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BTB Sales Up Nearly 10% in 2001, Wientzen Tells DMB Crowd

ORLANDO — While the economy was sluggish for the better part of the past 18 months, H. Robert Wientzen, president/CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, had good news for business-to-business marketers at the 16th Direct Marketing Business Conference here yesterday.

Direct marketing BTB sales in 2001 totaled $858 billion, an increase of 9.9 percent from 2000, he said, and sales are expected to increase to $1.3 trillion by 2006. Other statistics Wientzen discussed: businesses spent $100 billion in BTB advertising last year, up 4.3 percent from 2000; the return on investment for every advertising dollar spent in 2001 was $8.37 compared to $6.80 in 1991.

Ninety-six percent of the BTB marketing members of the DMA use their Web sites for product and service information, Wientzen said, 68 percent for lead generation and “only 20 percent allow e-sales and transactions.

“Close to 58 percent of the BTB sites reported online profitability last year,” he said. “While 68 percent of these companies maintain their own e-mail lists, only 5 percent of those rent them to other companies.”

In 2001, BTB Web-driven sales totaled $19 billion and are projected to reach $81 billion by 2006. As for what these marketers are offering customers and prospects at their sites, Wientzen said only 14 percent provide the ability to download information to a PDA or other handheld device. Personalization was offered by 29 percent.

“But 61 percent of the sites are offering e-newsletters to their visitors,” he said. “This may lead me to believe that we might be overdoing it with the newsletters.”

During his keynote speech, Wientzen told a nearly full auditorium that the challenges facing marketers in today's world were centered on leaning how to deal with what he termed the “new customer.” These new customers are Web-driven, demand good prices and attention and service and are not only much more informed but more in control than ever.

The way marketers can deal with this, he said, is to become better, faster and smarter. He proposed the best way to do this is to learn how to integrate online and offline marketing efforts.

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