David Ogilvy had it right!


It’s time to go back to the future with David Ogilvy.  Direct vs General vs. Internet vs. Social Media.  Direct wins hands down.  Here’s why…

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8 Responses

  1. I entered the field of direct marketing in 1980 and have been one of its advocates every day since. Thank you for posting this, as it was wonderful to see. But unfortunately, he was wrong. Nothing has changed about the relationship between general and direct. With the advent of social media, it appears that the gap has widened even further. There is talk about “measurement,” but social media will never be measurable the way direct response is measurable. There is also talk about “outbound” marketing being replaced by “inbound” marketing. Although I don’t think this will happen, I’m pretty sure I hear David Ogilvy rolling over in his grave.

  2. Quite true Susan. Back in the day direct marketers were considered the redheaded stepchildren of general marketing. We were the junk mailers, the TV “but wait there’s more” hucksters, the intrusive telemarketers, etc.

    Gradually over the years we started to gain some respect. My guess is the internet had a lot to do with helping us overcome the stigma. Especially after the dot com boom and bust. Those dot comm’ers with the direct marketing skills survived.

    Ironically as the internet matured, the new version of internet dot com marketers entered the business from a different angle and without the benefit of immersion in DM principles. Nowadays we have a whole new set of people who think that DM’ers are old school, out of touch and again the redheaded stepchildren of the internet industry.

    Full circle. We’re like Rodney Dangerfield – no respect but crying all the way to the bank.

    Jim

  3. Good conversation. Just wanted to add a thought on your internet discussion. It’s interesting to me that the ads I see most online seem to be from old-line direct marketing plays Bowflex. Mortgage deals. Sexual performance enhancers. In other words, despite the money that’s being spent, what I see most online are not brand advertisers.

    Reminds me of “filling station advertising”. It was promoted heavily as a place for a brand to be. The only time I’ve seen it, the ads were for Univ of Phoenix, get rich quick schemes, ambulance chasing lawyers, etc… None of the elegant brands that it was supposed to attract.

    Is there an “inconvenient advertising truth” out there that the ad biz is ignoring? Dunno. What do you think?

  4. Great post! Makes me want to read “Scientific Advertising” again.

    I am reminded of the much loved “ I want to teach the world to sing” Coke television advertisement that became a hit song. However, it was taken off the air by Coke’s Chief Marketing Officer because it was not doing its job – selling more Coke.

  5. Jim
    I came up through the ranks of big DM agencies and remember well the “red haired step children” years. The internet did level the playing field a bit but what really did it was the discipline and metrics that we always brought to any marketing in any media. The current business environment — more than ever – requires that client’s dollars be accountable. The convergence of Brand and Direct is more apparent than ever and no longer mutually exclusive.We have online advertising to thank for it. It was our skill set that forged Google analytics, click thru rates, etc. We will conquer social media as well. The days where clients will pay for any marketing services that doesn’t have an ROI attached to it is long gone. David was correct and if twitter can’t have metrics attached to its use – it will not be the next bastion of advertising genius.

  6. D.O. on DM- his secret weapon-launched me into the world of Direct Response and after 4 years in O&M DR London, travelled the globe for 25 years preaching his message with various catalogue companies. Today ,D.O. I’m sure, would embrace measurement tools such as Google Analytics since it delivers the kind of stats. he only dreamed of . Maybe he would be able to put to bed the famous line about ‘only 50% of my advertising works-trouble is I don’t know which 50%!’ Thanks Jim for reminding us D.O .disciples of his wisdom and foresight.

    PS What a way to treat a jacket-chucking it on the floor?

  7. My first job was with Ogivy Mather Direct which was a lot like getting a residency at a teaching hospital. All those iconic rules to memorize. All those seminars taught by Norman Berry himself, those stop you in your tracks suggestion memos from from David himself.. Okay, it was a great place to win awards and launch a career – but i honestly don’t think David Ogilvy could have ever imagined living in a world with ever decreasing attention spans, information overload and keyword search optimization. i would be curious about his new rule book,…

  8. Great post Jim! Deep thought provoking discussion. Regard inbound I agree. Although the term sounds nice, is it truly inbound? Yes, they come inbound but why? Because we are doing DIRECT via targeted, Niche social media… It’s hitting them where they are with what they want to learn, hear or need. I agree the days of the phonebook are long gone but not sure we’ve tagged the right wrapper or descriptor quite yet.

    Very excited to see this next wave of social media… we have only just begun my friend.

    I don’t think it’s just “social media”. I think we’re headed to social business media, social charity media etc. There also needs to be more infrastructure to help businesses differentiate and better segment between consumer vs. biz audiences. There are many industries who desparately need social media and are still building websites. Sad thing is I think more than 1/2 of them live in Florida! uggghh! we have a long way to go to help these people ;)

    Also, great talking w/you the other day! Sorry I haven’t wrote back. Been like a crazy wallpaper hanger w/no ladder, one arm and a million cats ;) I’ll give you a call by early next week latest!

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