So I am proud of selling stuff.
We can all remember the days when direct marketing was the wunderkind, the stalking horse that made the advertising boys quake in their handmade Lobbs.
Suddenly, clients would totally ruin a good lunch with talk about sales uplift and return on investment. No matter how hard the adman tried to steer the conversation around to 'real' topics such as unprompted recall, the glazed, hypnotised look of the client would return to results.
I'm not saying that direct marketing has strayed too far from that, and I'm not saying that it still doesn't give the advertising boys sleepless nights - otherwise, why on earth would they all have developed a direct offer as some kind of life insurance?
What I am about to say, though, will annoy a lot of direct practitioners: I think direct marketing is in danger of losing its roots, forgetting where it came from and putting on a few too many airs and graces. I think it's about time it rediscovered itself.
I beg all direct marketers reading this not to allow their medium to become another adland, and to 'do the right thing' by their clients.
What do I mean by 'doing the right thing'? It's simple: be honest and be proud. Be honest in your relationship with the client. Don't sell rubbish that you know is unlikely to work but feel sure will win an award. And above all don't talk 'planning' with clients. I am saying this as a planner and researcher; planning can be a bull-free zone - but it's rare.
Many above-the-line escapees are now finding a home south of the border, and with them will come the adfab dialectic of brand-building through advertising.
This is being sold a lot at the moment. Both to direct agencies that think they need to recruit it, and by clients who are buying it from their suppliers because they have already recruited it and now they have to sell it.
I'm not saying that it is impossible to build a brand through direct marketing, but I am saying that this must be done with real honesty and without forgetting the primary objective: that direct marketing sells. That's what it's there for.
So, if your direct marketing agency suddenly fields a suit that espouses something like an advertising campaign in an envelope, be careful - it might not be doing the right thing.
This article was first published on Marketing