Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Walls Come Tumbling Down.

I can recall when I first ventured into loyalty marketing there were clear lines of delineation between the various advertising disciplines and agencies.

General advertising was the “brand” stuff, home of the big TV budgets and glossy print advertisements. DM or direct marketing was advertising that called for a response, whether it was via a mail package, banner ad or DRTV spot.

And then there was loyalty marketing, which I soon learned had a different perch in the advertising hierarchy. While working in direct marketing we often complained about getting the budget crumbs from the general agency, in loyalty we often had to settle for a single crumb.

Furthermore, the CMO at our client companies were often not even involved in the loyalty marketing effort, as he or she busied themselves with the more high profile brand work. Often, the management duties for loyalty were assigned to a marketing subordinate well down the hallway from the corner office.

For one creative assignment it wasn’t uncommon to have three different agencies and three different creative directions involved. (Four agencies if a digital shop was in the mix.)

But today the walls are tumbling down.

I’ve just wrapped up a TV campaign for 21st Century auto insurance comprised of TV spots that push the brand while selling (brand DRTV). In addition, the key premise of the campaign is being integrated into the company Web site, and will soon appear in customer e-mails, acquisition direct mail and even viral videos.

In the past, this work might have been spread over three or four different agencies. In this case, it’s being done by one. The result: a stronger, better integrated, more coherent campaign.

Today, especially as new forms of digital media enter the marketing fray, the old dividing lines between general and direct and loyalty and digital are becoming hazier than ever. And for all involved, that’s a very good thing.

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