2009 Hot Markets — Thawing In a Frigid Economy

EVEN AS THE overall economy plummets to well below zero in real GDP, the New Year has some “highs” in the forecast. There are some very warm and, yes, hot spots for print, but marketers must rise above the clouds of gloom and change the climate. It will leave competitors feeling under-the-weather. The No. 1 demander of print will be, no joking, banking/insurance ($3.5T, +8%; with $14.3B to print, +<8%). This most over- endowed (and undeserving) sector is awash with cash and string-attached mandates to reform, redistribute and reinvent. Commercial banking ($10.4B to print, -10%) will be in the final phase of the biggest global consolidation in history, which transacts as more new names (many foreign, like Santander and TD Bank) and enhanced services (many unknown, like foreign currency accounts and mobile banking) are added. The small community banks will be big spenders as they recapture business lost by the fallen giants. Announcement direct mailings, FSIs, ROP, signage, outdoor, transit, forms and stationery will keep credit-worthy printers in black ink. Property/casualty insurers ($2.0B to print, +5%) and life insurance ($1.9B to print, +12%) will increase their coverages of the market after severe erosion and invent secure new hybrid products as safe alternatives to disastrous world market participation. Oppositely, melted down No. 18 ranked investment/brokerage ($1.0T, +7%; with $4.9B to print, -39%) will continue its crash in print. Investment banks/syndication ($1.2B to print, -68%) and securities brokerage ($1.4B to print, -57%) are slashing staff, offices and branding, as well as their throats. Just as relationship marketing comes of age with robust print personalization, this business fails us. Mutual funds ($2.2B to print, -12%) must stem redemptions and stir up new investors with direct mail printing and FSIs. There will be fewer funds and managers, but nearly as much work, as the old names like Lehman Brothers change, and others, like Merrill Lynch, are rebranded as part of other firms.

Disappointingly, at No. 2 will be publishing/non-newspaper ($97B, -10%; with $14.2B to print, -8%). Fewer titles, page counts and run lengths are three-knife trimming this sector. Juvenile/adult trades/ CDI and religious publishing ($3.1B to print, 0%) will lack best sellers, and reader incomes to buy them. Scholastic Publishing is off 46%, post- “Harry Potter,” while all retail book sales are down more than 7%. Professional/educational books ($3.6B to print, -11%) are folding to versioned, digital micro-publishing, digital distribution as with Bibliovault, and online courses and content.

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