Ginger Stickel, like most Americans, has been getting a lot more junk mail these days.” Thus reads the lead in a New York Times piece headlined “Junk Mail is Alive and Growing”.

Ahhh, music to my ears.

Remember back just five years when so many industry pundits predicted that the internet and e-marketing meant the end of direct mail? Well, according to The Times and to industry figures reality just hasn't worked out that way.

In fact the commercial world — despite plenty of successful e-marketing — still finds it necessary and beneficial to resort to old-fashioned direct postal mail. Especially in combination with the new media.

As Guest Agitator Kristin McCurry put it when commenting on the Times piece, “Well, it appears that postage meters have a reprieve as you suggested in your white paper.”

Thank heavens we occasionally are right in our predictions. We noted nearly a year ago in our Donor Trends White Paper, “Don't Throw Away Your Postage Meter” that the new media was not supplanting the old. Rather that the most productive results were likely to be achieved by an effective combination of the two.

And that's exactly what seems to be happening. Among the most sophisticated marketers –the catalog folks — they've found that “old” mail doesn't get snagged in spam filters like the “new” mail. That the “old” is more finely targetable than the “new” and, most interesting: “As the world becomes more digital there is a need for tangible experiences”, according to Rob Bago, executive creative director at McCann Worldgroup San Francisco. In short, according to Rob, “There's nothing like a piece of paper.”

All of this is translating to the bottom line; especially for the Postal Service who once feared “electronic erosision.” But, the fact is that since 2000 direct mail revenues have increased, not decreased. In 2005 marketers posted more than 114 billion pieces of direct mail. That's up 29% from the 2000 level.

And, of course, life works both ways. One of the reasons direct mail is on the rise is that many internet-only companies have discovered that if they also marry their online marketing with good old tangible and targetable direct mail suddenly their customers think they're “more real,” according to Peter Johnson the head of research for the DMA.

Read on for some interesting factoids on this trend.

Continue reading “Reprieve for Postage Meters”

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