Live from DMA07: Rise Up and Take the Lead -- Lazarus and Rappaport Encourage Marketers to Innovate
October 16, 2007 — On Tuesday, leaders of the direct marketing community brought the DMA07 podium alive with messages of optimism and encouragement for the future of direct marketing.
The morning session began as DMA President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. welcomed attendees and introduced incoming board Chairman, Donn Rappaport. Rappaport, chairman and CEO of American List Counsel Inc., highlighted his vision for the coming year.
Although Rappaport acknowledged that direct marketing is facing unprecedented and monumental changes, he expressed firm conviction that the direct marketing community would meet those challenges successfully, and offered high praise to direct marketers, calling them “the smartest, most creative and innovative people I’ve ever met.”
Keynote speaker Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” presented a stirring keynote address entitled “Changing Faces of Direct— Reinventing the Client, the Consumer and the Agency.” Clad all in red, Lazarus looked and sounded every bit the firebrand for the direct marketing cause.
The boundaries separating direct marketing from other forms of marketing are blurred, Lazarus explained, and the walls are coming down. Further, the days when direct marketing was considered a “subspecies” or “poor cousin” of traditional advertising have passed. “Direct marketing—one-to-one marketing—is marketing today,” she said.
Lazarus pointed out that marketing has been profoundly altered by changes in technology and new ways of communication that give today’s consumers control over the flow of information and the ability to decide when and how they consume content. In the past, marketers could dictate the terms of engagement. To succeed today, however, marketers must entertain, or provide valuable information, in order to convince consumers to engage with them. “Isn’t that the heart and soul of direct marketing?” Lazarus asked.
To illustrate the enormous potential of the new media, Lazarus gave an overview of the Dove “Real Beauty”
campaign, which Ogilvy developed for Unilever. The hugely successful effort started life as a dialogue on the Internet, and accelerated beyond expectations through interactive communications, billboards, and even an award- winning film. “There is almost no limit to how we can connect and engage,” Lazarus said. “And even better—how we
Although the power of new media is evident, how to measure its value and ROI is by no means clear. “We need to move from a sense of wonder that we can do it, to a demonstration that what we can do is valuable,” said Lazarus.
“It will take years to get the experience to be able to measure the impact but we have to start by asking the question.”
Lazarus further stressed that measurablility has long been the heritage of direct marketing, and urged marketers to lead the way in its continued success.
“It’s a glorious time to be a marketer. We don’t know the future—but it is going to fun creating it,” Lazarus declared. “This is our time.”
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