Business Outlook 2003
"As e-mail [marketing] and telemarketing continue to have problems, that's good news for mail," Goldsmith says. "People will have to get back into mail. But in a targeted, cost-effective way."
Goldsmith also stresses that the United States has the lowest postal rates in the industrialized world. Germany pays 60 cents for a First Class stamp, for example.
"As rates go up, we should remember that direct marketing works at those rates in those countries and can work here too," Goldsmith avows.
During the past year, many marketers have emphasized the need for postal reform, to prevent the slippery slope of constant rate hikes from eating up their postal budgets. This year, the focus shifted from postal reform legislation to a presidential postal commission. But the likelihood of either coming to fruition in 2003 remains doubtful.
While a permanent solution to the postal crisis remains elusive, the USPS recently announced that it may be able to delay future rate increases until 2006 due to a financial discrepancy regarding retirement pension liabilities.
However, changes in the payment schedule will require modification of the current law by Congress.
Prediction #3: Telemarketing Faces Stiff Opposition
Consumer disdain for outbound telemarketing seems to have reached an all-time high. Earlier in the year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its interest in creating a national Do Not Call (DNC) list that would be mandatory for all outbound telemarketing programs. This sent states scrambling to create their own DNC lists to maintain control over this channel in their backyards.
The result is a complex patchwork of state regulations, which is just killing the telemarketing industry, explains Kislik.
Salvation may come in federal legislation—but from the FCC, not the FTC. If the Federal Communications Commission takes over jurisdiction on a national DNC list, says Kislik, its requirements would preempt the states', making life a little less complicated for marketers.
- San Francisco