For the direct shall inherit the earth

8 Nov

[by Todd] For some time now I’ve been kicking around this line-in-the-sand post about how the old-school above and below the line descriptions were worthless. The gist of the argument was that technology is driving traditional brand advertising into an early grave. No sane marketer will allow an agency to throw up a message without a metric for measuring success.

Yeah, yeah, I know that agencies always talk about targeting their message. But beyond the savvy of media planners, there really is little that they can directly claim credit for. Which comes in handy when a client doesn’t succeed. "If only they’d let us do the campaign we really wanted to do."

That’s why I have grown in my conviction that the agencies best situated to help clients succeed in the future are those with a direct marketing heritage. These are the shops that don’t start with a bias to television, nor a bias to build "too-cool-for-you campaigns" (yes, I’m taking a swipe at Crispin, again). Rather these shops are built from the ground up with a business discipline of zeroing in on a consumer behavior their clients need to affect, by whatever channel is appropriate.

42_2 All of which is to say that I have joined such a shop. In the interest of full transparency, and a bit of boasting, I am now Director of Digital Strategy/Partner at RMG Connect. Some of you may know it by an earlier name, JWT Direct.

In order to avoid any suggestion of bias, I will not analyze any campaigns we produce. I’ll even try to talk nice about the competition. But at every turn I will go out of my way to point out any potential conflicts of interest.

And when direct agencies start gobbling up the emaciated carcasses of once mighty brand shops, well, I’ll try not to gloat.

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