The Running Commentary


DM’s place at the boardroom table

bulbBelow part of an article written by Keith Wiser – Managing Director of 5th Dimension in it he talks to the frustrations in terms of the place that Direct Marketing holds at the boardroom table.  (you can read the complete article at MarketingWeb) I fully subscribe to the fact that Direct Marketers do not do enough to promote their art-form. Very often the Direct Marketer is kept in the shade of the Advertisers when in reality the Direct Marketing spend is the only truly measurable spend in terms of results.

I have been professionally involved in direct marketing (DM) since 1981. That’s 27 years. During that time I have never lost my faith in its power to deliver exciting, measurable results. Over the last decade or so I have watched the face of DM change, mainly fuelled by the digital revolution. But… and it’s a big BUT… we still haven’t made it into the boardroom.

Somehow we always remain at the bottom of the list, a kind of after-thought. So how do we go about moving ourselves up the agenda ?

My first thought is that now may be an excellent time to give this some attention. Why? Because if we are not already in a recession, then we are pretty damn close. And that gives us something to say at a time when we may have a receptive audience.

I am not privy to the thinking of many CEOs of large corporations but my guess is that sometime between those useless hours of 2am and 4am, when they have little else to do, they ponder on thoughts like…

How am I going to grow this business?

(In tough times like now) How am I going to stop this business from going down the tubes?

Am I spending our resources wisely?

Could I be spending our resources better?

Are our resources best aligned to the potential in the business?

It’s my belief that marketing analytics has a significant role to play in terms of its ability to address issues like these.

I have yet to encounter an advertising agency that does not have a media department. Heavy number crunching goes on in this department and the outputs are always part of any new business presentation.

As direct marketers we are probably our own worst enemies. We simply have not done a sufficiently thorough and effective job of promoting the analytical component of direct marketing and the value it delivers. Indeed direct marketing might only start to generate the respect it deserves when we move analytics from the back room to front of house.

I suppose that the reason that DM is left off the table is that it probably paid for the table!. It is far easier to say we think that we have made a huge impact, instead actually standing up with the real numbers and taking the heat if a campaign did not work. The plus for the direct marketer is that because you can measure the campaign result you can change elements and see the effect the change has made and therefore improve your results.

(thanks to Alban Atkinson and Derek Abdinor for forwarding me the article)

AdvertisingboardroomDirect Marketingresultsspend

Mike • July 16, 2008

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  1. derek July 17, 2008 - 6:24 pm


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