Feb 242005

Everyone’s a Direct Marketer, Part III

Everyone’s a Direct Marketer, Part III

With every company as a direct marketer, and with (hopefully!) every company embracing some of the best DM principles, what does this shift mean for the way companies will be structured in the future?

First, let’s talk about the internal structure of a company.  The biggest shift going on here is that customers are becoming a more important part of all employees’ daily lives, not just those in the advertising department.  I wrote an earlier posting called Everyone’s a Marketer which applies here.  Most likely, more and more members of your organization are touching customers every day — and they need to be trained how to think like marketers.

But beyond that, companies will be constructed differently in the future as well.  While not true in some industries, there are many industries founded on the “mass” which will never be the same again.  Here are three examples of how direct marketing is infiltrating — but enhancing the opportunities of — corporate America.

- Disney’s film unit used to make movies only for theatrical release.  Today, they have an enormous volume of direct-to-video (or DVD) movies that never see the big screen but that drive huge sales numbers when marketed to Disney’s customer email database.

- Ralph Lauren used to make Polo shirts with a fixed number of configurations of shirt color and knitting color of the logo.  Now, you can go onto Polo.com and custom build a personalized shirt for someone with the right size and color combination of their college or company or favorite baseball team.

- Barry Diller used to run a studio, then he bought a TV network called the Home Shoping Network (and, I’d add, a lot of people laughed at him for doing so).  He has now turned HSN into InterActive Corp, a true convergence company that mixes content and media with commerce and direct marketing with brands like Match.com, Ticketmaster, eVite, CitySearch, and Expedia.

That’s it for this series.  All thoughts and comments are welcome.

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