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Ask the DM Expert

Each month we ask a leading Direct Marketing expert for their thoughts and advice on how direct marketing can deliver results for business.

This Month's Contributor

Amie Peters, Head of Direct Mail, An Post

"Insights and Data are at the heart of everything we do in the Mail Media Unit. From the research programme we run, to our global network of experts, to the conversations we have with Ireland’s leading brands and small businesses." Amie shares 5 key trends for marketers heading into 2013. Read more.

Previous Contributors

Alan Fox, Sales & Marketing Director, AA Ireland

One year ago, AA Ireland set in motion a new approach to customer data.  We talk to Alan about how it has driven business improvements and strengthened customer relationships. Read more.

Peter Whelehan, Managing Director, DMCM

"Many brands should start marketing from their front door out". Peter shares his 10 marketing tips for local businesses to help drive response (and sales). Read more.

David O'Sullivan, Director & Copywriter , Ignition-integrated ideas people

David talks about using data’s wealth of information as a creative element in DM. "The level with which Marketers value databases can be a measure of the relative success of their marketing campaigns, be they above or below the line executions." Read more.

Alastair Campbell, Writer, communicator, strategist, formerly Tony Blair's spokesman

Alastair Campbell is a journalist, political aide, broadcaster, author and an avid sports fan. He is probably best known for his work between 1997 and 2003 when he played a crucial role in bringing New Labour and Tony Blair to power in the UK. Read more.


Olga Berezina, Business Development Manager, Data Ireland

Olga talks about how to be more effective with your customer data and discusses how data goes far beyond basic contact information. Read more about how data can enhance customer connection and in-turn increase return on investment. Read more.

Amie Peters, Head of Driect Mail, An Post

You and I have so many new channels to choose from to get in touch with our customers. Social media represents a whole new way to interact and converse, but is it doing anything to secure sales – volume sales, asks Amie. Read more.

Lauren Fisher, co-founder, Simply Zesty

Lauren is a keen contributor to online discussion about social media, the role it plays for businesses and the future direction of social technologies. She has written on social media for a number of online publications, including Mashable, as well as regularly speaking on social media at conferences and seminars. This month, we ask Lauren if social media and direct mail can make a great partnership. Read more.

Krishna De, brand engagement and social media expert

A common mistake to avoid is to allocating the majority of your organisations marketing budget to online. Digital is a very important and measurable channel, relevant to every business, be in the areas of search marketing, display advertising, email marketing or social media communications. However, ignoring the opportunity to integrate your marketing communications across all channels will limit your potential success, says Krishna. Read more.

Tara Grehan, Managing Director of DatalyticsTara Grehan, Managing Director, Datalytics

Personalisation has always been key to the success of direct marketing, however today’s consumers are far more marketing savvy and so the personalisation-bar has just been raised, says Tara. Read more.

Liam SheehanLiam Sheehan, Sales & Marketing Director, An Post

In the effort to de-risk marketing investments, a lot of modern advertising has lost that creative spark that sets the ordinary apart from the sublime. Liam says it’s time creatives got creative again – even if it means making the odd cock-up along the way. Read more.

Ruth BradyRuth Brady, Head of Marketing, News International

Having judged the An Post Direct Marketing Awards on more than one occasion, I can offer some inside information on what judges are looking for in a winning entry, writes RuthRead more.  


Martin GlennMartin Glenn, Birdseye/Iglo

Martin is a self-confessed marketing iconoclast. He sees the distinction between ‘above the line’ and ‘below the line’ as nonsensical. He thinks marketers should look to improve on existing products rather than forever trying to be different. He believes marketers get too wrapped up in theory instead of focusing on practical marketing. He also believes that direct marketing can be a powerful tool that can deliver real growth to a brand. Read more.

Lisa Nicole Dunne, Unicef Ireland

When asked to write this, I started to think about how Direct Marketing has evolved in my experience and what factors I believe are most important to make DM effective, specifically in a charity environment, says Lisa. Read more.

Kyla O'Kelly, Director, Javelin Direct

As I write this, it is the first day of Spring 2011 and ambitions are are some things we will be hoping to improve on as a Direct Marketing agency this year, writes Kyla. Read more.

Leanne Papaioannou, Managing Director, Chilli Pepper Marketing

The wild spending of pre-recession will not return for a while yet, but customers won’t stop buying – they just buy differently.  Many post-recession customers are now focusing on what makes them happy. It’s not just about stretching their money, it’s about recognition and service, says Leanne. Read more.

Ray Sheerin, Managing Director, Chemistry

There are two things that have always irritated me about direct marketing... The data is by far the most important aspect of direct marketing. The proposition and the creative are only important if the data is right. But what’s really irritating is how poorly data is used. Most of the time, writes Ray. Read more.

Justin Cullen, Managing Director, Radical

Justin talks about the online opportunity and why integration matters more than ever in the digital era. Read more.

David Kelly, Managing Director, IAS

David says predictive analytics is the key to getting the right customers. Predictive analytics seeks to identify the behavioural trends from transactional data in the past to predict what might happen in the future. Or as David Kelly explains, it offers clues as to what the future might look like, by looking in the consumer transaction data rear view mirror. Read more.

Patrick Collister, founder, Creative Matters

Patrick says emotion is the key to successful branding. Brands are under pressure as never before and unless they build a strong emotional bond with consumers they will find it increasingly difficult to survive. So said creative guru Patrick Collister in a presentation to over 120 marketers at the recent An Post direct marketing breakfast briefing in the Guinness Storehouse. Read more.

Hamish Taylor, former CEO of Eurostar & Sainsbury's Bank

Hamish tells us to focus on insight, not data. Big marketing breakthroughs come not from crunching data but from gaining genuine insights into how your customer feels, argues innovation consultant Hamish Taylor. Read more.

Ivan Lavelle & Jeroen Proos, Upper Case Marketing

Ivan and Jeroen offer tips for effective direct mail. With over twenty five years combined experience covering hundreds of campaigns, Ivan and Jeroen have compiled a helpful guide to developing more effective direct mail. With insights into some of the tricks of the trade and also some tips on what to avoid, it’s an invaluable checklist for any DM campaign. Read more.

Yvonne Cassidy, Yvonne Cassidy Marketing Services

Yvonne talks about creating a splash through creativity. Creativity is a word that isn’t used enough when it comes to DM. Maybe it’s because direct mail is a numbers game or that when it’s a part of a through the line campaign, DM often follows obediently in the footsteps of its bigger brasher brothers. Whatever the reason, the question of how to be creative with mail tends not to be the opener of the conversation. Read more.

Peter Whelehan, Managing Director, DMCM

Peter talks about how best to integrate direct marketing with other media. While today’s consumer decision-makers are undoubtedly well informed, they also have an increasingly wide variety of media to consider when making purchasing decisions. A corollary of this is that direct marketers have an additional headache when planning in terms of where exactly to allocate marketing spend to get the best value (and results) across this increasingly fragmented media landscape. Read more.

Geoff Wilson, Head of Marketing & Communications, Irish Football Association

A star player in Customer Relationship Marketing, Geoff tells us how the IFA's CRM programme went from very small beginnings to become a benchmark for UEFA throughout Europe. Read more.

Susan McNulty, independent direct marketing strategist

Susan shows how SMEs can build profitable customer relationships. Building Profitable Customer Relationships: In order to know the customers that matter most in your category, you need to know not only who they are, but get real close to them. This means you need to understand and target customers better than your competitors. And this can’t be done in the absence of understanding customer behaviours and needs. Read more.

Robert Hayes McCoy, Copywriter

Robert gives us some tips for tough sales letters in tough times. Over the decades Robert’s creative copy has captured numerous national and international awards, including the Best of Europe, the Best of the US and the Best of Hungary, in addition to many top Irish awards for direct mail. We asked Robert what advice he has for anyone who wants to write a persuasive sales letter in these tough times. Read more.

Nicky Doran, Head of Marketing, Bord Gais Energy Supply

Nicky leads the retail arm of one of Ireland’s leading energy suppliers. Working with a large customer base presents an obvious logistical and financial challenge in terms of keeping in regular contact with your customers. Despite this, Nicky understood the benefits of getting close to customers and keeping them well informed. Early on, he saw how a bi-monthly magazine, enclosed with every residential customer’s bill, could help in achieving his goals. Read more.

Ed Sawday, Marketing Director, BSkyB Ireland

Ed shows us how direct marketing drives big acqusition. Today with over a half a million customers throughout the country, his expertise has helped Sky use direct marketing to power customer acquisition, upsell their existing customers to premium packages, to build loyalty and, importantly, to maximise the contribution each and every customer makes to revenue. Read more.