When I first began working at Jacobs & Clevenger I was, of course, nervous like any new hire would be. Not just because it was a new work environment, but because up until that moment I had had no experience in their core competency: direct marketing. Or so I thought.

Once I started to get the lay of the land as Interactive Art Director, I began noticing the best practices that the creative team were incorporating when approaching projects. I was relieved to see that most were practices I already used in my design. Strong and multiple calls to action? Check. Design that accentuates the messaging? Check.

Hmmm, so far so good. Then I thought maybe there's some secret methodology I was missing. Analyze ROI for the creative used? Yep. Track response rates? Of course. Measure the results of the campaign? Absolutely. So what exactly was I overlooking?

Then it hit me: I was an inherent direct marketer. Many of the tactics and methodologies I had employed in my previous experience were actually the lifeblood of J&C. In previous work experiences I had wandered why things like ROI, clear calls to action, etc were not high on the priority list, thinking surely this is "marketing 101". Now it all came together for me and I saw the difference between working for a direct marketing agency vs a marketing agency or design studio.

My personal philosophy for design has always been it doesn't matter how pretty your work is; if it's not engaging and driving a response, then it hasn't succeeded. So for me, direct marketing is a natural fit.

But isn't direct marketing just about making those bland, throw away cards that come in your mailbox? How does interactive fit into that?

One of the things that drew me to Jacobs & Clevenger is that they are an integrated or multi-channel marketing firm. PURLs, mail, landing pages, SMS, email, video, social media...you name it. If we can create a measurable campaign, we can directly market through that channel. And that's where I come in. As Interactive Art Director, it is my job to incorporate the design of a campaign through multiple channels to consumers. And considering my personal philosophy, so far this has been a natural union.

Don't assume that designing for direct marketing is easy, however. I'll be touching on the challenges and solutions to this in a future article. Stay tuned.