Lida’s Heath: ‘We’re DM and proud’

Lidas heath we're DM and proudLida chairman and chief strategy officer Matthew Heath has dismissed the notion that the term “direct marketing” is outdated, proclaiming that the M&C Saatchi-owned agency is “DM and proud”.
With many agencies trying to ditch the term and replace it with phrases like “customer engagement”, Heath – whose father worked in adland in the Sixties – concedes that DM gets a bad rap for being linked with “grubby direct mail and Capital One”.
However, he told City AM: “At Lida, we’re quite proud of the term direct marketing. With the advent of data management platforms around digital advertising, we’re beginning to see the benefits of starting to target more accurately, and talk to a consumer in a direct fashion.”
Having spent the first decade of his career in adland – starting at J Walter Thompson in 1986, then Mountain View – he switched to the DM world in 1996, joining WWAV Rapp Collins (now Rapp) at the height of its growth period. Fours years later, he co-founded digital agency Heath Wallace (now part of WPP) and joined leader in October 2004.
He said: “I grew up when the ad industry was all glamour and excitement. Advertising used to cast a broad net, and relied on being massively engaging on a broadcast level; it was a hangover from the Victorian era of mass production.
“But those days have passed. The personal relevance dial needs to be turned up so that individuals see things which are entertaining, engaging and relevant to them at that moment in time.
“Now everything is much more highly connected and you don’t necessarily have to throw a load of money at the problem and rely on the ‘advertising first’ model which privileges ‘paid’ media.
“Advertising is still a very important touch point for reaching consumers. But other brands like Kiehls and Krispy Kreme donuts don’t do any paid advertising. They have a direct connection with their customers, and are very clever in that they use free resources like social media to spread the word. They have simply been so successful through word of mouth, they have never needed to advertise.”

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