So concluded a panel of agency executives at the DM Days conference here recently, where interactive media again took center stage.
The move toward interactivity makes target marketing more compelling, and calls for new skills among those who deliver it.
"Creatives will have a merchant mentality," said Mike Slosberg, executive creative director at Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston. "There will be a steady shift of control from the sender to the receiver, and unless our creative people learn to paint on a new canvas, the void will quickly be filled by others."
"Changes in media are not likely to foster cooperation between general and DM agencies," said Robert Solomon, president of the direct marketing group at Ammirati & Puris. "We have got to become sophisticated consumers of new media, and evolve from masters of the response to masters of a relationship," especially as the lines between advertising and direct marketing increasingly blur.
Others agreed but said fundamental writing skills will continue to be relevant.
"We're going to drop the ball if we lose sight of the thinking in favor of mechanical manipulation of technology," said Paul Levett, president and executive creative director at Lowe Direct.
Bob Feinberg, exec VP-executive creative director at Grey Direct, said "versioning" will grow enormously with the advent of interactive media.
Versioning involves creating variations on the same ad for different targets.
"This will not be a medium for writers who think `Always Coca-Cola' is literature," he said. "We will probably be hiring people less for their design skills and more for their ability to put stories in motion."