`There is no substitute for being direct'

JAIPUR NOV. 13. Maverick. Rule Breaker. Definer of Direct Marketing.

The `Buddha' of direct marketing, Lester Wunderman, Chairman Emeritus and Founder of Wunderman, U.S., kicked off Day Three's proceedings at the `Break the Rules' Ad Asia 2003 Congress on the note that the practice of direct marketing was itself a break in the past rules of distribution, marketing and communication.

"It's not an ad with a coupon; it's not a commercial with a toll-free number; it's not about a telemarketing phone call, a promotion, a database, or a website. It's a commitment to getting and keeping valuable customers,'' Mr. Wunderman said.

According to Mr. Wunderman, "We are not in the business of creating favourable impressions, nor are we about such abstractions as brand awareness and brand recall, although we recognise and welcome their benefits. The hard, inescapable fact is that we succeed only when we create share-of-market rather than share-of-mind. And that is a difficult challenge — one that requires that we influence and impact every part of the communication stream and every dimension of consumer contact, both outbound and inbound.''

On the evolution of direct marketing, Mr. Wunderman felt that through the years, the practice has become a more information-based discipline, which is why it is flourishing.

The main focus of direct marketing is and will remain, he said, the creation of customers who make repeat purchases rather than on prospecting for product trials.