Forty-one percent of marketers said they saw higher revenue in the first quarter of 2011 than Q4 2010, down 5% compared with the previous quarter, according to the Direct Marketing Association‘s quarterly business review for Q1 2011.
More than eight in 10 (84%) of marketers said their direct and digital marketing investment activity grew or remained steady in Q1 2011, compared with the previous quarter.
“We’re still seeing a gradual recovery,” said Yoram Wurmser, DMA’s director of media and marketing insights. “Revenue is increasing but at a slightly lower pace than last quarter. It’s probably a sign of slowing recovery, but the bounce-back factor is important.”
Marketers and suppliers reported unchanged staffing in Q1, with 67% of marketers and 52% of suppliers indicating they maintained the same level of staff compared with Q4 2010. Only 8% of marketers shrunk staff size, while 24% increased it. Only 7% of suppliers contracted their teams, while 39% reported an increase.
However, marketers did not indicate that better and more focused analytics tools and processes were their priority in the first quarter, in contrast with previous quarters, said Wurmser. He said the main priority in Q1 was general demand for digital marketing investment and activity and better understanding of the needs of multichannel integration.
“This is a very gentle trend,” said Wurmser. “In Q3 2010, analytics was the leading driver of investments. It dropped a little bit as general demand for enhanced digital marketing and a better understanding of the need for multichannel integration has stayed the same.”
Meanwhile, 30% of respondents increased their catalog budget, 60% saw no change, and 10% decreased their budgets. Regarding direct mail and non-catalog spending, 17% saw a decrease in budget, 53% kept it the same, and 30% increased their spending.
DMA partnered with Winterberry Group, a strategic management consulting firm, on the report. DMA surveyed 99 marketers and 117 service providers during the first quarter for the report.