Study Projects More Direct Mail, Color, Personalization

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Direct mail print volume is expected to increase, according to a study released this week from CAP Ventures Inc., a strategic consulting firm on business communication technologies and services.

The multi-client study, "The Future of Mail and Transaction Documents," also found that "paper-based communication will remain strong in the near term, but it will decrease as consumers become more comfortable with using the Internet," said Charlie Corr, group director at CAP Ventures, Norwell, MA.

CAP Ventures' study was prompted by changes in business communications in late 2001 when direct mail volume dropped and the market experienced a rise in electronic bill payment and presentment. The study gives a long-term view of where these applications are headed and the investments that companies will make.

Companies plan to offer more personalization and produce more color prints in the future, the study said. They will continue to integrate marketing messages into transaction documents and pursue integrated marketing campaigns that use print and the Web.

The study also states that service providers plan to invest in high-speed digital color and identify growth in offering more personalization services and expanding the services they offer to clients.

The study also examines the effect of the anthrax contamination of the U.S. mail and the possible effect of future terrorist attacks.

"A key finding is that there is still significant concern about the security of the U.S. mail," Corr said. "Even though more than a year has passed since the anthrax contamination shuttered a number of postal facilities, users are still keeping an eye on the mail system and their local post offices. In addition, another terrorist act could well destabilize the market."

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