Posted by Brian Berg Google+
As I've been asking around about the future holds for direct mail service providers and have been getting the general consensus that business is good. This week a slump in retail sales and the USPS considering shorting their delivery days to 5 per week, it's no wonder many are concerned. But in conversations I've had this week, I mostly hear about the ice, snow, and blistering cold. I do hear that acquisition mail (those campaigns to cold prospects) are down, but listening to the voice of mail service providers throughout the country, business is maintaining and businesses are continuing their direct mail campaigns. I've been also polling the data providers.
With this group I've been hearing a mixed bag of response. For some, those who in the past have focused on one industry vertical, business is flat. They are reaching for numbers and working on developing new vertical markets to penetrate. For those mail service providers who've not put their eggs all in one basket, business is stead and growing. The direct mail marketing industry is considered a "recession-proof" industry. When the economy is good, businesses use direct mail, when the economy is faulting, smart businesses spend more on advertising. But there is a threshold where the economy can be so bad that all businesses suffer, including those involved providing direct mail marketing services.
Currently, I would argue that we are not nearly close to an economic downturn that forces businesses to stop advertising. But I would say that the conditions are different in that our financial lending system is broken and because of it, businesses which borrow money to make payroll must draw money from other area's such as advertising. As of today, President Obama's newest stimulus package is being weighed. The BBC reports conflicting views on nationalizing our banking system.
Large bank CEO's are seen as taking bonus's while the rest of us suffer. Issues in the Middle East continue to grow more and more complex. And Steeler Nation has temporarily distracted us from all of it. I believe we have tremendous opportunity in this county to "rebrand" America, truly develop renuable energy that will create new jobs, and prospect is high in bringing our service men and women back home. For this and so many other reasons, I remain optimistic.