Libey: Smart Money Is on DM, Catalogs

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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- "Mail is not dead by any stretch," keynote speaker Don Libey said at yesterday's fifth annual MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-op & E-mail Marketing Conference here.

He is principal with Libey-Concordia, a direct marketing investment banking and advisory firm.

After a few years of rumblings about the possible death of the catalog, Libey said, the smart money is investing in catalogs. He cited many statistics to show why.

Direct marketing sales will reach $3 trillion by 2007, he said. That figure represents 9 percent growth over the next few years and is juxtaposed with a 5 percent overall sales increase nationally. Libey said he expects DM sales to reach $5 trillion by 2017.

Libey also projected numbers for each DM channel. He said direct mail would have sales of $960 billion by the end of 2007, with $380 billion being business to business and $580 billion consumer.

Libey predicted telemarketing sales would exceed $1 trillion by 2007 despite the no-call list, with $650 billion in BTB and $450 billion in consumer.

The largest percentage growth he predicted was in online marketing, with sales reaching $180 billion by 2007 ($105 billion BTB, $75 billion consumer). Those figures represent 35 percent growth for BTB and 36 percent for consumer.

Despite the predicted growth, Libey said that DMers needed to do more to increase response rates, retention rates and targeting. Still, he said the industry has never looked better to investors and ended his talk with this advice: "Go forth and multiply."

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