In June, I'm participating in a panel discussion on direct mail strategies at the annual New England Direct Marketing Association conference....

Our obligation is to focus on what's new -- or what's changed in the last few years. Some would argue that the big news is technology -- more sophisticated data management, variable data printing and electronic response options, among others. But I see some other changes and would love feedback on what you see as well.
Among my observations:
* When I started in this business 10 years ago, 3% response rates were common. Now we do table dances when we get 1%.
* In B2B, getting responses just isn't enough. I see a growing demand not just for leads, but for qualified leads. And not just qualified leads, but for a complete tracking and accountability process that records the source of each lead and assesses its value.
* Again in B2B, copywriters are being ask to supplement traditional copy (letters, brochures, e-mail, etc.) with more substantial content, such as reports, white papers and articles, that can be used as offers to attract response.
* In both B2C and B2B, I see a greater effort to integrate direct mail and web strategy. Sure, "integration" has been a buzzword for years. But for most of those years, it tended to be little more than buzz. Today, I see more real action, more real effort to coordinate direct mail campaigns with either short-term landing pages or long-term web content development plans.
I'm sure there have been plenty of other changes I've neglected to write down. What do you see? Is it the same old direct mail in a flashier package? Or have you witnessed more substantial changes in the last 5 - 10 years?

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

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Twitter: @jonkranz