Simple, Practical Direct Digital Marketing

Josh GordonEvery so often it makes sense to roll up our sleeves here at The Lunch Pail and remind folks that while the ever-growing world of direct digital marketing can sometimes seem intimidating, there is a practical voice. After attending the NRF's conference last week and talking to some research analysts, it seems clear that there is plenty of software that does really fancy stuff. And, who doesn't love fancy stuff? But, could too much fancy stuff be a problem? Yes, it could. Sometimes software vendors overshoot the needs of the market with a lot of bells and whistles when a more straightforward approach is prudent, better controlled, and gradually scalable.

The inspiration to encourage folks to reach for a simple and practical approach to direct digital marketing today came from two sources that are intertwined. After writing an article posted a couple of weeks ago, The Professional Influence Audit, I did some additional thinking that led me to a new professional influence. This past Tuesday marked the release of Rework, a new book from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37Signals.

In Rework the authors promote the idea of a simple and straightforward approach. Not everything mentioned in the book is the type of thing folks should adopt immediately, but it is good food for thought. At times it is very tempting to chase the most “bleeding edge” and [insert buzzword here] new feature, but it is prudent to consider the real, practical value of that feature first. Innovation, as demonstrated through rapid software development by great marketing technology companies, is frequent. But the equation is often balanced more heavily on the “can we” side than the “should we” side. Often groundbreaking new features are introduced before they have practical application, and vendors overshoot market need.

It is clear that the fancy features and laboriously positioned benefits from software companies do have a place in the market. These companies are great because they push the “innovation” axis farther and farther out. Sometimes, however, it is important to remember that blind allegiance to innovation inherently undermines practical solutions to common problems. Every software company innovates, and the smart ones allow customers to drive the pace of innovation. Just remember, for any reader currently shopping for a direct digital marketing technology provider, that “practical has purpose.” Make sure your baseline needs are met before scrambling up the innovation ladder.

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