Study: Telecom Firms Turned to Mail in 2003

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Total telecommunications direct mail volume increased 22 percent from 2002 to 2003, according to a report released yesterday from Mintel's Comperemedia, Chicago, a media-monitoring system.

Enactment of the national no-call registry in October contributed to the large increase, the report said.

"This is a result of marketers' inability to use telemarketing to solicit their products and services to millions of potential customers who signed up for the registry," said Andrea Wald, senior telecommunications analyst for Mintel's Comperemedia. "It is possible direct mail has now become a preferred method of contacting and marketing to potential clients."

This increase also may result from recent publicity about how consumers perceive telemarketing as a nuisance. Companies may be choosing to send direct mail rather than following up and soliciting additional services to customers via the telephone.

As for the types of mailings sent, retention mailings rose 262 percent over last year, win-back direct mail increased 191 percent and cross-sell mailings jumped 102 percent.

In terms of categories, the biggest increases in direct mail within the telecom sector were in the TV (cable/satellite) and wireline categories, with increases of 44 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

The increase for traditional cable and satellite TV services likely results from more intense competition between cable and satellite providers, according to Mintel.

The large increase in wireline direct mail was likely due to increased competition based on the "Baby Bells" finally being able to offer long-distance services across most, if not all, of their territories.


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