Printers Feeling Effects of Slowing Economy

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CHICAGO -- Most larger printers on the exhibit floor at Chicago Direct Marketing Days said this week that they are feeling the effects of a slowing economy and rising postal rates but are confident they will overcome the obstacles.


Most printers acknowledged that they have seen their volumes or sales drop this year as a result of the U.S. Postal Service's 4.6 percent average rate increase that took effect last month and the slowing economy. However, they are using slightly different strategies this year to keep their businesses going and remain optimistic.


For example, they are helping their customers send more targeted direct mail pieces by suggesting that they use the printers' personalization services so they can receive better returns.


"Yes, we have seen some slowdown, but we are also seeing some growth in our list services, which allow us to help direct marketers target better," said Robert Bergin, a salesman at Quad/Graphics.


William D. DeBioer, a sales representative at Quebecor World Direct, also said he is seeing some slowdown, but he said, "We are focusing on our personalization products more and more now, which allow our customers to target their mail pieces to individuals."


DeBioer said those services are more expensive than the company's other services, "but mailers today are looking at ways they can get better ROIs, and these types of products always get better response rates."


Dan Perrone, an account executive at Banta Direct Marketing Group, said he is also seeing a slowdown this year, partly because of the economy and partly because of the postal rate increase. However, he said, "we found that most of our customers mailed earlier last year because they knew it was coming."
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