‘Tra-Digital’ Marketers Get the Job Done
To many who “grew up” in digital marketing, I look old. (Even to me, I look old these days.) For the record, I'm a marketer who is in my 50s.
However, despite that, I'm NOT a marketing dinosaur.
All you young guns in digital, don't count us old-school marketers out. It was our generation that created most of the constructs that modern digital marketers use daily.
I can tell you from 25 years of experience (time flies) that digital marketing is really just direct marketing on steroids. The concepts are the same; the delivery methods are just done in a different channel.
Digital marketers often associate "direct marketing" with direct mail, telemarketing, print ads and direct response TV. However, I define direct marketing as follows:
"The overarching business construct that defines digital marketing — building a two-way relationship directly with a customer or prospect, and done via a database."
Interestingly enough, my definition above is actually a paraphrase of the textbook definition of direct marketing.
I've been a marketing consultant since 1999. I do well as a consultant by applying the same principles l learned in mail order, cataloging and direct mail to the digital business model. Back in the the infancy of internet marketing, one of my first consulting projects was helping a fledgling online marketing and web development company apply direct marketing concepts with its digital clients.
In fact, I've been a web marketer for nearly 20 years! For instance:
- In 1998, I taught a major fashion magazine how to extend “brand time” by pushing people online with additional content from its print articles.
- In 1998, I ran my first online campaign with Yahoo.
- In 2000, I helped an early-stage email service provider go to market.
- In 2001, I was using email marketing pretty regularly.
- Again in 2001, I did my first search engine optimization campaign.
- Fast-forward to 2009, and I started using contests and freebies on Facebook (right when Facebook Business Pages launched) and Twitter to built some huge, deeply engaged communities.
- Also in 2009, I was asked to do my first social media lecture (this eventually led to my "The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing.")
Oh, and by the way, I still use direct mail, catalogs, print ads and DRTV to scale my clients’ businesses. These channels are infinitely and pin-pointedly targeted, measurable, and can drive exceptional and as I said SCALABLE results.
And I use SEO, PPC, conversion optimization, tripwires, funnels and drip campaigns, workflows, heat maps, social media, and, of course, email (to name but a few).
My belief is that ALL marketers should be channel agnostic. If through analysis I learn that there are buckets of prospects that look like my present customers in a particular channel — no matter what that channel is — I will test, revalidate and, if warranted, roll it out.
These are the words I live by and this is how I scale the clients to profitable.
A few weeks ago, I heard someone call me a "tra-digital" marketer. I think that fits perfectly, and use it all the time.
Old school (traditional) marketing + digital = success!
Thoughts? Leave a comment below.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing.
Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.