The Earth, The Sun, Rock-n-Roll, and of course targeted DM…

While traveling last week I stumbled upon a very thought provoking quote from our old friend David Crosby.  “Every hour the sun spills more energy onto the surface of the earth than is needed to satisfy the entire world’s energy requirements for a whole year. We have but to gather it.”

This particular quote hit me right between the eyes.  I immediately ripped out the magazine page and tucked it away for later consideration.  While Mr. Crosby is a true rock-and-roll legend, I’m not so sure about his marketing acumen.  However, I see a direct correlation between Crosby’s comment’s about mankind’s inability to harness the sun’s amazing power and our inability as marketers to fully realize and harness the power that lies in the incredible amount of useful consumer data at our fingertips.  

Today’s marketing executives have amazing tools available to them around targeting, modeling, segmentation.  Our job is to harness that power into highly personalized and timely communications to both existing customers and prospects.  Today’s consumer demands to be noticed, differentiated, and valued.  When marketers miss this critical piece of the message, the impact can be catastrophic.  The marketer that is able to truly capture the essence of combining consumer insight with the proper message in the right channel will ultimately win the race. 

Earlier this month, a leading consumer information firm released their 2011 Channel Preference Study, which shows that through economic turmoil, technology advances and channel proliferation, direct mail continues to deliver as consumers' preferred means of receiving marketing messages from brands.

The research also shows that despite direct mail's reputation for being "old school" or expensive, it is the top choice of U.S. and Canadian consumers for the receipt of brand communications in almost every category, ranging from health to household products, to household services, insurance and financial services, including credit card offers. The preference for direct mail also extends to the 18-34 year old demographic (see chart below).

Our job as marketers is to maintain the value that people see in their direct mail, which ultimately means that consumers will continue to look to their mailbox as a source of useful information, opportunities, and desired products and services.  Also by combining direct mail with other outlets such as e-mail, online, and social we enhance the customer experience and continually increase therelevance of this “old school” communication.

Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Crosby…