Direct Response Copywriter Meets the Next Generation of Direct Marketers

I read a lot about direct response marketing and direct response copywriting. Most of the authors of the ‘must reads’ are reaching retirement age. One book was originally published in the early 1990s and there’s a somewhat tentative chapter about the Internet in the tome.

Back then, the Internet must have terrified the lions of direct response which, back then, was predominantly direct mail.

But here’s an extremely prescient excerpt from the book. (Written in the 1990s).

“The Internet has stormed into the marketing consciousness of uncounted companies…someday in the future, once a secure payment system has been embedded in the Internet, it will become the interactive medium envisioned by its current proponents. However, until it is better organized, with some controls in place, it is unlikely to blaze new trails in sales. When that time does come, as it is sure to do, concern is going to centralize on the ‘reach’ of the new medium. That alone makes it the most interesting medium to come along in decades for direct marketing practioners.”

And then the chapter concludes with:

“The Internet is going to be a major player in the future.”

That's prescience.

A number of people in their 20s and early 30s are quietly making a big splash in marketing—using the Internet alone. Remember—these people are late to the party: when the Internet got hot, they were in diapers or worrying about acne.

It’s tempting to think of these ‘bright young things’ as being the ones who are changing everything. Yes—they’re using a different medium but the ones I know who are really successful understand direct response and pay extremely close attention to the big names of direct marketing…those lions of direct response who are now grey and getting senior discounts at Wendy’s.

The ‘youngsters’ are especially interested in testing and response metrics…just like the old guard of direct response. Their testing shows that using direct marketing is the most effective way to market on the Internet. No real shock to me.

Many ‘new’ marketers succumb to the temptations of branding advertising—which, because it can’t be measured, is essentially dead. Some youngsters are trying to persuade everyone that social media is going to change everything but statistics prove that social media provides a tepid response—at best. GM pulled all their advertising recently from Facebook.

For what it’s worth, I believe these ‘bright young things’ are going to discover something astonishing in the next couple of years…this amazing direct marketing tool called direct mail. They’re going to try it—and they’re going to execute the techniques flawlessly—and discover that ROI is higher than their beloved Internet with a cost per customer acquisition that’s lower than the Internet. The cost of traffic on the Internet is moving upwards...rapidly.

It’s interesting being a direct response copywriter now. The youngsters who understand the Internet much better than I ever will are thankfully intelligent enough to know that direct response techniques still rock.

P.S. The book I mention is Denny Hatch’s classic: 2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success.