InfoTrends’ Future of Mail study determined that the most important aspect of communication is understanding what consumers want. As illustrated below, consumers continue to have a high preference for direct mail over other forms of direct marketing. This is not surprising, since paper-based communications are minimally intrusive and easily managed.
According to a recent report from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct marketing advertising expenditures are expected to increase at a modest 4.4% between 2006 and 2007. The 2006 figure of $166 billion did not achieve the higher levels that had originally been projected due to a greater-than-anticipated decline in home sales, lower vehicle sales, and higher energy prices. Looking ahead, however, direct mail marketing expenditures are expected to increase at a rate of 5.7% between 2007 and 2008. Areas such as commercial e-mail, Internet marketing, DRTV, and direct mail are expected to show above average spending growth. Marketers are starting to understand that reaching consumers means using the medium of choice.
The DMA also believes that direct marketers will experience general success in 2007, realizing an anticipated 5.2% annual growth in sales. This total is 1.5 percentage points lower than what was experienced in 2006, largely due to the economic slowdown that continued through the middle of 2007.
Once again, the 2008 revenue forecast for direct marketing is even more optimistic. The DMA predicts that U.S. direct marketing sales will experience a growth rate of 6.6% between 2007 and 2008. The biggest improvements in terms of revenue growth are expected to occur among financial services, transportation, and utilities. Meanwhile, natural resources, construction, and government revenues from direct marketing are expected to see the slowest growth rates.