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Interview with Spanish Marketing Magazine Marketing Director

    1. What is the single biggest common misperception about direct marketing? How do you tackle it in your talks and presentations?

      Understand how it works

      Direct marketing is a specialist medium.  Yet, for some reason, non-qualified people think they understand it and can do it well.

      They’re wrong.  Let me explain.

      It’s down to total naiveté and stupidity that clients ask their above the line agency to create, say, some direct response ads or a direct mail pack.  Or their design agency for that matter.

      These people don’t have the basic knowledge to do these things.  But the client doesn’t understand it either.  So, we have a situation of the partially-sighted, leading the blind.

      These days, you even get clients writing their own copy, instead of using a professional copywriter.  It’s a totally crazy situation.

      That’s why direct marketing in 2008 is now the worst I think I have ever seen in over 26 years in this business.

      You need to listen to people who understand DM.  It is a unique culture, nothing like traditional advertising and marketing.  After all, when you have toothache, you don’t go to the doctor do you?  You go to the dentist. 

      So when you want to do effective DM, go to a DM specialist.

      What are the most important contributions of the Web to direct marketing?

      The Web is an incredible thing.  It has changed our lives forever

      It has opened up millions of new opportunities and continues to do so.

      Most of us now buy online and the process in the most part can be seamless and attractive.  This will only make buying and selling easier.  Mail order is booming
      because of this.

      And small companies can become big companies on the Web.

      But, one thing must never be forgotten.  The Web has more to learn from DM than
      DM has to learn from the Web. 

      Much, much more... 

      Do you think that with these new technologies, we are forgetting the basic rules
      of an efficient direct marketing campaign?

      Absolutely.  Absolutely.  ABSOLUTELY!

      The messenger is important, of course it is.  But the message is more so…

      Don’t let the fancy stuff get in the way of that.  EVER.  If you do, your message will fail.

      Digital is the ‘New Kid In Town’.  When it first happened, everyone was SEDUCED
      by it.  Some blinkered people still are.  But, as the more experienced of us know, the art of seduction only works for a while. 

      Once the veil slips, we all need a bit MORE…

      Is Internet or Digital delivering that?  In certain key aspects, it is certainly not.

      For example, email as a cold prospecting tool is now virtually dead in the water.  More and more clients are now turning back to Direct Mail for prospecting activity. 

      Three of my biggest ones have all done this in the last 4 months.

      Let’s get real here.  Times change, but people don’t.  Especially when it comes to the selling and buying process.

      The reasons people buy and what makes them buy are universal and timeless…

      The basics of direct marketing will never change - whatever the delivery method.

      Those secrets and more, I’ll reveal at my show…

      Does it really make sense dividing direct marketing from online marketing, interactive marketing etc?

      No, it does not.

      All marketing is now direct marketing.  And direct marketing has one purpose and one purpose only.

      To SELL.

      Whatever the choice of medium or delivery, the only reason for the investment, is to sell product.

      What’s so important in DM for you personally - and why did you get involved in DM in the first place?

      I LOVE it.  I’m passionate about DM.  You won’t find anyone on this planet more so…and I hate charlatans and people trying to do it, when they haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re doing. 

      There are more of them around now than at any time in our history…

      I have an intense dislike for them…for many reasons, but the main one is because it damages the business that I love.

      The challenge we all face now is like nothing in contemporary communication. 

      As a practitioner I love that challenge…

      You get sent a brief, create appropriate work (and all that goes with that) - then all that hard work sees the light of day. A few weeks later, you get a call from the client, saying they can’t cope with the response.

      That call is just pure adrenalin.  It’s what I’m in the business for…

      How do you catch the consumer’s attention in a world full of brand messages?


      Create and write effective communications that cut through, connect and influence.

      Simple as that. 

      As you will see in the Masterclass, 99% of all advertising and marketing these days, is basically garbage.  This is staggering to me.

      Millions of pounds are being wasted every day, by people who should know better.

      There are so many charlatans and imposters in marketing and advertising now.

      What is happening in the market is that people who work in marketing, are not educated enough. They don't study.

      Great work can be created.  As long as you know how do it. 

      If you don’t, find someone who does.

      What do you think is going to be the next best thing in marketing?  Mobiles perhaps?

      SMS is interesting, but is purely a youth thing.  Send an SMS message to anyone over 40 and you’ll be damaging your brand.

      I personally think that SMS is going the same way as cold emailing and is starting to turn people off big time.

      Funnily enough, it’s already happening in the Middle East, where they basically live on their mobiles and most locals have more than one. 

      SMS is big business, but is being abused.  There’s a groundswell of opinion down there now, to stop SMS messaging and a SMS Preference Service has been set up.

      I think the next big thing in marketing, will be a desire to go back to our roots. 

      As the volume of messages gets greater and the consumer turns off more and more
      (this is already happening), companies will have to learn how to COMMUNICATE all over again.

      And hurrah for that!

      Any final comments to the readers, from Andy Owen about the forthcoming Masterclass– and any recommendations on classic DM books and webistes?

      Let’s face it, things are going to get tough for all of us in the next couple of years.  

      So, come to my show on November 26th in Madrid and you’ll not only discover proven rules for success, but you’ll also be able to steal the very latest ideas to help you and your business prosper and grow, while others around you, wither and die.

      See you there!