It's fun to see how traditional or "old" media are scrambling to become relevant in an increasingly digital world. I've been having a debate with one of my classmates about the future relevance of Direct Marketing in the integrated marketing mix. She thinks DM is on the way out. I'm pretty sure that it isn't.
A study by the Direct Marketing Association (2005) predicted that expenditures, sales and ROI for DM would continue to grow, thanks to an increased focus on the Internet and interactive marketing. We've already seen how telemarketing is basically dead as a DM tactic. Now that society is becoming more concerned about the environment, I think that snail mail DM (circulars, pitch letters, catalogues) will eventually disappear too. But I predict that e-mail and the internet DM will become even more popular. Even now I'm signed up to receive e-mails from several retailers, and I love it. These retailers know me and my purchase habits; they send me offers that appeal directly to me. I can can either open them and be directed to a website for more information, or delete the e-mail if I'm busy or not interested. My dinner was not interrupted and no trees were killed in the making of these offers, and I get information that's tailored just for me. I can't think of anything more new media or interactive than that.
Another old medium that's trying to improve its image in a new media world is outdoor advertising. Last night I was driving on a highway I don't usually take, and noticed a huge electronic billboard. Between the time that I noticed the billboard and finally drove past it, ads for three different advertisers flashed past. The first was for a local minister whose name I recognized -- but it went by too quickly for me to determine what it was "selling." The third was for the biggest local hospital chain -- again, I missed what it was selling. Only the second ad got through to me: it was for a bank, and made the point that of the 1,688 ATMs in my area, this bank rebates fees on all 1,688. So, while this billboard may be high-tech, it didn't make a sale with me because its messages went by too quickly. And of course there's nothing interactive about a billboard, no matter what kind it is.
What does anyone else think about the future of these two media?