We all have our annual traditions. Some take a vacation to their favorite destination or participate in a charity event that has special meaning to them. I always make a point to attend the DMCNY Annual Outlook Luncheon to hear the keynote presentation by Bruce Biegel of Winterberry Group and get the firm’s latest forecasts on the direct marketing industry.
I’ve attended the Luncheon for the better part of a decade, and this year was joined by my sales colleague, Todd Barzilay. Winterberry Group always provides valuable insight into what took place in the preceding year, what is trending for the near future, and thoughtful predictions about coming years. We’d like to share some of the highlights with you.
Winterberry Group’s Summary of a Strong 2016
Recapping the past year reminded us what an interesting (but good) year 2016 was, with large-scale events like Brexit and the enigmatic U.S. election impacting many segments of business and the economy. On the marketing side, ad spending was up in 2016, along with digital media consumption.
Winterberry reports the direct mail industry was healthy in 2016 with total spend reaching $44.9 billion. This was close to Winterberry’s 2015 growth prediction, and they expect direct mail to grow again this year. Email and digital channels continue to attract marketing budgets due to low cost of integration. Meanwhile radio, newspaper, and magazines will see dollars shift to other marketing channels. There was also a great deal of merger and acquisition activity that should carry into the coming year.
New Tech and Data-Driven Marketing Leave Their Mark
Looking into the future was the real value of the Luncheon. Winterberry Group has the ability to focus on the areas that provide tremendous value to marketers, from supply side to brand side and broader industry activity. They fill a unique role that provides historical assessment, market perspective, and projections for many channels we work in, which are quickly changing.
Unsurprisingly, Winterberry Group’s forecast for 2017 aligns with IWCO Direct’s own experiences. Direct mail spend is projected to increase 0.7% to $45.2 billion, and direct mail will evolve with new personalization and production technologies. We continue to hear about the growth of addressable TV, the internet of things (IoT), challenges in attribution, and more.
An increased focus on valuing and utilizing data is reflected in both Winterberry Group’s 2016 stats and the 2017 outlook. Total data spend was up 8.1% in 2016, with further increases expected as data-driven marketing continues to reveal the potential of strong, well-curated data as the powerhouse of the best direct marketing campaigns.
The Customer Journey Deserves More Attention Than Ever
But the DMCNY Annual Outlook Luncheon wasn’t all numbers and data—the human element is still a strong factor in marketing performance. The customer journey is evolving, becoming more sophisticated with multiple devices, touchpoints, and behavioral data sources available. Using data to contact the consumer at the right time and through the right channel will enhance the journey.
Our Marketing Services group works closely with our clients to quickly distill the latest data, analyze and optimize their strategy, and recommend the best channel to reach their customers—with direct mail typically at the core of these efforts. Our strategy and campaigns are integrated for cross-channel functionality to help our clients meet their customers at the proper stage within their journey.
The DMCNY and Winterberry Group both do so much for the current marketing community while educating the next generation of marketing professionals. We’re glad to have had another opportunity to meet marketing professionals from various backgrounds and industries to shape ideas, exchange experiences, and share thoughts about our unique and exciting industry. For more about what the DMCNY Annual Luncheon had to offer, please get in touch with me.
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