Undoubtedly, every year commercials during America’s biggest football game are anticipated, watched, and evaluated.  Now more than ever it is done in real time via social and mobile networks.

In case you missed this year’s commercials (I mean game), the Radio Shack spot was a standout.  The theme of the commercial was “the 80’s called…and they want their store back”, with an array of 80’s personalities (fictional and real) soon raiding the store of merchandise. 

The commercial ends with a view of the new and more modern Radio Shack.  It was an attempt to change perceptions of what many consumers think of when they think of the chain.  Regardless of your take on Radio Shack, their brand, or their future prospects, the commercial was funny and was an attempt to recapture the attention of a new target market.  This said, how will they know if the same people watching ever step foot inside a store?

While direct response is still often a primary goal of direct marketing, the ability to better manage the living and breathing entity that is a brand to a target audience has never been more important.  Consumers choose, not companies, on how, when, why, where, and how frequently to engage.  It is imperative to enhance relationships with existing customers by best managing not only the individual customer experience but the brand experience.  It is also time for companies to treat prospects as “future customers” with content that is more relevant than what traditional mass media can provide.  How can this be done with the challenge of being able to deliver relevant content in a sea of clutter?

Take for example financial service companies might use direct communications for:

-       A web banner announcing that a bank supports a charitable event in a local area.

-       An email which offers the opportunity for someone to receive a newsletter on the economic outlook from an investment services company.

-       An educational webinar offer using a targeted ad on television on how to determine personal insurance needs or proper asset allocation.

-       A contest or game (i.e. the NCAA tournament is coming up) with prizes to winners via a mobile marketing and social campaign.

You don’t have to lambast your own brand with a slew of California Raisins or former Pro Wrestlers. This is where the discipline of targeted marketing comes into play by matching up messaging and offers with prospects.