Common sense is a key to database and direct marketing, says Ned Johnston, president of Professional Marketing Communications Inc.
That’s why 10 years ago Johnston transformed his traditional direct marketing agency into a database marketing specialist and seven years ago made sure everyone at his firm was developing Internet expertise.
"Here’s the difference between direct marketing and marketing on the Internet: With the Web the customer has to find you, whereas with direct mail you already know where they are," Johnston said. "For your Net effort to be successful, customers need to know where to find you on the Web."
PMC offers services designed to help businesses get found, including online catalogs, real-time shipping and sales-lead generators. "We’re attractive because we do all the disciplines of direct marketing under one roof," Johnston said.
The firm’s full-service approach can help clients avoid costly mistakes. Johnston recalled the time a manufacturer hired PMC to handle the mechanical aspects of addressing, stuffing and sending out campaign materials. With the materials spread on the table, he asked what the company was going to do when someone responded.
"They had no plan whatsoever in place," he said. "The campaign was planned by an advertising agency, not a direct marketer. As a result, they hadn’t figured out how to close the loop."