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  1. What is the definition of direct marketing in the 21st Century?  Most people now think that ‘Internet Marketing’ equals ‘Direct Marketing’

  2. Nothing is further from the truth…

    The Internet is a incredible thing.  It has changed our lives forever.

    But, there is so much more to DM than online…soooo much more…

    And online has so much to learn from DM.  Sooooo much… Online is the ‘New Kid In Town’.  When it first happened, everyone was SEDUCED by it.  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…? 

    I don’t think so.  In fact, in the UK and USA right now, more and more clients are now turning back to Direct Mail for prospect activity.  Simply because email marketing is not working as a prospecting tool.

    Come to the show.  I will tell you why…

    Tell me how did Andy Owen become a celebrity? How did it all begin?

    I stumbled into direct marketing, just as most people in the business did, in those days.  Remember there wasn’t really an established DM industry in the UK in the late seventies, early eighties.  It was very underdeveloped.

    I had worked for RCA Records in the UK and in New York for a number of years, but got disillusioned with how business was going.  I was headhunted to join a group of companies as Marketing Director – one of which was a fulfilment house.

    To cut a very long story short, I helped take that company from 6 employees to 99 in around 7 years and we became a major player.

    But, most of what we did was operational – database, lasering, enclosing, fulfilment – and I was really developing a talent and a love for creative and copy.  I was becoming unhappy and wanted to open my own agency and I did in 1987, taking a lot of the clients with me.

    It was a great move. It’s been a wonderful ride since then - ups and downs of course – but that’s DM.  But I’ve never regretted it for one moment…

    A celebrity?  Well, those are your words not mine.  I suppose I am now very
    high-profile worldwide, because I work very hard at it.  I travel a lot, present shows and events, write articles and, because of this, I’m well known.

    But it’s not easy, because I have an incredibly busy agency to run as well, with clients worldwide.  Clients want me to be involved in campaigns and I am. 

    I write every single word of every campaign and I’m heavily involved in creative issues.

    I’m passionate and I’m committed.  People seem to like that.

    What have you accomplished so far?

    Accomplished?  I have no idea, really.  That’s for other people to say...

    But I continually think I could do MORE…

    I believe I’ve made a bit of a difference. Hope so, anyway.  There are many people worldwide that tell me that they have benefited from my rather unique view on what’s going on out there…

    But I never stop.  Especially now.  This downturn is causing so many problems to marketers and companies all around the world.

    It’s not easy out there.  It’s tough.  And it will get tougher yet.  But contemporary direct marketing will do well in this scenario.  I can remember the last two recessions and direct marketing became king.

    I strongly believe it will do so in this current situation too.  In fact, it’s already happening.  I’m going to be preaching the gospel stronger than ever in this year, as
    well as practicing my art every day and helping others understand it a bit more.

    What’s so important in DM for you personally and why have you decided to be engaged in DM in the first place?

    I LOVE it.  As I said earlier, 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 much cultural context influences creative and copy?  As well as the UK, you have offices in Russia, Romania and the Gulf.  These are very different countries.  Can you apply the general principles everywhere - Estonia for example?

    Yes, of course.  The proven techniques and disciplines in contemporary communication, are universal. The difference is one of understanding. 

    DM – ‘real’ DM - as I would know it, hasn’t really happened in Eastern Europe yet.  You are where we were, in the UK, a couple of decades ago.  You are just learning about it and starting on that long and winding road…

    It will be a fascinating journey and you’ll have a lot of fun.  But, be under no illusion… those that take the trouble to learn and do it right, will make pots and pots of money.

    Obviously you have to understand individual cultures.  How to best apply the proven techniques and skills within different marketplaces.  Anything else is commercial suicide.

    But, you need to listen to people who understand DM.  It is a unique culture, nothing like traditional advertising and marketing.  So don’t ask your existing agency to do some DM for you because they’ll almost certainly make a mess of it.

    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 DM, go to a DM specialist

    >What, in your opinion, are the prospects of development for DM in Macedonia? Do you consider it possible to expect a leap in this area or will it be like sort of gradual step-by-step process?

    It can’t be rushed.  Take it step by step.

    You have to walk before you can run.  As with any new market area there will be professionals and amateurs.  The smart marketers will employ the top professionals from UK, USA and Germany and get campaigns going quickly.  They will get the best advice and will use those consultants to learn and grow their businesses.

    This will give them a real advantage over their competitors. 

    The amateurs will lose money in the first instance, because they took bad decisions.  But, they will soon see the error of their ways and will then start to catch up. 

    It is important that an industry association is formed and that key organizations like Macedonian Post and others, really commit and invest in the medium.

    They would be very dumb if they didn’t.  Direct mail would be a massive moneyspinner for them, if they provide a solid and effective postal infrastructure.

    Do you think it real for Macedonian DM to have its own unique way of evolving?

    Absolutely.  You are a unique country, with a unique culture and heritage.  You will do it your way.  However, the smart people will work flat out in the first few years to try and understand DM and how it works.

    Remember, just in the UK we have over 30 years experience of the medium. By using that knowledge, companies can save an awful amount of money by ‘stealing’ proven campaign ideas and therefore make less mistakes.

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

    Those secrets and more I’ll reveal at my Masterclass…

    What do you think of Cannes Direct Lion winning campaigns?  Do you think that award-winning campaigns also sell

    Most of the time, stuff that wins awards is total crap.  Looks good but doesn’t deliver. Pony tails awarding pony tails.  That’s what it’s all about…

    Do you know about the John Caples Awards in the US?  John Caples is one of the top five individuals in our industry.  His whole life was about delivering work that created a response and a sale…

    The awards that now bear his name are given to campaigns that look the best.  Not those that have performed the best.  Those that LOOK good!

    In the submissions, agencies and clients are not asked for results.  Just background.

    So, judges base their opinions on what they see and what they THINK, not on how the campaign PERFORMED…

    It’s incredible.  The great man would be turning in his grave…

    We’re direct marketers.  We’re in the results business.  We’re not interested in awards.  We want response - we want the phone to ring - and the tills to jangle…

    We want BUSINESS…

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

    Well, come to my show on May 28th at the Holiday Inn in Skopje 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 take your business opportunity to the next level…

    Plus, recommendations on what books to read and websites to visit too…

    Interview with Andy Owen, April 14th 2009
    www.andyowen.co.uk     www.copywritingthatsells.com


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