As consumers become increasingly mobile and modern, marketers are scrambling to keep pace. For decades direct marketing has been a tool that drives real, measureable success for brands. At a campaign's conclusion it is easy to evaluate results, determine initial responses from stragglers, calculate the rate of sale closure, see average order size, and the like. As multiple campaigns conclude, the results are combined to forecast the success rate of future campaigns.

Although direct marketing excels at creating foot traffic, traditional direct marketing techniques require waiting for the results to trickle in slowly. If a campaign's results are not commensurate with the forecast, it is impossible to address any problems during the campaign. Traditional marketing channels also offer few opportunities for a true one-to-one conversation between brand and consumer.

In the key areas conventional direct marketing is lacking, digital marketing shines. Campaign results are immediate; real-time testing and optimization of campaigns is not only possible, it is easy. And rather than creating a series of disconnected one-to-one conversations, digital marketing allows for consumer engagement that not only captures a sale, but also builds loyalty over time.

The fusion of direct marketing and digital marketing—direct digital marketing—preserves the inherent value of direct marketing, resolves its historic downsides, and leverages the immediacy and accountability of digital channels. Direct digital marketing is a digital marketing method that delivers relevant communications that are addressable to individuals through the three primary digital channels—email, Web, and mobile. While traditional direct marketing methods use a consumer's postal address to initiate a dialogue, direct digital marketers use an email address, a Web browser cookie, and a mobile phone number to not only initiate a conversation, but build and sustain an ongoing profitable relationship with a consumer.

One of the most valuable elements of direct digital marketing is its ability to expand measurability and enhance accountability. Rather than measure important but one-dimensional data points like response rates and dollar amount per order, direct digital marketing affords a wide array of valuable data points that measure the impact of a campaign at different day parts or at different stages of the shopping process, and the difference between the lift in sales from repeat customers and the total sales from new customers, for example. Because direct digital marketing campaigns use the three primary digital channels to communicate with consumers, additional measurement is possible. An example is a multichannel direct digital marketing campaign that properly recognizes the value of the website as a direct digital marketing tool and quickly calculates a correlation between the duration of a website visit and total dollar amount spent per consumer.

Success stops or starts with data quality

The more data a marketer has, the better the campaign results. Turning that data into sales results is another area where direct digital marketing distinguishes itself – especially when using a data environment called a universal profile management system. A universal profile management system stores known customer information and captured online behavioral information in one location. The combination of the historically unconnected data types enables better segmentation, better message targeting, and better results. Additionally, using combined campaign results data from each direct digital marketing campaign secures better short-term results and informs long-term strategies.

Direct digital marketing extends the value of traditional direct marketing principles by matching modern marketing techniques with the unstoppable changes in consumer habits. For marketers to stay relevant both in terms of marketing messages and consumer engagement, direct digital marketing must be the cornerstone of any marketing plan.

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About the author: Josh Gordon is director of marketing at Knotice. Contact Gordon at