Guest View: Direct Marketing ... a Healthy Pattern for Growth?

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There has been a great deal of talk this year from experts voicing their opinions about the health and vitality of the mail-order/direct marketing industry. All sorts of surveys and financial indicators are cited to support a particular line of thought. Some say yes, some say no.

So, are we really poised for growth?

As an organization whose tagline is, "Opportunities in Direct Marketing," the National Mail Order Association has a little different spin on how to tell whether the industry is on an upswing. It may sound less scientific than others, but I have found it right just as often as any method of predicting the future.

Our indicator is how many requests we get from investors looking for mail-order catalog companies to buy and how many businesses contact us wishing to list their company for sale on our Web site. And because it's the companies that sell products to the end user - be it consumer or commercial - that drive most of the industry service providers' business, I would say it's important to note.

Since the beginning of the year, requests from investors looking for companies to purchase is up 100 percent over last year. Investors from the United States and even from Europe are looking to buy small DM companies all the way up to $50 million and more in yearly sales. Some want to use the bigger companies as a platform to launch other companies. Some want related companies to add to their existing concerns.

At NMOA, we go by the Golden Rule: those with the Gold ... Rule! And if they are looking for companies to spend their money on, we must be doing OK and poised for some healthy growth in the future.

For there is one thing I've learned in my business life, and this is that people with money do not part with it easily, unless they think they are going to get it back and then some in return.

So is the direct marketing industry in a growth mode? I'm going to go with the money people: YES!


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