I’ve been joking with colleagues that the highlight of this week’s New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) conference in Cambridge, MA was that I didn’t hit a bicyclist as I drove to the meeting, but perhaps that’s better described as a small miracle with all the cyclists out enjoying the fall weather. My colleague Hank Andersen and I agree that the true highlight of the conference was the content of the presentations and the comradery of the attendees. I wanted to briefly recap this excellent event for those who couldn’t attend.
The conference was titled, “The 5 Ds of Direct Mail: Data, Design, Delivery, Due Diligence, Digital.” Aileen Cahill, Founder, Managing Partner, and CMO, Omnichannel Marketing, got things rolling with a great session on data-driven marketing. She described herself as bi-lingual since she “speaks geek” and has been a CMO. She echoed a theme we’ve touched on many times about the art and science of marketing and showed the intersection of the two as “Wonder” in a Venn diagram. She defined “agile marketing” as “test – measure – learn” and had heads nodding when she added, “direct marketing always had that right.”
As always when I hear John Sisson speak, I learned a lot. He started the “Digital” session with a personal story about his 15-year old daughter getting really excited about receiving a letter in the mail. Dad was not so excited when he realized it was a credit card offer. John got the audience’s attention when he demonstrated how to do Augmented Reality right by showing how IKEA makes great use of the tool to integrate print with the online channel.
My session on “Design” was next so I stood between the audience and lunch. My 45 minutes flew by with lots of great questions and observations from the audience. There were also a few “lessons learned” anecdotes about making sure that an envelope designed to stand out in the mailbox meets USPS automation requirements. This ensures that the postal invoice doesn’t include any unpleasant surprises when it arrives in the marketer’s inbox.
Speaking of postal, “Delivery” was delivered by Pat Ring, Associate Director, Mail Services for Boston University and Jerry Kelley, Supervisor of Business Mail Entry, USPS, who represent the greatest knowledge of postal regulations and requirements in New England. Jerry provided handouts with great information about Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) Customer Service Help Desk Enhancements. His handout of Folded Self-Mailer reference material included both general standards and a decision tree design matrix. I had no idea there was such a tool and am glad that we are putting so much energy into ensuring that our Account Managers are certified as Mailpiece Design Professionals who know all about the decision tree.
Kerry Hannify, Director of Quality and Operational Initiatives at Data-Mail, Inc., did an energetic, informative, and entertaining session on “Due Diligence.” While the title may seem dry, Kerry made it come alive with great insight into mail tracking. She also had some great stories about mail gone missing and the tools that now exist to find it quickly when mail has been entered but the delivery scans are missing.
NEDMA President Mariah Hunt was last on the agenda with her great “60 Ideas in 60 Minutes” presentation that’s focused on making direct mail campaigns more effective and more efficient. Unfortunately, we didn’t have 60 minutes left, and Mariah was sensitive to ending the conference on time to give everyone a chance to beat the worst of Boston area rush hour traffic. She reminded everyone about NEDMA’s upcoming MTech Summit on November 5th. This Marketing Technology Summit is described as “a day of cutting edge marketing technology education for marketing experts, creatives and technologists who need to keep current to compete in today’s ever changing marketing technology environment.” I hope I’ll see you there and that all bicyclists wear their helmets
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