Commentary & Recap: Futurist Libey Examines the Present at MeritDirect Event, Part 1 of 2
For the many years I’ve listened to Don Libey, the investor, catalog owner, motivational speaker and wearer of many other hats related to the multichannel marketing business, I’ve often enjoyed his crystal ball-heavy looks into the future of direct marketing. I can’t say I always agreed with them — and certainly some didn’t come true — but they certainly got audiences thinking and implementing the ideas they took away from his presentations.
Because of his business relationship with the White Plains, N.Y.-based MeritDirect, he always graces the B-to-B list firm’s annual Business Mailers Co-Op, which is being held this week about a mile from Merit’s headquarters. But his conference-opening speech this year had a decidedly heavy slant toward the present, and even the past. After all, this is 2009, and to get through this mess, he said, marketers will have to rely on business fundamentals more than anything else.
He emphasized directions that B-to-B and other multichannel marketers must immediately take to reinvent themselves, both during the recession and for whenever economic recovery takes place, the timing of which he didn’t dare predict.
“This is the end of a major cyclical cycle that takes place every 60 years,” he said in true quotable fashion. “It’s going to take a number of years to get back to where we were. But we have to decide: Do we want to grow?”
Noting that a new business model has been put upon us by necessity, Libey reeled off 12 factors marketers need to pay close attention to in order to get through the economic malaise.
By in large, they consist of back-to-basics fundamentals. In fact, Libey faults the multichannel market for perhaps overleveraging itself in the online world over the past decade-plus. “Maybe we’ve gone so far shifting pendulums to online that we’ve become dangerously close to having drunk the Kool-Aid,” he pondered.