Thursday, March 30, 2006

Talkback: This job's not bad, it's DM good

By Michael Goldthorpe

"Tell them that it's not all bad on the bottom rung."

That's how our adschool tutor phrased it when he asked us to talk to his students about our work in direct marketing.

His intentions were good. He wanted us to enthuse them about the "land below the line", hoping that more of them would take up the cause and maybe even get a job. But that was his attitude.

It's not his fault. It's just the way some ad-people think.

While occasionally there's a website that makes noise, or some smart use of text messaging that gets attention, most of the time New Zealand's marketing professionals see "DM" (direct marketing) and read "s*** that folds".

Now, that's not a bad thing.

It means fewer young people are keen to get into it. So it's that much easier to make a good impression.

I've only been in the industry 10 minutes and already I've doubled my salary and picked up a handful of prizes. And the future looks good.

Better yet, it's not that hard. All we have to do is say something interesting to someone who's interested. And the challenge of making it interesting is what makes it fun.

That's exactly what we did last year for South Auckland stud farm Hanaui Farm when I worked for Aim Proximity and, last month, we picked up three golds at the Direct Marketing Awards for our efforts.

Hanaui Farm had a product, it knew who'd be into it - we just told the one about the other. The client got $4400 for every dollar spent and we had a big night at the "Junkmail Oscars".

The fun of DM doesn't stop there. We get to make things, we play with stuff and we push people's buttons every day.

And, the good news for writers: We actually get to write.

If our goal is to slow the client's collateral's journey from the mail box to the bin, the challenge of how to do that makes this the best job in the world.

But do you think I'm going to adschool to tell them that? Not likely.

I like the fact that not so many students are banging down the door to take my job. Long may it last.

So, no, adschool tutor, it's not all bad on the bottom rung.

But are you sure you're holding the ladder the right way up?

* Michael Goldthorpe is a writer at Tequila.

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