DM: New and Improved or More of the Same?

Having worked in the Industry for 20+ years I was thinking to myself what does DM mean today? In the past couple of years as the digital world grew you heard people separate Digital Marketing out as its own entity from Direct Marketing. Digital Marketing grew to such an extent that the IDM became the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing.

Recently, I have noticed a trend that people have started to refer to Digital Marketing under the Direct Marketing umbrella again as it is now perceived as the norm and not something different or revolutionary.

Going back to my initial question about what DM means today, we need to start at where it was 20+ years ago when I first encountered it myself. Back then as a younger (and slimmer) man my hands hands-on experience of DM was in the main, simple selections by gender, location, birthday or for the more radical client selections by product purchases or transactional dates, although that was mainly for policy expiry information. Then the resulting selection was mailed as that was the only channel available back then.

These days with the dearth of information available about consumers, the segmentation and selection criteria or test/control splits can be overwhelming and it feels like you need a degree in mathematics just to understand them. Also, you now need to add in the channel of communication into the selection mix as certain profiles respond better to different forms of communication.

But at the end of the day has DM really changed? It’s still about selecting the right people to market and communicate with and choosing the right message and method to do that. So whilst the choices and options may have expanded and become numerous, the underlaying underlying process is still basically the same as it was all that time ago.

Jason Williams
Jason is Data Project Manager at the Purple Agency and is the voice of DATA360 – Purple’s online data management service. He eats, sleeps and breathes Data. Outside of work Jason is a parent governor at his youngest sons school and is an active volunteer for a local football charity helping children from all backgrounds.