DIRECT MAIL – You’ve Got Mail

BY SCOTT POLK

As printers continue to determine how to capitalize on the Internet to further business, perhaps no segment may be affected by cyberspace more than direct mail. A projected 100 million people will be connected to the Web within five years, and direct mail will play an important role in guiding those people to the Internet.

According to a study by the Printing Industries of America, dotcom startup companies looking to establish brand equity will account for much of that business. By 2003, however, the study cautions that the direct mail industry will begin to encounter considerable competition from electronic media. New technologies that print Internet URLs into direct mail pages with watermarks and bar codes—directing computers to specific Web pages—may help to slow down this process.

Top 10 Direct Mail Printers
  Company Segment
Sales
(millions)
Total Sales
(millions)
1 Quebecor World
Montreal
$850 $6,540
2 Moore Corp.
Bannockburn, IL
$480 $2,400
3 Vertis, Inc.
Baltimore
$360 $1,800
4 R.R. Donnelley & Sons
Chicago
$250 $5,000
5 Banta Corp.
Menasha, WI
$228 $1,270
6 Mail-Well Inc.
Englewood, CO
$192 $2,400
7 Wallace Computer Services
Lisle, IL
$171 $1,560
8 Instant Web Companies
Chanhassen, MN
$97 $103(E)
9 Japs-Olson
St. Louis Park, MN
$96 $120
10 The Lehigh Press
Broadview, IL
$76 $145

“The Internet has provided a new market for direct mail,” remarks James Cyze, president for the Banta Direct Marketing Group in Chicago. “E-marketers recognize that direct mail is the most effective medium to drive traffic to Websites and to create awareness. The e-business survivors will be strong and we expect they will continue to provide significant print opportunities for some time to come.”

Michael Graham, senior vice president of Montreal-based Quebecor World Direct, predicts that “the Internet will be a great opportunity to grow direct mail because it continues to be a cost-effective way to drive Web traffic, both from a prospect position and also to establish an effective customer communication tool.”

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