Ask a direct marketing pro -- including some of our industry's most prominent players -- about "branding" and you're likely to hear, "Ain't my thing."
That, my friends, is nuthin' but horseshit.
ALL forms of advertising -- including direct mail, email, and package inserts -- impact the brand.
So, why do many direct marketers believe they have little or no responsibility for brand building?
Here's one theory. Once upon a time, a bright person in the so-called general advertising field realized it was more lucractive to say he was in the brand-building business.
Direct marketers? They were in a different line of work -- the non-branding field. If you wanted to do great stuff for your brand, you didn't call in the folks behind all those Business Reply Cards.
Unfortunately, the direct marketing industry bought into that crap, hook, line, and sinker (forgive me for mixing metaphors). Instead of recognizing -- and maximizing -- our contribution to brands, we chose to disparage our sisters and brothers in that other marketing discipline.
Even today, direct marketers can't resist the urge to go after the other guys.
Going forward, I think the direct marketers who unite unusual advertising concepts with sophisticated direct marketing techniques will see some of the best outcomes of all.
What do you think?