MeritDirect: BTB Sales Up

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The first four months of 2006 were good for many business-to-business direct marketers, according to survey results released yesterday by BTB list company MeritDirect.

Sales for that time period were up compared with 2005, 73 percent of respondents said, with 16 percent saying they were the same and 11 percent saying sales were down.

The anonymous survey of BTB business conditions was sent to 137 CEOs, presidents, owners, general managers and C-level marketing executives (one survey per company) April 3 with a cutoff date of April 21. MeritDirect, White Plains, NY, and e-commerce services company DMinSite, Covington, KY, collaborated on the effort. The 137 surveys yielded 37 completed responses.

For 2006 overall, 70 percent thought sales would rise for the year versus 2005 while 22 percent predicted static sales and 8 percent expected a decrease. Looking ahead to 2007 over 2006, predictions were 68 percent up, 22 percent same and 11 percent down.

Internet-related marketing budgets for 2006 are to rise versus postal catalog marketing for 59 percent of respondents, while 22 percent expected them to stay the same and 8 percent forecast a decrease.

When asked to rate their concern about 15 potential threats this year and next, respondents were most concerned about acquiring new customers cost effectively to grow their businesses, with 78 percent expressing notable or highest concern. The next-largest perceived threat was growing the business profitably with 70 percent expressing notable or highest concern. At a distant third with 35 percent was utility of marketing performance analytics to grow the business.

Of the least concern to respondents was raising new capital/expanding line of credit, with 81 percent indicating lowest or some concern. Next was the cost of government regulation, with 68 percent indicating lowest or some concern followed by downturn in the economy at 57 percent.

In a write-in section of the survey, BTB mailers added other concerns and issues not covered in the questions. These concerns included increasing cost to mail catalogs, integrating multiple channels of distribution, the Internet decreasing upsell and cross-sell opportunities and lack of information about marketing best practices.

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