Direct Marketing's Growth During the Past 10 Years
For instance, both sales and revenue are increasing online. DMA found $651.9 billion in Internet ad-driven sales in 2012 accounted for more than 25 percent of the year's $2.05 trillion direct marketing-driven sales in the United States. That happened with $32.5 billion in outlay. (These figures don't even include the $1.2 billion spent on mobile advertising, which generated $14 billion in sales in 2012, also according to the DMA Fact Book.) Today's online direct marketing sales dwarf the $30 billion collected in 2002—when overall sales exceeded $2 trillion. (The graph, at right, shows direct marketing-driven sales from 2002 until 2012 did go on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but returned to the same level.)
So it makes intuitive sense that direct is seeing its glory days, right? While that may be true for many marketers, the discipline's success is actually not at its historical high—even in relatively recent years.
Direct marketing-related ad expenditures accounted for 48 percent of overall U.S. marketing spend in 2006. But DMA research shows that number had been 57 percent in 1998 and 1999, 56.5 percent in 2000, and still at 55 percent in a 2002 DMA report.
Direct marketing's percentage of all U.S. ad expenditures did climb back up after 2006. "The Power of Direct Marketing, 2011-2012 Edition" says the percentages hit 51.3 in 2010, 52.1 in 2011 and 52.7 in 2012.
So what does any of this mean for direct marketers? Stay tuned.