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Revenue Performance Rises, DMA Business Review Says

NEW YORK — Direct and interactive marketing posted gains in overall revenue performance in the fourth quarter of 2003 and should continue to grow in the next few months, according to the Direct Marketing Association's Quarterly Business Review study released yesterday at the net.marketing show.

According to the review, the index for revenue performance clocked a score of 65, up from 63 in the third quarter. The revenue performance index was 57 for the 2002 fourth quarter, 54 for the 2003 first quarter and 49 for the 2003 second quarter.

The DMA index uses a scale of 1 to 100 to measure how the revenue of users, suppliers and agencies are performing overall. Numbers above 50 show growth and below 50 indicate decline.

The numbers suggest that direct and interactive marketing have been more robust in the past two quarters than from fourth-quarter 2002 to second-quarter 2003.

Surveyed DMA members also reported that sales rose 12 percent in the holiday quarter versus the year-ago period. Net profitability got an index of 64 in fourth-quarter 2003, up from 61 in the prior quarter.

Members who were asked to project revenue performance for the current quarter generated responses that led to an index of 69. Even suppliers, who suffered heavily because of the no-call list, anticipate a healthy first quarter.

The study showed that users expect to invest more in customer acquisition, e-mail marketing, Internet integration and e-commerce solutions. Spending cuts are projected in staff salaries, CRM systems, telemarketing and paper.

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