The Future Looks Bright for Direct Mail Sales
Direct mail is a profitable market with strong growth potential.
According to BFL&S' 2003 Top 100 Distributors' survey, direct mail sales rose to $141 million—a 6 percent increase from $135 million in 2002. Furthermore, the Top 10 sold $55 million in direct mail.
By most estimates, these figures dim in comparison to other market sales figures. For instance, the survey reported that in 2003, commercial printing grossed an impressive $488 million in sales, and promotional products' sales totaled $345 million. Nonetheless, industry experts agree that no matter how small, direct mail has a noticeable presence in the forms industry.
Roger Buck, national sales representative at Ward/Kraft, Fort Scott, Kan., admitted that his company is the "new kid on the block" when it comes to direct mail. Despite its rookie status, Buck pointed out that Ward/Kraft has seen a significant rise in direct mail sales in 2003. "We have seen an increase even though we are just moving into the market. However, we feel that segments of the direct mail market will grow and have great potential, particularly when the mailing piece can be married to other technologies, such as integrated magnets, plastic cards and four-color process pressure-seal forms," he explained.
David Yost, general manager for Roanoke, Virginia-based InfoSeal, said that consolidation played a big part in increased direct mail sales last year. "Consolidation is having a positive effect on the commercial and direct mail industries," he noted. "It appears that the opportunities for distributors have increased. End-users are looking for new and different direct mail package designs, and the forms industry has a lot to offer in this category."
When asked if the most recent postal increase affected direct mail sales, Buck said that because Ward/Kraft is fairly new to the market, it was not significantly affected by postal rate increases. "The rate change has had little effect on our direct mail sales, as we are just breaking ground in that area," Buck said. "The effect has also been minimal on our marketing because Ward/Kraft has been a leader in using technology to market its products. Tools such as fax, e-mail and the Internet allow us to be effective and cost efficient."