Shifting Direct marketing budgets make sexy social media just another channel.

Marco Bertozzi: 23:01:2010

Brand Republic released news of some research by Alterian that DM budgets are morphing into social media. Now to be clear, I have not seen the research so perhaps it will give me all the detail I am about to question but none the less, its still an interesting subject.

2/3 years ago every client wanted to know how to use social media in their advertising. They wanted to know how to have conversations with customers, how to turn dull into sexy, create millions of fans of car insurance and at the time, no one had an answer. Part of that was the reticence of clients, some of it was media agencies still getting their heads around it and some was actually the fact the very carriers of social audience, did not know what to do either.

While this lack of innovation continued the audiences on the likes of Facebook sky rocketed and advertising rates fell accordingly and that then opened up a huge opportunity for Direct Marketing, not one to one marketing but good old fashion buy it cheap and expect a low response rate type DM. Is this what all those advertisers that have shifted DM budgets into social media have done or have they done anything interesting, have they changed their approach or their channel? I suspect not, I imagine they have bought up vast amount of impressions, overlaid some targeting, just as they would with mail shots and they have accepted a very low response rate and carried on filling their order books. There is still so much room for genuine use of social media and that needs to come from their main brand budgets, not their backwater DM budgets.

Take a look at Compare the Market/Meerkat, everyone knows it, everyone has seen it, but that is a great example of a brave client taking the plunge to make themselves stand out from the competition. I can think of quite a few insurance companies who must be thinking, why were we not brave enough?

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