The ability to look outward has always been marketing's forte; we leave the inward-looking stuff to accounts and IT. But to succeed in the Noughties direct marketers will have to look further than ever before: beyond their usual customer base, beyond their real and perceived frontiers, and even beyond their traditional sectors.
The reasons are twofold. Firstly, the rest of the world isn't just a customer base, it's also a supplier base. When we see that at this year's International Direct Marketing Fair (IDMF 22-24 February, Earls Court 2, London) suppliers from 10 countries have booked stands, we realise how intent our overseas contemporaries are on entering the UK's lucrative market.
Secondly, it's my view that the move towards permission-based marketing will so restrict the ability to conduct major mailings in the UK that, as an industry, we will have to look much further afield.