The transformation of print-based direct marketing

Although pioneered more than a century ago, direct mail remains a trusted marketing strategy. Printed direct mail is being transformed in response to online and mobile media and changing consumer habits. An infographic on the current state and future viability of direct mail and catalogues.

Direct marketing is a form of advertising that allows businesses and nonprofits to communicate directly with customers and prospects via a range of media, including display ads, direct mail letters, fliers, catalogues, and email, online,
and mobile platforms.

However, direct mail and catalogues suffered through a perfect storm during and immediately after the recession of 2009. The sharp downturn in the global economy shrank marketing budgets as consumers closed their wallets and businesses struggled to stay afloat. At the same time maturing online and mobile channels began attracting a growing portion of advertising revenue by offering more economical alternatives to print-based marketing.

To some observers, print-based direct marketing was in crisis and headed towards irrelevancy. Since then the dust of the recession has largely settled and world economies are slowly recovering. Marketers are beginning to understand the value and effectiveness of multichannel advertising, and direct mail and catalogue volume has stabilised and grown.

By most reckoning, however, it will never be “business as usual.” Volumes will likely never return to pre-recession levels. While marketers and consumers alike continue to value direct mail and catalogues, they are increasingly looking for more relevance and personalised content. That is why Ricoh commissioned Interquest to gain insights into the current state and future viability of direct mail and catalogues in North America and Europe.



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