DMA Report: Integration's Success Varies by Sector

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NEW YORK -- Though 25 percent to 35 percent of survey respondents think they have figured out how to integrate direct mail with print, e-mail and Web capabilities, results vary greatly by industry segments, according to a new report from the Direct Marketing Association.


The DMA's 2005 Customer Prospecting and Retention Report, released yesterday at DM Days New York 2005 Conference and Expo here, breaks out industry segments by type and size of firm to give a snapshot of how companies engaged in direct marketing are managing tasks such as customer acquisition, promotion and retention, media channels and operations as well as budgeting.


The survey found that both business-to-business and consumer companies appear to concentrate their integration efforts on relating direct mail and e-mail campaigns to their Web sites.


Among consumer catalogers, 58 percent describe their direct mail and Web site efforts as being "very" integrated. Among BTB firms, the greatest amount of media integration between direct mail and the Web site is found within the business products category, where 50 percent are "very" integrated.


The survey includes responses from 255 DMA members identified as "end-use" direct marketers. The questions sought insight on customer and prospecting contact strategies as they are practiced today and as they are likely to evolve in the next few years.


"From looking at the mass of data collected, we know that there are not only significant differences between consumer and BTB companies, but there are also important differences within each major segment," DMA senior economist Peter Johnson said.


Other key findings:


· Nearly half of the respondents have developed proprietary prospecting databases, discarding the practice of renting names for one-time use and the usual, and repetitive, merge-purge process.


· Most respondents report sizable planned increases in all areas of promotion over the next 12 months. On average, consumer companies expect to increase budgets for direct mail by 45 percent, e-mail by 59 percent and telemarketing by 18 percent. BTB marketers expect an average 53 percent spending increase for direct mail, 59 percent for e-mail and 60 percent for telemarketing.


"It does appear that the industry can be divided into three segments of about equal size," said David Shepard, president of David Shepard Associates, which developed the survey along with the DMA. "A third of the companies surveyed are at the leading edge in terms of using the most sophisticated analytical, technical and marketing practices; another third have moved ahead in some areas but not in others; and finally, there's a third of the industry that's still doing business today the way it was done 10 or 20 years ago."


The complete report is available for purchase at www.the-dma.org/bookstore (DMA Research). Also, for the first time, the DMA is providing a bonus CD that includes all answers to the questions broken down by industry segment and size, letting marketers "drill down" to get at the information relevant to a particular type of business or market segment.


In other news from the DM Days conference, the DMA announced yesterday the launch of its Search Engine Marketing Council. The council will serve as the proactive voice for growth of search engine marketing, representing all constituencies as the main source of education, exchange of ideas, guidelines, information and interaction, the DMA said.


Heather Lloyd-Martin, director of search strategies for WebSourced Inc., chairs the council.


The association also said the council upholds The DMA Interactive Marketing Advisory Board's commitment to providing members the knowledge, research and expertise of industry-leading interactive marketers as they begin to use interactive technology more effectively in their own marketing programs.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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