Do-Not-Call List -- Direct Mail BoomOctober 2003
"All of the sudden, direct mail has a real shine and respect to it," Wicka adds. "And, it may trigger a boom for printers and mailers."
While some marketers will attempt to circumvent the new laws, most are retooling their strategies. Some marketers are shifting their efforts to traditional direct mail pieces. Others are developing sweepstakes campaigns that will enable them to contact the consumer by phone once a consumer participates in the sweepstakes. Participation in the sweepstakes acts as a written permission slip for the direct marketer to contact them again.
"Telemarketing is not going to go away. It is still an effective means to cross-sell," reports Wicka.
No matter what strategy a marketer chooses to pursue, the news is still good for printers, contends Xplor International General Manager William McCalpin. "Using the post office is virtually the only way that U.S. companies have to contact new customers that is not becoming increasingly limited by legislation," he says.
While it is still early to assess the long-term impact of the do-not-call list, it does appear that printers will benefit from the new list. "We're hearing mixed reactions at this point," reveals Ted Gaillard, senior vice president of sales for Vertis Inc. in Baltimore. "We've seen everything from take a wait-and-see attitude to acceptance of the list since it helps eliminate wasted telemarketing dollars, which can then be reallocated to more effective media, including print advertising."
However, The Instant Web Companies has already started to see some serious market shifts from its clientele. "We've had three customers within the past 60 days specifically tell us that they are now shifting some money for the fourth quarter from telemarketing to print. We've also had other clients tell us that they are planning to make substantial changes in their budgets for 2004," Wicka reports.
In fact, Wicka believes that the repercussions of the new list will be felt by printers in 2004. Instant Web expects to see a 3 percent to 6 percent increase in direct mail jobs in 2004 among its current customers as a direct result of the do-not-call list. "That is a minor boom and good news for printers and mailers in an environment where there hasn't been much good news as of late," he adds.
The reality for marketers is that direct mail is now considered the least offensive form of marketing, according to consumers. In a recent study conducted by Vertis, it was indicated that instead of telemarketing, consumers would prefer to receive a company's product and/or service information via direct mail (31 percent), newspaper inserts (24 percent), catalogs (18 percent), newspaper ads (11 percent) or e-mail (10 percent). Only 6 percent said "None of these."
All Haven't Signed Up
The survey, which was conducted to gauge consumer reaction to, and usage of, the new national do-not-call registry, also reveals that while 80 percent of those surveyed are aware of the registry, only 30 percent have signed up to prevent unwanted telephone solicitations. However, 68 percent of the 250 adults surveyed said they would likely register in the future. And, as marketers rediscover direct mail, client education or re-education is key. "We are reminding our clients how personalized and targeted their direct mail pieces can be thanks, in part, to new technology. Direct mail has come a long way," Wicka asserts.
Many marketers are becoming increasingly more interested in how they can use targeted, one-to-one printing, often incorporating versioning and personalization.
"The true one-to-one direct marketing approach still remains too expensive for most marketers to implement on a wide-scale basis." Wicka feels that a more hybrid approach, which includes more versioning and segmentation, can still reach its target audience effectively without being cost-prohibitive.
Xplor's McCalpin agrees. The creation and delivery of paper marketing materials is relatively expensive compared to other media, he notes. However, companies can effectively use paper marketing media today by using a combination of sophisticated electronic printers and data processing skills.
"Today's electronic printers can do incredible high-speed black-and-white; highlight color; business color; and near-offset-quality full color, so that marketing departments can balance their message against the cost of production," McCalpin adds. "And the sophisticated use of data processing enables one-to-one marketing messages, customized communications and precisely defined recipient groups."