Jay Schwedelson has been president-CEO of Worldata, an integrated direct-marketing solutions provider, since his appointment in 2010. He oversees the strategic direction, operations and new-business development for the company.
BtoB: What is the future of direct marketing?
Search, in general, will radically improve. Small-business owners will come to rely on search the most; they need products and services of all kinds, and improved search capabilities will allow for transactions to occur in a more efficient manner than ever before.
Email will continue to be the workhorse of the industry but will take on an even greater meaning as tablets and hybrid tablets replace desktop computers. The mobility and constant connection to high-speed Internet access will drive email usage to much higher levels. With the increased level of email use, many services and tools will gain traction to better filter and allow users to sift through what is relevant and what is useless.
BtoB: How does content marketing fit into this future?
In past marketing cycles, different things drove direct marketing results. Sending boxed software via the mail as a trial seemed to be a great idea for a period of time. Fifty-plus-page catalogs on a monthly basis yielded profitable results as well. Those cycles have passed and have been replaced with the content revolution. As the future unfolds, buyers will continue to be flooded with options for every product and service they can imagine. The true flood is the information that is available for each of the possible vendors or companies the buyer chooses to do business with.
The future that marketers will need to grab hold of will be in providing concise and digestible forms of content that buyers will want access to, that give them a true understanding on which option is the best for them. Infographics will morph into something far more sophisticated and useful. Industry reports will become highly interactive to allow for deeper use. And those old mainstays, white papers and webinars, will evolve into more one-to-one communication formats, where the targeted recipient will be able to interact with the content itself.
In the future, media in all forms will be measureable. This will bring direct marketing to the forefront of the advertising industry and, perhaps, to an improved level of respect as well.