‘Trends & Future of Direct Marketing’ (Part 2) – PRIMIR Summary

Challenges to Print. (Double click to enlarge.)

PRIMIR recently published a new 420-page research study, “Trends & Future of Direct Marketing.” It examines the direct marketing segment and particularly how printed direct marketing channels are faring in light of a host of new non-print direct marketing options. E-mail, Websites, social media, and mobile channels, among others, all pose threats to print.

Picking up where we left off in the previous edition’s that discussed key trends in direct marketing, this article will discuss higher volume print applications utilized in direct marketing activities.

Direct Mail
Direct mail is the largest direct marketing channel in North America. Although the decline has been precipitous, direct mail’s standing in the marketing mix remains strong. Direct mail volume stabilized in 2010 and will return to positive and more modest growth, although it will be years before it reaches its prior peak.

Direct mail is a key customer acquisition tool. That said, the availability of an increasing number and variety of electronic channels has placed the cost of direct mail in an increasingly unfavorable light in the minds of many marketers. In addition to directly affecting direct mail costs, postal rates and regulations add a layer of complexity to the process, again highlighting the relative speed, simplicity, and low cost of electronic channels (see figure).

Marketers to both consumers and businesses make use of catalogs. The research indicates that despite rising postal costs and other issues catalogers face, the catalog market is healthier than one might expect. During the past decade, the role of the catalog changed substantially, from a direct response vehicle to one that drives customers to the web to place an order. This change impacted the volume and nature of printed catalogs. But on the positive side, it secured their place as an essential part of an integrated, multi-channel marketing program.

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