The cry for ROI as channels multiply

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"Certainty" is not a word in the marketer's 2007 dictionary.

As DM News' Outlook 2007 projections show, the trends point to multichannel marketing, increased consumer control, media fragmentation, regulation versus self-policing and higher customer acquisition and retention costs.

Though this sounds alarming, marketers expect more return on investment from their spending. So we turn to direct, interactive and database marketing experts and DM News editors Melissa Campanelli, Chantal Todé, Cara Wood, Dianna Dilworth, Giselle Abramovich and Nicole Smith to analyze and forewarn.

The catalog is undergoing wholesale renovation as a gateway to the Web and store. On the legal front, expect laws on Net Neutrality, privacy and do not mail. More insert media programs may open up even as co-mailing gains favor. Shipping rates will rise along with international expansion. DRTV spots will be adapted to local markets and the Internet.

On the circulation side, Time magazine's move from rate base to audience metrics may encourage others. But don't bet on it as circulation economics worsen. Blogging, online video and mobile are the new media. List brokers and managers will add more consulting and analytic services. Expect more M&A activity in search marketing. Click fraud will be a big issue.

Multichannel retail is the present and future. E-commerce: say no more. Business-to-business migration online will accelerate. No digital, no print production. Nonprofits need to woo more episodic donors. Pray for passion, not headlines, to encourage giving. E-mail needs more authentication and more reputation, but not more spam - as widely noticed and expected.

This is the year of reckoning for direct mail. Blame higher mailing and printing costs and declining response rates. Online advertising gets more targeted, data-driven, sophisticated and friendlier to branding. Trends overseas mostly mirror those in the United States. Convergence is the key.

As for database marketing, as columnist Kevin Hillstrom puts it, "In the retail channel, not enough data about customer behavior is captured. In the online channel, too much data about customer behavior is captured. The catalog channel suffers from an identity crisis."

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