Direct Mail Market — Market Share from Another Medium?

Print Work on the Way

While some marketing groups continue to wage a legal battle with the FTC over the issue of First Amendment rights, many observers see a possible windfall for mail-based marketing efforts by clients who redirect their campaign dollars away from telemarketing and into print. A number of printers are already seeing the benefits of marketing campaigns that have migrated from the phone to the postal system.

It’s safe to say that 2004 could end up being even more intriguing than 2003.

“Overall, 2003 was much stronger than 2002,” states Michael Murphy, president of Japs-Olson. “The first part of the year was volatile and we saw extreme highs and lows in weekly mail volume. In the second half of the year, conditions have stabilized and we see an overall strengthening in all direct mail segments. The economic indicators are positive and our clients are showing more confidence in the economy through an increase in volume. Customers in every market segment are optimistic about 2004.”

Murphy notes that Japs-Olson stimulated growth, in part, by offering more sophisticated and targeted personalization and messages. Improved productivity initiatives, he notes, allowed the company to produce more cost-effective products and provide reduced turnaround schedules.

In regards to the DNC issue, Murphy believes “there will be an impact on the media mix of advertising and marketing, but it is uncertain as yet how beneficial that will be to print marketing.”

Murphy is also wary of potential Do Not Mail legislation that, while unlikely, could bring negative attention to privacy issues and direct mail. As for 2004’s fortunes, he remains cautiously optimistic.

“National advertising spending is closely tied to the overall strength of the economy,” Murphy says. “Marketers must feel confident about the economy before they increase advertising budgets. As long as the economy does not falter, 2004 will be a strong recovery year.”

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