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"Mail? Isn't that dead?" That's the reaction I sometimes get from new friends when I talk about my job (well, part of it): analyzing direct mail. To answer that 'direct' question, let's take a dive into …

While 2009 was a year to forget for most retailers, fortunately 2010 was a different story for direct mailers and e-marketers from the beginning of the year to the very end. For example, in 2009, holiday sales were stagnant at best. But the 2010 holiday season included much more shopping than anticipated. In fact, according to the recent report …

With the economy showing its ugly face to everyone in 2009, financial services mail dropped off significantly to previous levels. But the first quarter of 2010 tells a different story. According to Synovate Mail Monitor, the direct mail tracking service from global market research firm Synovate, the first quarter of 2010 saw a 29 percent increase in credit card offers, with U.S. households receiving 481.3 million offers compared to only 372.4 million in Q1 of 2009.

You don't need to scratch your chin very long to realize how much the financial services sector has altered over the past three years. Despite a slight surge in credit card mailings in October, the direct mail sent by financial services is barely recognizable in size or scope compared to the heydays of 2004 and 2005.

While many financial institutions teetered on the brink of collapse or were about to be absorbed by a slightly better run rival, 2008 also witnessed individual portfolios go through the blender, mortgages defaulted upon in record numbers and, for the first time in American history, a negative savings rate. And despite the big hopes for the new administration, 2009 may not be that much different for the hole is deep and the way out is steep.

In the Who’s Mailing What! Archive, the publishing sector can be broken into three main groupings: magazines, newsletters and newspapers. While these three groups may have a lot in common from a business perspective, a comparison of their mailing habits over the course of the third quarter of 2006 reveals that’s where the similarities end. Overall, magazine efforts accounted for the largest percentage of publishing volume—65 percent. Newsletters were second at 29 percent, and newspapers were third at just 6 percent. Newspaper mailers led the way, however, when it came to the use of envelopes—100 percent of their Q306 efforts—and personalization—which appeared in 55.6 percent

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