Digital Marketing Days: Old School vs. New School

by BobMccarron on June 28, 2010

Bob McCarron

Bob McCarron

The Direct Marketing Association’s DM Days show in NYC re-branded itself this year as Digital Marketing Days.  The show offered attendees an opportunity to learn the latest strategies and best practices to acquire and retain customers in the digital era.

In addition to all of the “new school” providers exhibiting there (marketing tools and technologies, as well as search and online advertising specialists) were quite a few print and list management companies.  Surprisingly, most of the print vendors I spoke with only offered standard printing:  no Print-on-Demand (POD) or other digital printing options.

Why were there so many “old school” direct mail and print vendors at Digital Marketing Days?  The answer was clear after speaking with a number of the end users who attended the conference.

Despite the fact that marketers are deluged with white papers, mail and email from the latest and greatest marketing technology providers, it seems that many organizations are still struggling with how to manage the various channels in order to maximize their return on their marketing spend.  Many are still struggling to get one channel right—relying on marketing analytics to determine the ideal channel to approach a customer or prospect—and just beginning to pilot multi-channel marketing tools that enable effective engagement of your audiences, which is now becoming a requirement, as opposed to a nice to have.

Another common theme was the feeling that direct mail is never going to go away, despite all the hype surrounding digital solutions.  Some companies are simply reluctant to jump into the digital pool.  They’d prefer to dip one toe in at a time until they can quantify the ROI around digital.

Depending on whom I spoke with—Old School vs. New School—I heard the same level of passion.  The old guard is convinced that direct mail will always outperform other channels.  The newbies are convinced that search engine optimization, social media and email are the only areas worth spending money on.  Who’s right?

As with most questions in life, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.  Understanding the specifics of your company’s offer/product/brand/etc., in conjunction with the insight you gain through analytics will help you determine the optimal mix of Old vs. New.

Learn more about SIGMA Marketing Group’s Digital Marketing Solutions.


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About the Author:

Bob McCarron is the Financial Services and Insurance Practice Leader at SIGMA Marketing Group. Connect with Bob on , or follow him on .

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