DIRECT MAIL - You've Got Mail
As direct marketing enters the 21st century, Quebecor's Graham points out several trends worth watching. Among them:
- The catalog market has realized increased response and profit improvement by using one-to-one marketing techniques.
- Mid-level direct marketing companies will protect and grow their market by using one-to-one marketing techniques at affordable prices.
- A continued shift of traditional direct mail packages to closed face, component personalized in-line packages.
- A movement of traditional consumer product companies from mass distribution methods to targeted direct mail promotions.
- Increased traffic-building, personalized promotions for the mid-level retail market in order to protect against growing mail order and e-commerce competition.
"The one-to-one, personalized market will continue to grow in the non-traditional markets like catalog/magazine and retail areas due to increased market pressure to increase profits and compete with a new, emerging market," Graham opines.
A key area of concern for all direct mail printers continues to be the specter of an increase in postage rates. "We always wait with baited breath while we see what the post office is going to do about postage, because every time they shudder it causes the industry to shudder. We hope it remains competitive," Murphy remarks.
Cyze feels that a postal increase should not be viewed with contempt, rather as another challenge for printers. "While we have no control over postage and paper prices, we can respond to these challenges favorably by providing innovative solutions for our customers," he contends. "For example, postage increases can be mitigated by employing sophisticated manufacturing processes that streamline the event and allow the customer the ability to maximize postal penetration, ensuring that all available discounts are taken."
The lawsuit concerning sweepstakes marketing also continues to affect direct mail printers, especially those involved in magazine publishing. Changes were made in the language of sweepstakes offers as a result of consumers who had needlessly purchased large quantities of magazine subscriptions, believing it would increase their chances of winning cash prizes.