A Direct Mail “First”
For the first time since records began in 1945, spending on commercial direct mail has declined.
So says a white paper from the Winterberry Group, a strategic consulting firm to direct marketers, as reported here by the Center for Media Research. The report says spending on direct mail fell 3% in 2008, with a further decline of 9% predicted for 2009. Mail volumes fell 12% in 2008. The biggest volume drops were in the — surprise, surprise — Mortgage & Loans (-39%) and Credit Card (-22%) categories.
The authors say that in the current cost-cutting environment, direct mailers will become even more driven to target their mailings via increasingly sophisticated customer analysis … less mail, better return.
Here are the direct mail trends they expect for 2009:
- Recession forces decrease in spending
- Volumes fall as mailers seek efficiencies
- Production sector in crisis
- New demand for data, analytics, multichannel
- Mail emerges as ideal complement to digital
- "Green" practices fluctuate in importance
- End of untargeted, high-volume campaigns
- New marketing automation technologies applied
- Postal Service as the principal mail delivery channel compromised
This report focuses on commercial direct mail, but these trends sure seem pertinent for nonprofit mailers as well.