Recently I had to think about a Direct Marketing course at SRM that I took a long time ago. Everything was aimed at bombarding the target group with a marketing message and getting the most out of it. We were commissioned to devise a direct marketing campaign with a view to achieving results and limiting 'waste'. Using tricks such as a bulge in the envelope (yes!) and a number of PS lines, we had to make sure that we were on top of the pile on the desk and the direct mail was successful. You have to stand out and do everything you can so that your prospect opens the letter, reads it and converts. I decided to do something with a puzzle mailing I believe, there was something about a DMU and I wanted to bring it together. Yes, I had the illusion that a director would walk to his financial director with my mail in hand (puzzle piece 1) to complete his puzzle. The blush appears on my face as I write this.
As if we were trying to push a group of cows back into the barn through 1 gate.
The final assignment was assessed by 3 old hands in the field, classic marketing experts. How much conversion do you think you will get with this? How did you arrive at this number? Does your mailing stand out enough? How do you deal with the DMU within the organization? And if you call the mailing because yes, not everyone will respond to your first push, you will have to push again, how are you going to arrange that? As if we were trying to push a group of cows back into the barn through 1 gate.
Sometimes a question arose about the content during the course, but it didn't seem relevant. Strategy and tactics are apparently about which resources you use when, how you plan them, which numbers belong to them and what the lead funnel looks like during the ride. The entire substantive context seemed to disappear into the background. I had a bad feeling about it.
Content marketing is legit!
But then again, you have a training course on your resume, apparently that's what it's all about. Yet it has opened my eyes; you know better and better what you don't want once you actually go through it. I am a happy marketer because the tide has turned; we can finally talk about the content! Which means; Boards support investments in content marketing and seem to recognize that thought leadership delivers much more in the long run than ordinary DM campaigns. And that makes content marketing legitimate.
“Stop interrupting, start engaging”
That does not mean that there are no DMs in Content Marketing. I am convinced that all means can be used for content marketing. As long as you deliver content and do not disturb or harass the target group. “Stop interrupting, start engaging”; says the much-discussed quote. If the DM is a nice invitation for a substantive event about my industry or field, I do not experience it as disturbing but as a welcome surprise. Anyway; marketing is much more fun, for target groups but certainly also for marketers!
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I had a look at the SRM training site. The DM training I've done doesn't seem to be offered anymore. Fortunately.
Photo: National Geographic