Marketing Guides: Direct Marketing: League Tables 1997 - Masterclass - Robin Cobb previews the DM Fair conference which promises to offer an essential guide to the latest theories and techniques affecting the direct marketing industry

The changing world of direct marketing is due to be mapped afresh next week. The conference held in conjunction with the London International Direct Marketing Fair at Wembley promises to update the professionals and induct novices in techniques and trends.

The changing world of direct marketing is due to be mapped afresh

next week. The conference held in conjunction with the London

International Direct Marketing Fair at Wembley promises to update the

professionals and induct novices in techniques and trends.

Delegates will include a wide cross-section of middle-to-senior

management who want to learn about the subject and how to apply it in

their companies, says Michael York Palmer, managing director of Response

Marketing, one of the conference organisers.

Probably the busiest speaker will be marketing guru John


As well as presenting two one-man masterclasses, he is giving ’Breakfast

with JFR’ meetings every morning, complete with Danish pastry and coffee

for those who make the 9am schedule.

Frazer-Robinson’s first masterclass is ’Thrive or Survive’. ’This is a

strategy session, getting people to understand the true potential of

working their customer base,’ he explains.

’Most companies are running the bath with the plug out. The taps are

full on, but the damn thing isn’t filling up,’ he claims. ’CEOs have

been staring at it for decades without being able to work out what’s


What’s going down the drain, despite the preoccupation with loyalty

campaigns, is ’the huge potential that lies within their existing

customer base.

Most loyalty campaigns end up being bribes of one sort another,’

explains Frazer-Robinson.

’Bribes might win short-term fidelity, but they don’t build loyalty.

What I am trying to do is to get companies to uncover the marketing

miracles that lie around them unseen.’

During his presentation, he will reveal ’The Ten Irrefutable Laws of

Profitable Sales and Marketing’. Such as? ’I haven’t written them yet,’

he confesses. But he undertakes to have been up the mountain and

returned with the tablets by the time of the conference.

Frazer-Robinson’s other masterclass is ’The Secrets of Effective Direct

Mail’. This is aimed at ’people who are new into a large company at

marketing manager or a similar level, or directors of smaller companies

who want to make the most of direct mail’.

And there will be a third masterclass by the peripatetic Belgian Erik

Van Vooren, who spends 70% of his time travelling the world, lecturing

in four languages on direct marketing. In ’Customer Bonding’, he will

seek to describe three levels of loyalty programmes.

’The basis is the TLC (’tender loving care’) programme, which recognises

the client as an individual and provides good human contact. On that,

you can build the learning relationship. This is for bigger companies in

more complex markets where, through interactions with customers,

questionnaires and deduction, you try to know your customers better, try

to anticipate their needs and problems, and offer solutions.’ A database

is not essential for ’TLC’, but becomes necessary for the learning


As Van Vooren observes: ’The driver for the customer to be loyal is not

only recognition, but convenience and security ... that he is aware your

company knows him, serves him in the way he wants to be served and

provides the security that he can rely on what you will offer him’.

The third layer of loyalty, what Van Vooren describes as ’the cream on

the tart’ (doubtless a Belgian expression), is the reward programme.

Unfortunately, most programmes start and finish with this.

’You can not save a marriage by telling a partner if you stay home this

evening I will give you ten points and if you are here for breakfast I

will double them,’ he observes. ’If you forget your partner’s birthday,

or are never there when you are needed, the reward programme will never

save it.’

Loyalty is a recurring topic. Michael York Palmer will preside over a

day on ’How to Create Customer Loyalty’. The use of technology will be

explored, including ’data mining’ and ’intelligent agent’ software,

which enables individuals to have their own software to select and find

their personal preferences on the Internet.

’The A-Z of Direct Marketing’ will spread across two days, conducted by

high-profile direct marketers Judith Donovan, founder and chairman of

the JDA agency, and Arthur Bell, who heads Scotland Direct. Bell, writes

much of his own copy and has so far won seven Direct Marketing

Association first place awards with the work for his Scottish Gourmet

and Whisky Connoisseur clubs.

The first day is described as ’a fundamental guide to everything you

always wanted to know about direct marketing but were afraid to


The second day is more advanced and ’tries to move direct marketing from

the foothills to the Gods’.

A workshop on consumer targeting will be handled by Sarah Denner-Brown,

head of training and consultancy company SDB Talking Direct. It aims to

demystify database marketing for companies about to embark upon this


The special ’financial services day’ will be chaired by Phillip Haynes,

a director of Business Development Tools. ’The concentration on

financial services within direct marketing is very high now and it is

the largest spending category,’ he notes. ’In the programme will be a

status report on who is doing what in the market.’

Among the speakers will be Guardian Direct managing director Michael

Tripp, who will look at trends and developments. One of these is the the

way in which pensions have joined motor and household insurance as

products which can be sold over the telephone.

Other financial heavyweights due to be represented will be NatWest, Save

and Prosper, Lombard TriCity, Abbey National and Scottish Life.

Stuart Mewburn, creative director of City Financial Services, is taking

the challenging theme ’Creativity: the worst thing ever to happen to

financial direct marketing’.

And in ’Beyond the Power of Words,’ Evans Hunt Scott creative director

Terry Hunt and Institute of Direct Marketing chairman George Smith will

cast their quizzical eyes over the current standards of copywriting.

’A lot of the new media are very visual and are not word-based in the

traditional sense,’ says Hunt. ’But writing skill is still critical and

you have to learn different ways of using words to maximum effect.’

Smith will also chair an all-day programme on ’Direct Marketing for

Fundraisers’. ’This is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated sectors

in the whole of direct marketing,’ he points out. ’Its features are the

intelligent use of databases and increasing creative sophistication.

’Fundraisers cannot afford to deploy the considerable creative budgets

that their commercial cousins do. And at the same time, they have to

work at achieving much higher response rates than does the commercial


Telemarketing techniques is another subject which claims a full day.

The programme will be chaired by L&R Group director Simon Roncoroni, who

notes: ’The telephone is moving from being a tactical promotional tool

to a strategic part of the customer interface, an integrated part of the

whole mix.’

This is being driven by technology, which is’developing at a

mind-dazzling pace’. But ’there are some warning bells - we might lose

the human element and technology might take over,’ cautions


A home shopping day will be conducted by Dr Peter Tomkins, vice-chairman

of the DMA Catalogue & Home Shopping Council. He points out that, while

the majority of the market is still claimed by the agency-type

catalogues of the major mail order houses, the growth areas are niche

and direct catalogues.

He sees a review of electronic shopping as an important part of the


’We are trying to help participants assess when and how they should be

getting into that area,’ explains Tomkins.

’For example, you can spend a lot of money putting pages on the Internet

for very little return. Interactive TV, although very limited at

present, will probably be the way forward.’

Direct-response TV will be addressed by Tony Darell-Brown of Direct

Broadcast Media Services. He observes that the UK is behind most of the

rest of Europe in having only four terrestrial TV channels (five when

Channel 5 goes on air) and with only 25% of homes having access to

satellite or cable stations.

But things are changing, he says. The choice will be enormously expanded

with the introduction shortly of digital TV. ’Next year or the year

after, your direct marketing plans will probably include television - or

at least have a very good reason for excluding it.’

The business-to-business day will be chaired by Richard Jeans,

consultant director at Carey Howell Jeans & Spira. He notices in this

sector ’a higher degree of sophistication and yet a lessening degree of


The conference is being employed by the Direct Marketing Association as

a pre-runner to its public awareness campaign about consumer


This is due to be launched in the spring.

’We felt that it was important to let the direct marketing industry know

about it, whether they are members of the association or not,’ says DMA

legal director Colin Fricker.

’Self-regulation is more effective than legislation, so long as the

governance of self-regulation, including sanctions, is there,’ he adds.

’To have sanctions, you really need to have the full support of the


The public awareness campaign will include a hot-line to deal with

queries about direct marketing and how to contact the appropriate

regulatory body.

The DMA-sponsored session will introduce the industry’s regulators and

describe their activities and responsibilities.

Also at the conference will be a career development day organised by

Women in Direct Marketing, a marketing day for publishers, and an

Institute of Direct Marketing educators’ day.

Conference diary

Tuesday March 11

Masterclass:                  Thrive or Survive

How to:                       Beyond the Power of words

                              How to Create Customer Loyalty

                              The A-Z of Direct Marketing

Wednesday March 12

Masterclass:                  Customer Bonding

How to:                       The Telephone - A Powerful Selling


                              A-Z Part 2

Marketing Update:             Marketing Day for Publishers

                              DM for Fundraisers

                              UK Home Shopping Update

Thursday March 13

Masterclass:                  Secrets of Effective Direct Mail

How to:                       Consumer Targeting

Market Update:                Business-to-Business Direct


Industry:                     IDM Educators’ Day

London International Direct Marketing Fair

The number of exhibitors booked for the 1997 London International Direct

Marketing Fair at Wembley is pushing towards the 300 mark. If attendance

matches that of last year, there will be some 12,000 visitors during the

three days, March 11-13.

So that everybody finds what interests them, the organiser, Reed

Exhibitions, is installing a push-button computerised product locator.

This will highlight the appropriate stands and provide a route map to


The products and services represented are:

Address management


Database marketing





Incentive gifts

Internet suppliers


Lifestyle data

Mailing lists

Plastic card technology

Postal Postroom and mailing equipment





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