My kingdom for a horse – Bucharest Direct Marketing conference on Equine theme

Johninbuch Audience2 I will shift this posting back to Oct 21st at some point because that is when it happened. But here is a very topline account of the Marketing in Direct conference in Bucharest where I was very honoured to be asked to give the keynote address.  A little scary for me since I have become known in the Romanian marketing and agency community as a comms planner and researcher. I spoke on the topic of sales promotion at a SMARK conference on the topic in July. And worried that pontificating about direct marketing would expose me as jack of all trades and master of none. Though actually I have been working on and off within Direct Marketing for 20 years now (scary thought).  Direct marketing in Romania is a very different animal to what it is in the UK which is one of the most developed markets in the world. I didn't want to patronise my audience by oversimplifying BUT I was briefed to talk about taking Direct Marketing back to basics.

Which gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about my first intro to Direct Marketing when I was running a band and discovered that DM made me money but advertising always worried me because I was never sure if it had worked. Funny how different it is when its your money!  To me the measurability and ability to run small scale tests is what makes DM special.  From what I learned at the event it seems that in Romania DM can often be an ad in an envelope with minimal targeting (or incenctive to respond). And the internet has made things a lot worse because of the ease with which you can dash off large volumes of email at high speed and negligible cost – further hacking off anybody who might have considered responding. That's my deck in a nutshell.

Jockeygirl Leapinghorse It seemed to hit the spot. Particularly because it annoyed the digital DM companies who had been telling people to abandon direct mail (which is so last century) and send emails instead. Barry Larson Strategy Head of the Royal Mail one of my fellow presenters had a great chart where he showed how direct mail and email complemented each other very neatly and overcame the weaknesses of the other format -must get hold of that slide. I even met a client who had been told not to send emails any more and to use Facebook instead. My counter was Great idea but why couldn't you run it as a side by side test and see which delivers you more response? Sheesh.

And then we come to the horses. The event was called My kingdom for a horse (the horse in question being Direct Marketing). I had been told that the MC for the day would arrive in the presentation room on horseback – which given the size of the venue – well it it was just as well that he didn't. But a couple of cowboys turned up at lunchtime to do some tricks on horses outside. And the promo girls did a nice line in jockey croptops and walked around carrying whips for reasons I never really understood but had absolutely no objection to.

Directory We speakers cued about equine theme had gone out of our way to get some horses into our presentations. I managed a horse condom thanks to a great campaign by Proximity New Zealand for the Haunui Stud farm courtesy of the fantastic Directory (new ideas in DM) which Patrick Collister edits. That way all the examples I used came from further afield than the UK, many from developing markets so I could demonstrate how DM could drive business.

I wasn't quite sure about how I could make a line from Richard III relevant to a Romanian audience. But fortunately I didn't have to because Costin Radu rode to my rescue with a comic folk song about beating your horse because he won't take you where you want to go. Here it is in a couple of versions for you to enjoy.  But take a moment to think about the photos of the peasants – yes these are old photos but many of these communities haven't changed that much soo how to direct market to these people? They are the audience after all. And funnily enough they're not on the internet nor are likely to be in the near future. So can we frame direct marketing for everyone with a postal address or just people with a good job in the cities. With an internet connection?

This blog entry  is long enough so I shall leave the advertorials to the next blog – how product placements found their way into our presentations. See above.  

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