The list industry was hit heavily in 2009 when marketers reduced direct mail campaigns and mail volumes. This meant fewer were renting mailing lists. However, executives expect a turnaround for direct mail and the troubled postal list sector this year.
“I think people are looking at their mail a little more positively now,” says John Papalia, president and CEO of Statlistics. “Smart direct mailers won't totally abandon the channel.”
“People are starting to spend more money on customer acquisition,” adds Grant Epstein, senior data specialist at USAData. “Usually, December is a dead month for direct mail, and we actually did very well.”
There is still some question whether the postal files that have been list managers' bread and butter over the history of direct marketing will bounce back. Some believe marketers are ready to shift to e-mail as their primary prospecting and acquisition channel.“E-mail and telemarketing are producing strong results, and the costs associated with a direct mail campaign are leading people to shy away from mass mailings,” says Jay Schwedelson, corporate VP at Worldata. “Instead of mailing 100,000 names, they'll mail the top 5,000 or 2,000” highest-performing customers.