direct marketing innovation

Integration Isn't Just Fantasy

Week before last, I was at a KCDMA Meeting presented by ecoenvelopes. This company doesn't sell paper or printing, but rather innovative designs that can help marketers be more environmentally friendly. For example, they've created a new outer envelope design that also serves as a reply envelope. You get the idea.

When the group moved into the Q&A, the claws came out. Pure direct marketers expressed concern ... "but it hasn't been tested ... where's the data? ... this flies in the face of all we know."

It seems direct marketers—especially those who've made a living on the print/mail side–are a little uneasy with anything or anyone that challenges the conventional. No surprise there. Change isn't easy.

The experience made me think about integrated marketing. For a decade, we've been talking about it (marrying the best of interactive and print, for example). But the fact is, even now, not enough people are doing it. Even fewer are doing it well.

But I can tell you one company that is - 1800PetMeds. Let me tell you about a recent experience.

Time to buy my dog some flea medicine. I casually checked out their website for pricing options ... (whoa! more than expected to spend, so I left).

12 hours later - e-mail with specific offers on the products I'd explored. Impressive. And not creepy (they didn't mention I'd been there and left).

36 hours later - mini catalog in my mailbox. And get this, it was all focused on the products I was researching. And here's a kicker ... they're having a sale on flea medicine.

48 hours later - you got me. I'm back on the site, purchasing the flea medicine.

Timely and Targeted. There's marketing that's created with the customer in mind. It wasn't all interactive ... it wasn't all print. But it was ALL very successful.

I think it's high time marketers worry less about channel territory and more about innovation. That will be the true currency of the next 20 years.