DIRECT MAIL - You've Got Mail
"It has affected many companies who used these marketing ideas and resulted in a large reduction in their mailing over the last year," Graham admits. "Many of our competitors focused the majority of their energies toward the companies that used this technique exclusively. The net result was the opening up of a considerable amount of capacity in the market. This has temporarily affected the market with lower than normal pricing pressure to fill open capacity, but should correct itself shortly as these solid companies start to rebound with new marketing programs."
Graham notes that the catalog segment should expect to see flat or declining responses in the next year, while retail will feel pressure from e-commerce and mail order for the consumer's time. Privacy continues to be a concern of direct marketers, as well.
"One way to address these concerns is through the effective use of consumer databases and personalization," Cyze observes. "We need to deliver the right materials to our target audiences—materials in which the consumers have an interest. The industry needs to improve its targeting and, by doing so, present more relevant offers to consumers. With the proper systems and technologies in place, the industry can more effectively target recipients, which should help diminish concerns about privacy."
Murphy agrees that privacy needs to be a major issue for direct marketers. He contends that privacy is what makes direct mail effective. "I find direct mail being much less invasive than telemarketers, for example," he relates.
"I prefer direct mail over that, because you have the opportunity to look at what you want and participate in whatever catches your interest. And, if it doesn't, you can take care of it in your own private way."