Get More Multichannel Muscle
Direct marketers are a resilient bunch. Since the dawn of the internet, experts have been predicting the demise of direct mail. But like a comic book superhero, direct marketing is hard to kill. Nevertheless, the industry constantly faces an uphill battle for respect. Just a couple of months ago, a new report was published that calculated a quick death for direct mail at the hands of the merciless internet.
According to a report by research firm Borrell Associates, "Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover." This pessimistic outlook projects a 39 percent decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013. And who will ultimately benefit from this? Borrell believes email marketers will take the crown as the kings of direct.
"Email advertising is indeed skyrocketing while its traditional counterpart plummets," Borrell notes. "In fact, last year, email advertising quietly moved to the number one online ad category spot, surpassing all other forms of interactive advertising."
So does this report suggest email marketing will be the kryptonite that finally brings direct mail to its knees? Not exactly.
As always is the case, no one channel entirely displaces another. In fact, all channels are converging, and marketers need to understand how to integrate and gain value from multichannel strategies based on consumer demand and preference. The smart marketers are the ones paying attention to the value that can be gained from the synergy of complementary channels versus buying into the death of the channel.
... the Going Is Tough
It's true that email marketing has contributed to a decline in direct mail due to channel financials and the growing acceptance of email as a shopping/transactional channel.