DIRECT MAIL - You've Got Mail
Fueled partly by the Internet, direct marketers will continue to enjoy a long stretch of prosperity, according to a study published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA predicts that printers' shipments should grow by 4.5 percent per year through 2003 and 3.7 percent per year from 2004 to 2006. That forecast has rung true this year for St. Louis Park, MN-based Japs-Olson, according to CEO Bob Murphy.
"I see direct mail continuing to grow," Murphy predicts. "The rate of growth might not be as much as it has been in years past, but I still think it's going to be a pretty healthy rate of growth."
Ray Frick, CEO and president of The Lehigh Press in Broadview, IL, believes that the direct mail industry is currently going through two revolutions. "The first revolution is a structural one or consolidation. The second is the technology revolution," Frick notes. "In general, the industry is changing at warp speed."
Part of the reason for the industry's success, the DMA study states, is that direct mail and inserts offer advertisers a strong product to pull customers to their businesses. Also, personalization continues to play a large role in the success of direct mail. Printers face an important decision concerning to what extent they want to use options like personalization or customization.
"Run lengths, in general, are coming down—and the reason for that is because the mass marketing 'spray-and-pray' mentality of the '70s and '80s is now history," Frick explains. "The segmentation and versioning of target marketing has replaced mass marketing. Highly personalized products are the order of the day."
The DMA study also shows that providing targeted fulfillment services can move printers up the skill and knowledge ladder, pushing them into higher value-added services and the potential for higher profit margins.
"We see a definite trend of major customers wanting to form strategic alliances with business partners that can provide a broad value proposition, from content management to fulfillment and distribution management," Cyze remarks.