As we wrap up 2014 and look ahead to the new year, digital marketing will have a huge impact on the way direct response marketers conduct business moving forward. Addressable spending on mobile, search, social, display, and email advertising will hit the $50.6 billion mark in 2014—a 14 percent jump from 2013, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2014 Statistical Fact Book. The report also says that spending on traditional media—television, magazines, outdoor advertising, radio, and cinema—will grow to $124.6 billion.
Although the data suggest continuous growth in 2015 and beyond, ERA members are grappling with DR’s position in the digital space. The industry recognizes the need to evolve, of course, but it’s far from an easy transition. What is the biggest hurdle that traditional DR marketers need to overcome with digital? Marni Schapiro of Google summed up the problem perfectly during an interview at ERA’s 2014 D2C Convention in September. “Knowledge,” she said. “I think it’s a fear of jumping in if they don’t have a full knowledge base, and I would just say, ‘Jump in.’ People are there to help you, and it’s really much easier than you think.”
Forward-thinking marketers such as Beachbody, LLC, Euro-Pro, Guthy-Renker, LLC, Positec Tools Corp., QVC, and HSN see the revenue opportunities digital affords and are embracing an omnichannel environment to reach a broader consumer audience. It’s not only the marketers who are pushing toward digital; DR suppliers and support companies recognize that they, too, must shift to digital and expand their operations accordingly.
ERA supports members’ digital marketing initiatives every step of the way, beginning with the ERA strategic plan. Structured over a three-year period, the plan focuses on leading member companies to become as proficient in digital marketing as they are today in traditional DR marketing. In the past 12 months, ERA has brought digital to the forefront with educational programming at The Great Ideas Summit and D2C Convention, highlighting topics such as attribution modeling, online video, omnichannel marketing, social media, mobile, and Web optimization.
This year, the association featured marketing experts from Joyus, Amazon, Google, adMixt, Marketo, and Amobee, all of whom provided our DR community with broader insights about digital marketing. In 2015, you can expect to see even more new faces in the digital space presenting at ERA conferences.
Change can be challenging. But if you give change a chance and welcome it, you’ll find that the rewards often outweigh the risks.