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The Future of Direct Mail, Transactional, and “Transpromotional” Documents

Paper based communications continue to enjoy a high preference among recipients and generators of documents. Despite the increased use of the Internet, paper has an enduring quality and its use will continue to grow as it relates to direct mail and remain relatively stable for transaction documents. The prospects for growth are brighter than what we reported in 2003 due to an improved economy and safe and reliable postal delivery.

InfoTrends’ new study entitled, The Future of Mail 2006: Direct Mail, Transaction, and “Transpromotional” Documents, examines the future of direct mail and transaction documents in North America, and provides details on the U.S. and Canadian markets. The study focuses on customer-facing applications such as direct marketing, billing, and related issues such as customer support and fulfillment. It investigates consumer behavior and preferences and reviews print provider expectations and plans as well as the plans of those who generate these documents.

Research for the study consisted of surveys of 850 consumers over the age of 18 who pay bills, 456 document owners who are responsible for direct mail and transaction documents, and 397 print providers who focus on direct mail and transaction documents.

Direct Mail Highlights

In 2005, 114 billion direct mail pieces (with a retail value of $61.1 billion) were sent in North America. According to the study, consumers continue to have a high preference for direct mail over other forms of direct marketing. 61% of consumers surveyed stated a preference for direct mail, which is nearly triple the number that preferred receiving ads via e-mail. These findings can be attributed to the manageable and minimally intrusive nature of paper based communications.

Figure 1: Preferred Method of Contact for
Marketing and Promotional Purposes

Within this category, highly personalized direct mail with messages and offers that were designed to reflect the consumer’s needs and interests were most favored, however, only 31% of the direct mail they currently receive contains personalized content they find useful. In return for business, consumers expect a level of intimacy similar to that which we enjoyed when most business was personal. The goal is to utilize technology to generate information that is of interest to the recipient.

The Web is no longer the only method of direct marketing electronically; increasingly customers can – and want to – be reached through mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones. These mobile devices are currently included in 24.8% of direct marketing programs. The most innovative who incorporate cell phones and PDAs are computer services, naturally, but also non-profit organizations.

Transaction and Transpromotional Highlights

In 2005, the total North American transaction market consisted of 64.3 billion documents with a value of $120 billion. This number is strong, but a number of threats exist to paper based transaction documents; specifically, the Internet. We forecast that nearly 75% of homes will be connected to the Internet by 2010.

Not everybody will flock to electronic bill presentment or electronic bill presentment and payment, as just under half of the respondents planned to pay bills online. Security concerns were the main reason consumers did not want to switch to on-line banking.

Figure 2: Percentage of Bills Regularly Paid by Various Methods

The study also examines the adoption of “TransPromotional” documents, which are documents that combine marketing messages with transaction information. There was a high consumer preference for TransPromotional documents (63% preferred such a document), and the study forecasts full color digital TransPromotional pages growing at a 91% CAGR through 2010.

The market is poised to adopt TransPromotional documents, which meet the needs of end users as well as document generators, and to take advantage of technological advancements that enable this application. For adoption of TransPromo to increase, however, document owners must gain more awareness of the benefits, costs, and risks.

The preceding is an excerpt from InfoTrends’ study entitled “The Future of Mail 2006: Direct Mail, Transactional, and Transpromotional Documents.” The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, contact Scott Phinney at +1 ext. 123 or .

Copyright © 2007 InfoTrends. All rights reserved. Reproduction or reuse of InfoTrends materials is strictly prohibited without prior written consent. If you are interested in referencing InfoTrends’ content, please submit your request to .


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