Magazine article Marketing

Why a Recession Leads to Tougher Direct Targeting

Magazine article Marketing

Why a Recession Leads to Tougher Direct Targeting

Article excerpt

When the going gets tough, the tough get tetchy. This important new scientific law was discovered during the dark, dreary days of the recession. Remember the recession? Of course you do. The government seems to think the entire nation can be hypnotised into mass amnesia by a few tearful posters. It's bizarre.

During the recession many columns were filled with tetchy articles by direct marketing moguls, public relations panjandrums, sales promotion supporters, telemarketing tycoons and World Wide Web wallahs, all of whom insisted that theirs was the only true path to marketing salvation. Clients, in their zillions we were told, switched their budgets to below-the-line promotions, relationship marketing, telephone-selling, public relations, Web sites, and so on. "If you're not part of the future you're part of the past," people warned, as if it meant something. And the future, of course, was databases, or product placements, or phone calls.

With the wisdom of hindsight, a quality with which I am unusually well-endowed, we can now see that those noisome, competitive claims were a consequence of the paddleless creek up which we found ourselves. With profits in negative mode and staff which downsized daily, all we could do was peer hopefully towards a rosier future and tell whoppers about the demise of competitors.

With the feel-good factor poking its head above the parapet, it is time for marketers to return to our true nature as warm, generous and lovey-dovey humans.

And my own gesture of warm generosity is to ask that paradoxical question: if ad agencies believe advertising is so effective, why do they rarely do any? …

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