May 5th, 2008 by Bob Bly
In today’s issue of BtoB (5/5/08, p. 24), American Business Media — an association for business publishers — ran a full-page ad with this headline:
“In the Harsh Conditions of the Business World, the Neophyte Quickly Learns There is No Camouflage for Lack of Knowledge.”
I wish it were true, but it seems to me that in direct marketing, lack of knowledge is not much of an impediment for aspiring executives today.
Every day, I hear from neophyte direct marketers who, it is revealed within the first 2 minutes of our phone conversation, are totally lacking in any knowledge of direct marketing fundamentals.
For example, one B2B marcom manager I talked to didn’t know what a list broker is or what I meant by a list “select.” Another had never heard of RFM (recency, frequency, monetary).
Yet they have managed to rise to relatively high levels, which means either that the BOSS doen’t care that the employee is ignorant of DM fundamentals — or (shudder) that the boss doesn’t know them, either.
Even worse: many of these relative DM neophytes express little curiosity about or interest in learning the rules of direct marketing — even those that are actively using it.
They often hint to me that the Internet has changed all the rules (David Meerman Scott has written a book to that effect, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”) — and therefore things like statistical test validity, A/B splits, response rates, sales leads, and copywriting no longer matter or apply.
Are they right? Wrong? Or does the answer lie somewhere in the middle?
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