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Direct Marketing – Does it still work?


“Creativity is key to making a success out of any campaign”

– Xolisa Dyeshana -


These were the words that sparked the conversation at the Journal of Marketing breakfast debate on 30 July 2011, which lead to some interesting views on how Direct Marketing should be used. Direct marketing today is no longer about a junk pamphlet in your post box, it is about finding clever and attention grabbing ways to get the message across to a very specific group of people. According to Lynn Madley, CEO at Euro RSCG and one of the panellists at the debate, the shotgun approach does work in some cases, but targeted communication works much better. She also adds that brands should speak to consumers in a way that they want to be spoken to and Social Media plays a large role in this.

Today, traditional media is used in Direct Marketing to drive the audience to other platforms, like social media. Brands are warned to not be on social media for the sake of being on social media, but rather to have a well thought out strategy to work from. Because social media gives consumers the power to voice all their opinions, it’s better to just watch and respond if really necessary if your brand does not have the ability to provide quality content on a regular basis. On the other hand it is also important to remember that in this age, due to social networks, reputations are fragile. You need to know what is going on with your brand online and few brands can get away with not having a social media presence – brands need to engage on a personal level.

From a direct marketing point of view, what can be more personal and more direct than engaging on social media platforms? It provides the brand with the opportunity to become more than a brand – to become the consumers’ ‘buddy’. This will of course be strongly regulated by the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which defines direct marketing as a personal approach to directly or indirectly promote goods or services.

So, engaging directly and becoming the consumers’ buddy is important as we are no longer in the business of marketing, but in the business of engagement. And this again is important as the success of any direct marketing campaign can be measured by the interaction received from the audience.

That leaves one final question: Do consumers today, in this multi-tasking era, have the attention needed to participate in prolonged campaigns?


*A note of thanks to the panellists, whose wise comments contributed to this article.

Lynn Madley (CEO: Euro RSCG), Andrew Ambrogioni (CEO: Action Ambro’s) Danie Strachan (Senior Associate: Adams & Adams) Brian Mdluli (CEO: Direct Marketing Association of South Africa) and Xolisa Dyeshana (Creative Director and Partner: Joe Public)


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