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.

Tom

 

 

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