Cross Country Computer, along with over 300 other industry leaders, participated in the Winterberry Group’s annual white paper survey earlier this year. A key takeaway from this report is the evident trend from mass mailings to a more targeted approach in direct mail. This movement coincides with the first decline in direct mail spending since detailed record keeping began over 60 years ago. The days of indiscriminate blast mailings have ended and a new landscape has emerged – one requiring smarter, more efficient marketing strategies:
“The dramatic events of the last few years have come home to roost for direct mail. Postal shocks, environmental pressure, recession, media consumption shifts and enhanced targeting tools have brought about an end to the ‘batch-blast’ era of direct mail,” said Bruce Biegel, Winterberry Group’s senior managing director. “In the face of exceptionally challenging conditions, it is apparent that mailers have shifted their focus to lower-volume, more targeted and higher-value campaigns, with traffic generation to the store, Web and call center being the primary objective. In turn, this shift is generating a realignment of the supplier community and the marketing operations process—opening the door for more and better integrated marketing over the next several years.”
“The accelerating shift from “mass” to “targeted” direct mail programs has been enabled by an increasingly powerful array of marketing automation technologies, many of which are making their way into the toolsets of marketers both large and small.”
When asked about which processes, tools or priorities will grow in importance for them in 2009, over 90% of the surveyed marketers and service providers ranked Data Integration and Analytics highest. Combine this with the fact that, according to the United States Postal Service, direct mail volumes dropped more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, and the picture is clear: Data intelligence – and the capacity to leverage it across all channels – has become paramount.
As marketing budgets dwindle and decision-makers grow more discerning about every dollar spent, the industry is primed for an across-the-board evolution. To survive (and thrive), today’s marketers need to be sure they are getting the tools they need from their service providers; and today’s service providers need to step up and deliver the cost-effective and comprehensive solutions that tomorrow’s market demands.