In the same way that email marketing added “opting in” to “selling” as a objective of direct marketing, the advent of Web 2.0 adds “engaging consumer interaction and participation” to the range of marketing interaction opportunities. The underlying idea is to build and maintain an awareness of your brand, product and service; allowing you to continue to engage with the consumer and leading to relevant and profitable relationships for both parties over time.
Indeed, what marketing discipline could be better prepared or better placed to take advantage of the primary elements of Web 2.0 than good old DM? Think about it, the opportunities presented by an increasingly participative and interactive Internet, such as social networks, feedback, engagement and advocacy are all central elements of customer centricity (The founder of my company, Lester Wunderman will be speaking on this topic at the Forrester Forum on Reinventing Marketing For Customer Centricity in April of this year). Who would know better how to identify your potential consumers, how and where to reach them, how to engage them in a relevant dialogue and, most vitally how to listen to them? The challenges too are familiar territory to the direct marketer, searching is central to web 2.0 but the rising costs and poor conversion rates of search engine marketing and generally poor performance of on-line advertising efforts, can be greatly improved by increasing the relevance of our marketing efforts by varying content (headline, copy, the call to interaction etc) to match the visitors source and their behaviour. How can you do this? By segmenting your visitors and testing/optimizing your content, easily recognizable as core elements of any well executed off-line direct marketing campaign over the last 40 years.