Why Direct Marketing Creative Must Create Emotional Connections Across Channels

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Picture of Reid Holmes

Reid Holmes

Holmes has served at agencies including Doner, McCann, and Ogilvy & Mather; working with brands like H&R Block, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza.

Like most new jobs, I was excited, but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I joined IWCO Direct about a month ago. I began my career at an agency with direct marketing in its blood, Ogilvy & Mather. And I knew IWCO Direct would give me the opportunity to rekindle that DM experience by working with an expert team, while the bigger brand experiences in my career would help in building a more robust, multichannel, creative offering around them. I was pretty blown away at how teams here orchestrate a quite sophisticated offering and bring so many different skillsets together on behalf of IWCO Direct’s clients. But the team here knew the status quo wasn’t going to cut it. Targeting is getting more sophisticated every day. Staying relevant in messaging and being an omnichannel partner is more critical than ever.

Effective Direct Marketing Creative Relies on an Emotional Connection

I’ve already seen firsthand the competitive advantage clients get when Strategy, Data and Analytics, and Production capabilities are executed well. But reaching the right people through the right channel is still only part of the challenge. Somewhere along the way the ad industry shifted away from emotionally connective big ideas that attract, to a narrower focus on data-driven work that distracts. Over the past 10 to 20 years, everyone’s been running around with their digital heads cut off. Creating emotional relevance and connection has been―to put it mildly―put on the back of the back burner. Marketers today are often following what we’d call here the “spray and pray” approach, or they are being downright creepy following us around on every device just because we clicked on something. Products and services are here to help solve problems, not create more. Marketers are spending their own money these days to erode the trust in their brand they’ve spent years building up.

I’m of the mind that it’s better to create an unfair advantage for our clients by discovering the emotional element than connects with each recipient and gives them a reason to care. And although it’s a radical aspiration, if we can provide a reason for our clients and their customers to thank us by doing something they’ll appreciate, everybody wins.

The data science is growing and important, but it’s critical we don’t forget about the power of art and emotion behind the most effective work. Regardless of the channel, our goal is to simplify the messaging, elevate relevance, and create greater impact with what I call “appreciated content.”  That is, content that customers find interesting, helpful and valuable, in addition to being promotionally attractive. That might be through multichannel programs, it might be bigger ideas that increase response, or it might be greater efficiencies that will come from the powerful new technologies we’re in the process of putting in place.

Why We Must Also Consider the “New Possible

As we look to the near future, we’ll search for new opportunities for our clients and prospects to leverage direct marketing creative that earns attention across channels. But we’ll also work with our Strategy and Analytics teams so we all understand the “new possible.” We need to be open and receptive to the new ways to driving results, and not get stuck in what will become the old ways. Nobody gets their information from just the mailbox or just watching TV. Nobody only spends their time on Twitter, or views banner ads, or looks at social posts. The need for multichannel marketing that is leveraged under a singular motivating idea has never been more important if you want to be relatable, remembered, and cared about.

As our efforts to be more purposeful, efficient, and effective become even more focused, the opportunity to earn greater attention with more meaningful and relevant creative is critical. My job will be to make sure people are inspired to solve problems in ever new ways that have an emotional core to drive higher response and make ever better use of our clients’ precious marketing dollars.

If you have any questions about our approach to direct marketing creative, please let me know.

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