DMA Panel Will Talk Insert Evolution

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The Direct Marketing Association's Insert Media Council hosts its annual industry luncheon Sept. 19 at The Harvard Club, New York.

The evolution of insert media is the theme for the panel of four industry leaders, moderated by Rebecca Hieter, Belardi/Ostroy ALC's director of strategic services.

One panelist is Tim Sullivan, founder and president of Partnership Media and also vice president of marketing at Australia-based marketer and manufacturer of children's books and gifts Ortega Publishing Pty Ltd.

Mr. Sullivan shared his thoughts on the industry's future.

"My guess is that over the next two years, marketers will continue to test and develop both 'drive to Web' inserts and mini-catalog inserts," he said, "but at the same time they will continue to struggle with selling solo products through inserts."

He also expects continued growth in the number and types of new programs in the market, with consolidation in the ownership of these programs, specifically in billing statements.

"As a mailer, I see the biggest challenge to be one of an overall softening of response, coupled with a loss of some core media programs over the past few years, co-ops in particular," he said.

Joining Mr. Sullivan on the panel will be Jeffrey S. Marsh, senior vice president of marketing, and Karen A. Mayo, group marketing manager of advertising, Web and continuities, both at Littleton Coin Co., a collector coin distributor in Littleton, NH.

Also speaking will be Ellen Sante, manager of print and alternative media for international graphic designer and printing shop Vista Print.

Ad spending on electronic promotions during the past seven years has decreased spending in the insert segment, Mr. Sullivan said. More critical to the industry, however, is a shift toward integrated marketing.

"We are all migrating, albeit at different paces, toward a multichannel marketing platform," he said. "Traditional insert marketers are finding more and more response coming back via the Web, while Web-based marketers are finding more and more success driving response from offline media like inserts to their site."

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