PMMAO 2007: Direct Marketing: DM is slowly but steadily making its impact

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What has always been referred to as the lowly cousin of mass media is now making a big splash. Away from the glitz and the glamour of mainstream advertising, non-mass media like DM is simpler and extremely personalised and is a Rs 1,000 crore industry today. And this is what appeals to corporates forcing them to include DM as a significant activity in their marcom.

According to the Pitch-Madison  Media AdOutlook 2007, the Direct Marketing (DM) industry is worth Rs 1,000 crore and is growing at 25-30 percent annually. DM prominently includes direct mailers, catalogues, personalised e-mails and mobile messages. Marketers believe that catalogues and direct mailers act as a retention tool when they reach out to their customers.

R Lakshminarayanan, Head, Rapp Collins India, which is the DM arm of Mudra Communications, says, “each DM campaign provides new benchmarks that need to be exceeded for any subsequent campaign to be considered successful.”

One of the most popular marketing buzzword of today is “one-to-one marketing” and considering the shift to individual communication, DM makes perfect sense. Marketers realise that using DM with mass media accelerates the process. Ajay Kelkar, Head of Marketing, HDFC Bank says: “Two years back we used to run three to four DM campaigns a year, but now we run 800. This has allowed us to reduce our advertising spends by 15 per cent”.

Most of the domestic DM agencies are mainly an extension of advertising agencies, except for a few like UCP and Solutions. The main players in the industry are RMG Connect (DM arm of JWT), MRM Worldwide (McCann Erickson), Arc (Leo Burnett), FCB-Ulka Interactive (FCB-Ulka), 4D (Euro RSCG), iContract (Contract Adver tising), Wunderman (Rediffusion DY&R), Rapp Collins (Mudra) and Lintas Personal (Lintas).

Although DM is an important one-to-one tool of communication, the industry is still not in the spotlight. In India, this discipline is slowly making its impact, though it is way off from developed markets where many marketing programs revolve around ths medium. The challenge for traditional DM agencies is that their share of the marketing budget is too small to be taken seriously.
For the industry, the future lies in becoming an efficient and cost-effective way of reaching out to consumers and eliciting responses. Improvisations can lead to more investments in this segment and will see going direct becoming a major part of marketing.

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Neeta Nair

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