I’ve received a lot of comments both online and offline about my eulogizing traditional marketing. The most common argument for continuing radio and television is that it’s affordable (in their market) and the board likes to see it. And when I speak in public about the eventual death of old marketing people get the most protective over this one – direct mail. Specifically “targeted” direct mail.

Don’t get me wrong. I used to do a lot of direct mail. We bought an MCIF just so we could household our members and track our results. But, what always bothered me when calculating my ROI math for the CFO was this:

Unless I had a coupon attached or some way of tracking that the “new” business did in fact come from the post card I just sent, how can I take credit for it? How did we know it wasn’t the great rate? Our stellar reputation? Crazy member loyalty? Or word-of-mouth that brought us all those loans? What if we didn’t mail out those post cards? Would no one come?

The USPS expects to be $7 billion in the red by year-end. They are closing offices, reducing delivery and increasing postal rates to stay afloat. The decline in mail volume as people rely more on e-mail, plus a dip in advertising mail because of the recession are the main causes. Some expect the postage stamp will quickly hit the $1.00 mark. That changes your ROI math dramatically.

A lot of marketing feels like stalking. Whenever you find yourself saying “We need to go after (insert product or type of member) you are bound to end up doing some things that feel intrusive. According to Psychiatric Times stalking is defined as:

repeated and persistent unwanted communications….such as telephone calls, letters, e-mail, and placing notices in the media.

Sounds a lot like traditional marketing, doesn’t it.

Key words. Repeated and unwanted.

Listening to a radio ad that says “That number again, 1-800…”

How about that television carny screaming at you “But wait! There’s more….”

And the piece of mail that is marked “URGENT” when in fact, it’s not.

Repeated and unwanted. Generation Y is definitely going to look at you like you’re a crazy bunny boiling lunatic if the only way you try to build a relationship with them is by showing up on their doorstep, in their car, on on their TV.  And don’t even THINK about invading their cell phone space. That would be the equivalent of dumping acid on the Volvo.

THIS JUST IN (12/17.09): Thank you to my dear friend Tom McWilliams for sending me the link to this story – USA Today announced that Pepsi will not advertise during the Super Bowl this year.  Nicole Bradley, marketing spokesperson for Pepsi said:

In 2010 each of our beverage brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event and more about a movement.”

Hmmmmm…what an interesting choice of words.

Thanks to the folks at CUSwag for sending me this picture as well. Simply titled “The joy of not being sold anything.”